Digital Cameras?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 19, 2002
Hey Guys-
We're in the market for a digital camera now. Here are the issues:
1. Quantity. Can the camera hold 40 or 50 high quality images? What are the different options here?
2. Quality. Are the pictures clear? How do we print them? Buy an expensive printer, use some online printing resource, local photo shop? What's the cost on these different options?
3. Zoom. We'd like on that has good zoom capabilities. Do we HAVE to have optical zoom, or will digital work just fine? How many times zoom do we need?
4. Cost. What am I looking to pay?
5. Brand. Which brand to go to / steer away from. What model do we want to buy?
Thanks a lot

Over Achiever

macrumors 68000

First off, the memory card the camera comes can usually hold only a couple of pictures, so you'll need to get a new memory card. A prosumer 5MP camera (like the Olympus C-50) has their highest quality TIFF pics to be around 15MB, so if you want 40-50 pics, you probably need a 512 MB memory card. The highest capacity memory card is 1GB i think.

I must say tho' that these ultra high quality pictures can be overkill, so a really high quality pic will actually be around 5-10MB.

There are many memory card types, compact flash, secure digital, xD, memory stick. Not many of these are compatible with each other.

A good 4x6 print requires at least a 2 MP (megapixel) camera, I'd recommend getting at least a 3MP. For page size prints, get a 4+MP camera. I'd say quality is becoming comparable to film cameras. You'll get good quality with today's digicams.

Printing your pictures yourself with a photo printer is the most convienent, but the quality isn't quite there yet. Also it costs a bit more if you factor in the printer, ink and paper. The advantage is that you get the prints immediately in the privacy of your own home. I'd say the cost for a 4x6 is over a dollar at least.

For online printing I recommend Ofoto by Kodak, its from a reliable company, and the pics that come out are high quality, no matter what resolution camera, no matter what size. The price for a 4x6 is $0.49 I think for Ofoto. Other online companies may be a bit cheaper. A disadvantage of this is that you should have a fast internet connection (ie cable) to upload the pics to the website, but an advantage is that you can put your album online so friends and family can see the pictures and order prints for themselves.

The same price follows for local print shops. Walmart for example will print digital pictures for $0.49 per 4x6...just drop off your memory card, just like you would drop off film. An advantage of this is you can get your pictures the day after or sooner.

Most point and shoot cameras have either a 2x or 3x zoom, plus some digital zoom. The digital zoom they advertise isn't true zoom...they just blow up an area of the picture and fill in the spaces. You might be better off blowing up the picture in a picture editing program. If you're going professional, then there is a wider range of zoom available. Otherwise most of the cameras have 2 or 3x optical zoom, which IMO, is not bad. I'd always want more though.

You'd might be better off doing a google search and comparing prices, but a good 2 MP camera will be around $200 or more, 3 MP will cost around 300 to 400 dollars, and so on. I'd say if you're looking for a good camera, be prepared to spend at least a couple hundred...but there are cheaper cameras out there;)

Can't go wrong with Canon, Olympus, Minolta, Nikon, Fujifilm, ...anyway I'm not much help there. I'm sure someone has a horror story with some manufacture tho' ;)

Hope this was helpful. :)


macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2002
Recommend, Fuji FinePix A303

Fujifilm FinePix A303 just got Excellent marks from various tech magazines and also on TechTV.

If you lookup ratings on the Fujifilm camera's, you'll see that they consistently get high marks.

You also cannot go wrong with the brands mentioned earlier - but get a good look at the camera before you buy it.

I do strongly recommend staying away from computer branded cameras.

Have fun!


Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
Gone but not forgotten.
The brands mentioned are all good. I will probably always choose Olympus but Nikon, and to a lesser extent, Canon are also on my list.

Stay away from cameras under $200 at the present. Those which offer enough pixels at those prices often have problems with image clarity and colour. Sony cameras tend to support Sony technologies and while a few work well, I wouldn't be locked into their technologies such as MemoryStick.

I like SmartMedia cards because of the size; however, CompactFlash comes in greater capacities including IBM's microdrive series of hard drives. Good readers exist to support these two formats on a USB port. I'm not certain about MultiMedia Card or Secure Digitial since I haven't seen any readers for those and I haven't experienced either of them.

Check the camera's ability to use a certain capacity card as new capacities are added constantly but cameras may not be able to handle them.

On other thing: menus. The smaller the camera, the more things will be hidden in menus rather than on physical mechanisms. Check the menus to see how things are laid out and if things you will need to change are readily available.


macrumors 68020
Jul 4, 2002
Muncie, Indiana
I have a Kodak DC220 I got used...

