Suggestions on Digital Camera



  • Reply 21 of 117
    max8319max8319 Posts: 347member
    i got the minolta s404 for $'s 4.1 MP, 140 mm (equiv)'s great. i haven't tried to sync it with my computer via iphoto, but i'm hoping it works. if not, i'm sure it will be with the next iphoto update.....the s304 was supported, so i'm hoping the next incremental update will work
  • Reply 22 of 117
    It is far nicer to grow into your camera than out of it.

    I used to have a Kodak DC360. The top of the line in its day, but I did learn some things to look out for when upgrading...

    1. Cameras whose lenses go in and out externally to the casing take longer to warm up. They are also more likely to get dust and other contaminants into the gears and lens area. Not only that, but if it is in your pocket and you accidentally turn it on while taking something else out, the camera may not be smart enough to notice it can't extend the lens. This can burn out your camera. Not to mention waste battery power.

    2. Plastic and metal gears are relatively redundant. For the most part, the manufacturer does not mention this spec, so most of the statements must be made by people who have taken their camera apart, right? Yeah, right...

    3. Software which allows you to control the camera from the computer is not a necessity... It's nice, but not something you really really need. The DC 260 had it... the Nikon 990 doesn't...

    4. Lens attachemtns are something that can expand your photography. If you think you will want them, make sure your camera can handle them. The DC260 (and other outside-the-casing lens cameras) need a sleeve to fit over the lens before attaching extras. This means you will get vignetting depending on how you have the zoom set for your shot.

    5. Macros can be fun. If you think you will play with this feature (which can be really, really neat) make sure your camera can handle it. If it cannot, you will limit the possibilities.

    6. wear it. I mean it! Try it around your neck... see if it is bulky in your pocket (with the sales guys permission, of course) I mean, this is something you want to take with you on a hike, slip into your pocket to go to a party and have on hand when you are on the town. If it looks like a pack of ciggarettes stuck on the end of a coke can, (Sorry, Sony) then it will probably be bulky and uncomfortable.

    7. Can you attach an external flash unit to it? You may not want to at first, but over time you may want to play a bit, especially if you get bitten by the photography bug after playing with a well made digital camera.

    8. Can you use off-the-counter batteries. A few cameras force you to use proprietory batteries (Nikon 995) and this means you have to shell out more money to get another battery. The 995 battery costs $70 here in Canada... a 4=pack of AA's are $12.00. Do the math.

    9. Choose your storage. Nowadays its not enough to commit to compact flash, smart immedia or Sony memory sticks. Now you must contend yourself with compact flash 1 or 2... Thjis is mostly important if you absolutely feel the need to consider the IBM Microdrive. Personally, you can buy 5 or 6 of the 64 Meg Compact Flash cards for the same price as a Microdrive.

    I started with the Kodak DC360, mostly because of a great deal that came along. I took over 19000 pictures with it. I got as many of the extras as I could afford, but noticed a few things lacking. Since then I got the Nikon 990. It offered the most features, but what really impressed me at the time was that it held its value in the stores for a lot longer than the others which came out. Over half a year since it came out, it only dropped $400 (CDN) Other models were replaced almost weekly, but the Nikons seem to have more staying power. Then there were the features, which are too numerous to mention. Now I am slowly learning to play with features I didn't really need when I bought it.

    What I am trying to say, I guess, is do your research and, if at all possible, get a camera which is a bit more than you immediatly want. Grow into it... but try to postpone growing out of it.
  • Reply 23 of 117
    That sounds like wise advice. Thank you all.

    People seem to like Sonys and Kodaks around here. What do you think of the Canon A40? A good choice? or should I look again at the Nikon 885, or Digital Elph?



  • Reply 24 of 117
    The Canon A40 appears to be a good starting camera. You may grow out of it eventually, though.

    First, according to Steves Digicams page it only saves as jpegs. Roughly transalated: Don't expect to sell too many phots.

    Second... the memory card is easy to get to... you don't have to take it off the tripod to do so (which was the most annoying thing about one of the older Nikons) You will, however, have to take it off a tripod to change batteries, though. Of course, this all depends on whether you use tripods... 8^)

    Third. The macro is good to 10.2 inches. If I am not mistaken, most Nikons can go as small as an inch or less. It depends if you think you might use this feature.

    Fourth. The different lenses fit using an adapter. If you can, see how this adapter works and decide if you would be comfortable with it.

    Considering the ELPH series, I dunno... they look far too small to be comfortable to use. And they have a proprietary battery...

    In your case, however, it all depends on your needs. If the price difference between the two is $100 or so, I would get the A40, simply because it does offer more expansion and is slightly larger. It also uses normal batteries. In whatever case, the things you buy after you get your camera to make taking pictures easier (cards, lenses, batteries) will most likely affect your next purchase a few years from now.

