Please help choose a digital camera!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by MusicMonkey, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. MusicMonkey macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #1
    Hey Everyone,
    I am unable to decide on a digital camera with the following requirements. Good zoom (like the Canon A510), video and audio capture, able to take good night shots (without a tripod), able to take good concert pictures (without a tripod) and which is within a price range of under $300. I have a list of the cameras that fall within my price range as I am purchasing this on a gift card and must by from a certain store.

    3 Megapixel Cameras
    Kodak EasyShare CX7300 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Canon Powershot A400 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Kodak EasyShare CX7330 3.1MP Digital Camera
    Olympus D-535 Zoom 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Canon PowerShot A510 3.3MP Digital Camera
    Canon PowerShot SD200 3.2MP Digital Camera

    4 Megapixel Cameras
    Fuji Finepix A345 4.1MP Digital Camera
    HP PhotoSmart M23 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Samsung Digimax A400 4.0MP Digital Camera
    HP Photosmart M407 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Olympus D-545 4.0MP Digital Camera
    HP Photosmart R607 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Sony Cyber-shot DSCS40 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S60 4.1MP Digital Camera
    HP PhotoSmart R607 BMW Williams.F1 Team Special Edition 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Panasonic DSC-LS1 Lumix 4.0MP Digital Camera

    5 Megapixel Cameras
    Pentax Optio 50 5.0MP Digital Camera
    Kodak EasyShare CX7530 5.0MP Digital Camera
    Hewlett Packard Photosmart R707 5.1MP Digital Camera
    Fuji FinePix E510 5.2MP Digital Camera

    The main thing I am looking for is good zoom with great picture quality in low light conditions such as a concert without the use of a tripod or additional flash.

    I am currently leaning towards the Canon SD200 Digital Elph and the Canon A510 (the only problem with the A510 is many people have had problems in low light conditions). I am also unsure of the quality of certain brands with digital cameras (ie. Sony and Panasonic) although I know that they both make great electronic devices.

    Please help me narrow down the list to find the best camera. After more research I am currently leaning towards the Canon SD200 Digital Elph because of the reviews I have heard on the low-light image quality.

    Thank you for your help in advance.
     
  2. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #2
    this should probably go in the "buying tips" forum. But, let me say that I too am looking for a digital camera and I too am pretty well decided on the canon SD200. Reviews are very good, size is great, and I'd trust canon's reputation for quality imaging over any other company, except maybe Nikon.

    The SD200 has 3x zoom, not great but ok, very good video capture, and good night shots. Image quality overall is great. All in a tiny and relatively cheap package.
     
  3. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

    jelloshotsrule

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Location:
    serendipity
    #3
    nikon has a good rep for lens quality, especially when it comes to macro... my brother's 3 year old 4 mp nikon had amazing macro capabilities...

    i personally have a canon (digital rebel). my other brother and girlfriend have canons (4 mp digital elphs)... and they both love them. i would definitely say go with either a canon or nikon. my mom's kodak seems like a joke in comparison to the other cameras in that range that i've seen... i'd opt for a lower mp canon or nikon over a higher mp kodak or other brand... i'm not sure how pentax and olympus digitals stack up necessarily, no experience with them
     
  4. MusicMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #4
    Thank you both very much for your quick replies. I too have heard that the Kodak camera is not very good in terms of growing with the camera. In other words it does not have many manual features. Also, the quality of the camera itself is also not very good as it is known to fall apart.

    So basically cutting out the HP brand cameras and the Kodak cameras the list is as follows:

    3 Megapixel Cameras
    Canon Powershot A400 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Olympus D-535 Zoom 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Canon PowerShot A510 A510 3.3MP Digital Camera
    Canon PowerShot SD200 3.2MP Digital Camera

    4 Megapixel Cameras
    Fuji Finepix A345 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Samsung Digimax A400 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Olympus D-545 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Sony Cyber-shot DSCS40 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S60 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Panasonic DSC-LS1 Lumix 4.0MP Digital Camera

    5 Megapixel Cameras
    Pentax Optio 50 5.0MP Digital Camera
    Fuji FinePix E510 5.2MP Digital Camera

    I am still leaning towards the Canon SD200 and from the replies so far it is backing up my decision. Thank you for the continued feedback and help.
     
  5. Josh macrumors 68000

    Josh

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #5
    Have you considered the Canon A95?

