Which digital camera? help im a newbie.

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by inlimbo, May 21, 2005.

  1. inlimbo macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    My dad is looking at buying a point and shoot digital camera max $700AUD (about $530US) not a DSLR (I know how great they are, but their too big and expensive and I don't really need one).

    I don't know anything about cameras and know even less about digital cameras. My dad was a photographer but isn't too great with technology - so we are a bit at a loss. He just wants something that is automatic, easy to use.

    It needs to be OS X campable and work with iPhoto

    Here are the requirements:
    5 or more megapixels
    2 - 2.5 inch LCD screen
    Lithium battery (Don't wanna have to keep changing AA batteries)
    3 x (or more) optical zoom

    The Nikon Coolpix s1 and 5900 look quite good. Canon and Olympus look like there stuff is good too.

    Batteries? We dont want to have to keep changing AAs or mucking around with pulling them in and out to recharge them. Do digital cameras eat through the AAs? How much extra juice do u get out of the lithiums? Thats why I put the requirement for the lithium battery. Please correct me on this.

    What do u recommend?

    Yes I have read all the posts on digital cameras but Im still a bit overwhelmed by it all.
    Thanx very very very much in advance.
  2. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    1. Great work on the specification - you've already done most of the work!
    2. The spec is so specified you should be able to narrow the choice down to 1-2 models in each manufacturers range. So all you need do is choose a manufacturer.
    3. I'd go with nikon (love my D70) for build, but the old canon compact i have (a v3) is also well sturdy.

    Just find a camera that meets your spec, and if its made by a long-standing camera maker, you are unlikely to get a bad bit of kit.

    I say this all the time but: Go to a camera shop and handle all the cameras you want to - the "feel" of a camera is REALLY important, and IMPOSSIBLE to judge from a post in the web.
  3. Andrewk242 macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2005
  4. Doga macrumors regular


    Dec 15, 2003
    Near Montréal, Canada
  5. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    Don't be too hyped by Leica anymore. It's a bit like a designer camera - paying for the brand. Some company brought out a camera with a "Leica" lens - of course, Lieca actually had very little to do with it, but that doesn't stop them charging an extra $50-100

    Personally, I'd always stick with a known camera make like Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax or Fuji - basically any with a long known history. Not Sony or Panasonic or anything because they make electronics goods first. They make excellent video camera and this is only my opinion, but I believe, IMHO that a long-standing camera maker will deliver a better picture-taking experience.

    I don't want to stir up any "I've got a Sony and their great" posts please. This is only my POV. I'm sure for a lot of people, panasonic and sony are great - their prices are usually very competitive. I'd rather buy optical devices from people that have made them for 50 years and not 15, thats all.
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I completely agree that holding the cameras is important - different people will prefer different cameras based on "non-spec" reasons - the shape and feel as opposed to the megapixels, etc.

    For me, my wife's list was 5 or more megapixels, movies if possible, and small. Being small was her top priority, as she intended to carry the camera with her at all times.

    We ended up (arrived yesterday) with a Cannon SD500. The camera, a case, a spare battery, and a 1GB SD card cost a total of ~US$600. The SD400 model is very similar except it's 5MP instead of 7MP, and the camera/case/battery/SD card total would be closer to US$500.

    I agree that any of the name-brand camera manufacturers produce a good product. We went with Canon because we have a 35mm ELPH that's the same size as the one we bought, and that compact size was what my wife wanted. She also wanted movie capability in case she wanted to capture something and didn't have our big camcorder around. Having had the camera less than 24 hours, and having been busy enough that I've only played with it for less than an hour, I can say that the pictures are quite good, and the movie capability (up to 18 minutes on a 1GB card, 9 minutes at 640x480x30fps) is nice - and the sound/video quality of the movies is surprisingly good. I expected a lot of tradeoffs to reach the small size, but the camera performs far better than I would have expected.

    Personally, I think a bigger camera lets you feel more comfortable taking pictures and provides more control and better photographs - even though I love the ELPH form factor and it takes great pictures. However, my wife's point - with which I agree - is that a camera, no matter how nice, is worthless if it's not accessible. The SD500, or another small camera, is much more likely to be nearby unless you're a serious enough photographer that you carry a larger one around at all times.
  7. Emerson macrumors member


    Apr 1, 2004
    Check out Casio


    I would highly recommend looking at the Casio Exilim Series of cameras. I know that when you think of cameras the first name is not Casio, but these camera are truly amazing and resonably priced. I would recommend either the EX-Z55, EX-Z57, or iif you budget allows it the EX-Z750. Here is the home page for the cameras

    http://www.casio.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=products.section&catalog=Cameras&section=EXILIM Series

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com for buying the camera

    also check out the reviews for these camera at:

    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/ex-z750.html (EX-Z750)
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/ex-z57.html (EX-Z57)

    I actually own a Nikon D70, but am looking at purchasing one of these camera just to keep with me all the time. So needless to say I am extremely serious about my camera research and I can't recommend enough going to the store and playing with many cameras to actually see how they feel in your hands (make sure to buy online though save you quite abit of money).

