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Digi Camera suggestion and what to look for?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Mouth, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. Since there's a few camera pro's here and quite a few weekend shutter bugs, thought I'd ask for some advice for a new camera's features and possible recommendations/suggestions for particular brands or model of camera's.

    The current digi camera is close to 4 years old, and only a 1.3 MPixel (my mobile phone has that) .. so it's obviously I'm no pro. But it's time to upgrade, and get something better.

    My thoughts/feature list...

    Budget: Around $300ish .. happy to consider extending a little more if it means a big step-up in features/usability or future-proofing. (eg. entry level SLR)
    MPixel: 6 or higher - so I can blow-up some pics and frame if really like them
    Data: SD Card for compatibility with other devices (or does this not matter, since you generally just leave it in/with the camera anyways)
    Zoom: Optical of around 6? I know optical is better than digital, so the more optical zoom the better.
    Speed: 1 sec or better between readiness for shots.

    What are the good sites for reviews and buying guides for digital camera's?

    Is eBay a good place to save a few $ dollars, or do they only have shitty/crap camera's? Any ebay sellers specialising in digi camera's recommended? Or is it best pricing to just go retail (eg. Ted's) for warranty , etc. because the difference between them (eg. eBay) and retail is minimal?
  2. You're not going to get those specs for $300. $300 is happy snap territory for a new camera. You might be able to pick up a reasonable second hand one for that money though.

  3. Check out dpreview.com


    There are a few reasonable point and shoots in the $3-400 price range. If you want to stay in the entry level compact category, I'd check out the Canon Powershots and the Nikon Coolpix ranges.

    Maybe the Canon Powershot A610 or the Nikon Coolpix 5600. Both less than 6MP though, and more than $300.

    Just a side note...don't get fooled by the megapixel myth. Good 4x6" prints can be easily had by a sub 2MP camera, and a 5 MP camera will comfortably get out to around 12x18"+ all else being equal. My wife shoots with a Canon Powershot A60 at 2MP. Her 4x6" prints (and larger) are really great out of our Canon Pixma ip5200 printer.

    One of the big differences between compacts and DSLRs (aside from the obvious) though is not just megapixels, but physical sensor sizes. Many compacts have a sensor around the size of your little fingernail, whilst the DSLR typically have a sensor much larger.....closer to that (yet not quite as big) of a 35mm film frame. Even at the same megapixel rating, the larger sensor is more desirable, as it will produce an image that's much clearer, and with less noise.

    As for Entry level SLR, at this point in time, I'd go with the Nikon D50, but you're going to be spending $1100+ for the Body plus 18-55 kit lens kit, so it may be out of your range.

    I have a Canon Powershot A75, which is a really great compact, and a Nikon D70 DSLR, which I love.

    The A75 has been superseded of course, but the Powershot series is strong in that segment, and their current models are great.
  4. Another vote for the Canon Powershot range for the lower end of the P&S spectrum. For $300 your definitely going to be pushing it - and if you buy the Powershot A-series then your going to need to buy the battery charger on top of that. Atleast you'd save money when it came time to get the memory as they take SD (AFAIK!).

    I use my D70 as my main shooter, with a little Sony LC1 for a pocket P&S. I picked up the Sony for under $300 a little while ago from JB and aside from the Memory Stick format it's an awesome little P&S.

    I'd stay away from the Nikon low-end stuff as i've always found them to be a little too much like toys. Atleast the Canon PS series gives you halfassed manual controls and the ability to 'play' should you want to get artsy.
  5. True,

    The manual controls on the Powershots is actually quite functional for a compact.

    I've done a few fun things with my entry level A75.

  6. If it doesn't include a feature for making lattes, don't bother with it :LOL:

    I'd be spending around $500-$600 for a decent camera with at least x10 optical zoom. I quite like the Canon Ixus 700. Nice to use and very compact.

    I bought my camera from ebay. It was a bargain then and very prompt with the delivery and it came from Japan too. Make sure you find the sellers with very good rating (98%+) with lots of feedbacks.
  7. Thanks Guy. A 4 or 5 Mpixel would do me fine in that case, and it seems it would have to be a 4x optical zoom to stay within my relative price range. As I said, not a pro .. just want something decent, with much quicker startup and between shot readiness time than we currently have, to capture those family special moments and such.

    Powershot eh? They look very special and smick :) So something like a Canon Powershot A610 @ $400 would be recommended and be considered a good buy to have something decent, but not too hard to use, for an average Joe. I already have SD card, rechargable AA's, and recharge unit too, so no extra/add-on expense needed there.
  8. In regards to what I was saying about the megapixel myth.