    But if you are considering the NIkon 885. Well... those will always be my favorite. Great features... Tiff saving (no compression) Super close Macro (1.6 inches) Manual operations (Don't knoock it... some cameras are fully automatic... Sometimes you want total control) In most areas, this camera has similar settings to Nikon's film cameras. The major drawbacks (to me) are the proprietary battery and method of mounting the lenses. The major niceties are the fact that the different lenses, cables and even the battery are used with the 995 as well. This means if you upgrade in that direction in the future a lot of these items may be used with the next camera.

    Between the Canon A40 and Nikon 885... I would get the Nikon...
  • Reply 25 of 117
    ryukyuryukyu Posts: 450member
    Take a good look at the Canon S30 or S40.

    These can be used for automatic point and shoot or you can have total manual control.

    A ton of features for the money.
  • Reply 26 of 117
    escherescher Posts: 1,811member
    [quote]Originally posted by Mandricard:

    <strong>What do you think of the Canon A40? ... or should I look again at the Nikon 885, or Digital Elph?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Mandricard: I still think the A40 would be an excellent choice. nosarious gives a good rundown of some of its advantages above. The larger more ergonomic grip, the standards AA batteries and the possibility of accessory lenses certainly set the A40 apart from the smaller Canons and other cameras in that price range. If you do go for a smaller Canon, you should strongly consider the new <a href=""; target="_blank">PowerShot S330</a>, which at $400 street price is a very good deal and still features a 3x zoom lens instead of the 2x in the tiny S110 Digital Elph.

    nosarious also makes the excellent point that "it is far nicer to grow into your camera than out of it." However, because digital cameras are evolving so quickly and prices are coming down every month, it may be perfectly fine to get a camera that you will outgrow. My suggestion is that you get a camera like the A40 or the S330 now, and get a digital SLR (a "real" camera) when they are more affordable.

    Finally, don't let my Canon-owner bias dissuade you from the Nikon 885. From what I understand it is a good camera. I just think that the color quality is better in the low-end/consumer Canons than in low-end Nikons.

  • Reply 27 of 117
    orqueorque Posts: 13member
    I can only add my opinion, but I just got a Canon S30 and it's *great*. I was deciding between it and the Elph and at $50 CDN more I'm very happy chose the S30. The skies are a bit purplish, but I believe the S40 has fixed this (and there's a photoshop action you can use too). You can check out the <a href=""; target="_blank">first roll</a> I took last week for an idea of quality. And yes, it works perfectly with OS X.
  • Reply 28 of 117
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    The Nikon CP 885 and Canon PowerShot A40 are not in the same category. One is a fairly expensive 3.3 megapixel camera and the other is a fairly inexpensive 2 megapixel camera.

    If you know you will never print any 8x10s, I say go with the Canon. Canon consumer digitals are just built better than Nikons.

    The Canon Digital Elph S330 is a great camera... something I would buy for myself. I would not buy a Nikon CP 885. If you are going for something in the Nikon's price range, I would seriously consider the Olympus C-3020Z.

    The Olympus will have the biggest, fastest lens of them all, and is the same price as the Nikon at B&H.
  • Reply 29 of 117
    trick falltrick fall Posts: 1,271member
    I'm certainly no expert, but I've been enjoying my Sony DSC-P71. It's a nice size which means I bring it with me more often than not and the batteries seem to last for a decent amount of time. It came with a 16mb memory stick, and rechargable batteries. It's 3.2 megapixels and I got mine for 350.00
  • Reply 30 of 117
    mandricard, why dont you go to a store and play with a few cameras? you wont be able to print anything out, but at least find one that feels comfortable in you hand and you like the features, ease of use, etc.

    if i had to buy another camera, i'd still get a sony. my second choice would be olympus. then third would be nikon.
  • Reply 31 of 117
    I have done that, thanks for the suggestion, Mac's Girl. Yet, as I am sure you know, playing with a camera in a store (Where most are generally not functional to begin with) can only give me a little idea of what is going on with them, especially in terms of features. At this point, being a novice with their menu paradigms I am still a little in the dark.

    Ryukyu: Did you mean S40, not A40? What is the difference? I have not seen the S40.

    To All: I am also a little concerned with the associated costs of these cameras, and the impossibility of using regular batteries in a pinch. How much additional to what I spend on a camera should I expect to spend on associated accoutrements (extra batteries, memory, etc.)?


