Digital Camera... what one?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Mechcozmo, May 19, 2005.

  1. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #1
    I'm looking for a new digital camera. Probem is, I can't find one that sounds good. So I turned to the great, holy-grail of information-- MacRumors.

    I'm looking for:

    1. 4.0 Megapixels and up (5 would be nice :D)
    2. Fast start-up time. I don't mind a couple-second wait, but if it takes too long I'll miss my shots.
    3. Features should be decent controls-- I like to set my own F-stop and apatures more than most people, but I also need a basic point-and-shoot mode too for fast-shots. (aka, "Not-arsty-mood")
    4. Size should be small-to-medium-ish. I don't mind it being the size of my palm, but if it is too big I wouldn't want to carry it around.

    This camera will be taking a lot of yearbook shots... (I'm the photographer for the yearbook at my school) but also for personal useage. I've taken classes and am what I like to call a "professional amatur" photographer. :D


    I currently use a Kodak LS443 camera. It is..... OK. I don't like it for lack of features, but it does take decent pictures (when it works :mad: )

    I've played with a friend's Pentax S40 and liked it, but the controls were slightly awkward and it used batteries like crazy. Although I like AA batteries, if I need to carry 20 of them with me, I'd rather use a proprietary battery.

    I've used an Olympus C-50Z and liked it a lot. Nice pictures, nice battery, etc. But it is a bit old and I'm not sure how well it will last in terms of cost vs. features vs. time.

    Oh, I don't mind too much if I have to sell my SD cards and get some new kind. I already have a 512 MB CF card, 1 128MB SD card and 1 256MB SD card but I can sell the SD cards if needed. Or something like that. It really doesn't matter a huge amount the card type so long as it works nicely.

    Anyone got any ideas?
     
  2. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    #2
    I have focused on a few and here is the discussion I had in mac Peripheral forum.

    Link

    Post 14 has some nice links
     
  3. Mechcozmo thread starter macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #3
    I've looked though those sites already on my own... I was looking for a personal recomendation by someone on what a good camera might be...
    But thanks!
     
  4. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #4
    I have a Nikon D70 - love it - the kit lens is really good too
    There are plenty of places that list the merits of DSLR etc, go here

    www.kenrockwell.com

    for are good schooling in why you may want to get a DSLR.
    In the end it comes down to what kinda pictures you wanna take!
     
  5. SFVCyclone macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Location:
    Pasadena, Ca
    #5
    take a look at the Canon SD 20, it has REALLY good reviews everywhere. and its super tiny, 5 MP.
     
  6. Mechcozmo thread starter macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #6
    Well, the D70 is certainly nice but a bit out of my price range.

    The Canon was ok... but few manual features and no viewfinder!

    I need a viewfinder to take pictures (in high-glare situations, to save battery, to not look like a tourist/idiot).

    An optical of 3x is a must at minimum. But I'd like more than that...

    So yes I am demanding but I want a good camera! :D

    To recap:
    Optical zoom (min. 3x)
    Viewfinder
    Decent battery
    4.0 MP and up
    Fast startup time
    a fair amount of manual control (if desired, but also full auto)


    Sound hard enough, eh? Any ideas on things that come close? I could give up a few of these things or scale them back...
     
  7. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #7
    Sounds just like a D70! :D
    No kidding though, you won't regret the extra layout. The kit lens is great and goes from 18-70 (3.8x optical zoom). 6MP (but can go lower) Excellent battery - like over 1000 shots with the kit lens. INSTANT (and I mean it) start-up time. Huge manual control, but point and shoot too. More manual controls than equivalent canons. Obviously a viewfinder - there's no way you can use the screen, except to review pictures.
    Seriously, give it some thought and read this:
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/2dig.htm
     
  8. atari1356 macrumors 68000

    atari1356

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    #8
    That guy makes some sweeping generalizations about point and shoot cameras that simply aren't true... like this:

    There are plenty of non-DSLR cameras that are fast, take good pictures, and are way less expensive. Granted, DSLR's do have some advantages, but I wouldn't take advice from an article that's so one-sided... there are nice things about both types of cameras.

