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Old Jan 1, 2005, 12:48 PM   #1
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Looking to purchase a new digital camera, printer and maybe a digital camcorder. I'm looking for something that has good resolution when it is printed out. Have an older cybershot 1.3 megapixel and the shots I'm getting are grainy. Figure it is time to upgrade. My goal is to purchase a camera and printer that will give my 35mm quality store printouts. Right now my prints look like a digital printout.

Havetried doing some research but just getting more confused.:?

I take anything from stills,action and low light and would like to get intodoing some iMovie or LasVegas studio editing. Looking into editing packages too. I work both on PC and Macplatforms. Mainly printout 4 x 6 to 5 x 7. Rarely, but once in awhile an 8 x 10.

Any guidance and opinions and experienceyou have would be greatly appreciated.

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Old Jan 1, 2005, 2:17 PM   #2
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I have a Nikon D70 and I love it. I don't know what you budget is but if you can spend $1200.00 it is well worth it. I use a HP 8450 Photo Printer and I love it as well. It is only about $250.00. Good Luck
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Old Jan 1, 2005, 2:35 PM   #3
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Camera Lady wrote:
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My goal is to purchase a camera and printer that will give my 35mm quality store printouts.
One of the first things we consider when suggesting a digicam is how many megapixels one needs. You would get more suggestions if you let the forum members know how many mp's you need. If you don't know how many mp's you need, then let us know what is the largest print that you would make. Until we know that, the suggestions for potential candidates runs into the hundreds, with costs running into the thousands.....

PhilR.


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Old Jan 1, 2005, 2:41 PM   #4
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Camera Lady wrote:
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Looking to purchase a new digital camera, printer and maybe a digital camcorder. I'm looking for something that has good resolution when it is printed out. Have an older cybershot 1.3 megapixel and the shots I'm getting are grainy. Figure it is time to upgrade. My goal is to purchase a camera and printer that will give my 35mm quality store printouts. Right now my prints look like a digital printout.
How large are you printing? That should be your guide to the number of megapixels you need.

As a general rule, 1.3 Megapixels is fine for prints up to about 5x7".

With a 4x6" print, you'd have around 213 pixels per inch of detail from a 1.3 Megapixel Model after cropping for the correct Aspect Ratio. For a 5x7" print you'd have around 182 pixels per inch of detail after cropping from a 1.3 Megapixel Model.

From most printers, it's very hard to see any difference in quality, once you get up to around 180 pixels per inch of detail from typical viewing distances. So, if your print sizes are smaller, then you probably won't see any benefit from a higher resolution model (from a pixels alone perspective).

If your prints are grainy, and you're printing at smaller sizes, then there may be some other reason for it (noise levels from higher ISO speeds, using digital zoom, cropping too much,JPEG Quality Settings, etc.).

But, you may see improvements in other areas with a higher resolution model -- depending on the model you select (features, autofocus speed, image processing algorithms that impact sharpness, contrast, color, etc., lens quality, cycle times between photos, noise levels, and the list goes on).

In other words, don't assume that higher megapixels = higher quality. There are many other things that are just as important, depending on the print sizes needed, and in some cases, you can get worse quality with a higher resolution model. So, you really need to compare cameras on a model for model basis to see if they meet your needs.

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I take anything from stills,action and low light and would like to get intodoing some iMovie or LasVegas studio editing. Looking into editing packages too. I work both on PC and Macplatforms.
Well, I don't do movie editing, so I can't help you there. Perhaps some other users will respond. As for your low light shots, this depends on what you mean by low light, and whether or not you intend to use a flash. Most compact models don't do well in low light, unless you're using a flash or tripod. Otherwise, you can get motion blur from camera shake from slower shutter speeds and/or noise from higher ISO speeds. So, a Digital SLR model with a bright lens is preferred forsome low light conditions. I'd let forum members know what you mean by low light.

As for action, there are a number of variables that can impact your results (autofocus speed/reliability, lens brightness, ability to shoot at higher ISO speeds with lownoise if light is low, cycle times between photos, viewfinder usability, etc.). You'll seesome of these things discussed ineach model's conclusion section in the reviews here.

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Old Jan 1, 2005, 8:19 PM   #5
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Your reply was a big help. I mainly print out 4 x 6 to 5 x 7; But on rare occassions 8 x 10.

I do a lot of editing on photoshop of my digital pictures, cropping, enhancing etc. Maybe that is my issue of graining pictures.

What is the noise level? Haven't heard of that term. Can you make any recommendations on brands to look at. Price range from$350.00 - $600.00.

The low-light pictures I take are mainly school functions and rehearsals in halls with on stage lighting only. I don't like using a flash because it becomes very distracting.

Thanks again for your advice.
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Old Jan 1, 2005, 8:57 PM   #6
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What is the noise level?
Noise is similar to film grain, and is worse when ISO speeds are increased. It looks like multicolored dots on an image. Increasing ISO speed is needed for faster shutter speeds in low light.

