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Old Mar 6, 2003, 5:19 PM   #1
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Default Need a digital camera recommendation please...

I am looking for a digital camera that has the ability to shoot pictures at a rate of 1 per second or better. I'm a total camera novice so I need some help here. My budget is between $500-$1200. I'd like to get a good quality camera but the most important thing to me is that it shoots somewhat fast. I'm looking for something that shoots consitently (every second or less) and has a good duration, ie. it takes more than 5 shots before I have to wait for it. Don't necessarily need a camera that's going to take 10 shots in a single second. Is there such a camera? I don't even know how in the heck to tell how "fast" a camera shoots even after reading reviews and specs....what is it that I need to look for? Frames per second? I need help, please.

Van
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Old Mar 6, 2003, 6:00 PM   #2
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Hi Van,
What you are actually describing is commonly called "shot-to-shot" speed. This varies with digital cameras depending on the "mode" that they are being used in. For example, the shot-to-shot time will be faster is you are snooting in manual mode with manual focus at infinity, than if the camera must autofocus between shots and the distance to subject changes. There are numerous variables, but essentially what you are looking for in the price range is not quite available unless you are shooting in burst mode (that is simply holding down the shutter and taking sequential shots).

The closest camera to being able to shoot at 1 second intervals for about five shots is the Olympus E10 which can still be purchased for less than $1000 at places like B&H. This does not hold true for the Olympus E20, however.

Next would be the Canon G2 or G3 which are both relatively fast, shot to shot, then the Olympus C2100UZ (If you can still find one) and the Olympus E-100RS (hard to find), followed by the Fuji S602Z and Minolta 7Hi.

The E10 is a four megapixel camera with many professional features. Very high quality build and originally sold for close to $2000. The G3 is a four megapixel prosumer model with lots of great features. The Olympus C2100UZ is a 2 megapixel camera with a 10X optical zoom stabilized lens and perhaps one of, if not the best of all 2 megapixel cameras. The E-100RS was a professional instrument of extremely fast shutter and burst speed (15 frames per second full resolution in burst), but only 1.5 megapixels. However, it does take excellent images. The S602Z is a 3 megapixel feature rich camera with lots of great capabilities and definitely worth a look. There is also an S602Z Pro model available with additional features. The Minolta 7hi is a great 5 megapixel camera which also has lots of great features and a pretty long zoom.

The E10 comes closest to 1 second shot to shot - but after about five shots you will wait a good while until the buffer clears.

Lin
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Old Mar 6, 2003, 6:09 PM   #3
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My Olympus C-4000 ($350-400 street price), which I consider a mid-level 4 megapixel digital camera (i.e., nothing fancy), can do 1.3 frames per second (fps) and can shoot about 10-12 frames in a row in HQ JPG mode (second-best quality JPG mode that the camera offers) and full resolution (4 mp) before the memory buffer is filled up.

The upcoming Olympus C-750 (MSRP $599) can shoot at around 2.5fps for 10 frames--again in HQ JPG mode. 4 megapixels, 10x optical zoom, hotshoe for external flash attachment.

My $240 film SLR (Canon Rebel Ti) can shoot at 2.5fps for as long as there is film left--and the dedicated external flash that goes with it, the Speedlite 420EX, can keep up with that (can shoot flashes 2.5 times a minute). Coming from digital camera world, that is pretty amazing to me. I look forward to the day when digital SLRs will be more affordable!

I don't think you'll find that 1 fps is an exceptional speed for digital cameras--check around a few reviews and see.
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Old Mar 6, 2003, 6:22 PM   #4
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OK, I checked a few cameras that Steve reviewed here, and here are their continuous shooting specs in frames per second (fps):

Canon S30: 3 fps
Canon G3: 2.5 fps
Fuji FinePix 3800: 2 frames per second
Fuji S602: 5 fps (with some catches--see review)
Olympus D-550: 1.2 fps
Olympus C-5050: 1.7 fps
Olympus C-730: 1.2 fpsup to 11 frames, 2.4 fps up to 3 frames
Minolta Dimage 7i: 7 fps at low resolution, 2 fps otherwise
Sony F717: 2 fps up to 3 frames; other MultiBurst modes
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Old Mar 6, 2003, 6:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Need a digital camera recommendation please...

Quote:
Originally Posted by VanBrown
I don't even know how in the heck to tell how "fast" a camera shoots even after reading reviews and specs....what is it that I need to look for? Frames per second? I need help, please.
Steve (as in Steve's Digicams) lists full specs of the camera being reviewed on the first page of the review. You are looking for "Continuous Shooting" or "Sequence Shooting" entries, and they are usually expressed in terms of frames per second (or fps) or images per second.