    Here's another ridiculous generalization that made me laugh:

     
  9. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

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    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #9
    If you've ever used a DSLR you will know that compared to them other digicams are damn slow. I can take 5 shots on my D70 before any P&S is even ready.
    You have to remember that he is writing from a professional photographers point of view.
    The point he's trying to make (he confesses to owning and using some P&S cameras) is never to spend too much on a fixed-lens kind of a camera when you could get a DSLR for a similar price - and that is very true. I have a old Canon v3 which is great for nights out etc, but for taking photos - good photos, it's very limited.
    There is a crossover in price now and he is saying that a low-end DSLR is still A LOT better than a top-end fixed lens camera. And IMO he's absolutely right.

    Anyone who shoots digital for a living would probably agree with most of his statements.
    Try reading more of the site like this:
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm
    Before YOU make a sweeping statement about him!

    Just scroll to the bottom of http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech.htm and slowly scroll up - these are the cameras this guy has used - a few more that the average person I would think! -He knows his stuff!

    He goes on to say (that you conveniently cut out of your post):
    He summarizes thus:
     
  10. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #10
    Here are two almost identical looking cameras that meet your aforementioned specs. The Nikon S1 and the Sony DSC-T33. Both have a list price under $400 and can probably be found for slightly less than list.

    http://nikonimaging.com/global/products/digitalcamera/coolpix/s1/index.htm

    http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INT...dcc_DIDigitalCameras_Cyber-shotDigitalCameras

    My extensive experience with cameras is that regardless of how good they are, the larger and more bulky, the less likely you'll be to take them everywhere with you. So while the above two will not give you Hassleblad quality pictures, they should both be good enough to satisfy discriminating consumers.

    Personally, I'd go with the Nikon because their digital cameras tend to have slightly more realistic colors than most of the others, including Sony. Another advantage of the Nikon is that this model uses SD memory cards versus Sony's propriety and more expensive memory stick.
     
  11. Mechcozmo thread starter macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #11
    I trust you, but $1200 for a camera is about... sky-high past what I'm willing to pay. Maybe when I win the lotto. I'd like a D70, but honestly, I can't afford it nor take the time to carry all the associated gear with me.

    Thanks a lot! Glad to hear about the Nikon vs. Sony thing, as well as the links. And the size factor is something else that I agree on-- if it is too big and requires too much stuff to go with it, I can't bring it with me to school for yearbook duties. Or with friends to where I'd go if I had friends in this "real world" thing.
     
  12. Mechcozmo thread starter macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #12
    Linkety to a PowerShot G5. Looks like a very nice camera... and since it is ~2 years old it is cheaper than the $800 MSRP. That's a good thing! :)

    Any thoughts on it?
     
  13. Balin64 macrumors 6502a

    Balin64

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    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    In a Mauve Dream
    #13
    It's a bummer the D70 is out of your price range: it is an exceptional camera. I am sorry, but I don't have other recommendations. I had a fairly decent Olympus digital camera, but I just longed for the SLR. When Nikon introduced the D70: love at first sight. Good Luck!
     
  14. petej macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    #14
    Early last year I had an urgent need for a Digital Camera - first child and all that. I really wanted a D-SLR but the budget would not stretch (prices of D-SLRs have dropped massively since) and there were big evolution steps starting to appear - some have materialised some not. In the end I went for a coolpix 8700 - lots of dots and a good lens and some control. Whilst this is a great camera and takes fantastic pics, the speed issue really irritates. Not just switch on but button press to picture take. Having used SLR's from about 9, I miss the manual zoom and the manual focus ring. Manual focus with buttons takes far too long. At the time I thought it was worth the dosh and would satisfy the competing demands. Now I realise that this is a temporary situation and the coolpix will be eventually be traded for a D-SLR (and a smaller, cheaper P+S). So I do have some small regrets about spending out on a top line P+S.
    Sorry for not giving advice specifically on your choices, I just saw a lot of similarities between your wishlist and mine.
     