... and it works great for me. It uses compact flash (CF) cards. I got a 16MB card and it holds 79 pictures. It's only 1.3 megapixel, so laugh at it, but I still have to crop the pictures way down for eBay, and they look terrific on the computer.

If I print them on a full page, they do look pixelly. I think they'd be OK at 5x7 or so.

This camera has USB, so loading pictures into iPhoto is a snap. iPhoto is not Photoshop, so I can't fix contrast problems or run sharpen filters, but it does crop.

Don't leave your memory cards with anybody - they will lose them. Photo labs are sloppy operations. We went digital precisely to get those idiots out of our lives. Print your own pictures on your own printer. The albums you can get from iPhoto through the web are very nice, but a little costly.

I like the Kodak offerings, but the experts say Olympus has glass lenses and that's better. Get a USB camera so you don't have to buy a separate "media reader".

The Kodak uses regular AA batteries; I use rechargable NiMHs. I have lots of them. I just swap in a set when the ones in the camera get too dead. In a pinch, I could buy alkalines at a 7-11. If you get a camera with a special battery, you could get stuck sometime. No battery lasts forever, remember that.

Whatever memory card your camera uses, get a couple of extras. Photography is all about being prepared to shoot at any time, taking lots of pictures and throwing most of them away.


macrumors 6502
Sep 26, 2002
Buy Olympus!!

I bought an Olympus 3040Z more than a year ago and it is unbelievable. It is a professional camera with the option to begin with point-and-shoot and learn at your own pace. The extra features are so numerous I can't begin to use them all, but it just does cool things like alowing you to stand in one place and shoot several pictures around yourself and the software will knit them into a 360' panoramic.

I got it for $550 online a year ago (half of retail). You should be able to find some really great deals on models like this and newer.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2001
Canon 330

I picked up a Canon S330 about 2 months ago. The quality, attention to detail and ease-of-use is excellent.

It's a really nice, compact, 2MP camera with lots of features. At 2MP, it's hardly top-of-the-line these days, but the quality is top-notch and it takes better pictures than a lot of the 3MP cameras that are available.

You can find it online these days for about $300.


macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
East Coast
If you want compact ...

You should look at either the Sony DSC-P7 or the new Canon Digital Elph S230. Both are 3.2MP and are very compact in size. Each one has it's own pros and cons.

So you have a PDA? If your PDA uses external media, you might want to look at a digicam that uses the same media. The Sony uses Memory Sticks, so if you have a Clie you could share media.

Both of these cameras are priced at $400 these days.

Oh, the software for the Canon is OS X native.


macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2002
London (or virtually here)
I've got a Canon Digital IXUS v2 (not sure what the american name is - the smallest of the ELPH line, anyway). It is really impressive. I loved how it looked (tiny metal body - a little like the Ti), and I bought it thinking it would just be a nice (expensive) toy to replace my conventional film happy-snap. But now I use it for almst everything photographic I do... It's just so small and convenient! No 'wasted' shots, either!

Recent digitial cameras are more like very small computers dedicated to taking pictures (and video clips). They have a mini OS which is very important to how the camera functions. I think the 'Canon OS' is elegant, powerful and relatively easy to master.

The rechargable battery supplied with my camera has also been great - recharges very quickly, no 'memory' problems (when a battery thinks its empty when it's not), and small.

The USB connection is a little slow when downloading 64MB of fpics and vids - but that's USB for you...

Mac OS X native software (if you want to avoid/supplement iPhoto).

Good macro setting and spot metering. Clever beam-assisted auto-focus. Cheap storage media (compact flash).

Unless you go for a true pro camera, there is a game of balancing compromises. I would like a direct DC-in plug, firewire, choice to save as TIFF rather than JPEG, more manual shutter speed/aperature settings... but that's asking quite a bit of a puduct that is unabashedly meant for the consumer market...

Have fun choosing. You never really know what to look for until you get your feet wet with a purchase. Good luck!


macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
East Coast
Originally posted by OSeXy!
I've got a Canon Digital IXUS v2 (not sure what the american name is - the smallest of the ELPH line, anyway).
For the record, the Digital IXUS v2 is called the Digital Elph S200 in the USA. The new IXUS v3 is called the S230.


macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 19, 2002
WooHoo!! We just bought a 4.13MP Nikon camera with 3x optical zoom, 35s video mode. Awsome! I'll have some shots up next week. Thanks for the help guys!


Moderator emeritus
Jan 2, 2001
Metairie, LA
thanks to the influence of Moxiemike...I'm currently shooting with a Minolta Dimage 7i...and I'm extremely happy with it! :D

it's 5mp, 28-200mm lens, 7x's amazing I tell ya! ;)