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Old Jun 8, 2003, 7:53 AM   #1
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Default Which camera for my use?

First of all: I'm sorry if you guys are sick of answering this question, but I'll give it a shot.

About a week ago I finally decided on getting a digital camera, since I'm one of those that hardly have taken any pictures for the last 10 years. And it kind of makes me sad to think about all those moments, parties, gatherings that's gone by - undocumented. I mean - I've got friends that I've never taken a picture of. Well, no more.

My biggest problem is that I'm that guy who never learned to take photos. If I sent in a 36 picture film, I got like 15 pictures back. The rest was unusable.

So, I've been looking around, trying to narrow it down a bit. So I'm looking for:

- 3 Mpix
- at least 2x Zoom
- reasonable size - I want this to go with me all over
- point and shoot- I don't mind manual control, but I've never used them before, so I'll need to learn it first. But I need this camera to be able to grow with me.
- $400 budget - I would prefer keeping it closer to 300, but could go up to 400.

From all the reviews I've read, I've narrowed it down to:
- Canon PowerShot S230/IXUS V3
- Canon A70
- Nikon CoolPix 3100
- Sony Cybershot DSC-P72

What kind of picyures will I be taking?
- indoors: parties, everyday life, portraits
- outdoors: landscape, scenery

Most of my photos will be going on my web page, but I'm sure I'll be making prints as well, standard size. From time to time I might blow up a couple of pictures to A3 size, so the camera has to be able to cope with that.

I hope someone out there can help. thanks

patashnik
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Old Jun 8, 2003, 8:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: Which camera for my use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by patashnik
... - $400 budget - I would prefer keeping it closer to 300, but could go up to 400.
Figure on spending about $100 of that budget for batteries and memory. Look at your camera choices to see how much a couple of sets of extra batteries will cost - that is likely to thin the herd.

Also look at recently discontinued cameras - but look at the reviews before buying. Watch user comments, but remember that flaw discussion will take place about any camera. Not all flaws matter to everyone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by patashnik
... What kind of picyures will I be taking?
- indoors: parties, everyday life, portraits
- outdoors: landscape, scenery
Getting good shots indoors means either a fast lens and high ISO (tend to be expensive) or using a flash. All of the built-in flash units are junk because:
* close to the lens axis (red-eye)
* small (glare)
* weak and slow "recharge" (use the same batteries as the camera)

External flash capability tends to only come on more expensive cameras, but watch for it.
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Old Jun 8, 2003, 10:59 PM   #3
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If you are going to be taking a lot of indoor pics, I would go for a camera with a low light focus assist mode. If I remember correctly, both of the Canons you have listed have this feature. The Nikon 3100 takes good indoor pics but due to the lack of a low light assist beam, it takes longer to focus in low light, which might mean some lost photo opps.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 8:08 AM   #4
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Thank you both for those helpful replies. Yes, this is not as easy as I'm used to. I'm pretty used to buying processors and video cards, and you kind of learn to go for the best "bang for the buck" that's around.

I guess, in my case, the weakest link is what's behind the camera, not what's inside... :lol:

For now I've narrowed i tdown to the Canon A70 and the Nikon CoolPix 3100. And from what I've read, I understand that they have som differences:

A70:
- "softer" images, more saturated colours
- a lot of manual features

CoolPix 3100:
- sharper images, more natural coulours
- smaller
- no manual features

If this is the case, I guess I have to think about how I want to use my camera. To be honest, I would love a lot of features, but I'm new to this so perhaps a simpler camera would do for now. After all I can get the CoolPix 3100 now and sell it if I outgrow it.

patashnik
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 9:56 AM   #5
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Keep in mind that the sharpness and saturation can be adjusted afterwards with a photo editor. Reviewers look at the image as it comes directly from the camera with (likely) the default settings so those differences might not be significant.

You are going to want/have to do post shot editing no matter what camera you get. If your main use is product shooting for eBay, you will likely find that the manual controls will be valuable and small size doesn't matter at all.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillDrew
Keep in mind that the sharpness and saturation can be adjusted afterwards with a photo editor. Reviewers look at the image as it comes directly from the camera with (likely) the default settings so those differences might not be significant.

You are going to want/have to do post shot editing no matter what camera you get.
Thank you, Bill. I hadn't thought about that... But since I have no prior knowledge of photo editors, that sounds like a hassle. But I'm sure that I can stare at those giant superfine pictures in reviews until my head aches, trying to find weaknesses. Or I could just pick a camera and fire away, learning as I go. Man this "qualitative" world of cameras sure are complex!

Perhaps I'll just flip a coin in the end.

patashnik
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 11:50 AM   #7
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You've gotten some very good and unbiased responses! I would just add that if you have a choice of AA batteries or proprietary, you may want to consider the cost of at least one extra set of batteries. Digital cameras are high-drain devices, and you will at some point have a need to take pictures and not have sufficient battery resources to continue. I prefer the AA's because they are cheap and convenient, but in either case, consider the added expense for a recommended 2 extra sets of batteries in your budgeting if you will be taking lots of pictures.
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Old Jun 10, 2003, 12:30 AM   #8
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Both the A70 and 3100 are great cameras. Just check out the features of each camera and decide which one best suits your needs. Steves reviews are so helpful, I referred to his reviews uncountable times before I made my decision. I also liked the reviews over at www.dcresource.com.

What helped the most was going to a camera store and checking out the cameras. The salesperson let me take a few shots with each camera and then I had them printed while in the store. It was nice to have a side by side comparison pics taken with each camera of the same subject at the same time.

I hope this helps and good luck with your camera!!
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