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Old May 15, 2008, 1:05 PM   #1
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I want to get the opinions of some of you guys that are into photography and digital cameras. Long story short, my Kodak Easyshare Z612 finally died on me only after about around a year and a half, and after doing some research on the problem…it sounds like it's a problem with the CCD which is a common problem on those cameras. It's not going to be worth it to send it in for repairs, so I'm going to have to get something else. The camera was given to me as a gift….and it was much better than my old little point-and-shoot. Now that it's out of service, it's time for me to do some research and get the best deal for my money.

After using the Z612, I've learned what features I like, and don't like. I like taking "action" shots, so the burst option is nice. Also, the 12x optical zoom has come in handy many times. I also like the fact that if I don't want to use the "auto" setting, I know enough that I can use the manual modes and play with the ISO setting, shutter speeds, aperture settings, …and some of the other adjustments. The rechargeable battery would last past 500+ pics without needing to be recharged which was great. Sometimes when I'm at the lake taking "burst" pics, I'll take 400 pics a day (usually deleting 350 of them once I get home). It was also nice to be able to take videos, although it's not something I really need to have.

There were a few things that I didn't like about it, one being that it was a little larger than I would have liked. I take pictures everywhere I go….and it was a pain having to tote it around in a case all the time…..but unless you have a small point and shoot, there are no other options. The auto-focus seemed to have some problems some times…it would jump around and focus on different objects, and sometimes you had to wait a while for it to focus. It also didn't seem to have very good light gathering ability, most noticeable in low-light conditions (although it was much better than my older, smaller point and shoot camera). I think the thing that annoyed me the most was that if I was shooting a "burst" of pictures…trying to follow a boat, car, bike, or ATV, the viewfinder would go black as soon as you started shooting…so you had to do your best just to point the camera and hope the pics turned out. It would have been nice to see what you are actually shooting. Other than that, it was a pretty nice little camera and I got some great photos out of it.

So now I need to figure out what I want to do. I would love something like a Cannon Rebel XTI, but I don't want to get into an SLR camera for a few reasons. The first being the fact that they are so big….even bigger than the Z612 I had. Second, I don't want to take an $800+ camera out in the boat every weekend, on camping/hiking trips stuffed in my backpack, to rock concerts, road trips, or out on ATV excursions in fear of it getting stolen and/or damaged. For what I use my camera for, I just don't feel the need to go with a big and expensive SLR.

So, given all of the above information…what would be some good cameras to check out? I would like to keep the price under $350 if possible….and I'd like to stay away from Kodak's after seeing all of the complaints and problems people have had with them. Something that takes the SD flash cards would also be nice, since I have several of those laying around from my Z612. From the little research I've done, it seems like Nikon or Cannon is the way to go…any other good brands out there? Is it possible to get something small enough to fit in my pocket, and still have the features I want (big optical zoom)?

Any tips or information would really help me out. Are there any good digital camera forums out there where I can check out some reviews?

Thanks for the help!!
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Old May 15, 2008, 1:22 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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If you can get by with a zoom that's not quite as long, you may want to look at something like this Olympus (weather resistant body that should handle some light splashes during your boating). You'd have to check and see if the viewfinder blacks out during bursts or not. See the review conclusion for more info on performance.

Olympus Stylus 830

They also have some models designed to be more than just weather resistant (look at the newer SW series that are shockproof and waterproof). You can also find waterproof housings for many camera models. But, it sounds like you want to keep the size as small as possible and still have a decent zoom range.

A good place to start your search would be Steve's Best Cameras list (models deemed to be a good value within their market niche).
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