  15. BakedBeans macrumors 68040

    BakedBeans

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    What's Your Favorite Posish
  16. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #16
    Sony vs. Nikon? A no-brainer surely? Who makes cameras?

    The nikon range is generally good. It sounds like you're looking for a more "snappy camera" style. The trouble with them is, as you have said, the lack of manual functions.

    Check out the specs - I have a Canon v3 and that has quite a lot you can do - exposure compensation and white balance come to mind.

    What's your budget? Fix that first. Then, if you see a camera with 10% of this (under or over) see how you like it.
    I REALLY recommend going to a shop to buy - not over the internet, a lot of camera is about holding it and seeing how it feels - a good example of this was when i was on holiday and was going to buy a Canon EOS 300D ("Digital Rebel").

    I went to the shop, tried both this and the more expensive D70, and in the end went for the D70. - It feels about twice as expensive as the 300D- no tacky plastic (D70 has a metal frame - it weighs maybe twice the 300D body only) - it came with a REALLY good quality lens in the kit (as opposed to the canons pretty poor one think it was 24-50!) Ken Rockwell really rates this lens independent of the D70 - and I think you can only still get it as part of that kit. And it has a TON more features than the 300D (which in actual fact has restricted features that somewhere there's a firmware hack for!). I do not regret for one instant the choice I made, mostly on the "feel" of the camera in the shop.

    This build quality carries right through the nikon range. with a good deal from your local dealer, you won't get a bad nikon.

    Try this for size:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...104-6339872-2163147?v=glance&s=photo&n=507846

    or this:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...104-6339872-2163147?v=glance&s=photo&n=507846

    Notice how the nikons have the lump at the side - this makes them real easy to hold.
    3x zoom seems standard, with only really the MP varying.

    go nikon would be my advice past the D70, and also see the camera in a shop before you buy (even if it's just to see then and then you buy on the net :D)
     
  17. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #17
    This is the main think i was posting links to before.
    petej, soon Nikon are releasing the D70s - which will make the still excellent D70 cheaper. In fact, the ONLY difference between the two cameras (after a D70 firmware upgrade i did today) will be 0.2" in the LCD size at the back!
    petej, this would seem like a good time to do your trade (well, in the next coupla months - wait for stocks to be full of D70S and all the schmucks buying them cos they're "better" and you should be able to pick up a D70 quite cheap) (Full story http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d70s.htm)
    While i plug DSLR you have to be aware of this:
    http://www.pbase.com/copperhill/ccd_cleaning
    (dust on the sensor that will need to be cleaned CONTRARY to manufacturer recommendations)
     
  18. petej macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    #18
    I had been aware of the need to clean CCD's and that scared me a bit. I am obsessive with cleaning lenses yet I never get them as clean as I want. I fear that the CCD would become an obsession too. Thanks for the link.
     
  19. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    #19
    Sounds like you may want what I am waiting for. The form factor seems pretty tight, but know till it comes out.

    Canon S2 IS

    Use your SD card, Uses recharable AA's, has a view finder, manual and auto controls. Will take 550 pics on NiMH AA's, and should debut around $499 in June.

     

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  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #20
    I forget the models over in America, despite being Canadian.

    My camera is what you're looking for, and its called a Canon IXUS 40, and is called the Canon SD300 in America. There's also a Canon SD400 and 500 out now. Its comes with a viewfinder and a 2" screen, its small and super-fast at everything, and is tiny: Canon SD300

    A slightly larger camera that I was looking at was the Canon S500:Canon S500. Its not much bigger in terms of length and width, but in thickness. It is noticeably thicker and heavier, but not a brick (maybe 33% thicker and heavier than my SD300). It's still small though!! The benefit, and the reason I considered it, is because it came with a larger CCD that probably results in better pictures than the Canon SD series, theoretically.

