What's the best digital camera?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Swordsman, Apr 14, 2003.

  1. Swordsman macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2003
    I'm looking primarily for a midsize (3 mega pixels) type camera for casual printing and some web work. The two that look promising are the Canon S230 Elf and Nikon Coolpix 3100. Could anyone comment on these cameras? Also, if you have other recommendations please post. I'd appreciate it.
  2. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    Fuji Finepix 3800 is the one I want. 6X optical zoom, 3MP, AA batteries, $300 if you shop around.

    Now if cost is no object, there are some bigger digital SLRs which use regular lenses...
  3. RandomDeadHead macrumors 6502

    Feb 8, 2003
    The answer is simple, The best one is the one you can not afford. That is a rule of life, the best things in this world are the things you will never have.
  4. Moxiemike macrumors 68020


    Jan 1, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Re: What's the best digital camera?

    Nikon. All the way. I had a coolpix 880 (predecessor to the 3100) and it was FANTASTICO!

    I now use a D100. and it rocks.

    nikon. all the way
  5. Swordsman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2003
    Isn't that the truth!

    Moxiemike: I'm leaning toward Nikon myself. What do you know about the movie mode? How good is it?

    Also, here's an off topic question -- does Quicktime play AVI movies?
  6. digitalgiant macrumors regular

    May 29, 2002
    Knoxville Tenneesse
    Nikon rulz

    i would get a Nikon 4300 if i were you. I my self have a Coolpix 5000 and love it. Sounds like it may be more than you want though. Take a look at this,,,,

    Thats the first consumer digital camera,,, and i still have it in the box. You might want to see if you can find a used nikon 880, had one of those to, and it rocked!!

    Take a look here,,http://www.dpreview.com/ Phil does great reviews and the forums have been a great help to me.

    Good luck!!

    [Edit] My wife has a cannon s110 and it also is a great little camera. So small we take it when ever we leave the house.
  7. Moxiemike macrumors 68020


    Jan 1, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    movie mode on those is good. as good as they get.

    you need QT pro, but they WILL import. ;)
  8. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    You don't need QT Pro to play avi files. Some avi files (like divx encoded ones) won't play on Quicktime without getting some codecs and stuff. Aren't the movies from the Nikon encoded with Quicktime?

    The avi files that the Canon's pump out are encoded with Quicktime (at least the S230's are) and will play fine. Check out dcresource.com and download one of the movies generated from this camera.

    As for my opinion, the S230 is going for about $350 or so. You might want to check out the S400. It's a little bigger than the S230, but it has a 3x zoom and is 4MP. The S230's 2x zoom may be a little short.

    The good thing about Canon's are that they use Compact Flash cards.
  9. gopher macrumors 65816

    Mar 31, 2002
    Maryland, USA
    For its price and quality look at the Olympus C-730.

    I have the C-700 and couldn't be happier with it.

    The C-730 has the same zoom, and now is 3 megapixels,
    and costs less than what I spent on the C-700 a year ago!

    It makes its movies in true Quicktime, not MPEG, and best of
    all a 10x Optical Zoom, 27x digital zoom all in a space not much
    bigger than two iPods. Runs on double-A, has S-Video out, and
    great macro features. Take a look at its review on

    DC Resource:

  10. smashedapart macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2002
    I recently did some camera shopping as well, so I guess I'll chime in with my thoughts. I don't know what the *best* camera is, but I do know that I ended up buying a pretty awesome little device. When looking around, I read lots of reviews and decided to get a Nikon, but my wife (being an amateur photographer) told me to look at Canon. She did some research and came up with the Canon Powershot S30. The only problem is that they're very hard to find at the moment. A Canon rep told me it was just due to popularity, but I'm not sure...they're sold out everywhere! We managed to find one though, and I highly recommend it. TONS of features, definitely a "prosumer" camera. It takes great photos as well, plus its movie mode records in Quicktime, gotta love that! Hope this helps...
  11. Moxiemike macrumors 68020


    Jan 1, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The Nikon's all use CF cards as well.
  12. Moxiemike macrumors 68020


    Jan 1, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Listening to an amateur photographer... that'll get you a Canon reallllly quickly. ;)

    The S30 is a fine and capable camera of similar spec to the Nikon but it has an inferior macro capability.

    It's probably a better camera for night photography (long exposures, though i'll bet that they're noisy, as all consumer digicams) but the nikon's faster top shutter speed on the 3100 make it more useful for faster motion stuff.

    but if you're looking to do any close up photography... the Nikon all the way. Blows the S30 out of the water.
  13. Kid Red macrumors 65816

    Dec 14, 2001
    I have the olympus E-20 but that's a $1500 camera and it's adigital SLR and I also wanted something a little more portable. So after looking at the new olympus Stylus 300 and the Sony DSC-P72 I finally forked over a $100 more to get the Canon powershot Elph S400.

