Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Mar 26, 2006, 4:13 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2
Default

I am responsible for a high school webpage. We have fundingforcameras. Less money is good, but quality is important because the way this works is- there are no second chances, so I should get something decent while I can.

I need to place an order for more than one camera and accesories.

We have multiple needs:

1. a camera that can take action shots at sportingevents from a distance but with clarity.

2. a camera for advertisements (posters, flyers, etc) that will be used for web and for printing purposes

3. a relativelycheap camera which is point and shoot for kids to borrow to record events when I can't be there

4. Camcorders to record student projects, sporting events, lectures. etc.- one that can shoot in dim lighting...



For the digital cameras, I like to use AA batteries, I would like to be able to buy cards that are interchangeable. Therefore shouldn't they all be the same manufacturer?

I am partial to Canon from previous experience. Can anyone help me please?
reachval is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Mar 26, 2006, 7:28 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
ELDDJOC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 156
Default

Canon Powershot S2 IS would probably suit most of your needs for a school camera, but its not that cheap.

With the camcorder, Canon's MV920 does an okay job, but I would recommend the new Panasonic 3CCD GS series.


ELDDJOC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 26, 2006, 9:14 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
vwmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 589
Default

The Canon A610 would be a good choice with a 2gig card or so.
vwmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 27, 2006, 9:20 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 338
Default

SD media is standard on many brands of digital cameras. If you need cross platform compatibility, I would start with SD. (It is cheaper than XD or MS also). This rules out Sony, Fujifilm and Olympus cameras for the most part. Also it rules out some older digicams that use CF cards. Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, Kodak, and probably a few more manufacturers that don't come to mind right now all use SD media as their standard in most compact models. (some older ones may support CF)

If you are making poster sixed prints, resolution is an issue. You want resolution over 5mp for posters. In your shoes, I may buy several different models for the different tasks you're performing. For requirement #3, you can get 2-3mp cameras that take AA size batteries and SD media foraround $100, and that resolution is fine for website use and publication at or below 5x7 size. (of course providing you buy a decent quality camera) There are also several "superzoom" cams that meet your sporting requirements, the Canon s2 IS comes to mind. It takes AA batteries, has a good 5mp sensor, an decent lens, takes SD media, and costs around $350. This would meet your requirements for #1 and #2. the Kodak P850 also comes to mind, mostly due to its 32mb internal memory. If your kids are likely to lose memory this is handy. It is very similar to the Canon in capabilities (12x zoom, Image stabilization, 5mp, etc) but I believe it takes a proprietary battery. The KM Dimage Z5 is another one that is right there, and if you can locate one it may be cheaper than the Canon as KM has recently sold it's digicam business to Sony and prices on KM cameras are falling. (you'd still have warranty service through Sony)

Camcorders are another story. They will not need to be compatible in any way with the digicams, but you may find it handy to find one that accepts an SD media for still shots. I don't find that I ever use that feature on my digicam- the resolution is low and the shots that come from it are usually not very nice. Perhaps I'd do better if I had less access to good quality digicams. Anyhow, almost all new digicams have good low light recording. Beware that the Sony night shot cams are reputed to see through some clothing when the low light mode is used. I do not know if it is true, but I would think that should effect the decision of a school paper where adolescents will be using the camera. I do like my Canon camcorder, but it is old- one of the first mini DV models. The quality of the build is good though, this is one of the places Canon seems to shine.


Mercury694 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 27, 2006, 9:43 AM   #5
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

For daylight sports, one of the ultra-zoom models will work fine.

However, if you plan on taking photos of indoor sports (basketball, wrestling, etc.), you'll want a DSLR. With non-DSLR models, you'll have a much higher percentage of your photos with motion blur from subject movement because of ISO speed limitations.

Make sure to get bright lenses to go with one. For something like Basketball, you may want to go with primes (non-zoom lenses), since they are available brighter than zooms. A 50mm (f/1.8 or brighter) and an 85mm (f/1.8 or brighter) or 100mm (f/2 or brighter) would be good choices. Then, use your feet for zoom.

