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Old Jul 14, 2009, 7:36 PM   #1
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Default Trip to Africa

My son is studying abroad in Africa next semester and we want to get him the best camera for under $300 that will be easy to pack and carry around, will recharge and hold battery life and, most importantly, take excellent pictures of still or moving targets. We are not camera-savvy. . . help!
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 7:47 PM   #2
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travelmom-

The best camera in the under $(US) 300.00 category would be IMO the Kodak Z-1012 which is selling at Walmart for under $(US) 200.00, which would allow enough money left over to purchase SD cards, a few accessories, and a nice case.

The Z-1012 camera has 10mp, 12X optical zoom, Image stabilization, and is easy to use. I have attached a sample photo from the Z-1012.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 7:59 PM   #3
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Thanks ~ we've also been recommended a Cannon Powershot? Know anything about that?
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:30 PM   #4
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travelmom-

There are indeed many Canon Powershot cameras. I you could provide a specific model number I could compare the cameras for you.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:43 PM   #5
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Thanks, Sarah ~ the 3 that have been recommended by sales people and reviews are: Cannon SX110, Cannon ELPH SD780 and Nikon S630.

We have a Sony and aren't thrilled with it so avoided those. A friend has a slim Kodak, but I'm not sure that's going to do what we want overall. Olympus has also been recommended, but we thought that to make our lives easier we'd stick to Cannon or Nikon since they were most often and more highly recommended. Any help is greatly appreciated!
Kim
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 9:12 PM   #6
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Default kodak Z-1012 versus the Canon SX-110 cameras

OK Kim-

Of that group the Canon SX-110 is the best choice. It is selling on the internet for less than $(US) 200.00 as well. However, it has only 10X optical zoom versus the 12X optical zoom on the Kodak Z-1012. Both cameras have Image Stabilization.

The real difference lies in the low light level performance of the cameras. The Kodak Z-1012 beats the pants off the Canon SX-110, big time. Look at the attached sample photo taken on a cruise ship 120 feet away from the stage with no flash at all, that is where the Kodak Z-1012 clearly wins the day.

How confident am I about the Kodak Z-1012's reliability? Well, as a professional digital camera instructor, I own not one but 2 Kodak Z-1012 cameras that both my husband and I use at the same time. I have had my Z-1012 for over a year and its performance has been flawless.

So if it were up to me, I would go with the Kodak Z-1012 camera with no hesitation at all.

Sarah Weber
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 1:00 PM   #7
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Let me just throw another consideration into the mix. I got my son a Canon D10 a few weeks ago, before he went off to Alaska. The D10 is a new all-weather P&S camera. It is dust resistant, able to take pictures under water to a depth of 33 ft (10 M), and will function properly in the cold down to temperatures as low at 14 degrees F (that's something like -10 C). It can supposedly survive drops from 4 feet or so.

My son picked the camera out himself. One of the things that attracted him was the underwater feature -- he had been studying in Madagascar last year, and would have loved to be able to take photos of the barrier reefs. He is an avid skier, and so will benefit from the temperature range, too. He's a boy, so the general ruggedness is not a bad thing. He's broken more than one camera in the past.

The camera is a bit larger than I was hoping for, but James perferred the feel of this camera to the Olympus W-something-or-other that Ritz also had in stock. The camera feels very solid, but lacks a lens cover other than glass that keeps the camera waterproof. James hasn't had it long enough to know if it will hold up, but we are hopeful. The camera body is more slippery than I would have expected for a water baby. Canon should put some sort of skidproof skin on the body.

The zoom is not much -- 3x starting at 35mm equivalent. The digital zoom can add to that a bit. The max combined optical and digital zoom is something like 12x, which is pretty skimpy. The wide-angle end is noticeably less wide than the Olympus model had (28 mm ?), but the overall look (cool to a college kid's eye) and feel (more solid than the Olympus) sold him. It doesn't take HD video, and can't be zoomed while taking video, but otherwise takes decent 640x480 video at 30 fps.

It uses proprietary rechargable batteries, which is a minus to my way of thinking. But it uses SD cards, which are faster than the Olympus xD cards -- the D10 is ready to take photos within a second of being turned on, while the Olympus is three times as slow. I have been told that much of that is due to the memory cards.

The D10 has very simple options. It's not a photographer's first camera. But my son is more interested in having fun and taking snapshots than in photographic art. The simple setup and good routine quality of the photos fits his use model very well. FWIW

Last edited by tclune; Jul 16, 2009 at 1:19 PM. Reason: spelling
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