Which digital camera to choose c.q. buy?!...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Bengt77, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #1
    Okay, I'm sure this has been done a gazillion times already, but (a) I'm too lazy to do a good search and (b) I want each and all of you to give me personal advice.

    I've been busy this evening searching for affordable 4 megapixel digital cameras at Kelkoo. The six most interesting ones I've seen are these:

    - Pentax Optio S40 (beautiful, but small standard memory card) for €220;
    - Sony CyberShot DSC P73 (okay, but using stupid Memory Sticks) for €220;
    - Canon Digital Ixus i (also beautiful, but slightly more expensive) for €232;
    - Fujifilm FinePix A340 (butt-ugly, but with a great price) for €188;
    - Olympus Camedia C460Z (average, but well-priced) for €194;
    - Olympus Digital Mju 400 (great design, quite expensive) for €229.

    I have three questions about these particular cameras.
    (1) Are all of them iPhoto-compatible? (Does Apple have a list on it's site with all iPhoto-supported cameras?)
    (2) Does c.q. do any of you people (from experience or otherwise) know if these cameras can all be directly connected to a tv for instant slideshows?
    (3) The most important question: which one, do you think, should I buy?

    Sorry if a question like this bores everyone to death already, but I really want to know which one to buy before I make (another) rushed decision I will later regret.

    So thanks in advance for any advice and/or input!
     
  2. Qianlong macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2004
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    .BE
    #2
    of course it al depends what you want to do with your new camera?
    I have a Canon Ixus 430 (name = Powershot S410 in the US) and it prefectly suits me.

    for some comparisons and reviews check out this site: http://www.dcresource.com/
     
  3. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #3
    Hmmm... very true remark. I intend to use it as a replacement camera for the APS compact camera I have now that's beginning to show it's age. I think I will be the kind of person that takes his camera every- and anywhere for the just-in-cases. Thus, it needs to be small, light, have good battery-life and it needs to be decently fast. Not only with saving the photos, but also (and foremost) with starting up.


    Great link. Thanks!
     
  4. Bozola macrumors regular

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    #4
  5. efoto macrumors 68030

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    #5
    @ work we just purchased a little Nikon Coolpix 3200, which is really cost effective and takes really nice pictures, especially nice macros for such a small thing.
    If your taking this everywhere for everthing, you should really do some reading about the lens that comes on the camera instead of the megapixel rating. There is an article (perhaps even book) titled 'the megapixel myth' that discusses this, and its proven that nicer glass will produce better images on a lower res. camera than cheap glass on a high res one.
    All in all, at that range of camera, i would base the choice off of media type and appearance, if thats important to you, I am sure all take nice pictures if you use them well.
     
  6. V.A.Toss macrumors regular

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    #6

    Where would you find information on the lens in a camera? Where could i start looking?
     
  7. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #7
    Ahhhh... thanks. That'll keep me busy searching and (then) reading a bit into it. The same is true for analog cameras (although megapixels don't mean anything then): the lens is most important. Olympus used to have exceptional lenses in the (analog) Mju-series of cameras. Perhaps they still put good lenses in the digital ones? Oh well, I'll do a thorough search on this topic.


    Yeah, that seams like a fair comment. All 4 megapixel cameras should be able to make photos look like they should be: sharp, colourful and bright. So, if looks really do count here, I think I like the the Pentax and Olympus Mju best.
     
  8. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #8
    Sony, anyone?!...

    I just finished reading reviews for all the cameras (or, truth be told, I just finished 'scanning' them; I only really read the conclusions) at Steve's Digicams and the Sony CyberShot seems to come out best. The site seems to be pretty good and objective, so I'll let their opinion weigh in heavily.

    I used to dig Sony a lot and used to have tons of their stuff, but since I bought Philips headphones and an Apple iPod I'm becoming less and less attached to the brand. I even thought I was about to make a u-turn taste-wise and thought I was beginning to dislike Sony, but I could live with buying one of their cameras.

    The only gripe I have with it, is that it uses Sony's own Memory Sticks. SM- and CF-cards are way cheaper, so that's a serious issue. Of course, a memory card is something you only buy once, I guess. And the Sony camera comes with a battery charger, which makes up at least a bit for the higher price of the memory cards.

    Should I go with the Sony? Should I go with one of the others? Or am I rushing and is it time to calm down a second and think about it all for a couple more days? Anyways, thanks for the replies so far. They helped a lot.
     
  9. Bozola macrumors regular

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    #9
    At the risk of repeating myself....

    Look at the Nikon 3200, 4200, and 5200.

    decent price, good optics, small size, Nikon lens
     
  10. efoto macrumors 68030

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    #10
    dpreview

    epinions

    Take into account that dpreview is actual a review site whereas epinions is exactly that...and e-opinions website where users can give their take on products. Occasionally you'll find a "Top Reviewer" or someone who works for a company or something, but usually its just users so make sure you read for information and attempt to filter opinions out...at least that is what I attempt to do.
    Enjoy :D

    Edit: Oh man, I didn't read all the way up for new posts and reposted similar links, but oh well, click them again and enjoy.
     