You might be able to get by with something like a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG lens indoors at higher ISO speeds, depending on how good the gym lighting is (although primes will give you another stop of light, and the primes can sometimes be found for less money).

For indoor sports like Basketball, this would be my short list for an entry level DSLR model:

Konica Minolta 5D or 7D
50mm f/1.4 or f/1.7
and
85mm f/1.4 or 100mm f/2

Nikon D50 or D70s
50mm f/1.2 or f/1.8
and
85mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.8

Canon Rebel XT or EOS-20D
50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8
and
85mm f/1.8 or 100mm f/2

Then, I'd use my feet for zoom.

Note that these lenses will appear to be longer on a DSLR (multiply the focal length by 1.5x to see how the angle of view would compare to a 35mm camera for Nikon and Konica-Minolta models, or by 1.6x for the Canon models mentioned above).

For outdoor sports (and you may be able to get away with it indoors, too -- depending on the lighting and how much motion blur you're willint to tolerate), I'd look at the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Lens (around $800).

It's a well liked lens with f/2.8 available throughout the focal range (which you'll want for night sports in a stadium to keep shutter speeds fast enough), and it's available in popular camera mounts (Canon, Nikon, Konica Minolta, Pentax).

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 27, 2006, 2:59 PM   #6
E.T
Senior Member
 
E.T's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 921
Default

reachval wrote:
Quote:
1. a camera that can take action shots at sporting¬*events from a distance but with clarity.

2. a camera for advertisements (posters, flyers, etc) that will be used for web and for printing purposes

3. a relatively¬*cheap camera which is point and shoot for kids to borrow to record events when I can't be there

4. Camcorders to record student projects, sporting events,¬* lectures. etc.- one that can shoot in dim lighting...
Sounds much like you're after at least two, propably three cameras.



Mercury694 wrote:
Quote:
Also it rules out some older digicams that use CF cards.¬* Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, Kodak, and probably a few more manufacturers that don't come to mind right now all use SD media as their standard in most compact models.¬* (some older ones may support CF)
CF is equally inexpensive as SD...
And is technically superior hands down and will be around when all other current cards have been forgotten.

Even SD is soon going to start fading into that history of technological progress, it hit to its capacity limit and it's successor SDHC won't be compatible with current SD devices with very high propability because if it would be backwards compatible they would surely advertise it... and neither is SD backwards compatible with its predecessor MMC. (or any of Sony's Scheisse sticks with almost half dozen different generations)
Actually even this new SDHC will be size limited when compared to current, backwards compatible, CF standard.
E.T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 28, 2006, 12:50 AM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2
Default

I do plan to buy more than one camera. I was actually thinking that I would but three of them and one camcorder.

We have about 1800 students at our school and when we try to cover events with only one camera- there are times when we are waiting for a return- or just can't be in two places at once.

Canon s2 IS seems to have been recommended to meet many needs. Would it also be good for photos of things like kids in a poorly lit auditorium on a badly litstage? Parents and kids posing together at award ceremonies in indoor light, etc.?

Would it make sense to buy two of them, sharing accesories and dedicating one for sports? Do you think that there would be a better choice within the same price range for indoor shots?

Rebel sounds good- but evenif I can come up with the money will it be difficult to use (i.e. I'm a novice- is it user friendly? )

IS the a610 recommended as an all around camera? There was mention of a good camera "For requirement #3, you can get 2-3mp cameras that take AA size batteries and SD media foraround $100, and that resolution is fine for website use "- any recommendatons for them, please?

THANK YOU. This is tough. You get money once on a blue moon and then you - and all of your students-live with your results for a very long time. I appreciate your help!


reachval is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 28, 2006, 1:19 AM   #8
E.T
Senior Member
 
E.T's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 921
Default

reachval wrote:
Quote:
Canon s2 IS seems to have been recommended to meet many needs. Would it also be good for photos of things like kids in a poorly lit auditorium on a badly lit¬*stage?
That's exactly where DSLRs with fast lenses are about only (working) option.


