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Old Aug 24, 2002, 1:02 PM   #1
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Default Buying for the 1st time!

HELP
Ok, I am a really Green Newbie. I do not know anything about Digital Cameras.
I have looked at a couple & I have no idea what I'm looking at.

Let me list my needs & see if you guys can come up with the answers.

(1) Going to the Bahamas on a cruise 1st time. So I need something that is really going to capture the moment.

(2) I want to make copies of these pictures (enlarging some) so I need clear pics.

(3) Has to be easy to operate both taking pics & also when it comes time to getting them to my computer. (not a technical person)

(4) Plan on taking alot of photos. (Picture Nut)

(5) Price~~$200-$300 range

(6) Accessories? <--do I need anything special?

(7) and finally my computer--do I have to have anything special to use this camera?

Computer is 56k, amd 1.2ghz cpu, 256 pc133 sd ram Prosavage 32mb AGP Video Card

I know this is a long list, but I need help and I know you guys know alot more than I do...
Thanks!


[Edited on 8-24-2002 by Scarlett]
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Old Aug 24, 2002, 3:28 PM   #2
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I appreciate your greeness and will try to read between the lines a bit to answer your questions.

By "copies" I assume you mean prints. If you want 8x10 prints I suggest you get at least a 2 megapixel camera. 3 megapixels would be nice if you want to make bigger prints or crop before printing to 8x10.

Get a camera with a good optical zoom range. So-called digital zoom is more a marketing feature than something useful. It "zooms" only by sacrificing image quality and/or size.

Get plenty of batteries and I suggest you get a camera that takes generic AA. Don't waste your money on alkaline or litiium AAs, get NiMH rechargable and a fast charger. The Rayovac 1 hour charger is widely available.

You'll need plenty of memory if you're going to be away from a computer for a while. I prefer compact flash because you can get cards with virtually any capacity you want. Compact flash, Sony memory stick, MMC and SD all have a maximum of 128mb. I suggest 256mb or more if you want to get a lot of vacation pictures and won't be able to download them to computer right away.

I am not up on all the current point and shoot cameras but in your situation I'd get a Canon A40 based on my experience with the similar A10 which is easy to use and gives terrific pictures. I also have the underwater housing which can be used in the pool or scuba diving.


Oh, your computer will need a USB port to plug the camera in to download pictures.

[Edited on 8-24-2002 by padeye]
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Old Aug 26, 2002, 10:44 AM   #3
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Yeah, what he said!

In addition, your computer specs are just fine. If you have a laptop, even an old one (must be Win98 or higher), and you don't mind carrying it with you, take it on the boat with you. You can buy a $10 adapter where you can stick your compactflash card into your PCMCIA slot in your latop and download your pics to the hard drive. Much more space on your hard drive.

Short of that, you should get 256MB or more of memory cards (e.g., 2-3 128 MB cards so you don't put all your eggs in one basket should you have a card failure). Assuming you are going to get a 2MP camera and shoot at 'normal' JPEG compression, a 128MB card will hold around 300 photos.

The Canon A40 is nice. The Nikon 2500 gives slightly more pixels but both are 2MP cameras that are under $300. Both will give you great 8x10's if your exposure and framing is great out of the camera.
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Old Aug 30, 2002, 12:03 PM   #4
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I totally agree with the previous posts, which are very well said and should be archived for future inquiries. I would consider two things in addition:

1. The designs of digicams is so radically different that you should really handle the ones you are interested in to see how they "feel." I have sold 2 fine cameras just because I didn't like the "feel."

2. Don't underestimate the level you may quickly evolve to. It is much better to have too much camera than to find that your camera isn't up to your new-found standards. 2 MP/short zoom may be fine for the purposes you state, but if you really get into it, you may soon find yourself wanting more. You won't get much for a used camera.

Have fun.

