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ergla May 5, 2009 10:50 AM

We are looking for a new digital camera. I would like to spend less then $300, however that is negotiable for the "right" camera.

I would like it to have at least a 5-6 X zoom.

It needs to take good pictures both outdoors and inside our house. As the pictures that we are trying to capture are of our children primarily, the biggest concern is of the time it takes to focus and actually take the picture and of the shot to shot time (both with and without the flash).

I am not as concerned with the size of the camera.

Also, as my wife is the primary user of the camera, it does need to be as "click and shoot" as possible -- if she needs to just choose a different "shot mode" IE sports vs "auto", etc... that is fine, however we don't want to have to mess around with the settings from picture to picture or from one time using it to the next.

Thanks in advanced for any suggestions.

Graybeard May 11, 2009 9:45 AM

Hi :
I'm not sure that their is a "right " camera! As a Grandfather, with two active grandchildren, I can appreciate your problem. Two things are important - short lag-time and a wide angle lens.

Most cameras have a lag time around 1/10 second. However, that usually refers to having already auto-focused. Our son has been using the "burst" feature to attempt to capture a good still of the kids. Having a camera that has this feature may help.

Some Nikon cameras have a "best picture" mode. The camera takes several pictures and saves the one that has the best focus. However, this may not be the one that has the best "expression" that you would want. Some cameras will also "follow action" , keeping a moving subject in focus.

Also, if shooting in the house, a short (wide angle) lens of around 27 mm (equivalent) is a must. Also, if you want 8x10 prints, at least 8 megapixel is a must for printing at around 300 mpi.

There are many amazing cameras on the market today - many below the $300 cost. Best bet - write down the specs you need and read all the reviews you can. Steves has some of the best, but there are many other sites out there.

What so I use? A very old Nikon coolpix 8800. Why? It is easy to take traveling and is well constructed with a magnesium body.
Good luck.

mtclimber May 11, 2009 1:42 PM

The Kodak Z-1012, which reeived an excellent review from Steve, has just been reduced in price to $(US) 199.95. It is an excellent value and an easy to use family camera that does very well indeed, both inside and out of doors.

Alan T May 13, 2009 4:09 AM


Originally Posted by Graybeard (Post 967947)
...if you want 8x10 prints, at least 8 megapixel is a must for printing at around 300 mpi...

It may well be difficult to buy a camera with less than 8Mpix these days. However, big pixel counts are misleading at best, and lens quality is more important. I would respectfully point out I and many others round here have been producing big enlargements from a lot fewer pixels than that for a long time. Of the seven digicams I have purchased for myself & family, only the two purchased since November 2008 have more than 7Mpix.

Lots of software packages, including those embedded in good photographic printing machines, do an excellent job of interpolating to the 300-400 pixels per inch desirable for a good quality big print.

Also, while a 27mm equiv. lens would be nice, it does very much restrict the choice among good value, compact, 'point & shoots'.

mtclimber May 13, 2009 6:42 PM

As the OP stated, "less than $300.00" that limits the choice here somwhat. If the brand name Kodak frightens you, take a look at the Sony H-20, or H-50, or a Panasonic FZ-18.

Sarah Joyce

ergla May 19, 2009 4:56 PM

Thanks for the input. I will look into those that you have suggested. The price point was just a rough estimate, although if we knew that the camera we were getting was going to fit everything we wanted, we would go up to get it. We have tried several different models out only to return them. We have had issues with the time to shot being too long, problems with most of the pictures seeming blurry and \ or grainy, and some where no matter what we seemed to do that had terrible Red eye. I know that some things can be overcome either by software or by changing different settings on the camera, however as I mentioned, my wife doesn't want to bother with those things at all, therefore the push on keeping it Point and Shoot.

James G May 19, 2009 8:49 PM

I have been eyeballing the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 Digital, it sells for $300 and seems to have high reviews

ergla May 21, 2009 10:58 PM

Let me update this to expand the price range up to $400. Does that give any other good suggestions?

mtclimber May 21, 2009 11:49 PM


To be truthful it all depends on how much you want your "ideal camera" to do everything automatically and how much you might be interested in "working with your camera" to achieve better results.

Sarah Joyce

mtclimber May 23, 2009 11:30 AM

The Canon A-2000, or the just released Canon A-2100 camera are some good possibilities, as is the Panasonic FZ-18 or FZ-28. However, the FZ-28 is right at the very top of your budget.

Sarah Joyce

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