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Old Aug 17, 2004, 3:52 PM   #1
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JimC,

I've been a long time admirer of your posts here. A fellow Atlantan myself, I'm hoping that you can give me some advice:

My wife and I are purchasing a computer for digital imaging and plan to abandon our trusty 35mm. We have a most wonderful 9 month old boy (major red eye, BTW) and I'm looking for a digicam that will provide excellent pics of indoor poses and outdoor vistas.

A strong flash and zoom is essential. I'd opt for a camera with a hotshoe but in all practicality, this camera will live in my wife's purse most of the time. Therefore, it needs to be small and sturdy. Outdoor shots will be the occasional lighthouse and lupine flower on our trips to Maine/Canada. A shot or two of a fishing trip, too...

I know I'm asking a lot of a camera. Price isn't too much of a concern. Is there an advantage to purchasing a camera/computer/printer bundle from someone like HP? This will be our first state of the art computer, used mainly for word, internet, and dimaging.

We are both amateurs although my father in law is a pro shooter at LifeTouch. He can bail us out of any major pickles...I'm sure we'll be using imaging software a great deal to help with resolution/contrast.

So, with, say, $1500 to get it all, where would you go for what? If you prefer private e-mail, I'm fine with that too...


Greg






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Old Sep 7, 2004, 1:30 PM   #2
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JimC,

Is my question too vague? Perhaps my newbie status offends? Anyone home?
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Old Sep 7, 2004, 1:52 PM   #3
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You might have gotten a quicker response if you hadn't posted your question to one particular forum member. Also, are you asking if $1500 will get you the camera gear & the computer?
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Old Sep 7, 2004, 2:28 PM   #4
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Greg:

I'm sorry, I don't read all of the posts. I just happened to catch it on top just now.

As Kalypso says, you're probably better off asking the question of multiple forum members.

You're not going to find one model that does everything really well (free from redeye, has a long zoom, has great flash range, lots of user control, great ergonomics, and is small). So, you have to determine the things that are most important in a camera, and which areas you are willing to compromise some in.

A subcompact camera model usually compromises in multiple areas (flash range, redeye because the flash is located close to the lens, lens brightness, focal range, ergonomics, etc.).

Also, someone like Steve Sanders (owner/editor of this site), has far more experience with a wider variety of camerasthan you'll find from any of the forum members here; since he actually gets to go out and use many of thenew models being introduced.

You'd be better off reading through his reviews of cameras in his "The Best Cameras" list, then narrowing your choices down some first.

Pay particular attention to the review conclusion sections. This is where he discusses things like autofocus speed and reliability, flash range (also look at this in the camera's specifications), cycle times (time between photos), image quality indoors and outdoors, etc.

Also, any opinion you get on a forum is likely to biased, including mine. So, take these with a grain of salt.

As far as computer package deals, I've never personally been fond of HP cameras (again, that's a biased opinion; so, take it with a grain of salt). You'll need to make the final decision on a model, based on what you think of the images.

Try to decide the size camera you really want (do you want something as small as a Canon S410;something a little larger like a Sony V1, something a little larger still like alike a Canon G6, etc.). Then, once you've narrowed down your choices by comparing features on each, come back and ask for some opinions.


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Old Sep 7, 2004, 2:45 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, will do. Unfortuantely a downed tree thanks to Frances will absorb my digicam fund for the time being. I'll revisit when I've done mroe study.

Love the site and I appreciate your responses...


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Old Sep 7, 2004, 2:59 PM   #6
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Greg:

We're seeing lots of new models being introduced this time of year. A big trade show (Photokina) is being held in Germany at the end of this month. So, we'll probably see more new models from the manufacturers continuing into the show.

This could give you more choices (and a chance to replenish your budget).

Also, try to decide how much optical zoom you really need, how much flash range you really need,how small you are willing to go, etc.

About the most optical zoom you can get a subcompact model right now is with the Pentax Optio 555 (37.5-187.5mm equivalent zoom). But, this is aslow camera (startup, zoom speed).

A newer Optio 750z model should start shipping this month. We'll need to wait to see how it performs (if you really want/need a lot of zoom in a smaller camera that you can fit in a purse easily).

Personally, I take most of my photos on the wide angle side of the scale, so optical zoom is not that important to me.
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Old Sep 9, 2004, 4:20 AM   #7
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Greg,

As usual JimC's advice points you in the right direction.

Like Jim I mostly use the wide angle on my compact digicam and mainly use the zoom button to move the lens away from max wide angle when there is something in shot (like a building) that would show the usual lens distortion at wide angle.

As Jim says with these compact cameras a long zoom brings its own problems, often needing a tripod or some support....also difficulties with sufficient flash.

If about 50% of the zoom range (3x max)on my camera isn't sufficient for the framing I want I tend to do a final crop on the PC. If you are taking at 4MP or 5MP this has little effect on the image quality.

Elsewhere Jim has often posted more detailabout red-eye. This aspect of smaller cameras is a pain, particularly for those with lots of kids/family shots.

After 18mths with a digicam (two different ones) I realised the anti red-eye pre-flashes were still only stopping the red eye in 75% of the cases. Because the multiple pre-flashes do add to the capture delay and distract folks (as Jim has always said :-))I now have stopped using it and only about 50% of my images suffer red eye...I just remove it with the PC editor.

Isn't there one of the new model cameras (Nikon 5200??) where you can edit out red eye in the camera? Wonder how good that will be?

Jim says a short delay in your purchase will produce a greater range of new cameras....... but as well the prices are falling so fast you'll be getting some greatdeals this autumn compared with the rest of us buyingeven only 4mths ago. For example a brand new model camera I wanted this May was almost impossible to source just after launch at £350 (UK). Now just 4mths on it is freely available at £220.

Good luck.

David


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Old Nov 11, 2004, 8:49 PM   #8
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I own a Pentax Optio 555 and agree with this statement. 555 is slow and i do miss shots because of that "feature". Very excited to see new model.
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