Bob
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Old Sep 2, 2002, 8:53 PM   #5
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Go to the price search on this page to get a good view of what's out there. http://www.megapixel.net/html/issueindex.html Printing is a completely different "picture You may want to use one of the online photo labs. Steve's offers very good reviews of cameras and his links page has other review sources. Yes, you need rechargeable batteries. AA's are inexpensive. Watch out for proprietary batteries. If you have a CD burner, you can store the pictures on a CD and save hard disc space. Optical zoom is the only real zoom. The rest depends on your camera IQ. Don't be afraid to research. If you are not "in to it" you might want to try the Kodak cameras with the Kodak Picture Dock. You just put the camera into the docking station, push the button and the pictures are automatically downloaded to your computer. Also, it starts recharging the battery for you. If you get a camera with other picture medium, get a card reader. They are much faster than hooking the camera up to the computer, even with USB2. And, you don't use up your batteries downloading. Dr. Bill

[Edited on 9-3-2002 by The Doctor]
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Old Sep 3, 2002, 8:23 AM   #6
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Scarlett,
Looked at the link for prices "the Doctor" posted above. 80% of merchants that come up are lousy human beings that pad thier rating by writting thier own. Do alot of biz on the net for 4-5 years, got burned 1x in the beginning for $800 by Tatum Electronics. The merchants I deal with now I have learned to expect on time delivery, new, no gray market , no crazy shipping rates, credit card not charged till after shiped, tracking number within 24 hours of shipping and if its a camera I ordered that is fantastic I will write here, as the merchant did not build it,
Gary


Checked "price grabber on all the hottest digicams. Same merchant comes in low on them all. Did a cut and paste on one of the merchant reviews, there were many worst than this, beware.

Absolutely worthless company. I placed an order for a dImage7i on the 22nd. They called back and said that it was backordered and would ship in 5 days so I should receive it by either Aug 29 or 30 since I went with 2nd day air. I called 2 days ago and was told that it was still on backorder. I called yesteray, but this time I talked to the sales line and asked if they had them in stock and ready to ship. They said yes,they are in stock. I called today and was told they are still backordered

[Edited on 9-3-2002 by Gary Senkus]
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Old Sep 3, 2002, 8:57 PM   #7
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That's why I recommended only going to 4 star merchants. You can read previous buyers comments about merchants. There you will find out about Grey Market Cameras. If you go to the better merchants, you will pay more, but still less than the local store.
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Old Sep 4, 2002, 10:11 PM   #8
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Do yourself a favor. If you want to buy by mailorder/internet, buy from B&H. I occassionally buy elsewhere if I save at least $200, which is rare, but I know what I'm doing when I take the risk.

Bob
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Old Sep 6, 2002, 10:43 PM   #9
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Scarlett,

Before you get too involved in the various opinions here...
...a word to the wise:

Buy what YOU NEED...
...ACCEPT the limitations.

You are planning a trip and want to use a digital camera.

You didn't say whether the computer was a laptop you are going to take with you or a computer at home, where you hope to download images after you return.

The "better" the camera, the "bigger" the pictures in terms of filesize. The bigger the filesize, the bigger the memory card or 'digital film' you must have to hold the pictures.

If your 'computer' is a desktop at home, I strongly suggest you shoot with a regular 35mm 'snappy' camera and have your photos reproduced on a CD ROM in digital format -- almost any developer offers that service for CHEAP!

If your computer is a laptop, and you are prepared to carry it with you and download the pictures regularly (say, at the end of each day,) then you can consider a digital camera.

If your price range has a high end of $300...adjust the camera price to no more than $250 and leave at least $50 for a 'digital film' or memory card.

TWO SUGGESTIONS:

1. Learn about the different types of photos the cameras take. Usually, it is a low quality .jpg photo and a higher quality one...or even a .tif (or raw) formatted one that doesn't have compression. The bigger the filesize (usually!) the better the picture. Most cameras in this price range will let you choose between 'high' and 'normal' quality. Don't plan on printing much, if anything in 'normal' mode.

2. Make sure your camera has features like Macro (close-ups) and time-delay for when you want to jump in front of the lens, too! Also, make sure it has a built-in flash.

reader
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Old Sep 10, 2002, 10:22 AM   #10
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Default First Camera

Go to www.dealtime.com. Select Digital camera from the first screen, then search by your dollar amount limits. I agree with one of the comments about purchasing from a 4 star rated vendor. Once you find cameras in your range, see how steve rates them. I love my Olympus cameras but there are many great cameras in your price range. Try to find one with a 2 to 3 mega pixel with 3x optical zoom. A 2 mega pixel camera with 3x optical zoom will meet your needs. One of my Olympus cameras was the 490Z. It was a great camera that my son borrowed and never returned.
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