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-   -   casual photographer on a budget (

balla4evr Dec 28, 2005 7:15 PM

I am overwhelmed with reviews some positive and others not so much.
i was looking at the hp photosmart717, but i am not sure now.
i can spend $300 max. should i get a canon or what? i am new to digital photography, but i am a fast learner. i am looking for a decent picture with decent video if possible. i know the hp supposedly has bad video, but decent pictures. is it a good buy


airshowfan Dec 28, 2005 7:29 PM

Most people seem to agree that the Canon A520, A610 and A620 are the best deals for around that price. If you don't care for manual exposure controls, then the Fuji F10 (which goes for $299 at Amazon, last I checked) is a very highly recommended camera, with absolutely awesome low-light performance.

Personally, I like cameras with a lot of zoom,. With your budget, I'd get a Minolta Z5 or Z3 (5MP and 4MP respectively, 12x zoom with stabilization). They take very nice movies, you can use the zoom while filming (a super-rare feature), you can even do some limited videoediting in-camera. They are also not too large (for a 12x zoom camera), very ergonomic, and easy to use. I'm a Panasonic fan myself, but when a friend of mine asked for the closest he could come to my FZ10 but with a smaller size and camcorder-like abilities, I recommended he got one of these Minoltas, and he loves his. It does take awesome movies, and great pictures too. The image stabilization is rock-solid - a lot better than my Panasonic's, and about the same as the IS system onthe $1400 lens I have on my SLR!

You'll probably find these recommendations and comparisons helpful:

balla4evr Dec 28, 2005 8:47 PM

this is basically my first camera. i am not sure if i need manual controls and whatnot. soo yeah im not sure

what about the canon cameras? are they similar to the minoltas in pic quality? iwould prefer a compact one, but if they dont take decent pics then forget the superzoom cameras take better pics or something. also whats the dif between z5/z3should i get the z3 i think its cheaper. it seems that the only dif between 3 and 5 is the mp amount and lcd size. i do not think i will be taking many pics from more than 15 feet away. most will be within ten feet and probably inside

i want to take decent pictures is that possible w/the canons or should i get the minolta z3?

mtclimber Dec 28, 2005 10:43 PM


You might want to take a look at the Olympus C-5500. It is 5mp with 5X optical zoom and quite a good digital camera. It sells for less than $(US) 200.


balla4evr Dec 28, 2005 11:22 PM

i checked out the olympus that has some decent reviews. bah still unsure. does anyone use a camera and like it that takes you know normal pictures. nothing special or perfect, but not blurry. so now i have the z3 and the c5500 both are within price range

lucky2505 Dec 29, 2005 1:29 AM

"i do not think i will be taking many pics from more than 15 feet away. most will be within ten feet and probably inside"

The key is to find a camera that fits YOUR needs. If most of your shots are within 15 feet, you have no need whatsoever for an ultrazoom such as the Z3/Z5. 3X optical zoom will be plenty. The Sony DSC-S40 would be an excellent choice for you. Shooting inside, the wide end of the zoom will probably be more important than the telephoto end. While many compacts begin around 36mm to 39mm, the S40 begins at a wider 32mm. Its 92mm telephoto end should be sufficient for the distance you shoot. It has an excellent MPEG VX 640 x 480 movie mode with sound that is limited in length only by the amount of available memory. It's a bargain at Wal-Mart for only $150 and may be available for even less on eBay. You'll need to buy a memory stick. If you use the movie mode much, pick up at least 1G. You can probably find that for around $60. There is an optional accessory that really adds to the versatility of this little camera, also. The onboard flashes of most compact digicams are marginal at best. Sony's HVL-FSL1B slave flash has a bracket that allows easy mounting to the DSC-S40, and it will blow away those distracting shadows that are so prevalent in indoor shots. It costs less than $100. The camera, even with the optional flash, has the simplicity that a beginner needs; and the picture quality is excellent. Here is the link to the Conclusion page of Steve's review of the Sony DSC-S40:

Tomac Dec 29, 2005 6:04 AM

What lucky2505 said. I'm a casual photographer but needed good video & the ability to take it rafting and such. Ended up with the Pentax Optio 43WR which does good 640x480x30fps video w/sound (30 minutes on a 2Gb SD stick), 4Mp (good enough for decent 8x10's), 2.8x optical zoom and it's water/weather resistant. It's been discontinued but you can still find them new on Ebay for around $260 (I just picked up a 2nd to put back as a spare). Here's Steve's review:

and another review:



balla4evr Dec 29, 2005 10:50 AM

ok i checked ot the olympus and that was quite expensive. the sony-dsc60 which is an upgrade to the 40 was very well priced, but isn't the memory stick much more expensive than regular memory cards? are the canon A series any good? i am leaning toward the dsc 60. i just checked out the canon A610 that seemks to get high rankings. so how about that?

lucky2505 Dec 29, 2005 1:39 PM

Memory sticks have come down in price so that they are now competitive with other types of memory. The S60 is more versatile than the S40; however, if the majority of your shots are inside within 10-15 feet, the S40 with optional flash will serve you better than the S60 without the flash, which is the only way the S60 can be purchased under your $300 limit. Don't let the low price of the S40 fool you. You won't be shortchanging yourself. It's an excellent camera. The Canon A610 is nice camera with lots of features. Head to head with the S40, it "might" take better pictures; however, the S40 with optional flash will produce better results than the A610 with its onboard flash. Take a look at the sample pics in Steve's reviews of the cameras.

Robb Dec 29, 2005 7:31 PM

I suggest you go cheap. You can find respectable but very basic cameras from most major manufacturers for not much more than $150. Rather than obsessing about it, just get one of those and start shooting. In a year's time, you will know a LOT more about what you need and expect from a camera. You will then be much better prepared to choose a camera that suits you.

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