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Old Oct 14, 2003, 8:49 PM   #1
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Default Lots of questions... searching for a digital camera

I take a ton of pictures. Pretty good with a camera but I am nowgetting ready to take the leap to digital... I have been holding off and not wanting it! But now feel it might work for me!
I currently own and SLR Minolta which I love. I also use all the time my point and shoot Minolta 160. I also had the olympus stylus 80 Loved it! But not enought zoom!

Any way...what is this noise thing I am reading about...are you talking about actual sound? Does it have anything to do with the quality of the picture? Or jsut if you use the movie mode?
Also is there a huge difference between 3.2 mp vs. the 4? Is the new minolta DiMage F300 IS it worth the money?
I will be taking pictures of my kids. Vacations and activities. I really want to use it at the kids school to take lots of pictures. I signed on to do a scrap book for my kids classes along with school paper pictures. I will still have my point and shoot with a great zoom to use (yes I am the type to have 2 cameras going at one time)
I am rough on stuff. Like to be outside all kinds of weather so I am leaning towards the olympus sylus 300 or 400 but dont know if it is worth the money to get the 4 mp or just get the 300. I like to blow up pics to 5x7 and occassionally 8x10 But that is it.
So help me please! I would love to stay under $400!
Thanks!
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Old Oct 15, 2003, 12:45 AM   #2
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I swapped my Stylus 80 in for a Konica 28-70 that was actually slightly smaller. The Oly felt a little better in my hands, but the 28mm really made a big difference. I carried it around for years and gave the Stylus 80 to my daughter. Both are still working fine.

When I went to digital I got a Minolta D7i last year primarily for the 28mm. There isnít a small carry digital with 28mm so I finally broke down and replaced my carry camera last year with an Oly C50. I would get the Pentax 555 today instead, but the series wasnít out yet at the time.

The F300 is excellent for taking shots of kids because of the tracking focus, which also works as a continuous focus. It focuses all the way to taking the picture so you get a lot fewer blurred shots of kids or anything in random motion. It is 5Mp and looks good in the reviews. It also has a very low shutter lag if you pre-focus by holding the shutter halfway. You can do that with the F300 in tracking focus mode because it continues to focus.

If you are using a SLR you probably wouldnít be happy with the Stylus 300 or 400. They are both primarily point and shoot like your stylus 80. It does have a spot meter which helps a lot, but there are so many cameras in that size and price range that have decent controls that I donít think the weatherproof is an even trade. I take my C50 out in my boat Ė everywhere I go actually. It has gotten some rain on it taking rainbow photos etc. I just donít shoot in a pouring rain.

Noise is like grain. It bothers some people more than others. And some cameras are worse than others with the same exact CCD. The small CCDs in the prosumer type cameras you are considering tend to be noisy and it takes some processing in the camera to inhibit some of it.

Keep in mind that you will have to buy a memory card for the camera. 256Mb is somewhat standard for a small camera. The cheapest are CF, which are also the best in many ways. SD, xD and Memory Stick are pricier.

A nice little camera you might look at is the Canon S400. It uses CF and is in your price range. It doesnít have aperture or shutter priority but has full manual. I donít use A or S mode that much even though both of my cameras have the capability. But I use manual often. Portrait mode gives as much blur for the background as you can get and sports or action gives you the fastest shutter for the available light.