    Good Luck
  8. ericssonboi macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2005
    I would recommend Canon.. you pretty much can't go wrong.
    I have a A95 myself and i'm very pleased with it..
    The next camera would probably be a Digital Rebel.

    Pictures taken with teh A95


  9. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2004
    A friend of mine just bought a Canon Ixus 50 - £300 with an extra li-ion battery, 512MB SD card and case. It's a great little camera - with the emphasis on little. He can get 400 shots or 3 hours video out of the 2 batteries. 2" screen is very sharp. Only drawbacks I can see are it's very small, only 3x zoom and the flash is a bit weak over 5m, but he's planning on getting a wireless flash for about £40 which will increase that (it doesn't have a hotshoe).
    Works wonderfully with OSX - just plug and go. Pictures download automatically into iPhoto and video goes on with Image Capture
  10. Whigga Spitta macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2004
    Can you say Chi-City??
    i just bought the Casio EX-Z750, for many of the points you brought up in the initial post. The battery life is extraordinary and the professional reviews have put in nearly equal to the quality of the Canon SD500-- yet the Casio has more to offer in many aspects. 'Best Shot Selector', HUGE LCD, more pocketable, and oh yeah-- did i mention the unmatched battery life?

    it doesn't hurt that it takes great pictures also...
  11. Dr.Gargoyle macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2004
    lat: 55.7222°N, long: 13.1971°E
    Nikon Coolpix 5200

    I have had a Nikon Coolpix 5200 for about 8 months now. I am a ex old school amateur photographer and had previously only been using Nikon SLRs (FM and FE) with motors (heavy!!).
    To be quite honest, I was a bit suspicious about the pic quality before I actually had a closer look at it. I am very happy with my small Nikon, the pic quality is amazing given the small size of the camera. When started shopping for a dig camera, I only considered Nikon and Canon since I knew from past experience that they knew how to the most from the optics (unless we would include Hasselblad).
    Ok, there where cameras out there with 7Mp (Sony). But IMO, the optics is the weakest link beyond 4-5 Mp.

    I chose the Nikon because it had:
    A shorter startup time than the Canon (Ixus).
    The flashcard was better.
    I disliked the flimsy flashcard slot on the Canon.

    The Nikon program menue is very intuitive and the camera works great with Macs and iPhoto.

    As I saw it, Nikon Coolpix was the perfect combination of good pic quality/price/mobilty I could find at that time.
    I am sure your dad would be very happy with a Nikon Coolpix 5900.
  12. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    I would have to agree - the lump on the side of the coolpix range makes them much more useable!

    Really, I can't stress this enough - get to a shop and try them all out before you buy even if you just then buy over the net.
    Sometimes it's nice to support local business too - a friendly, familiar local camera dealer is invaluable too!
    (They know a TON of stuff about cameras and are likely to be impartial if you set out your budget clearly to them - don't say money isn't an issue, 'cos obviously ANY salesman will then just point to the most expensive thing in the shop and jabber on about how superior it is until you cave in and part with a lot of cash you didn't need to)
    They will often, over time, send out for special things too, and do you deals on stuff - funnily enough - in the UK anyway, camera dealers are still a place I don't mind a bit of haggling! For example - I want to spend X on a camera, but don't mind getting something a bit better if I can get a case for it too, and maybe a big memory card etc.
  13. Stinkythe1 macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2005
    I would seriously recommend this one. $449.94

    I have the Canon S50 and it is stunning. Excellent features and if you leave it on auto, it's still braindead easy to use.
  14. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    as you can tell, most people who have bought canon/nikon are perfectly happy to recommend them to you! - this proves the quality of their products.
    It's really up to you (and mostly how you "feel" with the camera)
  15. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks guys for all your help. Really appreciate it! Looks like I will get the Nikon 5900 or the S1. Not sure of the difference. S1 has a bigger screen (2.5 inch) and comes with a docking cradle thing - but I dont know if that is an advantage. S1 is a few hundred dollars extra.

    I will write up a review as soon as I get it.

    Thanks again! (I love macrumors!)
  16. atari1356 macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2004
    You may also want to look into the Fuji F10... it's the only small camera out now with an ISO sensitivity range of 80 - 1600 (similar to many DSLR cameras)... which means it will perform better than other cameras in it's range in low light - and images will be less noisy in many situations. I don't have one, but if I were in the market for a point-and-shoot camera, I'd give this one serious consideration.

    Here are a couple of reviews:


  17. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I hadn't heard of this camera before, but I flipped through the DPReview article and I am duly impressed. :) Not too bad...low light performance to me is *not* one of the hallmarks of the PowerShot Sxx cameras. My 300D does it just fine :rolleyes: but that's another story!
  18. jinny1 macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2004
    Similar search

    I was almost sold on the Nikon coolpix until I started seeing a 4mp Minolta dimage with a 10x zoom. Way cool. My question is, when zoomed, what is the maximum apeture of the lens?

    If I have to be at the beach in the squinting sun to use it, it won't be very helpful.

