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Old Apr 20, 2005, 12:43 AM   #1
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Hi,

I am a newbie looking to purchase a quality digital camera at a price of around $300. While I have little experience with cameras, I am eager to use my new camera often. I take daily walks each morning on nature trails. This is where I would get most of my use at first, taking pictures of birds and other wildlife. I also attend concerts and sporting events a couple times a month where I would like to use my camera as well. Lastly, I plan to take vacations annually where I hope to scuba dive. I want to purchase a camera that can go 100 feet underwater for these adventures. From what I know, I will need an underwater housing to accomplish this.

Some people tell me to focus mostly on getting a 10X zoom while others say its most important to have at least 5 megapixels.

I am open to any feedback and advice people have. I have a lot to learn. I just want this investment to be something that will last me 5 years or so, be user friendly, and be flexible enough to take quality pictures in various situations including 1) nature 2) concerts 3) sporting events 4) underwater. Oh, and being small enough to fit comfortably in a pocket is a great upside for me.
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 1:14 AM   #2
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There's one camera that meets all of your requirments except for the "pocket" size. That would be the Panasonic FZ-20. 5MP, great quality Leica 12X Image Stabalized Zoom lens, it has a hotshoe for expanded flash capabilities. Useable movie mode, nothing to write home there about. Goto Steves-digicams.com main menu, and look it up at the camera reviews section.

You will not be upset... you have to get a larger camera to get the quality/zoom you want.

I can highly recommend this camera, as I have many friends who trusted me on it and are extremely happy.

-tlmiller10
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Old Apr 21, 2005, 8:26 PM   #3
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Before posting this thread, the camera that caught my eye with the little research I did is the Olympus C-765UZ. This has a 10X optical zoom along with 4 megapixels. This camera also is very small and there is available underwater housing for it.

I am guessing the Panasonic suggested must be solid advice since no one else is posting. I appreciate the advice. I am now wondering if the Panasonic is worth $200 more than the Olympus I was looking at. Also, are my friends accurate that if a person is going to purchase a camera to last a few years, 5 megapixels and 10X optical zoom are a minimum necessity?
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Old Apr 21, 2005, 9:46 PM   #4
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Hi Joe: One of my digicams is an Oly UZ. I have found the camera to be excellent. Great photos and sharp, fast lens for a zoom. Both the UZ and the Panasonic FZ are good cameras. (In fact, Panasonic just signed an agreement todevelop a new camera jointly with Olympus; it willuse Olympus designed lens anduse the Olympus'four/thirds system. It may use the Pana I.S. system; and it will be sold by both Oly and Panasonic under their brand names. Both should be able to use the lens from the OlyE series DSLRs.)

Your $300 price is going to limit your choices. But on the other hand, for your first camera, that is a good maximum.

Keep in mind that digicams are in somewhat the same position as computers used to be: the cost/feature benefit keeps improving. The camera prices keep dropping, or we get more features for the same money. Soyour $300 buys a lot more camera today thanabout 2 years ago. And expect to get more features/performance for your $ in the future.

But back to your questions: I recommend the Oly to start off with because of its small size and cheaper price. Not onlyis the photo quality good, but I think its easier to learn for a newby. Then save your money, because as you become more accomplished, you will probably look to move up to a prosumer or dslrcamera. Like a C8080 or E300. (I own 4 digicams, &five 35mm cameras, and I'm constantly grabbing the Oly UZ to carry with me. Even when you move up to a more expensive camera, I'll bet you will continue to use your UZ quite often.)

Anyway, good luck in your camera hunting. (Be sure to spend a good amount of time search for a reputable dealer; there are a lot of fly-by-night internet crooks out there selling cameras.)Sorry to be so wordy!

Thank you,

Steven R.
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Old Apr 22, 2005, 6:25 AM   #5
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Joe, I have an older version of the Olympus you're looking at, and I love it. In fact, I just bought a second Olympus (C-5500) to carry with me everywhere. To clarify the megapixels issue, think ofit in terms of print size. A camera with 3.2 MP can produce quality images up to 8 x 10. If you want larger prints than that, you'll need more megapixels. I think there may be a chart on this site that correlates MPs to image sizes. Good luck!
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Old Apr 22, 2005, 6:53 AM   #6
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A guy at Best Buy told me he gets many returns on the high zoom cameras because the pictures blur easily. He said instead of purchasing a 3MP 10X optical zoom it is much better to buy a 5MP with only a 3X optical zoom and he would just crop the pics. What are people's thoughts on this?

According to a Google search I made, to achieve magazine quality, it appears you need the following...

2 MP for 4X6 Pics

3MP for 5X7

4MP for 6X8

6MP for 7X10

8MP for 10X14
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Old Apr 22, 2005, 10:00 AM   #7
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I wouldn't pay too much attention to the advice of someone who doesn't know the difference between zoom and crop.


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Old Apr 22, 2005, 10:20 AM   #8
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OK, so unless I hear any differently, I will just think of megapixels in relation to the size I want my pictures to be. Now I will just try to research what else is helpful to make cameras user friendly and also which features make pictures look even better. So at this point I am pretty set on buying a 10X or 12X optical zoom. Also seems logical to get a camera which uses rechargable batteries. I am guessing the closest to 2+ inches for the screen is helpful. A factor I have a lot to learn about yet is the shutter speeds. Along with that I am still researching a lot on what is best for underwater pictures. It appears most cameras will do fine underwater as long as I have the underwater casing. I appreciate everybodys help and patience so far as I am definately still a newbie with all this digi cam stuff.
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