whats a good digital camera in the $400 range?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by slipper, Mar 28, 2004.

  1. slipper macrumors 68000


    Nov 19, 2003
    whats a good digital camera in the $400 range? $400 gotta be including a decent size memory card. i wish we could afford a Sony V1 but thats a little out of our price range. is there something comparable to the Sony V1 from a lower priced manufacturer?
  2. mikepctp macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2003
    just north of Toronto, Canada
    Tough question as it depends what you plan to shoot with it and/or what the primary purpose of your photography is. A good camera will not make you a photographer.

    We bought a 4 megapixel Toshiba P4300 just after christmas. We got an extra 256mb memory card (it comes witha 16mb card), a quick-charge battery charger and batteries (it uses AA's) and all for about $400 Canadian at Future Shop. The camera has Macro and digital/optical zoom. It comes with a USB cable to dump your photos to the computer as well as software to view and edit them on a PC. I have not tried it on my Mac as my Mac and PC are networked and I prefer Photoshop for editing.

    Most of the results have been very good but this is not a "pro" camera. I think it's right in there with any "snapshot" type and the resolution is excellent but on a tripod in a studio is not for this one. It has many settings for photo control from full auto to speed, aperture or full manual setup. This is not one of those "tiny" cameras. We got one that you could actually hold on to, it feels like a camera and not a credit card and we won't lose it under a towel somewhere.

    For the money, we are very happy with the camera and the results and can't justify spending big bucks on a camera thet will probably be half price in 3 months as the technology improves quickly.

    Good luck with your search

  3. joeyjojoe macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    i have a canon powershot s230 and its great (i think the updated one is called the s400). i hear the sony spycams and casio slims are really fun too. for more info, go to DPReview
  4. slipper thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 19, 2003
    its for basic photographs, nothing fancy. however i would like to try some amateur photography and experiment with different features. so something expandable would be good.
  5. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2003
    Home of Al-Qaida
    Canon S400 + 256MB CF memory will run you less bit less than $400. Takes excellent pics and compact too.

    Amazon had a deal last month on the S400 for $328, but sold out now.
  6. ftaok macrumors 601


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    It sounds like the Canon S50 would be right for you. It has more features than Canon's Digital Elph (i.e. S230, SD100, S400) and Sony's DSC-Px lines. It's 5MP with a 3x zoom. It's a little bigger than the compacts, but it does have more manual features that you can use as you "grow" as a photographer.

    Amazon has it for $390 right now with SuperSaver shipping. Take a look.

    Note - The S50 is a little bit on the old side, so a replacement may be coming out shortly. That's probably why the price is so low now. I can guarentee you that the replacement for the S50 won't be priced under $400
  7. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    i just got the s500 and i love it. i took my 230 down to cozumel and it started acting funny. i think its i probably fell in the sand drunk with it and ruined it, who knows. but i had the best buy service plan and i went and told them that is was being weird and they just gave me a new camera, and i asked them if i can spend the extra money and get the s500 and they let me, i love how best buy works. :)

  8. cosman2001 macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2004
    cannon powershot A80

    it cost me $399 plus $100 for high speed (40X) 256 flash memory.

    This thing takes awesome pictures, especially at night. But the best thing about this camera is that the LCD screen swings out and can rotate 180 degrees. Perfect for taking those closeups of you and your friends and seeing what you look like before you take it. This is a 4 MP camera, and the quality of the images are awesome even on photo paper. For the price this is the best camera, because no other camera had the neat LCD function. So far I have had no problems at all.

    12" powerbook, 17" 1st gen iMAC, green minipod
  9. Freakk123 macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    The Canon s400 is awesome! I'd highly recommend it! Canon makes great cameras, check 'em out!
  10. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    I wholeheartedly second this, I bought a A70 (3.2 MP) as I didn't have the extra cash, but the feature-set is near identical...mine has been brilliant and the increased resolution of the A80 make it even better...but go to a camera store and play around, there are alot of good cameras out there with varying form-factor/features to choose from. Good hunting...
  11. dudeami macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2004
    They may cost more, but I love the Sony that we have. We also have a camcorder from them. If you are going to expand into using both, we love the fact that the battery packs are intechangeable as well as the memory sticks. We have had no problems with the generic memory sticks for Sony. Here is a link to one of their 5 megapixel, I think you could get a pretty good memory stick and stay under $400. It is listed at $329.

  12. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I just got a Sony DSC-P8 and I love it. It lists for $299 but regularly goes on sale for $279. If you're good at sniffing out deals you can probably do even better. Features are good and image quality is fantastic. Size is a big plus as well. Use the rest of your budget to buy a bigger memory stick. Pretty much whatever you buy you'll need more memory--storing 10 images on the camera is no fun.

    dudeami touched on something--he has other Sony products, and so do I. That means we already have memory sticks so it makes it easier to go with another Sony product--also harder to get away from Sony.
  13. jtown macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2003
    If it's gotta be $400 or less, look at the Canon S400/S410 or the Casio EX-Z4. They're both around $350 new (tho the S400 is available as a refurb from electricsam for under $300). 4 megapixels, 3x zoom, compact size, decent batteries, etc. The Casio has a surprisingly large LCD for such a small camera. Make sure they'll work with your OS, tho. I don't see any OSX drivers on Casio's site but that could be because they're not needed. None of the digital cameras I've hooked up to my ibook running Jaguar have needed additional drivers.