    I know I need to go look at it and play with it, but was wondering if anyone had any experience with the Minolta.
  19. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi again,

    I just did some researching today on prices and found that I can upgrade to the 7900 for the initial price that I quoted for the 5600. Australian Macworld had a review of the 5900 and 7900 this month which made me think about upgrading. There are a lot on ebay too. But again I will have to go to a camera shop and hold and test the 7900 to make sure I like it.

    Here is what Im looking at

    I have factored in postage and the fact that I may have to pay GST (import duty) on it.
  20. Zion Grail macrumors regular

    Dec 24, 2002
    WOW... That's awesome! I just got an A95 myself, but I haven't had a real chance to use it yet. However, I'm finding myself very happy I got it. :D
  21. Daveway macrumors 68040


    Jul 10, 2004
    New Orleans / Lafayette, La
    I'm in a toss up betweeen: Canon A95, Sony W5, and the Olympus 5500.

    I would really like more than a 3x zoom which is why I'm also looking at the Olympus. The Sony is ultra fast, and the Canon is a mix of all and I really like my A40.

    It's so frustrating! :mad: :mad:
  22. Vashti macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2003
    New York, NY
    Great Thread!

    Hey y'all. I just happened on this thread. I too am looking for a digital camera. It will be my first. Let me try a couple of questions. First, is it true that zoom distorts pictures on digital cameras. A salesperson in one store suggested I go for more megapixels (6 or 7) and crop - and I'd get better pictures than looking for a large zoom. Does that sound true to you? I have been looking at the Canon 7 megapixel Elph (SD500) and the Sony 7 megapixel (slightly bigger) Sorry, I'm on the road and don't have model number with me. Salesperson said he owned the Sony and liked its pics better than Canon's. I had been leaning toward the Canon - but the Sony is $100 less and faster. Any of you guys have any experience with the Sony? Any other comments on the Canon? Thanks so much. You guys are a newbie's dream.
  23. quagmire macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    If you could sacrifice .2" of screen space, I would recommend the . Pentax Optio S5i It is a compact size. Cool features, 5 MP, $299, and comes with a charging dock.
  24. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Yes, Pentax Optio S series. (There are so many generations better than mine, I can't keep them straight :D But I love mine, which isn't nearly as nice as they are now.)

    Pentax seems to be respected and known for film cameras, but often overlooked for digital cameras even though their components are used in other brands. But they shouldn't be overlooked--they've had a full range of digital cameras for years.

    And my research led me to the following, which hasn't changed much I don't think... The Pentax Optio S series has a unique combination of small size AND the features of a full-size camera.

    What good is a camera that you don't have with you because it's too big? I knew I wouldn't even HAVE my camera with me if I got a full-size one. I wanted one of the very smallest available--and I waited until there was one that was still a great camera.

    My Optio S is so tiny and light I wear it like a necklace. Yes, there are others almost that small--and even a few smaller--but they make you SACRIFICE for the size. The Optio S series does a great job of packing in the things you expect from a high-end full size camera.

    For instance:

    5 megapixels (maybe more)
    True optical zoom (any digital zoom is unaccaptable quality--don't bother with it)
    Flash (with red-eye reduction)
    Movies with sound (and iPhoto imports them) and internal speaker
    Time-lapse photos
    Voice memos
    Playback of slideshows and movies to TV with sound
    Alarm clock (3, in fact)
    LOTS of image features, both during picture-taking and after
    Full manual controls (Consumer Reports always gets that wrong and says they're missing they're not)
    Fully automatic unless you CHOOSE to go manual
    Customizable UI and buttons
    3D stereo photos (with stereoscope viewer included)
    Rechargeable--with battery and charging stand included (and I've never run out of charge)
    Tripod mount
    All-aluminum case, with a lens that fully retracts to about 3/4" total thickness
    Etc. etc.

    Many full-size cameras can't match the Optio S feature list.

    And mine has proven very durable too.

    Did I mention it's the size of a business card?

    Maybe something with this combination of features/size has come along since I researched it, but I can highly recommend whatever the newest Optio S generation may be.

    EDIT: Yep, that Optio S5i linked above looks like the latest in the series I own. But there are other Optio S series that are bigger now--so look at the specs. The Optio Sz looks interesting too--slightly bigger, but with a much bigger screen. And much better video! That might be my next camera...
  25. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Digital cameras are sometimes advertised with a "digital" zoom and an "optical" zoom. The effect of the optical zoom is no different than it is on a film camera of similar design -- it is achieved by moving lenses around with respect to each other, and it does produce distortion (lenses can produce spherical aberration, chromatic aberration, and astigmatism, for instance), but all of these effects happen on film cameras too. Some manufacturers also advertise a "digital zoom" -- this is actually almost completely equivalent to cropping your picture and blowing up the crop.

    An entirely separate issue is that if you have a very long focal length, it blows up any hand-shake...this is why cameras with 10x zoom or more often have some kind of image stabilization program. But again that is not an issue which is unique to digital cameras, sensitivity issues of the sensor vis-à-vis film (and resulting differences in shutter speed) aside.

    Hope that helps?

    I have no comment on the Canon vs. Sony issue, or the Canon vs. Nikon issue, should that crop up in this thread, either. ;)

Share This Page