need help selecting a digital camera

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by johnnowak, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. johnnowak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2003
    Location:
    New York, New York
    #1
    Hey everyone. I'm looking to purchase a digital camera for my girlfriend.

    I want to get her something with a decent optical zoom and manual focus... interchangeable lenses would be nice, but isn't mandatory. Basically, something she could use in an artistic manner, not just a simple point and click thing.

    If you could give me some suggestions that would be great. It doesn't have to be super high resolution or anything, she's just getting into digital photography, etc, but I'd like to get her something she won't "grow out of" too quickly if you know what i mean.

    The cheaper the better of course. :)
     
  2. belf8st macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #2
    I've always had really good luck with Canon. Take a look at the powershot G5. I've got the G1 model and it's been a good little camera. If I had the $$$ to spend I'd look into purchasing one of the EOS series.
     
  3. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Canberra OZ
    #3
    Try and aim for 4-5 megapixel to allow large shots

    Cameras that save in RAW are best, TIFF not bad.

    Try and get a CF2 card slot for cheap memory, sony stick and others are expensive

    Look carefully at the review sites www.dpreview.com and another few

    Canon and Sony are good, although Sony is expensive for parts as well

    Look carefully for compatability with software, Apple's site has stuff under iphoto and photoshop
     
  4. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Dec 21, 2002
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    #4
    look at your real zoom not digital,get the megapixel you need and get a reliable camera. my 2 megapixel Fuji2600 zoom is still doing great 2.5 years later. Great little people shooter. never lets me down and for most stuff i just use 1 MP. Nothing like taking out something and it just works. :p I have nothing but praise for this little camera.
     
  5. evil_santa macrumors 6502a

    evil_santa

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    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #5
    I was thinking about getting the Canon EOS 6.3MP Digital Rebel @ $999 in the end I got the Canon PowerShot S230 3.2 MP @ $275 and its very good. Its small so i can have it with me all the time & the images are very good. It will print up to 10x8 ok. You can get a the 4MP & x3 optical zoom for a little more $. I think they are ideal cameras to get into digital photography with out spending $$$$

    here is a full size image from the camera (1.1mb)
     
  6. Angelus macrumors 6502

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    Apr 19, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #6
    I agree with getting 4/5 megapixels. It gives your girlfriend room to experiment should she ever decide to print out large shots.
    People here may disagree with me but i'd say avoid going above 5mp. Anything extra is just posing power unless your blowing your images up to huge sizes. Save your cash and spend it on accessories like memory,batteries,camera bag,tripod etc.
    Also pay attention to the lens on the camera and what it will allow you to do. For example,one of the reasons i got my minolta 7hi was because the lens goes from 28mm-200m. This covers wide-angle which is very nice for landscapes but the 200mm also gives you a very nice 7xoptical for telephoto work. And since this is the lens out of the box as it were,it allows me to experiment with different types of photography without having to add conversion lenses which also increase bulk.
    Thats my two cents. Hope it helps
     
  7. johnnowak thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Thanks for the advice everyone. Are these cameras going to offer manual adjustment of exposure and focus and all that?
     
  8. evil_santa macrumors 6502a

    evil_santa

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    London, England
    #8
    on the canon powershot, i have control over exposure +/- 2 stop, white balance, ISO Speed (50/100/200/400). And limited control over focus.
     
  9. Souljas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    #9
    also consider a Nikon, they are really good. Ive got a Nikon 4300, its a bit bulky but the pictures are great and has lots of the other great features like manual focus, and loads of add on lenses which give you all different types of shoots.

    Most ok the Nikons have got off camera battery charging

    i suggest dcresoure.com for good reviews
     
  10. Moxiemike macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

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    Jan 1, 2002
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #10
    Cheaper the better is surely a good move finanically, but if you REALLY want quality...

    I'd suggest that if you're looking for REAL quality, there's only one choice:

    The Nikon D70. It had very clean photos up to ISO 1600, full manual controls for creativity, nice preset "modes" for a variety of point & shoot styles, interchangeable lenses and a BIG 6mp sensor that's gonna yield blown up prints up to 24x36.

    It's easily the best value and bang for the buck amongst Digital SLR cameras, and functions JUST like a film cam. It's a bargain at $999 for the body only or $1299 with an AMAZING kit lens.

