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Old Feb 11, 2005, 5:37 PM   #1
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I am in the start-up phase of opening a gift basket business. I need a digital camera that I can take pictures of the baskets for my website, but I will also need to print 8x10 prints for my portfolio. I know nothing about camera's. I have been looking at the reviews, and I'm sooo confused. :?I am on a very tight budget right now, so I need the best camera I can find for least amount of $. I did buy a tripod, I have a sony handycam. I tried taking pictures with it but they just weren't clear enough.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!



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Old Feb 11, 2005, 7:33 PM   #2
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If you want to print 8"x10", you want 3 megapixels minimum. Having more megapixels will let you crop better (cropping room is when you cut out a portion and still have a pic that fills the print size). Depending on the price and stuff like that, I would go for something around 4MP or 5 MP.

As far as taking basket pics for your website is concerned, almost any camera is "capable". However you want something with possibly a flash hot-shoe, which allows you to add external flash; or maybe a strong built-in flash (depends on if you have good lighting or not).

Unless you want to be able to carry the camer in your pocket (ie. small size), I would stay away from the ultra-compacts (these generally cost more for a given feature and have slightly inferior quality) and go for something a bit bigger.

What's your budget?
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Old Feb 11, 2005, 9:05 PM   #3
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The Nikon 3700 has a $100 rebate going. I bought one for my daughter and it is a nice camera. Total price for the camera including shipping after the rebate was $132. It is a nice camera for that price and has a charger and battery included. You would have to buy a 128Mb SD card for it. Both Staples and Circuit City have 256 Mb SD cards for $35 after a $10 rebate, so the cards aren't pricey.

I think it would be more than sufficient for your purposes.

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Old Feb 11, 2005, 9:32 PM   #4
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I am going to buy lights. I read somewhere I could get by with quartz halogen work lights from Lowes or Home Depot. I was hoping to stay under 400.00. Less if I can. This is a home based business, so my pictures are very important. I need them to be as professional as possible. Size is not a concern, since the main purpose of this camera will be to take pics of baskets indoors, using a tripod.

I am going to look into the Nikon 3700. Where did you buy it from?
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Old Feb 11, 2005, 10:17 PM   #5
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vdoty wrote:
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I am going to buy lights. I read somewhere I could get by with quartz halogen work lights from Lowes or Home Depot. I was hoping to stay under 400.00. Less if I can. This is a home based business, so my pictures are very important. I need them to be as professional as possible. Size is not a concern, since the main purpose of this camera will be to take pics of baskets indoors, using a tripod.
If you are going to use those types of lights remember that they throw a LOT of heat. You'll also want a camera you can adjust white balance on. That's adjusting the 'color balance' of the white parts of the subject so it's actually white. Not all light sources are equal when it comes to that.

My camera is a Panasonic DMC-FZ20. Since size isn't important, you might want to consider the FZ3, a 3mp camera with a killer superzoom lens. I don't think it has an external flash shoe however. The FZ20 does. That may seem unimportant until you want to use one. I'd say better to have and not need than to need and not have. The FZ20 is the top of its' line right now (until the FZ30 is released) and a realistic startup price, FZ20 camera with memory and extra battery, is about $475-$575. A similar 4mp camera, FZ15, runs about $100 less.

Another camera I've seen mentioned is a Kyocera (sp?) 410.. Though it lacks the flash shoe it has what appears to be an impressive set of features.

Good luck with the camera and business,
Jeff
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Old Feb 11, 2005, 10:44 PM   #6
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Another camera to consider (out of many) is the 5mp Nikon 5400, which currently has a $200 rebate. You can pick one up from several web sites for around $410, making the camera about $210 after rebate. This is a metal-bodied camera with a 4x zoom and excellent macro capabilities. It also has a hotshoe, if you do decide to add a more powerful flash (which you probably won't need, if you have good studio lighting). If you are on a budget, it would be a good way to start.

If you have a more expansive budget, you might look at the Canon G6, which would provide excellent picture quality. All in all though, the lighting is more important than the camera....

PhilR.
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Old Feb 12, 2005, 9:31 AM   #7
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PhilR wrote:
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Another camera to consider (out of many) is the 5mp Nikon 5400, which currently has a $200 rebate. You can pick one up from several web sites for around $410, making the camera about $210 after rebate.
Phil, can you give me the sites you found the camera for $410? I haven't found it that low anywhere.

Thank you all for your advice. This forum is great!
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Old Feb 12, 2005, 10:13 AM   #8
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Has anyone used theFuji FinePix E550? I am looking at it at the Nikon 5400. Any opinions?
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Old Feb 12, 2005, 4:36 PM   #9
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vdoty wrote:
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Phil, can you give me the sites you found the camera for $410? I haven't found it that low anywhere.

Thank you all for your advice. This forum is great!
Go to the main menu for this site, click on "buyers guide", maneuver around until you get to Nikon 5400, click on prices. You will find just about all the sellers. I just did this, and found out that butterflyphoto.com has lowered the price even more, to $398, putting the camera after rebate at $198.

I recently ordered from butterflyphoto, and they did email back stating that I needed to call them, which I did. The person I dealt with did ask if I needed accessories, but he was friendly and did not push the issue when I refused. The camera was in my hands four days later. I know that they don't get the best reviews, but I just might have to order my own 5400 from them.....

PhilR.

p.s. the rebate form can be found at the Nikon web site...


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Old Feb 12, 2005, 9:11 PM   #10
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I also got the 3700 from Butterfly. They didn't bother calling and sent the camera out 2nd day although I paid only for ground.

Before cutting the UPC codes from the box I tested it out. Great little camera. The LCD gains up nicely in low light and the focus assist light lets it take flash photos in completely darkened rooms. The control setup is the nicest I've seen on a small camera. It puts my FZ10 to shame. The only niggle I could find was that the on-off switch is where the zoom should be, but after a little use you wouldn't notice. It isn't the camera I would choose for myself as it is too point and shoot to suit me. But my daughter wanted a simple camera to carry in her purse and it seems fine for that.

Nikon is known for its macro mode and this one is great. The flash throttles down nicely for good colors.

The big weakness of the 5400 is its low light focus with no focus assist light. You wouldn't need that and I agree it is a better camera for your purposes. You can do a lot more with manual exposure and focus if you get into that. And you can get a decent automatic flash unit in the $30 range. Throttle it down and it would work nicely with the halogens. You have the ability to use a gray card or white sheet of paper to custom set the white balance to whatever lighting you are using. Very competent camera for the price if you don't have to take family shots in low light with it.

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