    I almost went with an S500 when I was shopping for a camera recently but I went to best buy and tried the S400, S500, and Sony DSC-T1. The S series just couldn't compete with the sony's speed. Not to mention the internal zoom lens and awesome LCD. :) If I were on a tighter budget, I probably would have gone with the EX-Z4.
  14. poopyhead macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2004
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    I whole heartedly third this
    I have an a80 and it's wonderful
    I can use it as a point and shoot
    shoot panoramic pictures
    or do everything manually
    set shutter speeds, manually focus, buy slr lenses (some are specially made for the camera but also for, I think, 25 dollars you can buy an adapter that accepts canon lenses)
    the ease of use is amazing and so are the possibilities
    the on screen menus are also relatively easy to follow although they are not intuitive
  15. ThomasJefferson macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    Well, this makes for 4 positive votes. I bought one to take with me to Yellowstone this summer, as a second camera to my Canon Rebel Ti 35mm.

    I have found the outside pics to be excellent and would buy it again in a second.
  16. aswitcher macrumors 603


    Oct 8, 2003
    Canberra OZ
    Check out DPReview and Steves Digicams for reviews and example pics etc.

    Canon are a safe bet. Good rep and options.

    Make sure your camera works with iPhoto etc by checking the Apple website.

    Check what software comes with it for Mac

    Sony memory can be pricey...parts as well

    Ignore digital zooms

    Look at video options with sound, preferably 30fps. It chews memory but is a nice option for birthdays, making short clips like pans of scenary etc

    You're better with good rechargable AA batteries than a built in battery - you can easily get AAs switched when away from home to keep shooting

    Look hard at battery life in reviews

    Any chance of optical stablisation is worth considering for higher end models with big optical zooms if there are any bargains around
  17. jtown macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2003
    Tell me about it. Not only pricey but hard to find. Took me forever to find a 512 meg Duo Pro memory stick and even then I had to settle for a 2-week backorder (which was better than the 5-6 weeks elsewhere). And, looking back, it's depressing how happy I was to find it for $185. at Dell. You can get 512 meg CF cards (used by the S400) for a hundred bucks.
    Good advice. May as well not have it at all. Most pointless thing I've ever seen on a camera. :p
    That's a tough spec to get on a $400 camera. Canon doesn't seem to list the framerate of the A80 or S400. They just list the sizes (320x240 and 160x120). The 640x480 at 30fps is one of the things that drew me to my Sony. Of course, it'll only fit about 6 minutes of that on a 512 meg card. ;) After playing with it for a while, I wish Sony had given me more options for video quality. It's got 160x120, highly compressed, 640x480 at 15fps, and 640x480 at 30fps. It's like "crappy", "wow", and "OMG". It'd be nice to have "OK", "decent", and "not bad" between crappy and wow.
    This one's a bit of a tough call. Some cameras have incredible proprietary battery packs that can go all day without recharging. I borrowed my grandpa's G1 for my last vacation and I never saw a low battery indicator. And I filled and dumped his 128 meg card several times each day and used the LCD viewfinder almost exclusively.

    OTOH, if the battery pack doesn't last all day, you're SOL. You'll have to buy an expensive spare proprietary battery then deal with keeping them both charged which either means a charge/swap/charge routine each night with the camera or buying an expensive proprietary charger to charge the second battery.

    An argument in favor of AA powered cameras is the rechargeable lithium CRV3 packs that I've started to see. These can be used in many of the 2xAA and 4xAA cameras. You can get a rechargeable CRV3 with charger at buy.com for about $30. If I hadn't just retired my old Kodak, I'd buy a set.
  18. slipper thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 19, 2003
    ive been checking online but i cant seem to find the dirrerence between the 400 and 410. can someone enlighten me?
  19. Toe macrumors 65816


    Mar 25, 2002
    Canon PowerShot S1 IS

    In my opinion, the new best of breed is the Canon PowerShot S1 IS.

    It's supposed to be released in a week or two, i think.

    It's list price is $500, so that should get around your $400 range. Some of the benefits of this camera:
    • 10x zoom! Very few inexpensive, small cameras have better than 3x or 4x.
    • Image-stabilizer. Extremely handy with a high zoom.
    • Canon lens. If it ain't Canon or Nikon, it might not be a very good lens... not in the consumer market, anyway.
    • Pretty small. For me, this is one of the biggest factors. If it's too big, I'm unlikely to take it anywhere. Pictures don't turn out so good when the camera isn't available....
    On the downside, this is only a 3.2 megapixel camera, but that is good enough for a full-quality 8x10 print. And anyway, with a 10x zoom, you don't have to worry about cropping so much.

    My 1/50 of one dollar.
  20. jtown macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2003
    Actually, the current price range for the S1 is $495.00 to $499.99. :) Probably won't see much of a price drop before summer.

    As for the S400/S410, this is lifted from the review on Steve's Digicams.
    Basically looks like software updates.
  21. Toe macrumors 65816


    Mar 25, 2002
    Depends on your search engine... I'm seeing $435 on froogle.

    Then again, some of these places may be less than trustworthy; I dunno....

    I'm waiting for it to show up on DealCam.
  22. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
    nikon coolpix4500
    or the new little square one that swivels

    both rock :D
  23. javabear90 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2003
    Houston, TX
  24. thinkofthestars macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    I'm not sure how much mine cost, because it was a gift, but I was told it was around $400. It's a Kodak LS443. I looove it to pieces. It's a 4 mega pixels camera with optical zoom. Awesome LCD display, easy to use, and the software that comes with it is wonderful. I've had it for almost a year and it's still in great condition. I just recently set it up to connect to my iBook and it installed flawlessly. I bought a 256 MB card for it that holds massive amounts of pictures for about $80 at Best Buy.

    Also, it comes with a dock that recharges the Li-Ion battery. I would NEVER buy a camera that used regular batteries, it seems like an awful waste.
  25. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2003
    Home of Al-Qaida
    You do realize there are things called NiMh rechargeable batteries w/ high mAh rating made specifically for digital camera usage. But than again, proprietary digicam battery, especially for the Canon digital Elph series, is a lot smaller, but more expensive.

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