    At $999 there's also the Digital Rebel, which was the only sub-$1000 DSLR on the market, but it's feature set and chintzy kit lens are blown out of the water by the D70. The D70 is also better than Canon's 10d and Nikon's own D100, both of which are $1499 and it also has features not available on Nikon's 2nd generation pro level cam, the D2h, which runs $3199!

    I've played with a D70 extensively and it's a seriously impressive bargain and will easily last 4 years. If you want interchangeable lenses, just go out and get one of these. Both of you will be incredibly happy with. You'll probably buy another one for yourself.

    If you're looking a little cheaper, you're in the point and shoot realm, and there's really not many choices for quality. I'd avoid the 8mp crap altogether, for as of now, they have MAJOR noise issues. So skip the Nikon 8700, the Canon Pro1, the Sony F828 and the Dimage A2.

    That said, the Nikon 5700 and the Dimage A1 (mintolta-konica) both give nice results at ISO100 & 200. Above that, the photos are useless, due to the small sensor size. So if she's planning ANY low light photos, go straight to the D70.

    The 5700 & A1 both have stellar lenses with nice ranges built in, 35-280 on the 5700 and 28-200 on the A1. The A1 also features image stabilization, and functions alot like a traditional SLR manual camera. The images are great and the lens is HIGH QUALITY.

    The 5700 has a great macro range, though the lens is slower than the A1 and lacks the IS. Talk to her about her shooting needs.

    I'd avoid the G2, as it's manual controls are all buried in menus, making it not very manual. The 5700 has a long learning curve but it's less menu-intensive than the Canon.

    The A1 is the one closest to the D70 in terms of controls being "at your finger tips"

    All of them are 5mp and will yield clean prints at 12x18 and slightly bigger. I used the A1's pre-decessor for a while, the 7hi and loved everything about it, save for battery life and ISO 400 + performance. They've fixed the battery issue (lithium ion pack lasts long) but the high ISO performance is still a contentious point with any of these camera.

    But in closing, if you want a camera that is gonna grow with you, go straight to the D70. There's really no problem with this machine (there's some FUD about moire, but it's nothing to worry about unless you plan on staring at 300% enlargements on your screen in Photoshop). It's a camera that is gonna last you a long time, it's sturdy, it's got more resolution than 8mp p&s cameras, and a host of pro features at a reasonable price. You also have your pick of Nikon lenses, which are considered to be at the top of the heap, and you have a wide range, from super wide to super telephoto to high end macro and everything in between.

    Just spend the cash on a D70 and be incredibly happy.
     
  11. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

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    Apr 5, 2004
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    The Alpha Quadrant
    #11
    I've had real success with Fuji cameras and I'd recommend them very highly, especially for this kind of work. I own a fuji Finepix S3000 but I believe its big brother the S5000 is even better for what you want (i was on a budget.) Please take a look at these great cameras! They have manual f-stop and exposure controls, and macro shooting which are sometimes really hard features to find on a digicam.
    Good luck with your search
    Tani
     
  12. johnnowak thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 24, 2003
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    New York, New York
    #12
    Thanks for all the help Moxie! If I had to stick to the sub-600 dollar range though, what there would you recommend? 999 is pushing it a bit too much I'm afraid.
     
  13. dudeami macrumors regular

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    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #13
    I have always been happy with sony, you can buy affordable generic memory sticks like 256 MB for around $60 or so, the batteries are rechargeable and have a long life, and if you later move into video using sony the batteries and memory sticks can be interchangeable.
     
  14. Moxiemike macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

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    Pittsburgh, PA
    #14
    I'm thinking of actually getting a coolpix 5400 for general snapshots. A nice bargain at $549.


    Great images and a nice feature set.
     
  15. johnnowak thread starter macrumors 6502

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  16. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

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    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #16
    Excellent post Moxiemike

    Excellent post. But one really has to keep the noise issue in perspective. How much noise one sees depends on two main criteria.

    First, the ISO setting - which is the approximate equivalent of film speed ASA/ISO settings.

    Secondly, how large of a print you intend to print?

