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Old Nov 10, 2003, 3:30 PM   #1
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Default Newbie looking to purchase 1st digital camera.

Hello all! I know you've heard it all before. I'm looking for the perfect camera for the least amount of money.

I have done (what I consider to be) a ton of research looking for just the right camera for me, but I have come up empty-handed. I'm thinking that I must want too many features...for too little amount of $$$$.

Here are my desires:

The best image quality (even in difficult situations) with the following features.....

3 MP; decent point-N-shoot features (a 3X zoom lens, multiple flash modes, and exposure compensation), FAST!!! (Quickest lag {focus}, largest buffer); black and white; capable of capturing video with sound; Limited manual exposure and focus modes (I just want to be able to tweak the automatic settings just a bit); solid build and comfortable ergonomics; compact/lightweight; Good battery life (I am pretty set AGAINST AA batteries!!). I do not care about the storage medium. I am aware of Sony storage being exclusive to Sony...and that is fine with me.

Anything below $400?

I know I may be asking too much. There has GOT to be a great camera out there. I just can't seem to find it. Let me know if I'm dreaming. Why can't someone build a decent 3 MP with a few bells N whistles?

Frustrated in PA,
Jeanie
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Old Nov 10, 2003, 4:28 PM   #2
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Does it HAVE to be a 3MP camera for under $400.00, or would you be willing to settle for a 5MP Camera instead?

If you're willing to compromise, and go with a 5 Megapixel Model, instead of a 3 Megapixel Model, you may want to look at my latest camera, the Konica Revio KD-510z (a.k.a., Minolta DiMAGE G500).

The G500 is selling for well under $400.00 now from many online vendors (around $399.00 at larger dealers like Ritz -- less at many other reputable online dealers).

It's my 7th Digital Camera, and I like it more than any other digicam I've owned to date. It's build quality is also outstanding. Go down to your local Ritz, and see for yourself. It's also small enough to fit in a pocket, and will use Sony Memory Sticks and/or Secure Digital Cards (and you can have both in the camera at the same time).

You can see some photos from mine here:

http://www.pbase.com/jcockfield/konica_kd510z

You'll see links to my user review of the camera in my pbase.com album (it goes into the features available in great detail, and sounds like a good fit for your specified needs).

Weaknesses (from what you said you're looking for): It's got a Movie Mode with Sound, but it's not as good as some of the other models out. It's movie clips are limited to 30 seconds each at 320x240 Resolution with sound.

A few of the newer model cameras can take unlimited length movies at higher resolutions with sound. However, I never use the movie mode on a still camera, so this was not an important feature for me. Some of these nicer movie modes in other models can also use as much as 1MB/Second of Memory Card Space (not something for me).

If you'd like to see what my thoughts were about this camera, compared to one of the newer Sonys (a DSC-P10 that I bought and returned in July), see my responses to this thread (I responded to someone else that also bought and returned a Sony). You'll also find links to photo comparisons with other models, along with links to comments from other new users of the camera in my responses in the thread:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...essage=6600430

In my (biased, because I really like this camera) opinion, I don't think you'll find a better balance of physical size, user control of parameters used more often, camera speed, flash strength, and image quality in a camera this small, and it's "directly from the camera" photos are good enough to match or exceed the much larger models.

It's ergonomics are also great -- easy to hold and shoot with a very simple, but effective control layout (you can even customize the controller keys -- allowing or denying specific flash modes (auto, night portrait, fill flash, redeye reduction, etc.), white balance options, focus/self timer combinations, and much more.

I've got a writeup about how mine is customized in my user review (you'll see links to it in my Pbase.com album).

It also offers a full range of adjustments, settable under user profiles (ISO speed, contrast, saturation, color, sharpness, and more), as well as a full manual mode (aperture/shutter speed) when you really need it.

The price is the best part. At well under $400.00 now from many vendors, I think it's a "steal" for a 5 Megapixel Camera with it's capabilities and image quality.

Good Luck with your Search!
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Old Nov 10, 2003, 4:41 PM   #3
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I think Jim has recommend your best selection for your requirements.
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Old Nov 10, 2003, 7:11 PM   #4
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Well, I think the budget should be around the $300 line, because the other $100 will definitely go to other expenses like memory and extra batteries.

Am I right? :roll:
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Old Nov 11, 2003, 12:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkThrone
Well, I think the budget should be around the $300 line, because the other $100 will definitely go to other expenses like memory and extra batteries.

Am I right? :roll:
Absolutely right!

Make sure to budget some spare money, regardless of which digital camera you decide on. Most Digital Cameras come with a "Starter" memory card, that you won't be able to get many photos on before you need to upload them into your PC.

After all, you wouldn't go on vacation with only 1 roll of 12 exposure film, and no spare batteries for your film camera, would you?

Use the price search engines to find the best deals. Often you can find a model at significantly lower prices from an online vendor.

However, make sure to check out the vendors reputation, using both http://www.resellerratings.com and http://www.bizrate.com

There are MANY scam artists now. These guys usually advertise a camera model at prices below anyone else. When you place your order online, they'll usually call you back, claiming that the credit card didn't process correctly, etc., or pretending to be helpful, noticing that you may need a spare battery or memory card.

Then, they'll try to sell you add-ons (spare batteries, memory cards, extended warranties, cases, etc.) at drastically inflated prices. Watch out for inflated shipping charges, too.

