Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 7, 2007, 2:35 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 27
Default

I'm in the market for a new digital camera. In looking at all the various kinds and trying some out at stores, I've determined I don't know enough about them to make an informed decision. I'm not looking for a pricey digital camera, my range is $100-200. Ideally I'd like to split that difference and get a solid bargain at $150.



My needs:

I want to be able to take a quality photo

Durable (don't want a pos that'll junk out on me in a year or so)

Min. 3x's optical zoom

SD card compatible





Bonuses (stuff that' be nice but is by no means that important):

Multiple settings and adjustments (manual focus, night/landscape/macro settings, red eye reduction, etc.)

Compact size (pocket size is fine.. I have large pockets lol)

Image stabilizer





I had an Olympus D-630 (or something in that line of the Olympus brand, 5 MP, ultra compact), but it was misplaced or stolen. Not too big a deal as it was a reward (free). My issues with it were I was rarely able to take decent pictures with it. I'd try to take a picture in a church, it'd be very dark and blurry. I'd get a lot of grainy images. Blur was a huge factor as it seemed to take FOREVER (3-5 seconds) to actually take the picture after pressing the button, and the "exposure" time seemed to be excessive. Any small little tremble, movement or whatever would cause blurry images. I'd get crap images resting my arms on a solid surface with no movement. Do optical stabilizers help that much? What about digital? Which is better? I tried playing with display units in best buy, but some of them had no internal memory (Canon) so I couldn't look at the pictures I took.



In what I've read thusfar, I'm leaning towards Canon (A series), but I don't know how far to go up the line (A-550 or somewhere near there?). Plus buying a plastic camera is not my idea of durability. I'm very open to the idea of another manufacturer though, not sold on Canon. I've also looked at Panasonic's Lumix LS70S. Either way I'll pry try to find a display model to test before I buy anything.



So taking all that in, what can you recommend? Giving me options or a listwould be a-ok (consider all cameras using my criteria, $200 is an absolute ceiling for recommendations, but $150 is my target max), I'm just trying to narrow down a wide field so I know what to look for in display units. In looking over the reviews on cameras here, I don't know enough to make an informed decision. I've been checking personal online reviews, but it's like the blind leading the blind. I appreciate your time and comments.



Thanks.
harmonica is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 7, 2007, 3:25 PM   #2
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 28
Default

You can get the Canon A630 (which I just bought) for around $200 shipped from Walmart.com. It has a mostly metal body, a swivel screen, and full manual controls.
RoGuE1230 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2007, 9:14 AM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 27
Default

Anyone else have any recommendations, especially around $150? Anyone have experience with the cameras I listed?
harmonica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2007, 9:38 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

harmonica-

The Canon A-560 is just about your target price on the internet. And if you really wanted to go full bore, the A-570IS is running about $(US) 215.00.

Sarah
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2007, 9:55 AM   #5
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Quote:
I'd try to take a picture in a church, it'd be very dark and blurry. I'd get a lot of grainy images. Blur was a huge factor as it seemed to take FOREVER (3-5 seconds) to actually take the picture after pressing the button, and the "exposure" time seemed to be excessive. Any small little tremble, movement or whatever would cause blurry images.
OK. Let's set some expectations here. A camera must keep the shutter open long enough for the lighting, aperture and ISO speed to properly expose an image. You can see an online exposure calculator here that may help you to understand it a bit better. Just keep in mind that most models have a largest available aperture (represented by a smaller f/stop number) of around f/2.8 on their wide end (least amount of optical zoom), and will lose a *lot* of light as you zoom in more (most have a largest available aperture of somewhere between f/4 and f/5.6 if you zoom in much). Film Speed in the calculator is the same thing as ISO speed, and the same exposure principles apply to both film and digital.

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html

A typical indoor interior is very low light to a camera, and you're going to get blurry photos of non-stationary subjects with the vast majority of the cameras on the market in a typical low light church environment without a flash or tripod (and you'd need to stay within the rated flash range with a flash, which is typically 12 feet or less, and if you're subject is not stationary, a tripod won't help with blur from subject movement if you don't use a flash).

Stabilization can help, to a point (ignore the digital stabilization you mentioned, as it doesn't work with still images). But, stabilization is still limited, and it won't help with blur from subject moiement.

Indoor photos in low light (i.e., typical church environment) without a flash requires a camera capable of very high ISO speeds (this is how sensitive a camera is to light), along with a relatively bright lens (something you dont' find in smaller cameras).

Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for proper exposure, for any given lighting and aperture (this is how bright a lens is, and is representative of how wide the iris in the lens can open up to let more light in). Also, just because a camera has a setting for a higher ISO speed, doesn't mean that it's actually usable. lol That's more marketing than anything else (give the consumers an ISO 1600 option, even though the photos using it are so degraded that it's virtually useless).

If this is a high priority (indoor photos without a flash or tripod, especially if your subjects are people), I'd look at some of the little F series Fuji models (F10/F11/F20/F30/F31FfdF40fd). These do better at higher ISO speeds compared to the vast majority of compact cameras, and I have seen some good bargains lately on some of the older, discontinued models.

But, their lenses are not that bright (they lose light as you zoom in more). So, they may not be adequate either, depending on the lighting. A DSLR with a brighter lens is the preferred way to shoot in these conditions if a flash is now allowed or desired. But, that would be well outside of your desired budget.

As for performance related issues, make sure to read the review conclusion sections here for cameras you consider. That's where Steve goes into more detail on things like Autofocus Time, delay between shots, flash range, image quality and more.



JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2007, 11:11 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Thank you, JimC for a great post-

Sometimes the capability of the Fuji F-series camera are overlooked. Still to this day I carry a F-30 along with my DSLR camera. I began with a Fuji F-10 about 3 to 4 years ago. However I must say that church interiors are really difficult for a handheld/noflash photo.

Here is a photo sample taken handheld without flash inside using a Fuji F-10.

Sarah
Attached Images
 
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2007, 1:17 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 27
Default

I need an SD-card compatible camera though to go along with my card and computer. (I'm lazy, cheapand don't want to start buying a new format):-)

Yet another question: Does image stabilization REALLY halp in taking still shots? I noticed the A5XX series by Canon doesn't have it, will my shakey hands have issues getting a clean picture?
harmonica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2007, 2:23 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

harmonica-

If you are the least bit shaky, IS or image stabilization is a big assist. That was why I mentioned the Canon A-570IS which has received good reviews:see www.dcresource.com. And in a effort to save money and offer convenience, the A-570IS does use SD chips.

Sarah
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2007, 2:24 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 978
Default

IS helps reduce blur caused by shaky hands. It doesn't reduce blur caused by fast moving objects if the shutter speed isn't fast enough. That's why Sarah suggested the Fujis. What shutter speed is fast enough? It depends on how fast the object/person you are taking a picture of is moving.
robbo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 12, 2007, 10:37 AM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 27
Default

Anyone have experience with the A630? I was playing around with it in the store, and I love a couple of the features. Problem is the lighting in the store wasn't the best and the LCD seems to be pretty pisspoor as well (in trying to determine photo quality). I look on amazon (and various review sites), and their sample photos are among the best I've seen for a point and shoot, but I haven't been able to get anything close to that in store. Is it possible to get high quality pics on A series Canonswithout using a tripod or having rock-steady arms/hands???

I may try to buy one and test it out in the 15 or 30 day period you get to return an item, but I have to be cautious of restocking fees.:roll:
harmonica is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:34 AM.