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Old Oct 8, 2003, 7:54 PM   #1
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Hello everyone, what a great site! I am a longtime 35mm camera owner. I received a Nikon FE many years ago as a gift and it has always been a great camera. But I've got to move forward. About two years ago I started looking at the digitals and was about sold on the Coolpix 885 which was then the hottest digital camera under $600. I didn't buy then, but have made a decision now to get one. In looking at reviews of the newer Coolpix cameras there seems to be quite a number of problems with them and in fact it's pointed out that they have complicated some things and taken away from some of the simplicity of the earlies Coolpix models.

My question. If you're just an average photographer like myself, taking mostly photos of the family and vacation pictures, are the latest and greatest models that much better than a model like the 885 which is a couple of years old now? Is there that much difference between the 3 and 5 megapixel that an amateur like myself could really tell the difference? The newer Coolpix models run over a thousand dollars, while you can get a new 885 for less than $300 now.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Oct 9, 2003, 6:37 AM   #2
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The biggest downside for cameras of the 885's age is not as much megapixel but noise. The higher ISO settings look bad, and they get bad really fast.

My general statements are this:

Get either 3 or 4x zoom. But since you use 35mm stuff, you will understand the "35mm equivalent" rating. Look that up as well (Steves' reviews always say it, along with dpreview.com.) You'll want to know if it has as much reach as you are already used to. For forget you can add teleconverters to them, but they still hurt quality.

I would make sure it takes Compact Flash cards. Eventually they will be probably be replaced (with either SD, or xD) but right now they rule the roost.

I lean towards AA batteries, unless it take really good quality propritary (and uses them well.) For example, the Nikon D100 (a DSLR) has amazing battery life. I would be quite happy with their battery setup.

I would also narrow your choices down to a few and then go to the store. Really check them out. Hold them, look at them, even use them (if they will let you.) Is the weight and size good? Does it fit in your pocket (if that matters)? Does the button placement feel comfortable/good for your hands? Is the screen readable for you?

Check out all that and more. Reading reviews is good, but they will be very different in person.

Eric
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Old Oct 9, 2003, 10:29 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Eric. Still doing lots of research. I'm actually leaning away from Nikon now and considering going with something like the Canon G3. Seems like a really good fit for someone like myself, without an extremely hefty price tag.
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Old Oct 9, 2003, 2:54 PM   #4
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You may also want to look at the factory reconditioned offerings from Nikon.

For example: that Coolpix 885 you were looking at can now be purchased for under $200.00, reconditioned by Nikon.

Here are their current offerings:

http://www.nikonmall.com/searchresul...&searchcatid=3

Note: even if a camera offered is "temporarily out of stock", you can still order it. They won't bill your credit card until it ships, and will get one out as soon as it becomes available.
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Old Oct 9, 2003, 3:06 PM   #5
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Thanks Jim C. That certainly opens up some possibilities. You have any experience with refurbished cameras? It sure looks like a good deal.
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Old Oct 9, 2003, 5:04 PM   #6
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Digital Cameras are like computers. There is always a newer, faster, better model coming out.

Of course, if you keep waiting for the "latest and greatest", you never get around to enjoying a camera (since new models are being announced often).

Yes, I have experience ordering from Nikonmall. I ordered a reconditioned Nikon Coolpix 950 from them once (after sellng a newer model 990).

It arrived in perfect, like new condition. I was unable to distinquish it from a brand new camera in any way -- even upon very close inspection.

I don't know if they all come this way, but mine did.

They have a 90 day warranty (versus the 1 year warranty on a brand new one), but the prices are pretty good.

Also, the way I look at it, these cameras were inspected once upon manufacturer, and again (probably more closely) when reconditioned. So, they are potentially more reliable than a new one (since they've been inspected again).
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Old Oct 10, 2003, 4:12 AM   #7
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Jim

I have seen you state this view on refurbished cams a couple of times now (i'm rather new at this forum).

If you compare it with refurbished cars (which is probably not a good idea to compare it with but I use it for illustration purposes to come to my question) then it is common knowledge that it is in general from a technical perspective NOT a good idea to buy a refurbished car. These cars have often been involved in accidents and there may be structural damage that eludes the eye but will have an impact on the car's lifetime.

Now back to camera's: They do not give you a discount and limited warranty on those refurbished cams for nothing, right? So what kind of "structural" defects might still be in such camera's that do not show right away (but may show after the 90 day warranty period)? This is an honest question, not an attempt to create doubt in the innocent reader's mind. It just reflects the doubt that I have (and maybe others have experienced similar doubts).
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Old Oct 10, 2003, 8:05 AM   #8
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Thanks BigMac. Those exact thoughts always cross my mind any time I hear the word refurbished. That's why I asked if he had any experience with them. It's hard to tell if you're getting a camera someone sent in for repair and never paid the bill on, or some retailer's demo version or overstock. I'm sure many people get them and never have a problem, but I figure there are some bad stories as well. Right now I'm trying to concentrate on a newer camera than the Nikon 885 anyway. Like I said, I'm leaning more towards the Canon Powershot G3 or G5. I think you can even get 5 year warranties on those cameras. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old Oct 10, 2003, 9:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMac
Now back to camera's: They do not give you a discount and limited warranty on those refurbished cams for nothing, right? So what kind of "structural" defects might still be in such camera's that do not show right away (but may show after the 90 day warranty period)? This is an honest question, not an attempt to create doubt in the innocent reader's mind. It just reflects the doubt that I have (and maybe others have experienced similar doubts).
I have purchased three refurbished cameras over the past year, and all have worked flawlessly. Here's the feedback I can give you on each camera:

Camera 1: 1 hot pixel, bright pink, in upper left quadrant. For most shots, it's not even noticeable. For longer exposure shots, or photos taken in the dark, it shows up plainly but can be edited out with no problem. Camera was shipped with Spanish instruction manual, which supplier gladly swapped for English.

Camera 2: Absolutely no defects whatsoever; was exactly like the original camera I bought brand new.

Camera 3: EVF has bright red stuck pixel; it is not distracting, and in no way affects image quality. French instruction manual was shipped with the camera-- exchanged for English with no problems.

I had to have my original new camera repaired under warranty because the switch that moved the lens from wide angle to telephoto stopped working. These models are all Olympus C-2100, and all four are in perfect working condition now.
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