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-   -   Looking for a digital camera (My first one) (https://forums.steves-digicams.com/what-camera-should-i-buy/29311-looking-digital-camera-my-first-one.html)

Azure Jul 12, 2004 5:33 PM

I currently own a Sony CCD-TRV67 camcorder, and I usually use it to take pictures, but the thing is, it wasn't ment to take pictures, so I have to do this:
1. Remove camcorder from case, along with AC adapter, and plug into outlet. (Really annoying because the AC adapter cable is usually very tangled)
2. Record video of the object that I want to take a picture of.
3. Turn camera off, remove AC adapter, move camera to PC, plug AC adapter into outlet near computer, plug in video cable.
4. Run InterVideo, push play on camcorder, and take as many snap shots as possible.
5. Check to see how many actually worked (The majority of them have a white bar in the middle and some don't refresh and just take a blurred picture of the first snapshot taken).
6. Keep taking snapshots and checking them (Usually ~15 mins)

This is just too much for me. And when I actually do get a picture taken properly, it's going to be in poor quality:
http://img17.photobucket.com/albums/...26g/Set_Up.jpg
http://img17.photobucket.com/albums/...326g/Games.jpg
http://img17.photobucket.com/albums/...re326g/Gap.jpg

So, I definetly need a digital camera, but the thing is, I don't know much about them. I've only used 1 digital camera before, the Olympus D380, and that was only for the Computer Club. I don't know much about some of the terms, like "CCD."

I was watching HSN recently and they had this camera up. It seemed real nice, and they kept raving about it being "super ccd," and that that would make it the equivalent of a 6 Megapixel camera. What do you guys think of this camera? Is it decent? The only downside I see in it is that the video mode doesn't feature audio, which I really want.

If that's not a good camera, what should I get? Here's what I'm looking for:
- 3 Megapixels
- Capable of shooting video (at least 2 minutes worth at 320x240 and preferrably with the ability to go at 30fps) with audio.
- Photography software included (Like the HSN one, but I could do without this one if it doesn't come with any)
- Decent Optical Zoom (3x)
- Fast start up time, low shutter lag, and good cycle times
- <$250

JimC Jul 12, 2004 7:50 PM

The Fuji you linked to in your post (A310), is not a 6 Megapixel Camera. It's a 3 Megapixel Camera, with an output of6 Megapixels (interpolated).

Fuji's "Super CCD" uses a different layout for the photosites, compared to other CCD designs. In some cases (for example, with the older 3MP 1/1.8" Super CCD), you did get a little more detail from it in 6MP mode (closer to 4MP).

However, I have not seen this to be the case, with the newer (and smaller) Fuji Sensors. They more closely equate (detail captured) to the actual (versus interpolated) CCD resolution.

Basically, Fuji is interpolating the image, to give you a larger output size. Interpolating adds pixels, based on the values of adjacent pixels. Unfortunately, you're not really capturing more detail than the 3 Million photosites can pick up. You're just adding pixels to allow larger prints.

You can also accomplish the same thing using software later.

This model does look to be a good value. Steve (owner of this site) has it on his "Best Cameras" list for 3 Megapixel Consumer Models here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html

As far as speed of operation, this really has nothing to do with shutter speed specifications. You want to look at things like startup time (how long before you can take a picture, after turning on the camera), autofocus lag (time it takes the camera to focus), shutter lag (after the camera is focused, the lag before a photo is taken), cycle times (after taking a photo, the time you need to wait before you can take another one).

These things are covered in the Conclusion Section of Steve's newer reviews.

Here it is for the Fuji you are looking at:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_..._a310_pg5.html

As for a model with a 5x Optical Zoom.... I doubt you'll find a decent one within your desired budget. BTW, ignore Digital Zoom when comparing models. Digital Zoom degrades image quality rapidly as more zoom is used. I have it disabled on my cameras.

You may want to look through the models in Steve's 10-12X Optical "Super" Zoom category (in his Best Cameras List).

Most non "super zoom" models have a much weaker optical zoom (with a 3x zoom of around 35-105mm being the norm). BTW, the 3x simply means that the "long" (maximum focal length) of the lens, is 3 times as long as the "wide" (minimum focal length) of the lens. So, you need to look at the 35mm equivalent focal lengths, when comparing optical zoom. Some models are "wider" at the wide angle end compared to others -- even though they may be designed as 3x Optical Zoom.