    Just as a reference, here's a quick example of a hand held shot I took in the garden with my A75.

    The A75 is *only* 3.2megapixels.


    If your browser shrinks it to fit in your window, check it out at full size. You don't ned a million megapixels to be able to print large images nicely.

  9. If your in the Preston area come in to Harvey Norman and introduce yourself to Adrian in the photocentre.
    I dont make commission as im managerial staff, so i dont need to worry about selling and making any money off anyone.
    So if you come in and see me i will do you a ripper deal on camera, card, batteries if required, bag etc.

    I also have a fair amount of experince with the equipment so i should be able to offer some advice, let you test the cameras and most importantly print the photos for comparison.

    Offer open to all, just make sure you let me know your from Netrider...
  10. Yes, I'd highly recommend a Powershot A610.

    Great camera. ;)

    I'm a big fan of AA batteries as found in the Canons.

    with 4xAA's you'll get hundreds of shots out of it, and if they run out - some emergency AAs are only as far as the general store. A camera with a proprietary rechargable battery is no good to you if the battery goes flat halfway through the day.

    I use Nickel Metal AAs in my A75, and it's the way to go ;) I keep 4 new non rechargeable AAs in the case just as a back up. If I forget to recharge the Nickel Metals, I know I can continue shooting with the normal AAs for the rest of the day to get me out of the crap ;)

    Another thing to consider is that the Powershot A610 has a little bulk to it, unlike the super slim compacts. This is aided by the 4x AA batteries in the grip.

    It gives you a nice comfortable grip, and a little weight n the hand to provide a good comfortable and stable shooting platform. Much more preferable IMHO to the super slim compacts that fit in your shirt pocket.

    Of course if you need something super slim, it doesn't help you, but from a purely shooting perspective, I thin it's far superior.

  11. Are you going to be keeping it in a bag or in a pocket?

    If in pocket than size is very important and theres not much to choose from in sub $300 price range.

    I went with a olympus u-mini because its about the smallest in the price range, metal shell so strong, auto lens cover, splashproof, nice rounded shape which is comfortable in a jacket pocket.
    Which makes it a suitable bike camera.
    Also takes long movies and can take pics at 1 sec intervals.
    Only 2x zoom though and although its 4MP its a bit noisy and kind of blury (picture not sound).
    But it does its intended job fine for me, its just a point and shoot.

    The cannon powershot 510 or 520 has very good features but is a little to big for comfortable pocketing.
    They give you a lot of control with all the manual settings.

    Megapixels arent that important as has been mentioned.
    A big $300 camera will produce much better shots than a $300 compact.
  12. Olympus C-765??


    The C-765 Ultra Zoom – main features:
    • 4.0 million pixels
    • 10x optical zoom, f2.8 – 3.7 (equiv. 38 – 380mm on 35mm camera)
    • TruePic Turbo image processor
    • Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and Full Manual modes
    • 4 scene programs (Portrait, Sports, Night Scene, Landscape)
    • Super macro mode: shooting from as close as 3cm
    • Movie recording function with sound
    • 240,000 pixel electronic viewfinder
    • 1.8 inch LCD monitor with 110,00 pixels
    • PictBridge compatible
    • USB 2.0 (AutoConnect)
    • CAMEDIA Master 4.2 software provided

    The lens on these cameras is really quite good. They use the ED glass series lenses.
  13. Has anyone else noticed the alleged short life rechargable Ni-MH batteries have in some cameras??

    The only technical reason I can come up with is the lower voltage (1.2 vs 1.5) that the rechargables have compared to standard batteries and the camera looks at the lower voltage and deciding the battery is going flat shuts itself down.

    I've found if the camera is supplied with rechargable batteries it will work OK but if you get standard alkaline batteries you could have a problem.

    I own a Sony P43 (4Mp) compact and use a similar unit at work but we also have a "Kodak" compact unit in the family and after about 10 flash pics it starts giving the low battery warning but if I stick the batteries into the Sony it will work all day :roll: I've seen several other compacts from other manufacturers do the same thing to other family members & friends.
  14. Thx. I'd prefer to keep it in a bag, rather than a pocket, so super-compact size isn't important.
  15. I shoot with rechargeable Ni-MH in my Canon Powershot, and get literally hundreds of shots in between charges.

  16. Thanks. Do you have this camera? Seems to have a long start-up time (5 secs) compared to others on the market in same category? I've also taken heed with what Eberbachl said about std batteries rather than proprietary and like the idea of being abe to get ememergency ones from any store or servo, and this one has the latter.