A CCD generates a signal from light hitting the photosites. So, the less light you have, the weaker the signal. When you amplify the signal from it in low light, it's like turning up the volume on a radio tuned to a weakstation. But, with a CCD, you get image noise versus hiss and static.

As a general rule, the larger the photosites for each pixel, the lower the noise. So, sometimes a camera with more resolution can be worse from a noise perspective. If you pack more photosites into a small sensor, the photosites need to be smaller (requiring more amplification of their signal for equivalent ISO speed sensitivity).

So, if you need a camera capable of working well in low light, it's a good idea to look into noise characteristics. Now, there are other factors that influence noise, too (CCD Design, the way the images are processed in the camera, etc.). So, you can't go by the size of the photosites alone. It's still a way to get a pretty good idea of higher ISO performance, though. For example, a DSLR model will have MUCH lower noise as ISO speeds are increased compared to consumer models (because the sensors in the DSLR models are much larger, with larger photosites for each pixel).

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The low-light pictures I take are mainly school functions and rehearsals in halls with on stage lighting only. I don't like using a flash because it becomes very distracting.
Well, this makes it much more difficult. The majority of Digital Cameras will not provide acceptable quality indoors without a flash or tripod, depending on the size you view or print at, and your perception of quality. A DSLR with a bright lens is the preferred solution in these conditions. Otherwise, you will get motion blur from camera shake and subject movement and/or noise from higher ISO speeds.

Since a DSLR is outside of your desired budget, I'd probably look at some of the used models like the Canon G3 or Sony DSC-F717. These willallow faster shutter speeds in low light compared to most of the non-DSLR models. The Sony would have the longer optical zoom with a brightest lens as more zoom is used, and would also focus faster.

Although, you may be able to get by with a different model. To see a moredetailed explanation of why a camera has problems shooting indoors without a flash or tripod,read my posts in this thread:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=38391&forum_id=2


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Old Jan 1, 2005, 9:16 PM   #7
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On the printer front, I know this is digital heresy, but any ink jet printer will print really good photos.

I have a HP 3-in-one HP PSC 1315, that lets me swap out the black cartridge for a photo cartridge, and viola, I have a 6 color printer! It prints amazingly well, especially if I use the rather pricey HP top of the line paper. Not too shabby for a $90 printer.

If your looking at a pure photo printer, expect to pay a lot more for just a little better quality.

If you're rarely doing 8x10's, you could sendthem out to a service like snapfish.com that will print 8x10's for about $3.70 a print. It would probably cost you nearly that in ink to print it on your own printer! IN fact, if you pay in advance you can get 4x6's for as little at .25 cents a print!






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Old Jan 2, 2005, 11:42 PM   #8
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The Olympus C-5050 for around $400 has a super bright lens at f1.8 and a noise reduction system that's quite effective at higher ISO settings. Canon's i960 printer is a 6-color printer with individual ink tanks so you only have to replace the cartridge which is empty. It can even be fitted with a bulk ink system for dramatic savings in ink cost. The price is around $150. You can read reviews of both here on Steve's site.
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Old Jan 3, 2005, 9:30 AM   #9
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I would suggest that you NOT invest in a printer-- because to get "professional, 35mm"-like quality you have to (1) buy a decent printer (2) buy good paper (something people often forget, and an item that is far from inexpensive) and (3) buy ink (or dye or whatever printing material the printer uses).

I wonder if your "grain" is caused by not using the best photo paper. Because if you're using regular paper or inkjet paper, or even some of the lower end "photo" papers, the ink is going to splatter and smear (as it seeps into the grain of the paper) and you have something that looks like a computer printout of a picture, rather than a printed picture.

To do it right, it becomes VERY EXPENSIVE to print photo quality prints from homein my opinion($.50 -$1.00 per print, considering everything). On the other hand, you can use either online photo services like Winkflash http://www.winkflash.com ($.19 per 4x6 plus $.99 shipping all the; my choice), Snapfish (http://www.snapfish.com ) ($.26 per4x6, but or Ofoto (http://www.ofoto.com), or go to Cosco, Wal-Mart, or Sam's Club (I believe they range in price from $.25 to $.40 per 4x6 plus tax of course) and have them printed right off the line. So there are a number of fast, inexepensive ways to print prints (whether you need them in 3-4 days or in 1-2 hours) where you don't have to worry about YOUR printing equipment, YOUR paper, etc.

Try taking some of your images that you've Photoshopped to Wal-Mart (on CD, memory card, or disk) and have them printed there. That may solve some of your problems. Add to it a 3 MP camera (which is sufficient, I believe for 4x6 with the occasional 8x10) and you may be on your way....
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Old Jan 3, 2005, 9:32 AM   #10
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[email protected] wrote:
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If you're rarely doing 8x10's, you could sendthem out to a service like snapfish.com that will print 8x10's for about $3.70 a print. It would probably cost you nearly that in ink to print it on your own printer! IN fact, if you pay in advance you can get 4x6's for as little at .25 cents a print!


Winkflash prints 8x10s for $1.99 a print, with $.99 shipping. And most people (myself included) thinks that Winkflash's color reproduction is better (although in my experience, it's a little darker).


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