    Excellent 5mp camera (best in it's class) and can be yours for under $300.
     
  6. MusicMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #6
    Since I am buying the camera on a gift card I must purchase it from a certain store. I did think about the Canon A95 but it is a bit pricey at over $400. That is why I am not taking that camera into account. Although I heard it has amazing low-light picture quality but I also believe the SD200 has the same and that is my main specification because of concert pictures and night shots.
     
  7. razorme macrumors regular

    razorme

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #7
    I have an SD300 which I am generally satisfied with - the fast DIGIC II chip and focus is a dream. I used to have a S400 but I upgraded because I wanted a 640 x 480 30 fps movie mode, and the SD300 does a fantastic job for shooting quick movies of the kids. The two drawbacks are a poor flash (you can see darkness in the corners when doing a closeup shot with the flash) and no USB 2. The movies I take can be hundreds of MB so it takes a long time to transfer to my iMac (and I don't want to fuss with a card reader).

    The SD400 and SD500 have since come out with USB 2 and some other new features. If you could somehow manage to save up for the SD400, I am sure you would not regret it - and it would likely greatly extend the time before you go looking for a new camera down the road!
     
  8. Josh macrumors 68000

    Josh

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #8
    Over $400?!?! :eek: :eek: :eek: What kind of store is that?

    I've never seen it over $300. About $270-$280 is common.

    Understandable about the gift card, however :)
     
  9. MusicMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #9
    First of all I would like to thank everyone for such a quick response.

    The concert I will hopefully be attending is at the beginning of August and the cameras that I am looking at are on sale for a limited time. The SD400 is a very appealing camera but the price of $550 plus tax is a big drawback. Plus I will have to buy a memory card, batteries and a recharger which will bring the entire total to over $700 even more and unfortunately I can't spend that much on a camera. The SD200 is the only digital elph which falls into my price range because of the current sale on cameras.

    From what I have heard the digital elph is a highly recommended camera and I am definitely leaning more and more towards this camera. The most appealing feature is the fact that the camera can take great quality low-light pictures from what I have heard. Has anyone else used this camera or the SD300 which is similar in a low-light situation such as a concert? Did the pictures come out well?

    Once again thank you for the continued feedback and help.
     
  10. MusicMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #10
    Do you remember which store you saw it for $270-$280 because I can always get a price match?

    The prices that I am quoting are in Canadian dollars but I know there is not that much of a price difference. If I can find it for $280 U.S. I will definitely be able to negotiate a better price over here.
     
  11. MusicMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #11
    I was reading some reviews on the SD200 and they have been having a lot of customer complaints of a defect in the LCD screen. Has anyone had this problem?

    I have also heard that the SD200 will not be good for low-light pictures from some people and I am getting even more confused than I was in the beginning.

    Canon Powershot A400 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Olympus D-535 Zoom 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Canon PowerShot A510 A510 3.3MP Digital Camera
    Canon PowerShot SD200 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Fuji Finepix A345 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Samsung Digimax A400 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Olympus D-545 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Sony Cyber-shot DSCS40 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S60 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Panasonic DSC-LS1 Lumix 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Pentax Optio 50 5.0MP Digital Camera
    Fuji FinePix E510 5.2MP Digital Camera

    Can anyone narrow down the choices on this list to the best for low-light images and great picture quality in day time as well? Thanks in advance.
     
  12. sarae macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Location:
    madison, WI
    #12
    I don't really know anything about those particular cameras, but I'd suggest going to the store and testing them out - seems silly, but one or another might just "feel" clunky. Also, check out the reviews at dpreview.com - you can read the extended reviews they have (should be able to answer your questions about low-light pictures) and hit the forums there for advice once you've narrowed it down. I've found the forums to be rather friendly, at least the Canon one.
     
  13. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #13
    Anything from Panasonic, check dpreview.com and dcresource.com for more information.
     
  14. fistful macrumors 6502a

    fistful

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Socan
    #15
    I just purchased a Canon Powershot A510 as a gift, it was either this or the SD200 but I decided to pass on it do to the same complaints about defects in the LCD. I had a chance to play with it for a bit and it seems like a nice camera although I didn't test it in low light. It appears to take nicer pictures than a similar spec. A95 I have at my disposal.
     
