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Old Jul 28, 2009, 8:06 AM   #1
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Default Time for new camera? If so, which?

Hi everyone. I'm new here and hoping for a little help/advice. I have a vacation planned to Yellowstone, etc. in about a month and it has me thinking about whether I should buy a new camera. My current camera is a Kodak Easyshare DX7440 which, as I'm sure many of you know is pretty old at this point, but I've gotten some very nice pictures from it. It has a 4X zoom, 4.0 MP (low by today's standards, but has been fine) and a Schneider lens.

I am pretty much a novice. I expect that I will be using the camera for typical things like vacations, family events and the like. The idea of getting more involved in photography appeals to me and I love the idea of creating great pictures, but so far I haven't found the time or made the effort to learn more than the basics. So, for now, I suspect it makes sense for me to have a good every day camera that's flexible, convenient for travel and relatively easy to use. I suspect I will use it more if I don't mind taking it with me. If I do find myself getting very involved with photography, I can think about a second camera that's an SLR some time in the future.

With that in mind, I'm wondering if it makes sense to just continue using the Kodak or, given its age (it works fine), whether I should get something newer. Are the newer cameras likely to give better results? Be more enjoyable to use? Give me new useful options? The one thing that I find appealing in some of the newer cameras is a longer zoom and the possibility for a wider angle lens, but I'm not certain if this alone is reason to consider a new camera.

Thoughts are appreciated as well as recommendations if a replacement is suggested.

Thanks very much.
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Old Jul 28, 2009, 9:55 AM   #2
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If you want to expand your photographic skills you have a pretty good camera for the purpose. With shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual it gives you a lot to work with. And the optical viewfinder works well in bright sunlight where a LCD only camera can be problematic. That is especially true when zoomed and trying to quickly acquire your target. Unless you plan on making large prints or crop excessively 4Mp is plenty for most use. Just make sure the digital zoom stays off.

The downsides are portability and movies. The movie mode is useless by today’s standards and it is too large for a pocket. Wide angle can also be quite handy. As can a long telephoto occasionally.

Before wide angle lenses were popular in non-DSLR cameras I used panoramas. Holding the camera with the long side up and taking three quick shots, the results when stitched made a 37mm lens about 27mm for a 4:3 crop. Most cameras had a continuous or slow burst mode that fixed the exposure and WB with the first shot and I found I could grab a panorama almost as fast as a single shot. You can also use newer free programs that even out shot taken with different WB and exposure. Or learn to use the manual mode. It doesn’t work very well with things moving around or ocean waves, but it works well most of the time. It is also fun.

If you think a smaller camera would be with you more often and you would get more photos then an upgrade might be a good option. Or if you would like to take nice HD movies. But I don’t think you are going to get better pictures with a new non-DSLR camera. And if you are really interested in exploring photography there aren’t a lot of small cameras with full controls like your Kodak. And almost none with an optical viewfinder.

If you decide you want to replace the camera you have to refine your requirements a little better. Compact or ultra compact? Controls or full auto only? Zoom range? Price? Movies important?
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Old Jul 28, 2009, 1:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! Based upon the manual options available on the Kodak, it sounds like it might make sense to hold on to it as a learning device even if I decide to upgrade. I didn't realize this was not typical these days.

As I mentioned, the thing that really got me thinking about something new is a longer zoom and a wide(r) angle lens. I thought I might be able to get some better shots of wildlife/nature in the national park. Getting closer shots seems to be the thing I am always wishing for when I'm takiing shots on vacation. I was looking at the Samsung H10 and the Panasonic ZS3/ZS1, but when I went to look at cameras, I was completely overwhelmed by the number of choices.

It would also be nice to have something smaller. Movies are a nice feature as well, but it wasn't something I really thought about until I started looking around. I guess the bottom line is sometimes it's hard to tell how important a particular feature is going to be until you have it and that's why I wasn't sure whether an upgrade would be worth it. Would I use a smaller camera more often? Hard to tell. Would I become a movie taking fanatic? Not sure.

So, I guess the order of priority would be (1) larger zoom/wide angle; (2) as compact as possible. Other features are a plus but I don't know enought at this point to know whether I would want/need them. As I'm writing this, I'm wondering if it makes the most sense to really get to "know" the Kodak and figure out what I feel I am missing before upgrading. The zoom is really the biggest thing and I'm not sure if that alone justifies the purchase.
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Old Jul 29, 2009, 11:22 PM   #4
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I still have my old DX6440, which I very much like. However, it's obsolete. It works fine but the LCD is small, the 4 MP is limiting in terms of enlargements, the ISO is capped at 400 and noise at this ISO is real bad, it drains batteries like crazy (I have a couple of CRV3 recheargeable batteries, which last much longer than the regular AA) and it's settings are very limited as well. IMO, just because an old camera still works and produces good images, it does not mean it is not time to upgrade (unless, of course, you photographic needs have not increased a single bit in 9 years).

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