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Old May 24, 2007, 12:51 AM   #1
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Can anyone help me with this confusion? I have read so many reviews that my head is swimming. One review says good things the other says bad things. Steve's reviews sound great, but there are several cameras that look good.

I am a first time digital camera buyer. I am not a big camera buff so this will probably be a purchase that lasts me for a while.

I want to be able to take good pictures of my children inside and outside.
I may occasionally take pictures of scenery, but mostly want to be able to point and shoot.

I have had several cameras suggested to me, but I don't really know what I am doing.

As soon as I decided on a Canon A550 someone told me I should check out the SD series by Canon. Then I became confused.

I want to spend $150-$200 for the camera and stuff needed if possible.

So can anyone tell me which will take the better pictures? Or if you can tell me what the difference in the cameras is and what that means I would appreciate it.

Here is what I am currently looking at:

**Canon A550 - The complaint on this camera in the reviews is the red-eye.
Is there a way to alleviate that problem once you download it on your computer? I have a Mac computer with IPhoto.
**Canon A560 - there have not been any reviews on this camera
**Canon A460 - a smaller pixel on this camera, but the pictures Steve has taken look really nice.

The Canon SD series seems to be a bit out of my price range so I am hoping that I can get a camera that will take really good pictures for the money.

Help! I just want some nice pictures of my kids.

Thanks
J-
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Old May 24, 2007, 4:23 AM   #2
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What's nice about the SD series is that they are thinner, easier to pocket. But that's also what your paying more for. Image quality on the A series will be at least as good (in some cases maybe even better). It's just less costly for them to make a camera that size then it is to try and make it as small as possible.

There also won't be a big difference in the pictures between the 5MP A460 and the 7MP models. A 5MP image will make a fine-art quality print at 6" x 9" (300 PPI). It will normally still look good at 8" x 10". You would really only begin to see the advantage of the 7MP somewhere around that point.

7MP can sometimes be better, leaving more room for cropping, but it's as big a difference as most consumers seem to think. They are simply putting more pixels on a sensor that is the same size. In some ways this can even hurt image quality. There may be some nice features that are on the more expensive models that are lacking from the A460, but I don't think you would be disappointed with the image quality.

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Old May 24, 2007, 10:57 AM   #3
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Ken, Thank you! You have no idea how much it helps me understand more.

What I don't know about the Canon A550, 560 & 460 is the difference that will matter to me.

When I looked at the sample pictures on Steve's website, it almost looked like the A460 (the cheaper camera) took better pictures than the A550.

I know this might be trivial stuff to some advanced photographers, but for me this is a big purchase and I want it to be a good one, one that I will enjoy for years.

The more reviews I read, the more confused I get.

If you were buying a camera for yourself from one of these listed above, which would you choose and why?

Thanks so much! You are really helping me!

J-
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Old May 24, 2007, 11:31 AM   #4
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I would probably pick either the Canon A550 or A560. I like having more manual controls. You may, too, after you get used to taking pictures with them. I had the A530, which was 5 megapixels. It took good pictures, but the shot to shot time wasn't great. Other camera which you haven't mentioned and may not know about is the Fuji F20. It lacks many manual controls but it is great in low light and is available for less than $150 online. I think its shutter lag is pretty short, too. Just to confuse you a little more, the Canon A630 was selling for less than $200 online in the last week. It's 8 megapixels, and has an articulating LCD screen.Actually, that's the one I would get for less than $200.
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Old May 24, 2007, 1:01 PM   #5
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OK, robbo, thank you for your imput. But can you tell me more?

What are manual controls and the advantage of them?
What is shutter lag?
What is an articulating LCD?
What is it about the A630 that draws you to purchase it?

Can you tell I am really uneducated in digital cameras????

Thanks, your imput is helping me!
J-
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Old May 24, 2007, 7:45 PM   #6
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Manual controls - you can control the shutter speed, the aperture, the white balance (sometimes) the ISO setting, etc. The mostly commonly desired manually controls are for shutter speed, and aperture and a combination of the two (full manual). I wouldn't worry about that at this point except to say that in the future when you taken hundreds of picture in automatic settings, you may want to see what happens when you play with the other settings.

Shutter lag - how long after you press the shutter button does it take the camera to snap the picture. A short shutter lag is important when you are taking pictures of moving objects - like kids, race cars, soccer players, etc.

Articulating LCD screen - the screen folds out and can rotate. This is useful when you want to takea picture of yourself, or of something while holding the camera overhead (like in a crowd).

The A630 is, I think, a little higher class camera. It originally was selling for about $300 maybe 6 months ago. Recently, it's dropped a lot. To me it's like a Honda Accord versus the Honda Civic (the A550). They're both good. If I can afford the Accord though, I will pick it. By the way, I own a Civic and like it.
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Old May 24, 2007, 9:06 PM   #7
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robbo, thanks for all your help!

There is so much to learn. Like what is white balance, ISO setting, etc.

Here's the type of person I am. I don't usually read instruction books. I just want someone to show me how to use it and go from there. I got an instruction manual with my cell phone and never read it. As long as I could make a phone call, store numbers, etc, I was good.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is in buying the A550 or A630 is it going to have stuff on it that I will never be able to figure out how to use? Is it a complicated camera?

And I understand about the Civic/Accord thing. I just bought a Honda Odyssey van and love it! I've had 2 Civic's in the past.

Thanks for all the help that is being offered here. It is helping me walk through all this confusion. Keep it coming!

J-
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Old May 24, 2007, 9:57 PM   #8
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Dear Princess,

I am happy to be able to help others find and use cameras. And I have to admit that I don't spend a long time reading my cellphone users' manual. However, as a teacher (that's my job away from here), I have come to the conclusion, that sometimes students and people who are learning anything need to take the responsibility to spend a few minutes or hours to read available materials. On this site, at www.dcresource.com and at www.dpreview.com are many pages designed to explain how cameras work and how to best use them. I believe that if you invest a little time reading such pages or even going to the library and checking out a book on photography, you will be rewarded with a noticeably increased enjoyment of the picture taking experience. You will also take better pictures.
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Old Jul 31, 2007, 6:15 AM   #9
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I bought an A550 in AUstralia.I have owned several digital cameras...some far more expensive then the A550.It is an excellant camera for the Dollar. Good value.No shortcomings for 150 dollars US.Superb pictures superb video ,good responce, AA batteries and SD memory a [email protected] inch screen OK in Sun. Be aware perhapes of potential E18 Error in lens function....good luck...oh if 20 or 30 bucks more is Ok the 560 for the larger screen may be of value to you.


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