Azure Jul 12, 2004 7:58 PM

Hmm...I don't think I'm going to get the FinepixA310 as I really want audio with the video feature.

Do you have any cameras that you would recommend? I edited my post, so this is what I want now:
- 3 Megapixels
- Capable of shooting video (at least 2 minutes worth at 320x240 and preferrably with the ability to go at 30fps) with audio.
- Photography software included (Like the HSN one, but I could do without this one if it doesn't come with any)
- Decent Optical Zoom (3x)
- Fast start up time, low shutter lag, and good cycle times
- <$250

EDIT: When steve says "w/out," does he mean without, or with & without? And, how well does a movie at 15fps look taken at 320x240? And last, how's the Canon PowerShot A75? How long can it record at 640*480 (His review says 640 x 480 pixels (Approx. 30 sec.)*2, when I checked to see what "*2" was, it said "Recording time obtained when using the FC-32MH CF card (included with the camera) or the separately sold FC-256MH or FC-512MSH CF card (not sold in some regions), why the "or?" It seems pretty good to me, but one bad thing is that it requires a whopping 4 AA batteries!

JimC Jul 12, 2004 8:34 PM

Well, I never use the video mode on a digital still camera (because the quality usually leaves a lot to be desired).

Most Digital Cameras won't let you use the zoom while recording movies, have terrible sound quality (due to their tiny omni-directional microphones), have jumpy movies (because most models have no optical or image stabilization feature), and eat up tons of memory card space (some models require 1MB/Second for the better quality modes).

Now, manufacturers are getting a little better with this. For example, the new Canon S1 IS lets you use optical zoom while recording movies (thanks to it's very quiet zoom mechanism), and also has a stabilized optical zoom lens. Although, this one will be out of your price range.

Given the drawbacks, if you still want to use a still camera for movies, then just look through the specs in each camera's review. Steve also has sample movies in his reviews for most models (in the Sample Pictures section for each camera).

I did notice that Nikon has a $100.00 rebate now on the Coolpix 3700, so you should be able to find it for around $200.00 now (after the rebate) from online discounters. It will take VGA (640x480) resolution movies at 30 frames per second.

However, there have been some "audio sync" problems reported in the highest quality mode. However, I've also seen similiar problems reported from some other models with 640x480 video at 30 frames per second (like the Minolta DiMAGE Z2). A faster Secure Digital Card seems to solve the problem in some cases (but not all -- reports are "mixed").

Here is the rebate form for the Nikon (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view):

http://www.nikonusa.com/fileuploads/...mer_rebate.pdf

Here is Steve's review of this model:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...nikon3700.html







JimC Jul 12, 2004 8:49 PM

Azure wrote:
Quote:

EDIT: When steve says "w/out," does he mean without, or with & without? And, how well does a movie at 15fps look taken at 320x240? And last, how's the Canon PowerShot A75? How long can it record at 640*480 (His review says 640 x 480 pixels (Approx. 30 sec.)*2, when I checked to see what "*2" was, it said "Recording time obtained when using the FC-32MH CF card (included with the camera) or the separately sold FC-256MH or FC-512MSH CF card (not sold in some regions), why the "or?" It seems pretty good to me, but one bad thing is that it requires a whopping 4 AA batteries!
When Steve says, w/out, my assumption is he means without. I'd have to see what context it was used in.

As far as recording time, he's probably using the manufacturers specs. The manufacturer probably stated specific CompactFlash cards that it was tested with. Some cards are faster than others. A slow card may decrease movie length.

As far as batteries, 4 AA batteries is nothing. For models using AA batteries (verus Lithium Ion), I'd prefer a model with 4 (versus 2) batteries. Chances are, you'll get longer time between charges anyway.

BTW, you'll want to buy NiMH Rechargeable batteries with a charger for cameras using AA's. You won't get more than a dozen or so of pics on most models with the includedAlkaline Batteries (Digicams draw too much power - especially the LCD displays). See info on batteries here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/nimh_batteries.html





sci0n Jul 13, 2004 6:15 AM

Im in the same posistion as the thread starter, andI will try to lend what little advice I have.

