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Old Dec 13, 2004, 5:59 PM   #1
kas
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I have done a lot of research on the web and in stores in searchof the best 4 mp digital camera and I'm no better off than when I started. HELP!!!

I want a simple point and shoot camera with some manual control capability. I'll mostly be taking pictures of my baby, so I need something that will perform well in low light as well as outdoors. Picture quality is very important to me; I want to be able to have crisp clear pictures with good color. Most importantly...I want something that is fast. When I push the button I want to take the picture. I don't want to miss those all important moments waiting for the camera to decide to take the picture.

My husband has an aversion to Sony products. He's had problems with every Sony product he's ever owned, although he's never had a Sony camera. Unless someone can convince me that Sony is by far the best value for my money, I'd prefer to buy a different brand.

As far as price goes, I'd prefer not to break the bank if you know what I mean. I'd prefer to stay under $300 if possible.

Thanks in advance for your advice...I'm at my wits end here :?
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Old Dec 13, 2004, 6:20 PM   #2
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Scroll down in Steve's best cameras to the 4Mp cameras. Steve tests all of them and I don't know of anyone who's opinion would be better. Dave over at Imaaging Resource also has a Dave's Picks list, but a large proportion of the cameras he tests makes the list. http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html

Click on the Camera in Steve's list and you go to the review. Make sure to carefully read through the conclusions. That is where he discusses things like shutter lag and low light focus.

If I had to pick one I would think it hard to beat the Canon A85. Dave lists the Olympus D-580 as his budget choice and it is good for the price – even considering the stupid xD cards you have to buy for Olys. Besides memory you should budget in a charger and set of NiMH batteries for either of those cameras. The "Features and controls" page of the review tells you whether the camera comes with a charger and rechargeable batteries.

If you aren't going to buy locally use Steve's buyers guide and pick someone with lots of ratings along with good ones. Example: http://www50.shopping.com/xPC-Canon_...t_A85~S-P~OR-0


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Old Dec 13, 2004, 6:35 PM   #3
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kas wrote:
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My husband has an aversion to Sony products. He's had problems with every Sony product he's ever owned, although he's never had a Sony camera. Unless someone can convince me that Sony is by far the best value for my money, I'd prefer to buy a different brand.

As far as price goes, I'd prefer not to break the bank if you know what I mean. I'd prefer to stay under $300 if possible.
Well... I just have to say it.... It is unlikely that you'd find a camera that is going to focus better (considering both speed and accuracy)indoors in low light (in your price range) than the Sony DSC-V1. Right now, it's a real bargain at around $299 fromsome vendors (probably since it's been replaced by the new V3). It's laser based "hologram" focus system is going to work better than the typical focus assist lamp some other models have, and it's a relatively fast focusing camera. Many other models tend to take much longerin lower light (which appears to be your most important issue). When you see autofocus times mentioned in reviews, it's usually inbetter light, using a test target optimized for focusing.

TheDSC-V1 ishigher end model compared to other consumer models you'll find in this price range (it's price just happens to be lower now, since it's an older model and the newer DSC-V3 is shipping). IMO, it's probably got the most "bang for the buck" you'll find within your budget for what it sounds like you want a camera for, and it would give you an extra 1MP of resolution (it's 5MP).

I'd try one out in a store if you decide you like it (since some feel that it can be ergomonically challenging).

http://www50.shopping.com/xPC-Sony_C...RID-FVieWQzBU1

Now, just to clarify something... You will need to use a flash indoors with these models (i.e., Canon A85, Sony DSC-V1, etc.). Otherwise, shutter speeds will be too slow to prevent motion blur (unless you increase ISO speed high enough that you'll see a lot of noise/grain in typical indoor lighting).

You will also need to wait for the flash to recycle between photos indoors (and this time will vary, based on how far you are from your subject).
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Old Dec 13, 2004, 7:54 PM   #4
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I don't disagree with Jim that the V1 is a nice little camera for the price. Lag and low light focus are excellent. But keep in mind you will need a Memory Stick Pro memory card for it. 256Mb is about minimum IMO for a 5Mp camera, so figure about $60 - which would take you over your budget. It is the old story of you get about what you pay for.

You can get the picture more when you want it by half pressing the shutter button to pre-focus on any of the current cameras. Then there is only about 1/10 second lag when you see what you want.


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Old Dec 14, 2004, 2:59 PM   #5
kas
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Thank you both for your responses. I will take a closer look at those cameras and hopefully make a decision soon.

I had originally planned on buying the Canon A85, but read several reviews that it performed poorly in low light situations...thus the reason I have been researching other options. Have you heard the same thing? With all the reviews out there it's hard to know which ones to believe. I really like this site though...it has been the most helpful so far.
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