  11. aplasticspork macrumors regular

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    Seattle Wa.
    #11
    I would actually go with the pentax and get a new memory card. i just got a pentax optio 750z (a few more than 4 megapixels :p ) and it's an excellent camera. i've also heard really good reviews of the optio S40.
    also, if im not mistaken, pentax makes the lenses for nikon. that's a little known fact because nikon isn't required to mention that pentax makes the lenses.
    Edit: it could have been another large camera company like canon that pentax makes lenses for, but i'm 99% sure that it was nikon.
    --andrzej
     
  12. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #12
    Yeah, the Pentax is very sweet looking, but after reading a little more into all six cameras, the Pentax comes out as, well, not the best, to say the least. It's startup time is very long (but quite short when you turn off the flash as default) and the camera drains it's batteries.

    The Sony seems to shine, in all reviews I've read so far. Not exactly the cheapest option, but feature- and quality-wise it seems to be a real winner. Design-wise it's not, in my opinion, but that's not the most important thing about a camera for me, I decided. It just comes down to offering me most bang for the buck. And in that regard, the Sony seems to be a no-brainer.
     
  13. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #13
    My sister just put a Nikon Coolpix 4200 and is very happy with it.

    I have a Canon (what was an S30 nearly 4 years ago) which has been brilliant since it gave me lots of options to play with when I wanted to try something other than simple point and shoot. Two friends had Sony Cybershots of various models but I must say that I preferred the Canon's colours to the Sonys; they seemed warmer for the most part). It is worth reading the rest of the review at the sites (comparing the images and seeing how the menus work can be useful)

    Another thing to bear in mind is how the camera processes the jpg (how much compression it does on it); some algorithms can leave edges looking jaggier than others. I'd suggest getting it down to 2 or 3 models and then using the reviews on the sites mentioned above to confirm choice (and searching on Google Groups for owner experiences).

    Figure out what you need or are likely to use. Are most of your images macro ones or is a good zoom important (a friend has a 2MP with 10x optical zoom and many of her 7x5 pictures look far clearer than a Sony's 4MP with 3x optical zoom)? Is size important? Do you want one you can stick in a pocket or are you likely to keep it in a case most of the time so can be very slightly bigger? Do you take most of your pictures indoors or outside? Daylight or low light conditions? Some cameras are very poor in low light since they have small ISO ranges and to AF lamp to help out. The reviews on the above sites should give you some clues on these.

    Lastly, go to a shop (even if you eventually buy online) to pick cameras up and see how they feel to you. If you have big hands, some of the smaller camera controls might be tricky to use (annoying if a feature you want to use is buried 3 levels deep)? Is the screen big enough - a slightly larger screen can be very useful.

    Good luck!
     
  14. denm316 macrumors 6502

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    Philadelphia
    #14
    Hey There,

    I had a Sony Cybershot which recently broke from a fall(totally my fault). I just purchased a Canon Powershot SD300, and I must say it is beautiful. It is so nice and compact I can take it in my pocket anywhere I go. I highly recommend it, it has a great feature set and alsoa very convenient size.

    Let me know if I can provide anymore helpful info.
     
  15. kiwi-in-uk macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 22, 2004
    Location:
    AU
    #15
    I have a Nikon and a Canon. I find the Canon easier to use - both camera and bundled s/w.

    And I agree with earlier posts - go for a good quality lens.

    Good luck.

    Edit - also look at this other thread ... here
     
  16. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    Europe
    #16
    That is some excellent advice; thank you very much. Indeed, I think I will be buying my camera online (since it's generally a lot cheaper), but actually holding the different cameras and taking a good look at them, feeling their weight and seeing the little details (like how they are finished) may well make the final decision a lot easier.

    I'm leaning towards the Canon and Sony right now. Although the Pentax is by far the prettiest of my list of six cameras, it also is (according to several reviews) one of the least impressing 4 megapixel cameras around. The Sony stands out, but uses (as I said earlier) the rather expensive Memory Sticks, instead of the common and (thus) cheaper CF- or SM-cards.

    The Canon, on the other hand, has a metal body and a very decent lens, but is slower and has inferior movie capabilities. I don't know how much I would be using the movie-feature of a camera, but I think it would be fun to use it once in a while. Oh, and I shouldn't forget that the Sony comes with rechargeable NiMH AA-batteries and a battery-charger. Very thoughtful of them!

    All that said, I think this is going to be one of the hardest decisions I've made when buying AV-hardware. So many brands, so many models, so many features and, to make it even harder, so many different dealers and prices (even per camera).
     
  17. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Northern Virginia
    #17
    I have an S40 around to play with. It is a great small camera.

    With digital camera, many companies use other manufacturers to make the cameras for them. So in some cases it is hard to know who "makes" the lenses.
     
  18. Solafaa macrumors 6502a

    Solafaa

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    #18
    Take a look at the Canon SD300, i have a post in the Recomendation about it. I have the exacte same needs as you do, and this is the best camera i have ever i have seen.
     