For pictures to web about any camera should work well. (except some "toy"-digicams)


And neither I would keep S2 as good for videocam role if you intend to get anything more than short videoclips because it doesn't use MPEG4 (or even MPEG2) compression and without it you don't get even ten minutes to 1GB card.
(SD's size limit is 2GB)
E.T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 28, 2006, 10:28 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 338
Default

Can I reccommend certain models for requirement 3? Sure, but I don't know your budget and requirements precisely. All below take AA batteries unless otherwise noted and SD media.

1. Canon A400. 3.2mp, small, light 2.2 zoom, ISO 400 max. Video with sound. $99

2.Kodak CX7300. 3.2mp, small, light, NO OPTICAL ZOOM, ISO 200 max. No sound with video. The fact that this has no optical zoom may either be good or bad. It's generally not ad desired by the general public, but if you have hundreds of irresponsible students with access to it, maybe less moving parts is better. $90

3. Konica Minolta DiMage E323. 3.2mp, small , light, 3x optical zoom, ISO 200 max. No sound with video. $130

4.HP Photosmart 635. 2.1mp, bigger, not so light, 3x optical zoom, ISO 400max. Video with sound.

5.Kodak Easyshare C300. 3.2mp smallish, lightish, no optical zoom (5z digital zoom) ISO 200max. No sound with Video. $90

Though there are other camreas out there that meet your needs, they may cost a bit more. I'm not sure if you want to spend $200 on a better camera or not. I suspect that the simpler the camera for this use, the better. My gut tells me that cruising the local Staples or camera shop may be the route for you to go to decide on a product. They may well offer you a good discount so you could update a bit from these near the same price point.

Jim is right about the superzooms being dim, especially at long zooms. The price point is around 1/2 the price of a comparable DSLR body, I'm not sure where your priorities lie. At 5mp, most of the time you could take a wider shot and crop to zoom, keeping a good shutter speed. I have a Fuji f10 that I love for indoor use- it's shooting great images even at ISO 800 and with 6mp, I can crop like crazy and still get good prints at 4x6. This camera however doesn't meet your AA battery requirement and is a bit pricey at around $350. It also takes the XD media, which is costlier and less liked than SD media. I don't think that it's the best option for you with those drawbacks.

E.T. is also right about CF. It is a better media and will likely outlive SD. I'm not sure it matters though, as almost all compact cameras support SD, and if you want to take the media cross platform (from compacts toultrazooms tocamcorders) it is the only option I know of. If you buy a DSLR for your indoor shots, CF may work for you (the DSLR will likely only accept CF) but then I'd have to revise my list above to CF model digicams.

If you choose to go with a DSLR, I have and can reccomend a KM 7d (or 5d). I'm sure some others can reccommend Canon and Nikon DSLR's also. If you already have SLR compatible lenses you would probably want to stick to the same brand and mount. (the lenses are by far the most expensive investment in any SLR) I am not partial to either the Canon or Nikon entry model DSLR's It's personal taste, but they don't feel well made to me. Also if it requires, any new DSLR has a fully automatic mode. You could substitute it for the digicams for lesser work. My only issue with that would be risk- you'd be sending a quite expensive camera to do the job a very cheap one could do. But budget constraints require compromises, this I understand.

I wouldn't rush to decision unless you have to. There is a lot of good advice here.


Mercury694 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 28, 2006, 10:53 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
tmoreau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 477
Default

I prefer CF, but if this is going to be a fleet of compact cameras SD is much more standard. There are a few lower-cost DSLR's that take SD, the D50 and a pentax I think.

If the sports and stage pictures are going to only be used on a website, you might be able to get away with "junk" pictures (they tend to clean up a little when resized so small). Otherwise, I'd settle for no less than a DSLR. Its just too demanding an application to get consistent results from a compact camera. Most entry level DSLR's have scene modes, set it to sport, iso800/1600, and forget about it. You could do better by learning all the ins and outs of photography, but using it as a point and shoot is certainly do-able. Then, if something isnt to your liking, we can help you figure out what to change... you have more options in this regard than with point and shoot cameras.
tmoreau is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:25 PM.