    For THE BEST explanation on exactly what pixel size is and how it affects noise etc read this review on the Sony F828 below. It has lots of excellent comparison pics too :)

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/sony828.shtml
     
  17. G4scott macrumors 68020

    G4scott

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    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #17
    I have a Canon PowerShot S-50, and it's got quite a bit of manual controls, such as shutter & aperture priority, manual focus, exposure adjustment, manual flash adjustment, etc. While the camera is small, and it only has a 3x zoom lens, it's older brother, the Canon G5 has a better lens, with a 4x zoom (I could've sworn it was better...), and I think it might have a few more features too. I'm not entirely sure, but I also think you might be able to get wide angle telephoto converters and stuff like that for the G5.

    http://www.powershot.com/powershot2/g5/index.html
     
  18. jzieske macrumors regular

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    Jun 28, 2003
    Location:
    Bloomington, MN
    #18
    D70 Kit lens

    Moxiemike -
    I am seriously thinking about getting a D70. I currently have a Nikon N60 35mm camera with a Quantaray 28-200 lens. Do you think the kit lens is still worth getting with the D70? And is really better then the semi crappy kit lenses that come with most packs?

    Thanks,
    Jeff

    p.s. once D70 is bought I will have a coolpix 5700 to get rid of if anyone is interested. Not sure about price yet though.
     
  19. Moxiemike macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

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    Pittsburgh, PA
    #19
    Yes, the kit lens IS worth it! I'd keep your Quantaray for a some telephoto work, but for the bulk of what you do, you'll use the kit lens. It's faster (f3.5-4.5) has a Silent Wave motor for FAST and QUIET focusing, ED elements, goes wide (28) to long (105) and is sharp as a tack!

    Well worth $299 extra onto the D70 package.

    Really, it's not a kit lens as much as it's a bundled lens. They are selling it seperately, for $399, as part of their DX series. I personally am buying one as my "everyday" shooting lens. It's THAT good.
     
  20. jzieske macrumors regular

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    Jun 28, 2003
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    Bloomington, MN
    #20
    Thanks for all the great info you have provided about the D70 in this and other threads. It has been a lot of help. Nikon ought to pay you commision, cause you've certainly sold me. -Jeff
     
  21. Moxiemike macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

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    #21
    Heh! Thanks. They kinda sorta do, but don't let that fool you...I'm VERY serious about photography and I try to be fair in recommendations.

    The D70 lives up to every ounce of potential that it had when they released it. So i'm happy to recommend it.

    I was in the market to possibly by a D2h ($3200 pro camera) and I think I may go D70 instead. I'll bet testing it out during a sports shoot. We'll see how she works. :)
     
  22. angelsx6 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    #22
    Canon 10d or Nikon d70

    Hi,

    I'm torn between the Canon 10d and the Nikon d70. Price really isn't a issue. I'm just looking for the better camera. Any advise would be appreciated!!! Thanks.........
     
  23. Moxiemike macrumors 68020

    Moxiemike

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    Jan 1, 2002
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    #23
    The 10d is a fine camera but it's overpriced for it's feature set. The d70 is 200 less, comes with a STELLAR lens witg a silent motor, and has some great pro quality features like 1/500 flash sync, huge buffer for action shooting, support for wireless flash with the SB-800 speedlight, and of course, allows the use for great nikon lenses.

    The image quality is also second to none, and eclipses the D1x in certain situations. It goes up to ISO 1600 and there's nary a hint of noise, and it's got spot, center weight and 256 sgement matrix metering. It's just an incredible bargain.

    I was in the market for a D1x/D2h as my second body, and I think i'm going with the D70. Just have to find one!

    m
     
  24. angelsx6 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    #24
    Thanks M for the quick reply!!! I have one other question for you...I've been researching the nikon lenses at wolfcamera.com.

    I see that nikon has a NEW lens 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR IF-ED nikkor....How would this lens compare to the lens that comes with the d70 kit. I must admit I don't have a lot of experience with interchangable lenses....I don't think I'll be for changing my lens a lot. I'd like one good one that can somewhat do it all. Again, I take a lot of pictures of my daughters, portrait style, dance performances, our son's sporting events and vacations....
     
  25. Hlau macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2002
    #25
    Another happy D70 user here! And I'll second everything Moxiemike said. The lens kit is really good value. with the AF-S 18-70mm lens. Pretty compact and seems more robust than what I saw with the 300D kit. I haven't seen the new lens you mentioned but the obvious would be that 18-70mm can give wide angle (but not very wide) shots whereas 24-120mm would give you more zoom

    I've found the kit lens to be versatile and suits travel perfectly, but I do change my lenses for closer shots for sports etc. speaking of which, i just love D70 for sports, it's starts up so quick and the continuous shot mode is just damn impressive for this kind of DSLR. I can't add to what M has said, suffice it to say that i love the D70.
     

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