Everything else being equal the more pixels the better. Look up reviews on whatever you are considering here at Steveís site and at www.dpreview.com and at www.imaging-resource.com
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Old Oct 15, 2003, 6:33 AM   #3
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wow! Great information....I will look at those other cameras. I love my SLR but only use it when I want a certain picture. I need something that That I can carry with me, and not have to fiddle with if you know what I mean.
I guess my next step is to go to several dealers and look at the cameras and hold them.
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Old Oct 15, 2003, 9:17 AM   #4
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I noticed that you made a comment about not enough zoom. The Olympus C750/C740 (4mp/3.2mp) have a 10 X optical zoom. They both give you the point and shoot mode or you can venture into the manual settings. Ignore the digital zoom advertised on digicams. You can read the reviews in Steve's camera reviews on the two cameras. If your prints will not exceed 5X7 then you may see no siginificant difference between 3.2 and 4 mp. The weak link for these ultra zoom cameras is low light shooting. They work great for outdoors, flash, and well lit indoor shots. Panasonci is introducing a 12X zoom next month that may be the camera you would want to look at. Look in Steve's breaking news link for the new panasonic camera.
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Old Oct 15, 2003, 9:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spinning
I need something that That I can carry with me, and not have to fiddle with if you know what I mean.
I guess my next step is to go to several dealers and look at the cameras and hold them.
Just about any digital camera regardless of capability have a program and/or auto mode for P&S shooting. Any decent camera also has a spot meter and lets you adjust the EV on the fly in program mode. Between the spot and EV you can shoot most of your photos in program mode. I just think that for someone who knows what they are doing it is handy to have the versatility of being able to switch to manual. And have manual focus, a low light focus assist light, panorama assist etc. You tend to experiment a lot more with a digicam.

But even the Stylus 300 and 400 have more capability for adjustment than your Stylus 80 did. The spot meter will let you handle most difficult lighting Ė I always wished there was one on the Stylus 80 and Konica. And if you shoot a beach or snow scene for example you can just increase the EV. But you can get a lot more CF card for the money and the S400 is a better camera IMO.
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Old Oct 15, 2003, 10:01 AM   #6
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That Cannon looks nice....They have it in stock at the camera store in the mall. So I think I am going to head over there. It is a little more than I want to spend....Will have to look around for pricing. Because I know with the digital I will need another card, new printer and I think I want an extended guarentee. (I did tell all of you I am rough on stuff!)
So much to take in and understand....I thought I knew something about cameras but I am totally a fish out of water!
Thanks everyone for your help!
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Old Oct 15, 2003, 11:12 AM   #7
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I hadnít realized there was that much difference between the S400 and the Stylus 400. But by the time you factor in the difference between a 256Mb xD card and a CF card you will have eaten up some of the difference. Talk with the salesperson. Perhaps there is something else that would satisfy your needs. Most new cameras have decent cycle times but some are better than others. Make sure to take some pictures at best quality and compare cycle times. The batteries on both cameras will fill a 256Mb card if you are careful with LCD use. You donít really need it except to mess with menus.

If you are sure you wonít be using manual and other features the Stylus 400 isnít a bad camera. Like I said the spot meter and EV adjustments on the fly will handle most situations. If you get a decent sized card you can bracket. I never use the bracket function from the menu. I just switch to spot and pre-meter different parts of the scene. Or I bracket myself with the EV. It is easier than going to the menu to set up a bracket. Plus if you bracket with the spot meter you will find the camera uses different auto white balance for different parts of the scene as well. Sometimes one is more pleasing than another.

These are two shots I took of a nearby summer cottage. Both were taken at the same time with the same lighting. The exposure is OK on both, but the white balance is dramatically different. The photos arenít enhanced at all. I use the spot meter often on my C50 and the Stylus 400 has a spot meter.


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Old Oct 15, 2003, 3:48 PM   #8
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Ok I went to 2 differnt stores. I love the olympus! The feel of it is great. It fits nicely in my purse. (what a terrible way to pick a camera!) I liked the cannon but I can't put my finger on it but it just didn't feel right to me.
I did look at a samsung that was very interesting. So Iwant to do a little reading about it. It had a few more features than the olympus But I think I am sold on the stylus
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Old Oct 15, 2003, 5:28 PM   #9
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If the Samsung you are looking at is the V4, keep in mind that you have to buy batteries and a charger for it. The Stylus 400 comes with a battery and charger. Put that into your price comparison. SD cards are a little cheaper and more universal than xD though.
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Old Oct 15, 2003, 6:24 PM   #10
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yes that is the other camera I am looking at. I did price that out. It will cost me an extra around $30 more...
I like some of the advantages of the samsung but I have a feeling I am going to go with the olympus. Just for the weather resistant factor. and gotta love that it fits in my purse!
Thanks everyone for all your helpful and quick responses!
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