I've been looking for a small, point and click digicam, with audio + video etc.. etc... around 300 dollars. I've been looking at them for about 3-4 months, at exilims, elphs, the optio-s41 etc..

finally, i brought it down to 2 cameras:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/ls743.html

and

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/p73.html

I posted here, and one thing when you buy a camera is memory. 16mb of internal memory will last a couple pictures and thats about it. The sony camera got mixed reviews at other sites, and has more expensive memory. It runs on 2 AA batterys, but comes with 2 rechargable ones. One of my best girl friends, has the kodak. And I must say I have been really impressed with it. It takes SD memory, so its not as expensive as the memory stick. I decided to go with the kodak. You can find it at www.newegg.com for 300 w/ free 3 day shipping (they say fed ex express saver, but theyre west coast, im east coast, took 3 days last time)

I also have a link if you want to get 256mb Kingston SD card for 29.00

The only other camera I can reccomend you might check out, is the fine pix f700. Itreally is a 3 MP camera, but has 2 different things for a combined MP of 6.2 (sorry if i blew that outta the water) my friend has one and it takes good photos, and excellent video. But, overall I would reccomend the Kodak. PM me if you have any other questions

Azure Jul 13, 2004 3:39 PM

I think I'm going to stick with the Canon A75 since it's 3 megapixels, has a decent video mode (320x240 at 15fps), and looks pretty cool. But I'm still curious as to how good a video a 320x240 at 15fps will look with a lot of movement.

EDIT: In the review, steve said that the camera also takes lithium cells. What are these? Are they normal batteries or what? Also, about rechargeable battery chargers, I've heard that it's best to get one that can completly deplete a battery with a touch of a button because then the battery would last longer. I couldn't find any of the chargers that steve recommended that had a deplete option, but one did say:

"The MH-C204W can reach a 98% charge level in the batteries when the lights turn green, without the risk of undercharging or overcharging!"

Is this what I'm looking for?


EDIT: Can the A75 be used as a webcam like the Fuji Finepix A310?

Azure Jul 14, 2004 5:29 AM

I've been looking at some more cameras and I'm really interested in a movie mode that can shoot at 30fps. What camera should I get that has similar features to the A75, but has a better movie mode (Capable of shooting unlimited or at least 3 minutes worth of video at 30fps at 320x240), and is still in my price range?

Azure Jul 14, 2004 11:04 PM

What do you guys think of the Nikon Coolpix 3700? It seems like what I'm looking for, but the thing is, it's a little more expensive, and it's design is a real turn off. I really hate cameras that have that kind design, the long short ones, I don't know but I just don't like them for some reason. It makes them seem less powerful (If it was the size of the A75 I would most likely buy it). What do you think about this strange problem of mine of not liking those kind of cameras? Ever heard of it before?

JimC Jul 15, 2004 12:09 AM

Azure wrote:
Quote:

What do you guys think of the Nikon Coolpix 3700? It seems like what I'm looking for, but the thing is, it's a little more expensive, and it's design is a real turn off. I really hate cameras that have that kind design, the long short ones, I don't know but I just don't like them for some reason. It makes them seem less powerful (If it was the size of the A75 I would most likely buy it). What do you think about this strange problem of mine of not liking those kind of cameras? Ever heard of it before?
Personally, I'm notfond of models with the lens on one side of the camera. As for the size/shape of the camera (other than the lens placement), it would befine with me.

Since you wanted 30fps video, at a price < $250.00, I figured it would be worth looking at (since you canfind it for this price after the Nikon $100.00 rebate).

Now, the Canon would offer more flexibility compared to the Nikon. It would give you manual control of shutter speed and aperture, etc. It would also allow you to use optional lens accessories and filters. The flash range on the Canon is a little better, too. Of course, it's missing the 30fps 640x480 movie mode of the Nikon.

Videowould be the least of my worries (I'd never shoot video clipswith it anyway), but video seems like it's important to you. As a general rule, video cameras take terrible still photos, and still cameras take terrible videos. A higher frame rate does not change my opinion (there are too many other faults -- sound quality, inability to use optical zoom while recording, lack of image stabilization in most models, high storage requirements, etc.). So, to me, it's just an unused "gimmick". Although, some others really like to take videos with their still cameras (I'm just not one of 'em).

No one camera is perfect for everyone, and you will usually need to make tough choices/compromises when you select one.

I'd "test drive" the models you are considering in a store. Then, you'll get a much better idea of how well they fitYOU.


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