    A Panasonic DSC-LS1 LUMIX or Casio EXILIM isn't bad, but the lack of viewfinder and battery life, and the fact that other brands options offered better image quality was why I didn't go for them at the end. They're still great though. I have 2 friends who have the Casio and one who owns the Lumix.

    I've used my uncle's Sony DSC-T3 while in Hong Kong, and it takes very nice pictures, but the exposure is greater than on my Canon when both are set at AUTO, so pictures from my Canon end up darker than the Sony's. I only started learning about cameras 3 months ago when I bought my camera in HK, but that's my opinion. My gf owns the same Sony, and the exposure is greater on hers than on my SD300. Despite what people here say about Nikon and Canon, I'd say that on some occasions, the Sony takes nicer pictures than my Canon, and maybe its because of the exposure on AUTO.

    The Nikon Coolpix 5xxx series is also something to consider. I don't like them too much myself, as I don't think the image quality is up to snuff when compared to my 2MP Canon A60, but whatever. ;)

    The largest camera I would recommend is the Canon A80/A85/A95. You really can't go wrong with them, but you said you wanted a small camera, and since my old A60 was too big to carry around conveniently (couldn't fit into pockets), I didn't mention it earlier. Its also not particularly fast. :eek: However, it probably takes the best photos from the ones I've mentioned here.
     
  21. atari1356 macrumors 68000

    atari1356

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    #21

    That's the one I'm waiting for as well. It has the megapixels and manual controls the original poster is looking for.

    The Panasonic FZ5 and FZ20 are also ones to consider, although the Canon has some extra features that make it more attractive to me.
     
  22. kiwi-in-uk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    Location:
    AU
    #22
    I agree with stubeeef - the Canon S2 IS has all the features that I have been looking for and, while it is a bit of a gamble to buy a new-to-market product, I have had good experiences with Canon products in the past (including an A60 - like yours). I intend to buy one in June.

    Off topic - and perhaps Abstract might be able to help here - I will be travelling from UK to NZ & Oz in late June. Routing is flexible. My question is whether camera pricing in Singapore or HK was significantly different from UK. Or other ideas? Pricing in Oz seems to be very high compared with UK.
     
  23. sarae macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Location:
    madison, WI
    #23

    I have the G5, and really love it. It's a little bulky, but the replacement, the G6 is a bit smaller. One of my friends just got the G6 but I haven't had a chance yet to play around with it - she got it from Dell not too long ago between $500-600 (don't remember the exact price, but it was below 600.)

    One of my favorite things - besides having access to the manual controls, having two custom settings - is the swivel LCD. You don't really realize how awesome it is until you start using it.

    If you want to see some examples, here's a link to some pics I've taken with it: my flickr page

    edited to add: the G5/G6 also uses a lithium battery. I've used it several times for hours on end, and have never managed to drain the battery.
     
  24. Mechcozmo thread starter macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #24
    The PowerShot S2 IS looks really nice. Pretty much satisfies my requirements, but I'm going to wait for it to come out and get some reviews first. I think it is now between the PowerShot G5 (linkety) and the PowerShot S2 IS (linkety). Both cameras seem nice, but the S2 wins out in the zoom and battery race, while the G5 wins the price race. Both seem very nice cameras however....

    Any experience with the G5 or comments on the S2 IS? Or if you have anything completely separate from what I just mentioned but you think it might work, post it already!
     
  25. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    #25
    If I noticed correctly the G5 will need a different memory card, the S2 uses what you have, that may save some $$ and hassle.
    The processor and optics on the S2 are proven, so I am not too worried to be a first buyer here, others here may know better than me, but I think I am willing to jump. I too cruise the internet for REAL reviews and not the press releases on the S2. Some should hit by the end of May, I hope.
     

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