Most digicams have internal memory buffer that can store sequential shots; when that memory gets full, you can't take any more photos until the pictures are written to the memory card and the buffer is cleared.
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Old Mar 6, 2003, 6:41 PM   #6
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Hi Hyun,
Remember, he is looking for sequential single shots, not burst shots where focus, white balance, metering, etc., are set on the first shot and maintained.

The major problem with most of these cameras is the autofocus time. Only the E10 has sufficiently fast autofocus to approximate a 1 frame per second sequential capability with separate shutter presses between shots.

If burst speed were the criterion, then the Olympus E-100RS with 15 frames per second plus the 5 frame precapture would be by far the fastest available.

Lin
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Old Mar 6, 2003, 6:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lin Evans
Hi Hyun,
Remember, he is looking for sequential single shots, not burst shots where focus, white balance, metering, etc., are set on the first shot and maintained.
Crikey! A major big OOPS on my part, Lin! ops:

I'd delete my misleading posts but maybe it'd be good for my humility to leave them on... :?
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Old Mar 7, 2003, 12:41 PM   #8
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Default Thank you so so much for the input...

I've researched the models you mentioned and I've sort of taken a liking to the E10, the FujiFilm S602Z and the Minolta 7Hi. I've also really fallen in love with the Sony DSC-F717 but I still can't for the life of me determine if it's going to shoot anywhere close to 1 shot per second. Seems like maybe that is dependant upon how fast the camera will focus. Anyhow, I'll keep researching and asking questions until I find the right one.

Thanks again for giving me some direction here. I was seriously lost before I read your responses. I feel I am headed in the right direction now.

Van
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Old Mar 7, 2003, 1:16 PM   #9
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Let me see if I can clarify it a little better. The E10 will autofocus faster (by far) than any of the others. You can actually do very close to 1 shot per second complete with autofocus and all other settings between shots for a total of about 4 to 5 shots, then the buffer will fill and you will have to wait an extended period until it flushes to shoot again. Battery life using NmH batteries is not great, but you can use MicroDrive, or 1 gigabyte CF Type II, or SmartMedia (or both or any combination of SmartMedia and the above), etc. If you want extended battery life you need to either purchase lithium packs (about $10 for two) or buy and expensive rechargeable lithium battery with grip (over $400).

The F717/F707 will not autofocus nearly as fast, and from shot to shot while refocusing will be around 2 seconds or slightly longer, but you can take many more shots at this because the buffer clears faster and the buffer is larger than on the E10. Battery life is excellent, but media is limited presently to 128 meg max Memorystick. Larger capacity on horizon, but when it will be released is unknown.

The S602Z has many modes so speed for shot to shot depends greatly on mode being used. Buffer is huge, so you can expect one shot about every 2 seconds until a MicroDrive is nearly full. Autofocus is not bad as far as these type cameras are concerned, but not even close to the E10. Probably about the same as the F717 is my gut feel. You can use both MicroDrive or high capacity CF card and SmartMedia in this one as well so you can shoot all day without changing media. It uses NmH batteries, so battery life is about like the E10 - perhaps a tad longer. No vertical grip available here, but you could use an external battery pack - something neither available nor needed with the Sony F717.

I have each of the above - so this is from practical experience. I don't have the Minolta, so can't really give you any first-hand knowledge about it's performance. I'm strictly going on tested shot to shot at DPReview (another site like Steve's, but in the U.K.)

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Mar 7, 2003, 1:48 PM   #10
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My god, you are amazing! Thank you so much for the response, your input is invaluable.

Ok, the lag time after the 5 or so shots on the E-10 is probably going to be a killer for me. I am shooting puppies and I take a lot of shots in sequence to hopefully hit just the right one. They never sit still for an extended period of time, so I'm thinking it would be nice to have a camera that would be able to shoot for "a good while" without having to rest so that it can catch up. Now that I know what ballpark I'm in so to speak, I could tolerate a 2 second or so delay between shots as long as I could keep shooting for at least 15 or so shots in succession.

Tell me if I'm wrong here, but given the above criteria, am I wise in looking at the FujiFilm S602Z, the Sony F717 and the Canon G3? Seems like the S602Z is the most flexible and might be good for what I am doing, but for some reason I am just in love with the darn F717. I like the way it looks (ok, this is the newbie forum afterall), I am impressed with the reviews, and customer feedback is overwhelmingly positive. 10x zoom is not bad either. I dunno, if I were to buy a camera today, I think I'd go for the F717. For my situation, would that be a bad idea? I know it's hard to recommend cameras for folks but I am an ultra novice with this kind of stuff. I just don't want to buy a camera that is wrong for what I need and ends up on the shelf 3 months later.

Thanks again for your response!

Van
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