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· Charter Member
173 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was hoping someone could give me advice on digital cameras. I am thinking of buying one for my wife to replace our autofocus 35mm. She is somewhat reluctant. I think if I get the right one, she will love it. The question is, which is the right one? My selection criteria are:
- picture quality
- ease of use
- reliability
- value

I have come to learn that a lot of the "cool" features on cameras end up being gimmicks that you don't use and drive up cost. I basically want an easy to use camera that takes great pictures and doesn't cause a lot of missed shots (our old 35mm is finicky and has caused missed shots due to low light, too bright, too close, etc.)

Anyone care to give me some advice?
Also, any advice on a good place to shop/buy?

· FFCobra Craftsman
1,975 Posts
John, I just replaced my old trusty Kodak 1.3 Megapixel camera after several years of fine service. After much research, I went with a Fujifilm Finepix 3800. It was the right choice for me. 3.2 Megapixel, 6X optical zoom (3.2 digital also). Voice features, movie features, good software. $399.95 at Gateway. Great $/features. Also, it has macro capabilities down to 4 inches (which is really what sold me as I use that at work). Best of all, the learning curve is about 10 min. Pictures in the best quality mode printed on my Epson Stylus 900 are as close to true photos as I have ever seen.


· So Senior, I can't Re-
567 Posts
The newer cameras from most vendors are far better than ones produced only a year or two ago.

I got a Canon S30 which has been great. 3.2 megapixel is fine for high res shots.

No matter which one you get, make sure you get an extra rechargable long life battery and a spare memory module so you aren't stuck with a full load of shots and a low battery when you want to take more. Most allow you to delete indiviual picts on the fly , but you burn through battery power faster as you read and display many shots through the viewer screen.

My cannon has a USB port which can connect to most computers easily as well as a RF port to a TV when you wan to show a slide show to a group at home.

The charger is a small pocket size one which only takes about half an hour to charge up a battery as well as a AC adaptor when you need to run it for long editing sessions or video capture to a computer. It's a hoot to play with.



· Senior Member
7,097 Posts
I too have the Canon S300. About the size of a pack of cigarettes and very easy to use. Cost me about $400 earlier this year.

· Senior Charter Member
3,620 Posts
I bought one of the Sony Mavicas (MVC-FD75) primarily because it uses a standard computer diskette for storage. I did not want to run out of space.It has a Flash,the 10X Digital Zoom,and a few of photographic "features" that I have never even used. It has over ~2.5 hours of continuous service and a recharger. At max resolution I get >20-30 pics per disk.

· Premium Member
2,897 Posts
The good news is that you have lots of excellent choices. Some of it depends on what you want to shoot. If you want stuff around the house that is really easy to work with on the computer, then the consumer cameras from Sony, Canon, and Kodak all do pretty well. Sony has superb optics, but use proprietary Memory Sticks. Canon has a faster shutter delay (all except the top digital SLRs have substantial lag when you push the button) and uses standard compact flash cars (cheaper). Kodak makes a nice little camera with a docking station that doesn't require cables.

I would probably suggest that you don't want to use the Canon D-30 (like Ted above had) or D-60. (Nikon has some similar cameras.) These are great cameras, but they are harder to use and cost substantially more. These cameras fall into the pro-sumer or low end commercial range. They have fast shutter speeds and can use your expensive SLR lens. They also require a lot of care.

So what do I use? I use a Canon D-60 for my nice work. When it is strapped around my neck we are probably talking about $3K or so. It lets me take gorgeous pictures with fast shutter speeds (great for doing zooms of fast moving cars at the track). I also screw up a ton of pictures because the settings are so precise. For my playing around and misc pictures, I have a number of Sony Mavica and Cybershot cameras that can go in my pocket. One of them is one that I have ever strapped onto the Cobra and used for in-car video footage. The optics on the Sonys are really nice and for around $300 the pictures are terrifc. If I was to buy just one camera and use it as an intermediate, I would probably buy something like the Fuji Finepix (about $350-$650 depending on model), Olympus E20 (about $1,500) or the Sony DSC F717 (around $1,000). These cameras are all very strong, but still have great point and shoot capabilities.

Finally, a note about resolution. The vendors push resolution as a reason to buy a more expensive camera. Unless you are blowing these pictures up and making posters, most of the time you will shoot a lower resolution than the camera max. I publish a lot of photos to the web and have to resample every image to keep file sizes reasonable. That part is a pain. On my Sonys, I just pic something reasonable like 1,024 dpi and don't bother to convert. So don't spend more money for more resolution since it just takes up more space. My rule of thumb is that unless I am doing some real work or want to print, I don't shoot higher than my screen resolutions.


Here is something I couldn't do with a consumer camera, much less without a tripod. Shot with Canon D-60.

Image balanced, but unretouched:

Sony Cybershot (unretouched):

-Dan Elam
US Imaging Technical Expert Representative, International Standards Organization (ISO)

· Just Glad to be here - back to working on the car
1,633 Posts
Have some mercy on the dial up people. Link your pictures.

I have a T-1 line and it took seven seconds to load this page.

· Registered
77 Posts
I have a Nikon coolpix 775....it was used to shoot almost everything in these two sites.



for web work a rarely use hlf of the 2. 1 megapixels it has....just don;t need anymore.

love the camera, love the size... got it last christmas, it was around 400. I know nikon has come out with upgrade cameras since then.

Only issue i do have with it is the shutter lag.... my other camera is an Canon EOS-1....where lag doesn't exist!

good luck!


· Registered
60 Posts
No doubt, that took forever to load. I have a Nikon Coolpix 5000 for Super Hi res stuff and a Pentax Optio 2300 for everything else. You do not need much more than 2 Mega Pixels unless you want to print out anything bigger than a 8.5 X 11 thats why I have the Pentax, that and it's small.
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