When you refuse the add-ons with some of these scammers, suddenly, your order goes to backorder status (they never ship the camera at the lower price), or they may try to ship you a camera without a U.S. Warranty, or with components like batteries and chargers missing from the package.

Unfortunately, these practices are becoming all too common.

Here's an example of pricing on bizrate.com for the G500 I suggested you take a look at:

http://shop.bizrate.com/marketplace/...ta%20G500.html

Note that the lowest price of $295.00 is from Royal Camera (you'll see them when you change pages, and look through the rest of the vendors). Note the customer feedback about them:

http://shop.bizrate.com/ratings_guid...id--31276.html

Note that many other vendors (with good customer ratings) have the same model, for only a little more money. Chances are, you'll never see the camera (unless you give in to the scam tactics) at the lowest price anyway.

Also beware of vendors without a lot of feedback (new vendors). Sometimes vendors have been known to "pad" their own feedback, to make it appear that they're a great company. When a vendor gets a bad reputation, they often just startup a brand new web site, under a different company name, with a totally different "look and feel". Then, they start their "scam" tactics all over again.

Stick with one of the vendors with a good track record, with LOTS of good customer feedback.

Again, use Resellerratings.com and Bizrate.com to check out a vendor carefully. Also, check their return policies (restocking fees, etc., in case you decide that a model is not well suited for your shooting conditions, despite your best efforts to find a good match). Some vendors don't allow returns for a refund. Others charge high restocking fees. Some have liberal return policies.


Good Luck!
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Old Nov 11, 2003, 1:07 PM   #6
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THANKS FOR THE RESPONSES!!

I'm going to go try one of the Minolta/Konica in the store before I buy, but I did look over the info on it and IT DOES LOOK PROMISING!! While looking around at the Minolta/Konica...I did find 3 others that looked interesting (although all more than $400). The Pentax Optio 450, the Sony DSC-P10, & the Olympus C-5000 all looked good (Olympus doesn't have sound), but they were all about $100 more & I don't really see any extras on them that look all that useful to me.

I'm really thinking that I will go with that Minolta. I'm thinking that I can get it at Butterfly Photo for around $320 & Wal-Mart for just under $370. I'm hoping the savings can buy me storage & battery!

THANK YOU!!! I was having so much trouble finding ANY promising candidates. I think that I could live with any of the 4 above but saving that $100 for storage & battery would be WONDERFUL. THANKS AGAIN!!!

Jeanie
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Old Nov 11, 2003, 1:10 PM   #7
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wooo....just saw your latest reply Jim. THANKS AGAIN!! I'll check out those links. VERY, VERY helpful. THANK YOU!!!
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Old Nov 11, 2003, 1:51 PM   #8
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Yep -- I'd suggest you check out the customer feedback on the vendor you were thinking of (Butterfly Photo), then compare the responses to my definition of a "scam artist" in my previous post.

http://shop.bizrate.com/ratings_guid...id--32853.html

Unfortuntely, you can't be too careful!

Best Wishes!
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Old Nov 11, 2003, 2:27 PM   #9
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Default Batteries, and Memory Warning

In addition to suggesting you look up Butterfly's reputation, I've got two more suggestions (batteries, memory):

You can find generic 850mAh Lithium Ion batteries for this model from an Ebay vendor for only $10.20 (+ $5.99 shipping).

If you buy two, shipping charges are only $6.99 ($1.00 extra for each additional battery). So, you can buy two spare batteries, including shipping charges, for less than $30.00 (less than only one battery costs when you buy Konica or Minolta name brand).

All you have to do, is search for batteries for the Konica KD-310z, KD-400z, KD-410z, or KD-500z models. The battery used by the new Minolta DiMAGE G500 is exactly the same.

The Minolta DiMAGE G500 is the same camera as the Konica KD-510z (upgrade to the Konica KD-500z, and it uses the same battery).

After the Konica-Minolta merger, they just gave the new camera and battery different model numbers under the Minolta name.

Here's an example:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=15215

Also, avoid Sandisk Secure Digital Cards in larger sizes. Their cards with greater than 128mb capacity are NOT compatible with the camera. You'll run into slower startup times, possible file corruption, format errors, etc. Sandisk's Standard Secure Digital Cards in larger sizes are dramatically slower than those made by a company like Panasonic.

Toshiba, Panasonic, and Sandisk are the "big 3" manufacturers of Secure Digital. If you buy a different brand (like Lexar), you're just getting a card made by one of these guys.

Konica-Minolta Japan only considers Secure Digital Cards made by Toshiba or Panasonic to be compatible in 256mb size. Only the Panasonic Card is considered compatible in 512mb size. Panasonics 256mb and 512mb Secure Digital Cards are rated at 10mb/second (dramatically faster than Sandisk).

See my pbase.com album for details:
http://www.pbase.com/jcockfield/konica_kd510z

BTW, Panasonic also makes Simpletech's 256mb and 512mb Standard Secure Digital Cards (both rated at 10mb/second).
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Old Nov 11, 2003, 3:10 PM   #10
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eeek....yes...thanks SO MUCH for saving me from butterfly photo. That is so strange. I had seen them advertised on a few of the sites that I was visiting to compare cameras....and I assumed..... I'll definitely have to be more careful. Thanks for the links to bizrate & reseller. Those 2 sites are great.

I appreciate the battery & memory info also. That's a great deal on the batteries, and I'll definitely keep the memory info on hand. Actually...I'm sure that I'll be a frequent visitor to your album.

I have SO appreciated everything you've done.

THANKS AGAIN!
Jeanie
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