Digital camera in the $200-300 range... recommendations?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 29, 2006
Burgeoning digital photographer here, about to purchase not one but two iMacs - 24" for myself, 20" for the Wife, and we'd like to find a digital camera that can do some good photography with great image quality and be fully iMac/OSX compatible. I've been reading about some of the things iPhoto can do and I just can't wait to get the iMacs and get started.

So, I'm curious if people can offer recommendations for a camera they own or know someone owns or something they have experience with and are willing to comment or offer their opinions on.

The $200-300 range is ideal for us at this time (considering we're about to spend $4K on just the two computers with a few upgrades), but it's flexible really, I can go higher and it's not really an issue.

Any suggestions, information or recommendations are greatly appreciated.


OOoops, just realized this should be in the Buying Recommendations area... if a Mod can move it that would be just fine with me. Thanks...


macrumors 6502a
Feb 20, 2005
Nashville, TN, USA
I second the Canon line. Especially the SD series. I have an S series and love it, just wish I had an SD because of LCD and camera size. Great photos and easy to use. Do, however, get an extra battery -- had to change one in the middle of my sister-in-laws wedding, and was sure glad to have that extra in my pocket!

BTW - I take all my photos at highest resolution so that if/when I crop or otherwise change them, I still have good quality. Extra media cards are a good idea as well.


macrumors regular
Aug 27, 2006
Look on daily for good deals then read reviews on

I third the canon's. SD550 should fall in that range.


macrumors 68000
May 31, 2006
i got a Canon SD550 (7.1MP, 3x optical zoom, etc.) for under $300. it is a great camera and much better than a lot of the other options for the same price. it's really small, too. i ordered from but i'm sure,, or other online retailers have good deals.


macrumors 6502
Feb 16, 2006
New York, NY
Really depends what you're doing with the camera. Sony has very sharp optics, particularly with close focusing, and Canon has a tendancy to be a bit more universally accurate with color.

In essence, you can never go wrong with a Canon, or a Sony - both make a great lineup of very slim and portable cameras with nice optics. Take yourself to a large photo shop or electronics store and pick one you like the feel of. Everything under $400, truth be told, is pretty comparable. Do yourself a favor and splurge for a professional memory card though - the extra read/write speed will help your camera work to its potential.


macrumors 65816
Sep 22, 2006
Tiger Mountain - WA State
Purchasing technique

I am not recommending a particular camera. There are many good choices out there and what it its intended use and features should be will influence the better choices.

However, I will offer some purchasing advice. You can often make a very sweet deal on a used camera worth considerably more than your $200-$300 buying power would command from a new purchase. Many people put few miles on a camera, then lose interest, or upgrade. A little bit of 'leg work' can produce fantastic results.

I learned this from my brother-in-law. He buys nice cars, but never brand new ones. He will hang around a Mercedes dealer and watch people drive in with well-maintained vehicles they plan to turn in. He tells the owners he would like to make an offer on their vehicle after they see what the dealer has offered. He pays straight cash. Not every deal works out of course, but he will always find a great deal for himself with not all that much effort. Works out for the seller too, as he gives them more than the dealership will offer.


Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
br0adband, it really helps if you list some other criteria you have regarding the camera...

How compact would you like it to be?
Movie mode?
What sorts of shooting modes?
A lot of manual controls? Or much more auto-/ simple P&S?
Preference for kind of media it takes? Batteries?

The camera I just got a little bit ago I've fallen in love with, Canon S3 IS. It's not as compact as the great Canon SD line, but it has awesome Image Stabilization and an incredible movie mode. If your uses are simpler, the S2 (it's predecessor) can be found for <$200 these days, and the S3 can often be found for <$350 (pushing your budget a bit). I like that it takes 4 AAs because it's simpler for traveling-- in case the batteries die out on me, AAs are much easier and cheaper to get. :p


macrumors 68030
Apr 14, 2006
Clemson, SC
I just bought the Fuji E900 from newegg. It's dropped in price since I bought it ( :mad: ), so now it's right in your price range.

It's a great little camera. A good DSLR feel to it but in a point and shoot body. Fully manual settings available (along with auto), light meter, 9.0MP!, sleek body, RAW support..

It comes packed with a charger and 2 rechargeable AA's - like devilot said before me, I like this much more than a battery pack or anything - easier for on the road because AA batteries are so easily had.

About the only downside to it, for me, was the fact that it only takes Fuji's proprietary xD card, but after looking around a bit, I found that they weren't much more expensive than the common types, and there are plenty of adapters for card readers and what not. I picked up a 1GB chip from newegg too, the Olympus Type H card for $35.

I read quite a bit of reviews before buying and they all raved about it. A lot of them were written by professional photographers that had bought it as their "carry around" (for lack of a better description) camera, and they were impressed.

I'd recommend looking into it!

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
Yahooville S.C.
Fuji's Digital stuff is good. Our family has 3 and all are great. Not 1 problem and my old Fuji has been used a lot,trips,dropped,etc and just keeps going. Its nice not to have any issues.:)


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 29, 2006
Ok, some more specifics:

I live in Las Vegas and I intend to take the camera almost everywhere I go just in case. We have some of the most amazing sites on the planet here in this town:

- people from every country on it
- buildings that rise up from it
- mountains that surround the city as it sits on it
- sunsets that bath it in glorious colors
- most anything else

So, I fully intend to put that camera to some damned good use with the MacPro I'm ordering next week, and I'm quite certain the Wife will use it also with her 20" iMac so Mac compatibility with minimum hassles is a serious must have for the camera I get.

Yes, I'd like movie capability, and I'm torn between straight MPEG1/2 recording if possible or QuickTime .mov stuff. Typically in my past experience, the .mov files created by most cameras are fluff really, and nothing to write home about quality-wise.

I was reading about the Lumix FX1 I think is the model number, has a widescreen 16:9 CCD in it (the CCD is actually widescreen natively, pretty cool). I downloaded a few of the same vids the reviewer made, they don't look too bad actually. Being able to do a few minutes of 720x480 on a digital camera could be just the thing - but it does the lower res also.

So, people, places, cityscapes, sunsets, mountains, desert, nature photography, aerial shots as well. I'm close to Nellis AFB here in Vegas and they're the home base for the US Thunderbirds - we have an air show coming up in November here and I'm planning to get a lot of photography done this time out.

iPhoto, I'm about to put you to work, son. :D

Thanks for the information so far, it's been tremendously helpful. Be on the lookout for my "I just ordered my first new computer ever - a MacPro" thread in a few days. After 30+ years of working with computers, it'll be nice to finally, finally have a brand new one and a monster machine at that.

Have a great weekend...