What digital camera?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Merf, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. Merf macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Location:
    Northern California
    #1
    I just graduated from high school and my parents offered to buy me a digital camera that is under 400 dollars. I'm not to sure on which one to get. I went on tiger direct and found http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicat...ails.asp?EdpNo=526926&Sku=E109-2026&CatId=127 . The reason I like it so much is becasue of the 8x optical zoom. I want something that is at least 4 megapixels. Maybe even compact flash. I will probably be using this camera for at least 2 or 3 years so it need to be durable.

    Thanks

    Merf
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    I'd be kinda wary of this thing because it is totally not a common digicam brand. 8X is tempting though.

    How important is size for you?

    For middle of the road size vs. features, I have the Canon Powershot S50 (5MP/3x optical). It runs right around $400 new, but I got mine as a display unit at the apple store for $200. I'd definitely recommend it or one of the 4MP stablemates (S40/S45). They consistently rank at/near top of class in review comparisons.

    Also the Canon G3 / etc series is very nice, if you are willing to get a bigger camera. Most of them have better zooms and nicer lenses, and swivelling screens.

    For supercompacts, maybe Sony DSC-T1 (might be tough in that price range). The Dimage XT and Optio S / S4 are nice but all of those except the S4 are 3MP and they don't take as nice pictures as the bigger cameras. But they fit in your pocket super well.

    Dunno if your parents are including accessories in the $400? You should still be able to do an S40 or 45 plus card in $400, and they are very nice 4MP cameras.

    But look at dealram.com and figure out memory prices. CF is cheaper at most sizes than SD or Mem Stick, although if you buy a new camera in 2 yrs and wish to reuse the card the chances are greater and greater that it will not be CF. But most of the high end cams are staying CF now because its available in the largest sizes.

    Also look here:

    http://www.dpreview.com/

    If at all possible factor pictures that someone who is competent has taken with the camera into your equation...that's another reason I'd be wary of the one at TigerDirect.
     
  3. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #3
    For the love of god, don't get that one! Don't get any off brand, or you're asking for issues. I HIGHLY recommend a Canon or Minolta. Get the best one of a solid brand (especially those 2) that you can. You'll be very happy three years down the road when your camera STILL WORKS!!! Trust me!!!

    Lee Tom
     
  4. vkapoormd macrumors member

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    Jun 14, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #4
    I think for that price range you should look at the canon powershot G3; it's 4 megapixels and pictures can easily be enlarged to 11 x 8 inches without pixelation. It is also compact flash. I have had one for about 1 year now, and am extremely impressed with the picture quality and ease of use. Prior to that, i had tried a nikon coolpix 5700 (which is 5 mp and at the time almost twice the price, and didn't take great pics. Furthermore, i have tried an olympus 5050 which was okay, but not great.) in addition the battery life on the G3 is awesome- it probably charge it once every two months (and i take hundreds of photos every month). Like the other person said, it is a little bigger, so if you wanted something smaller, try the canon a80 (also an excellent camera, but with less options, and no external slot for a flash). the G3 got great reviews on Cnet.com, so i would check it out there also. There is also a canon g5- which is identical in body and features to the G3, but for some reason, didn't get as good a review on Cnet. having said all this, i am about to sell my G3 and get a digital SLR (mainly for work reasons). but if it wasn't for that, i would easily keep this camera for 2 or 3 years. good luck. :)
     
  5. Merf thread starter macrumors regular

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    Northern California
  6. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

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    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #6
    If I were you, I'd seriously look into buying the Fiji FinePix S5000. It's only 3.1 MP, but it has an awesome 10x optical zoom. I know you were looking for four megapixels, with a high optical zoom, but you're probably going to sacrifice either megapixels or zoom for a sub $400 camera. If someone can find a reputible brand for less with the features he wants, please show me. I may want it!
     
  7. matt459 macrumors member

    #7
  8. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    #8
    if your going to college, and you want this for taking pictures when your out or things like that get a smaller camera like the elf. Your not gonna wanna bring out your huge camera or even have it around people who are possibly inebriated ....

    thats my recommendation, I have the canon digital elf s230 and the newer ones are smaller and higher rez ... they don't include a huge digital zoom, but digital zoom wasn't a deal breaking feature for me because usually i can just get closer ..
     
  9. matt459 macrumors member

    #9
    i always thought that the digital zoom on a camera was the same thing as zooming into the image afterward on the computer? Am im incorrect? If not, why wouldnt you want to keep the entire image anyway....hmmm :confused:
     
  10. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #10
    You're right and you would not want to do that at all. It ruins the photo because the code has to guess at what the photo should be. It's like with Fuji's SuperCCD--it uses interpolation (just as digital zoom does) but it guesses pretty well most of the time.