  19. Bozola macrumors regular

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    #19
    True.. who makes the lens doesn't matter, but the Nikons have an ED lens which is supposed to take better pics. Same tech as their SLR.

    On a side note, the Optio has some problems with the corners of the pics

    Finally, buying online is ok. I use B&H.
    They have good prices and are reputable.
    But nothing beats being able to talk to someone LIVE when you've got problems with what you bought.. sometimes worth the 50 bucks
     
  20. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #20
    Be careful about buying online. Some cameras (Sony as an example) are sold online that do not have an english manual. I would say look for some place locally that can give service and help when needed.
     
  21. Colonel Panik macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    #21
    I was in your shoes about 1 year ago. I had a look, and put my cash down for the Canon Ixus i (though it was €399 then, so €232 is a good price).

    Quality - if you're looking to take snaps, then any of the cameras you've mentioned will do. I also do photography professionally and I have a Nikon D-70 to take care of that, but I wanted a camera that I could carry to parties.

    With this in mind, I went for the Canon Ixus i. You can put that camera in your jeans pocket and forget it's there. Trust me, the size matters. I've got friends with digital cameras and they have to think about whether or not to take their camera with them. Not me. The Ixus i is really small.

    I'm also very happy with the pictures it takes. Someone said that it was slow, but I'd have to disagree. It's faster than any other camera I've seen (bar the pro cameras). I got a 128MB multimedia card from Crucial and I can take 60 pics at the highest quality. I like the lens, it has a wide field of view. The macro feature is great too.

    It works seemlessly with iPhoto. But you'll need a faster Mac 'cos you'll take so many pictures!

    It's quite easy to use, has a good sense of white balance, autofocus, etc., and still you have a good range of manual options.

    The movies are, well, little movies. Quality is okay.

    The finish is good. It's a solid little camera. Hasn't let me down yet and had paid for itself in terms of film and developing within 6 months.

    It has a great relationship with my TV. The pictures look great on it.

    Any other questions, just ask...
     
  22. efoto macrumors 68030

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    #22
    I agree here with Bozola. I have purchased from both Adorama and B&H online and both have excellent service and easy-to-use websites to make ordering a breeze.


    Adorama

    B&H

    I believe on both sites you can see the difference between US Market and GREY Market cameras. The Grey Market versions usually do not have En instructions and only carry 1yr warranty (if any, some not at all) where usually the US Market versions carry a 3-5yr warranty, company dependant of course. Nikon gives 5yr on its lenses for US market purchases, but that is SLR stuff, not sure how they back their P&S cameras.
     
  23. V.A.Toss macrumors regular

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    #23
    Thanks for the sources of lens info. The trouble i find with epinions though is alot of the reviewers are complete idiots. They tend to talk about stuff that even i know is utter crap, infact i wouldnt put it past a few to not have bothered trying their product before reviewing it.

    Im only asking about the lens as image quality is very important to me. Im making the transition to digital at last.

    Ill try emailing a few digital photgraphy websites and asking them.

    Cheers.
     
  24. efoto macrumors 68030

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    #24
    Like I said, take anything on epinions as a grain of sand...I usually read there just for information, not so much reviews. That aside...

    If you are truly concerned with image quality, I would strongly suggest purchasing a digital SLR base camera. Even the Nikon D2H which is *only* 4.1 effective megapixels will take much better and higher quality pictures than the new Nikon 8700 or 8800 which are 8.0 effective MPs. With 8MPs Nikon says you can make a print up to 20x30 inches which is pretty large, however that doesn't guarentee clear and crisp shots...so to each his own. Also, most DSLRs assume some post-capture processing to make the images jump. Many P&S cameras use heavy sharpening and other features in camera so even if you open them later (often only in jpg or similar format...is there a P&S with RAW!?) you can only do mild editting.
    Anyway, enough of that rant and rave, hope it helped and not hindered. I'm not trying to sell you on Nikon at all. I personally choose to use them and that is why they are my reference because I know more about them than competing models. Canon makes great SLRs too, its up to you, enjoy either way :)
     
  25. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    Europe
    #25
    Thanks for the retailer recommendations, though I'm not in the US. See my first post, you'll see the prices behind each camera are listed in euros. That said, does anybody have any experience with buying cameras online in the Netherlands? Is any retailer that shows up in Kelkoo's lists okay? Should I just go for the cheapest or are there big differences in terms of offered services?

    Anyways, I've nailed it down to only two cameras now, like Applespider suggested I'd do, being these:

    - Sony CyberShot DSC-P73 (116x56x35mm) for €212*;
    - Canon Digital Ixus i/PowerShot SD10 (90x47x19mm) for €232.

    The Sony is, obviously, the cheapest of these two. Atop of that, it takes pictures at least as good as the Canon and comes included with rechargeable batteries and charger. But, quite important, it's substantiably bigger.

    Any (more) suggestions? Thans for all the help and information, by the way. It's made it all a whole lot easier to choose. Really. Thank you all very much!

    *) The price has suddenly dropped €8 since yesterday (on Kelkoo). Weird?!...
     

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