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Old Mar 29, 2006, 2:00 PM   #1
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Hello everyone

I'm new to the forums, but have been reading Steve's reviews for quite a while. After much searching around I couldn't find quite the answers I was looking for so I'm here to ask for your advice. You may tell me to forget about it after hearing what I'm hoping to find though!

For reference I have an old Olympus Camedia D-520 Zoom:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2002_reviews/d520.html

This camera has done ok, but it certainly has some problems in my eyes. The 2 main annoyances for me have been how slow it is (shot to shot and from off to first shot) and the absolute killer is that you have to turn off the camera (partially close the lens cover, wait for the lens to retract, fully close the lens cover) before you can review pictures. That drives me nuts. Since my wife and I have a big vacation coming up in a couple months I've been thinking now's the time to get a new camera, but the budget is tight.

Here are the key features I'm looking for:
* under $150 (not counting additional memory, batteries, etc.)
* good image quality (seems silly to list that when buying a camera, but it's important!)
* 4MP or higher - I'm no MP snob so 4MP is fine for my needs
* 4x or better optical zoom
* fast shot to shot times
* decent manual controls - doesn't need to be full manual though
* SD memory card support (I plan on buying a high speed 512mb SD card initially)
* AA batteries - for those emergency moments (I plan on buying a couple rechargeable CR-V3 packs)

Ok with all that in mind, am I just asking too much? I've found a few cameras that seem to fit all or most of my criteria on the surface, but of course I've never used any of them. The one that's at the top of my list right now is the Kodak Z700 - really like the body style and features like the 5x optical zoom (not to mention the price!) I can get a refurbished model with 1-year manufacturer warranty for $124 shipped.

Cameras I've been considering including shipping:
* Kodak Z700 - $124, refurbished
* Canon PowerShot A430 - $149, new
* Nikon Coolpix 4600 - $144.05, new (local pick up from Circuit City including tax)
* Nikon Coolpix 4200 - $128.95, refurbished

There are others I like a lot, but they are all a bit too expensive at this time. So what do you think? Will I do well with any of these cameras? Any major reasons to get one as opposed to another?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 6:57 PM   #2
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I think that your choices will do well. I would eliminate the Coolpix 4200.

I would arrange them as follows:

Kodak Z-700

Canon A-430

Nikon 4600

The Kodak Z-700 clearlyoffers the best feature mix. However the Canon A-430 is not far behind. The Nikon 4600 is a 2 to 3 year old camera and it will be slower in its operations.

MT
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 7:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

Yeah I think I'm really gonna end up with the Kodak Z700. I just did (another) side-by-side comparison on dpreview.com with the Nikon 4600 and then re-read Steve's reviews on both cameras. I just can't see how I'd be going wrong with the Z700

In particular I noticed things like this in Steve's reviews:
Z700: "The shot-to-shot delay averaged 1.5 seconds without the flash and only 1.6 seconds using the flash."
4600: "The shot to shot delay averaged about 1.7 seconds between frames without the use of the flash and between 7 and 10 seconds with the flash."

*Big* difference in the shot to shot delay using the flash! Not to mention the Z700 has Shutter and Aperture priority, plus the 5x zoom... hmm. Ok I guess I'm talking myself into it :G

I'll be sure to post a follow up when I make the decision and get my new camera.
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Old Apr 1, 2006, 9:35 PM   #4
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* UPDATE *

Well I got tired of waiting and made my purchase For the curious out there he's what I got and what I paid.

ebay:
Kodak Z700 refurbished with 1 year manufacturer warranty. $109.99 plus $14 shipping: $123.99

Newegg.com:
A-DATA 512MB SD card, 150x speed (read 22.5MB/s, write 15MB/s): $20.43
Crucial USB SD/MMC Card Reader: $9.00
Shipping: $8.93
Total: $38.36

Grand Total: $162.35

I'll still need to order the CR-V3 battery pack and charger and last I checked that'll run me around $30 for a 2 pack with charger. All in all I'm feeling confident in what I'm getting for my limited funds. I'll have to post my impressions of the camera with high speed memory once I've spent some time with it over the next couple of weeks.
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Old Apr 1, 2006, 9:52 PM   #5
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Thanks, Shadowplay for the update.

Rather than using CRV batteries why not use NImh batteries?

MT
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Old Apr 1, 2006, 10:11 PM   #6
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mtclimber wrote:
Quote:
Thanks, Shadowplay for the update.

Rather than using CRV batteries why not use NImh batteries?

MT
hmm, well I was under the impression that the CRVs offered potentially the longest battery life. Are NImh comparable? Of course, I don't have any rechargeables around the house these days - not a lot of portable devices actually

What would you suggest I get for batteries? I'll need a charger and I'm guessing at least a couple pairs of batteries. That Z700 takes 2x AAs or equivalent. Is there something I can pick up locally at a radio shack or drug store without getting robbed? It's been ages since I really paid much attention to batteries :O
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Old Apr 1, 2006, 10:18 PM   #7
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As Mt said, "Rather than using CRV batteries why not use NImh batteries?" Digital cameras eat batteries like candy. Get the NImh batteries and a KODAK camera or printer dock.
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Old Apr 1, 2006, 10:25 PM   #8
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I guess I'm just confused :-? From reading a bit on this site about batteries for digital cameras I thought the rechargeable CRVs sounded like a good choice. Is there good reason to choose one type over another? Whether it's the rechargeable CRVs, NImh, etc.

Bear with me, it's all a bit new to me and thanks for taking the time to answer my questions

EDIT: doing some reading up on batteries. I'm seeing some of the pros and cons of different rechargeable types and for my needs, some NiMH do sound more appropriate, not to mention being widely available Looks like I should invest in a good charger that independently charges each battery and has the trickle charge (or whatever the official term is) to keep them topped off when left in the charger for a while.
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Old Apr 1, 2006, 10:55 PM   #9
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I've seen the Canon A520 around $150, you may wanna check that out.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/a520.html


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Old Apr 1, 2006, 11:46 PM   #10
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UPDATE (again)

Ok I know this is getting a off topic from my original camera question, but just wanted to follow up about the battery questions I had. I just did the reading that I really should have done before asking questions in the first place!

Anyway, I just ordered the MAHA C204W charger with 4 2500mah batteries. That should do the trick for me.
Sorry I didn't do a bit more research before going on about batteries here.

Ok so I've ordered the camera, the SD memory, the SD card reader, the NiMH batteries and charger. Everything should be arriving roughly around the same time later in this coming week so all I have to do now is be patient.

Thanks for the help everyone and for putting up with me! :G
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