    Don't take my word for it, go to http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_s400-review/ and look at the sample photos and then at the same site compare the other samples. Once I saw the S400's samples it was a no brainer. This $500 camera takes straight foward pics as beautiful as my Olympus E-20 and yet is the size of a p[ack of cigarettes. I could not be more impressed by a camera of this size and the features it packs, b/w, sepia, vivid shooting modes, movie mode, stich mode for panaramic pics and BEST of all, all INCLUDED SOFTWARE is OSX COMPATIBLE!! NATIVE!! That was a deal clincher, thjey show they support the mac by making not just os 9 apps, but X apps and they are pretty good too.
  14. tcolling macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2001
    tough question

    Maybe an unanswerable question. After what seemed like eons of research, I chose the Canon S30.

    If you care, here's the process I went through.

    I have a film SLR, and my wife has always wanted a point and shoot camera for everyday snapshots, something smaller that she didn't want to have to do a lot of work with. I decided that I wasn't going to buy any more film cameras, so I was trying to find something that would please her use-wise, and me techno-wise.

    There are about a gazillion digital camera manufacturers out there, so the first thing I did was rule out the Casios, Samsungs, and the like. I reasoned that although these types of companies make electronics, I wanted a "real" camera manufacturer, figuring that their R&D dept's would be ahead of the game as far as the combination of color output, aesthetics, and ergonomics. I still subscribe to that theory.

    Then, I went to my favorite digital photography website, dpreview.com. Go there. I highly recommend it. They've reviewed a myriad of different cameras in all ranges, and give an unbiased opinion of the camera. The reviews are very comprehensive, and even I have a hard time getting through them sometimes because there is so much information.

    But don't just believe Phil (the owner of the site). Almost all manufacturers have a forum dedicated to them, some have more than one (SLR vs. point-and-shoot, for example). Read what the USERS say about them.

    I have not found a single camera that has not had both positive and negative comments. You need to decide which of the comments are worthy, and what shortcomings you are willing to live with and what features you need.

    Understand that there is no such thing as a perfect camera, especially in the digital world, which is a very young technology. (And even if there was, most people couldn't afford it, and everyone would complain about the price, and it wouldn't be perfect anymore.)

    The features I like about the S30 -
    It was in my price range
    Very solid build - metal body which feels solid
    Users liked the image output, and it was at the resolution I wanted
    Good size, can fit in a shirt pocket, but is bigger than the Elph cameras, which, in my opinion, are too small to comfortably hold for long periods. (Not real comfortable for keeping in your pocket for a long time, though)

    Also, don't get too caught up in the resolution. Megapixels are in some way the digital camera equivalent of the megahertz myth. For instance, I could've gotten the S40, which is the same camera as the S30, but four megapixels instead of three. However, the images out of the camera were not as nice on the S40 as the S30. (Canon have since replaced the S40 with the S45, which is an excellent camera.) You will need to temper the resolution requirements with what you are planning to do with the images (mainly web or TV viewing, printing at 4 X 6 or 8 X 10 or higher, etc.)

    Don't think I am bashing Nikon either, because my film SLR is a Nikon. I just decided that the Canon digital was better for me. I feel Canon overall offers a better camera experience in their digital line than Nikon, and I usually recommend either the S30, S45, or G2/G3 to friends who ask me. By the way, if you don't need a lot of manual features, Kodak point and shoots seem like a really good valued consumer camera, but their build quality might be suspect, so if it something you are planning on using a lot, can't do without, or are going to be banging around a bit, I would shy away from those.

    Chances are good that if you do even a minimum amount of homework, you will be happy with your decision whatever you buy. The real trick is just settling on one, and then using it!

    Hope this helps (if you got this far, you're probably halfway home).
  15. Swordsman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2003
    Thank you, everyone. Good advice all around! I'll continue to do homework and will definitely look at all the suggestions you've offered. The websites some of you listed will be huge help. Thanks again!
  16. dabirdwell macrumors 6502

    Sep 26, 2002
    My Olympus 3040Z has been awesome, start with point and shoot and go as far into manual control of your photos as you want.

    Plus the image quality, optical zoom, feature set and versatility are unmatched for the price. (granted mine is over a year old)
  17. Ambrose Chapel macrumors 65816

    Ambrose Chapel

    Jul 24, 2002
    I have a Canon PowerShot A40 which has served me well. Very good image quality and it's easy to use. They recently released new ones; I think the A70 is a 3 megapixel, costs $350 or so. I'm sure it would suit your needs. The PowerShots tend to have an increased zoom over the Elphs for less money, FWIW...
  18. yzedf macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2002
    A friend of mine got the PowerShot S200 a while back, and I was very impressed. So much so, that I got one for myself at Christmas time.

    From what I have heard, the S230 is even better.

    For a idea of what the S200 can do (I am not a photographer type - I do the point and shoot thing) check out this:


    and the directory is here:


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