    Give me a strong optical zoom from a camera company any day. :)
     
  11. arnette macrumors 6502

    arnette

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    Nov 22, 2002
    Location:
    Manhattan Beach
    #11
    I also have the Canon s230 and I love my camera. It's a bit thick compared to the ones that are coming out today, but it's a great size, the menu system is snappy, and I've had little trouble with it.

    Go with a smaller one. It'll be more portable, you can fit it in a pocket, etc. For about the half the price and double the portability you can go with one of the Casio/Pentax configurations. They're sort of an underdog as far as camera brands go, but they have a decent lens, are very slim, and pretty cheap.
     
  12. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    #12
    yeah the only thing i don't like is that I wish it had a faster shutter speed but thats more of a pipe dream ... faster photos would be nice.

    I meant optical zoom in my above post but i'm too lazy to edit it
     
  13. matt459 macrumors member

    #13
    Have you ruled out buying a used camera yet? Ive gone to a few stores and checked out used models selling for hundreds less. If you dont mind a few scuff marks (somertimes the camera was brand new, but old technology) you could begin to look into the 500 dollar price range and get it somewhere in the 300's I would think. Most people dont trash their digital equipment like they would with something such as a car... what do you think?
     
  14. goodknight411 macrumors member

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    Jun 14, 2004
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    MiddlaNowhere, Arkansas
    #14
    I got a Minolta DiMage A1 for graduation a couple of months ago. It's awesome. A little bulky i'll admit, but the 7x zoom makes up for it. It also has a RAW mode, which is well worth it. It's a SLR like, lots of manual adjustments, but fairly easy to use if you flip through the book. ALso the software that comes with it is great, and Mac based. Minolta just released the A2 and the A1's price has been coming down. I think it's in the 500 range right now. Something to consider if image quality and zoom are important to you.
     
  15. sandmann41 macrumors regular

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    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Frederick, Md
    #15
    I just picked up a Sony DSC W1.
    Great camera, I love it so far.
     
  16. brap macrumors 68000

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    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #16
    I'm with you on the size issue - My stepfather has a 4.1mp Fuji Finepix S4000 and while it takes good pictures, it's a pain to carry around. I got a Canon Powershot S400 (4MP), it's about 1/3 the size and takes stunning photos on the 'auto' setting (I'm no camera guru!).
    There are new models out, actually, so have a look around and see if the S420 or S500 are in your price range. They look dead sexy too :)
     
  17. Merf thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
  18. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    #18
    Anyone with an opinion on a Panasonic DMC-FZ10?
     
  19. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #19
    Minolta and the Dimage line definitely have a much better reputation than the last TigerDirect cam you posted. ;) This one seems pretty good. I don't know if any of us recommend Steve's Digicam as another trusted review source, but here:

    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/z2.html

    Couple pros/cons on this specific camera:

    (+) The EVF sounds pretty good. Not quite sure its really an SLR but its much better than what's typical in non-SLR digital cams.
    (+) Sounds like the lens describes what you want and sounds pretty high qual.

    (-) Make sure you look at Dealram or somesuch for price comparison on memory cards. SD is more expensive than CF for most prices, and it doesn't sound like Tiger is bundling any kind of card with this, so you're going to need one from day one. I think this cam does have some internal memory aside from the card (my S50 doesn't), but it sounds like only enough for <10 pictures at highest res / finest detail.
    (-) The cam doesn't come with a Li-Ion rechargeable battery pack like most newer cameras do. You're almost definitely also going to need to get Li-Ion or at least NiMH rechargeable AA's and a charger if you don't already have one, so this is going to be another ~$30 outlay that wouldn't apply for most cams.

    Also, unless you're wed to Tiger for some reason, check around...I did MySimon on this really quickly and its available for as little as $360...and Tiger is not exactly the kind of mail-order company that has a reputation that justifies premium pricing.... :)
     
  20. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a

    jknight8907

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    Hudson Valley NY
    #20
    My sister got a Minolta DiMage A1 for graduation and it is totally sweet. It's 5mp, it takes unbelievable pictures.
     
  21. Merf thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Location:
    Northern California
    #21
    What digital camera

    Wow 360$ huh? thats a good price I will have to check it out. Walmart is cheaper to and I have one of those really close. So I think I will get this camera thanks for all your guys input its much appreciated.

    Merf
     

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