  15. MusicMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #16
    Thank you everyone for your continued feedback.

    FistfulofAngst: I am actually quite surprised that you find the picture quality in the A510 better than the A95 because everyone has been recommending the A95. The only problem I have with the A510 is the fact that it has had very bad reviews under low light conditions.

    I will definitely go into my local store to check out some of these cameras but before doing so I would like it narrowed down to a smaller list because you can't always trust salespeople. They always try to sell the most expensive cameras to people who don't know all the facts.

    I will definitely check out the links provided and please keep the feedback coming.
     
  16. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #17
    It may be a bit out of your price range, but the Cannon Powershot S2 IS has to be one of the best cameras I have ever used.

    12x optical zoom
    Image Stabilizer
    640x480 @ 30 fps movie mode, up to a 1 GB movie (loooong movie)
    Flip-out screen

    Amazing quality for pictures...

    If you can't get the S2, look at the S1. Linkety to an S1 review.
     
  17. fistful macrumors 6502a

    fistful

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Socan
    #18

    ah sorry, I should pay more attention to what I'm saying. To clarify I meant to say the A75, must have gotten side tracked with others talking about the A95.
     
  18. MusicMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #19
    The S2 IS is definitely out of my price range at $699.99 and the S2 IS is $449.99 which is still out of my price range.

    I have somewhat narrowed down the list of cameras to the following:
    Kodak EasyShare CX7330 3.1MP Digital Camera
    Canon PowerShot A510 A510 3.3MP Digital Camera
    Canon PowerShot SD200 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Fuji Finepix A345 4.1MP Digital Camera
    HP PhotoSmart M23 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Samsung Digimax A400 4.0MP Digital Camera
    HP Photosmart M407 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Olympus D-545 4.0MP Digital Camera
    HP Photosmart R607 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Sony Cyber-shot DSCS40 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S60 4.1MP Digital Camera
    HP PhotoSmart R607 BMW Williams.F1 Team Special Edition 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Panasonic DSC-LS1 Lumix 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Pentax Optio 50 5.0MP Digital Camera
    Kodak EasyShare CX7530 5.0MP Digital Camera

    In comparison to the Canon SD200 and in terms of image quality in day shots and night shots which should be eliminated from the list. I am thinking that the HP brand cameras and the Sony Cyber-shots may have lower quality images. Is this true?

    Thank you for your continued help and feedback.
     
  19. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #20
    I would not buy a sony, an HP, or a kodak, but that's just me. I did a good deal of research a couple of years ago when I was buying a camera with my ex (she has the camera now, hence my search for a new one) and I found that those brands consistently did not perform as well as Canon and Nikon. Fuji is also a pretty good brand; that is what my old camera was, and it took very nice pictures, but not great night shots. Olympus I don't really know anything about.
     
  20. MusicMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #21
    QCassidy352: Thank you for the input. I have been getting very confused as some reviews state that the 3 brands that you named are very good while others complained of inconsistent shots. I am trying to get the most out of my money because I am not looking to purchase another digital camera for a very long time.

    This is the list now to narrow it down from. The front-runner is still the Canon Powershot SD200 but I have been hearing a lot about the Canon Powershot A510. Which camera has the better quality pictures? Thanks for all the help.

    Canon PowerShot A510 A510 3.3MP Digital Camera
    Canon PowerShot SD200 3.2MP Digital Camera
    Fuji Finepix A345 4.1MP Digital Camera
    Samsung Digimax A400 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Olympus D-545 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Panasonic DSC-LS1 Lumix 4.0MP Digital Camera
    Pentax Optio 50 5.0MP Digital Camera
     
  21. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #22
    What one is the S2 and which is the S1? ;)

    And the S2 is NOT $700! It goes for $500! That's freaking insane prices... What store is this place that gouges you? I'm never going there.
     
  22. MusicMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    #23
    Sorry about the typo. The first is the S2 and the second is the S1. :)

    All the prices listed are in Canadian dollars but I have noticed a lot of eyebrows raised at the prices. If I can find a trusted Canadian competitor with cheaper prices I can get a price match.

    Any advice on the remaining 7 cameras? It's like I'm almost at the end of a marathon. Thanks.
     
  23. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #24
    Pentax Optio S5i man. Great screen. It is $299. Small. Great lens. I would recommend it to anyone who needs a digital camera.
     
  24. runninmac macrumors 65816

    runninmac

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    Rockford MI
    #25
    Does anybody know a good unbiased camera review site? My familys looking to get one for the summer.
     

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