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Old Feb 25, 2004, 8:02 AM   #1
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Default Expert advice sought...

I am in the market for a digital camera and don't really know where to start. When I buy something like this I usually do a lot of online research on my own to determine my choices, but when I've tried to start with digital cameras the sheer volume of choices has me befuddled. I do know that I'd like to spend less than $300 and I want a camera that uses SD expansion cards rather than CF or Memory Sticks (I already own a 256 mb unused SD card). Obviously I'm not a photography connoisseur, but I do want as high quality of images as my budget will allow so that I can have enlarged prints, etc. A nice feature would be digicam video, but not necessary. A simple point and shoot with optical zoom might do the trick. Ease of use would be a bonus as my wife is not the most technical person, but I don't want to give up features for simplicity.
One camera that seemed to stick out in my limited research was the Kodak DX4530 5-MegaPixel Digicam... Any feedback on this camera or suggestions of other cameras that fit the criteria above would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot for reading my query and for sharing your knowledge!

Matt
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Old Feb 25, 2004, 8:59 AM   #2
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In that price range I would consider a Minolta G500. It will come to about $300 delivered online. 5Mp and SD. It will shoot in program mode with the default settings just fine, but it has lots of manual modes for you to expand into if you like. The thing I prefer about it is that it is small enough to fit in your pocket, so you will have it with you more often. The Minolta comes with charger and battery where you have to buy a charger and NiMH batteries for the 4530, which will bring you to about the same price as the Minolta. You probably canít afford the Kodak cradle package and stay within your budget.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...mage_g500.html
http://www.shopping.com/xPC-Minolta_...~S-6~OR-0~PG-1

Although I already have good digital cameras I am considering the Pantax S4 for its size and portability. It will fit in an Altoids tin and is 4Mp with a 3X optical zoom. It has come down a lot in price since its introduction and there is a $30 rebate, taking it down to about $275 delivered. Nifty little camera. Look at Steveís sample pictures. They are very good with just a touch of softness in the corners.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...s/optios4.html
http://www.shopping.com/xPC-Pentax_O...~S-6~OR-0~PG-1
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Old Feb 25, 2004, 10:58 AM   #3
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Default Thnaks and addl info request

Thanks for your guidance, Slipe. I actually already have a charger and nimh batteries, so would you recommend the Kodak with over the Minolta since it won't go over my budget?

Also, upon reviewing the tiny Pentax you mentioned , I was very intrigued by it and might be leaning that way. My only concern is the flash. Do you think the flash is adequate for indoor type snapshots?

Thanks again!
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Old Feb 25, 2004, 2:20 PM   #4
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Imaging Resource says the S4 flash is good to 11.5 feet with ISO200 at wide. ISO 200 isnít great but that is a very useable range.

I have a strong preference for a camera I can slip in my pocket and carry everywhere. The Kodak is a little large and heavy for that. I also have a preference for a camera one can grow into rather than a pure point and shoot. Digital is a great way to learn and experiment and the Kodak is limited. That was why I suggested you look at the G500 since it has full controls and is pocketable. You can get it for a little less than $300 but not from anyone I trust. But $303 is the total price since you have the SD card.

The 4530 has less than great focus in low light according to Dave over at Imaging Resource. Shutter lag isnít bad. I think the focus might be a hassle sometimes for indoor family flash shots. Otherwise it looks fine if you want a point and shoot camera. The Kodak is certainly less expensive and probably the cheapest zoom 5Mp on the market. Having to keep track of the lens cap rather than have it automatically covered might be a little bit of a hassle -Ėespecially if you lose the thing.
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Old Feb 27, 2004, 7:46 AM   #5
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Thanks again for the tips and feedback, Slipe. I've been further researching since your post and I think I am going to order a Pentax Optio S4 in the next couple of days. Because of it's tiny size, I find it very attractive because I'll be able to keep the camera with me virtually all the time. Also, the vast majority of the owner reviews I read, absolutely rave about this camera. My biggest concern remains the flash range and battery life, but I saw spare batteries for approx $10 shipped on Ebay and you indicated that the Flash was in the normal point-and-shoot range, which will be the primary need for flash.

If anyone who reads this post has experience with this camera, I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts on the battery life, flash or any other aspects of this camera that you have found positive or negative. Or any recommendations for similar cameras...

Thanks.
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Old Feb 27, 2004, 9:58 AM   #6
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ask on the Pentax forum.
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