  • Reply 32 of 117
    mandricard: so you really couldnt rule any of them in/out by trying them out, eh? hmmm. those menus can be confusing, but it took me a week of just taking pictures of "nothing" to experiment and figure it out. you'll get the hang of it too.

    i would avoid any cameras that take regular batteries only. my cousin got one and now regrets it. mine has some kind of rechargeable battery (lithium?) that has never run out on me, and recharges easily too. i never felt the need to buy a spare battery. maybe just alott yourself an extra $100 to buy a bigger memory card. that should be more than enough.

    btw, you shouldnt obsess over it this much. it's like asking, what's better, a mercedes, a bmw, or an audi. you couldnt go wrong with either of these fine german cars, so it would just be a matter of stylistic preference and other small features. you have several good, sound choices for your camera purchase, so just pick the one you like. with all else being equal, i finally picked my 3.3 mp model over the model i wanted cuz it was silver and prettier (the other was black) and had an unlimited mpeg movie mode (intead of a 40-second maximum). but you wont go wrong with any good reputable camera.
  • Reply 33 of 117
    escherescher Posts: 1,811member
    [quote]Originally posted by Mandricard:

    <strong>Ryukyu: Did you mean S40, not A40? What is the difference? I have not seen the S40.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Check out this <a href=""; target="_blank">review of the PowerShot S40</a> at DP Review. The S40 is basically a shrunk down version of the prosumer G2. It has 4MP, so your files will be twice as big, but you'll also have twice the resolution for scaling and cropping. It won't have the accessory lenses of the A40, but will have higher picture quality due to higher resolution.

    Mandricard: I have to admit that in this day and age, 2MP like in the A40 may be on the low end if you want to print a lot of 8x10s and larger pictures. The S30 or S40 would definitely give you a resolution edge. Especially for someone like you, who is used to dealing with gargantuan image files, more pixels (i.e. 3-4MP) may be an important factor. But if you just want to take pictures for the web, a 2MP will be more than enough.

    [quote]<strong>How much additional to what I spend on a camera should I expect to spend on associated accoutrements (extra batteries, memory, etc.)?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    A set of 4 AA NiMH rechargeables with a good charger will cost you about $30-50. Check out <a href=""; target="_blank"></a> for example. If your camera uses proprietary batteries, you'll probably have to spend more. Even if your camera comes with one battery pack and a charger, you'll have to buy a second battery (a) because you wont be able to use AAs in a pinch and (b) because most proprietary batteries have lower capacity than a set of AAs (and you don't want to run out of juice when the bride kisses the groom or the crocodile bites the hunter).

    The cost of memory cards will depend on the kind used (Compact Flash, Memory Stick or Smart Media). CF is still the cheapest per MB. You can easily get good cards for less than 50c/MB, e.g. a 128MB CF card for $60. That's why I excluded non-CF compatible cameras very quickly in my search. Note, however, that memory prices are falling precipitously for all flash memory formats.

    Obviously, the larger the card, the more pictures it will hold. I went all out and got a 128MB card even though they were still well above $100 at the time. But I never regreted the investment because I could take close to 140 images at the highest resolution and lowest compression with my 2MP A20. It's nice not to have to select and delete pictures in the field. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether the autofocus did a good job on your camera's tiny LCD.

    In conclusion, I believe that any $4-500 camera you get now will have a hard time satisfying you in the long run. (I remember what you told me last Spring about the low quality of dital camera images compared to scans from film.) So as long as you don't get any of the cheap entry-level cameras, you should be fine.

  • Reply 34 of 117
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Yeah, I bought the Powerhaus charger with 8 GP 1800 mAh batteries and I've been very happy.

    With a 3.3 megapxiel camera, you'll definitely want at least a 128 MB card.

    I would still put the Olympus C-3020Z at the top of my list, despite the fact that it uses SmartMedia instead of CompactFlash. It's the best camera in its price range for image quality alone. It has great aperture priority from f/2.8-f/11...

    The Nikon 885 and Canon S-series and A-series have only f/2.8-f/4.9

    The Olympus C-3020Z also uses AA batteries, unlike the Nikon 885 and Canon S-series.
  • Reply 35 of 117
    isracesisraces Posts: 92member
    I got a Pentax Optio 330 a few months ago after playing with a friend's over christmas. It is pretty sweet. It's small like the Elphs (which is what I was going to get before I saw my friend's camera) and is 3.3 Mpxl. Works great with iPhoto as well. There was some promo on it with a $100 rebate. I don't know. Worth looking at if you haven't already. I carry it around in my pocket on trips and it has done pretty well.
  • Reply 36 of 117
    escherescher Posts: 1,811member
    I recently had a look at, after resisting my urge to shop around for a few weeks. It's really nice to see how dramatically digital camera prices have fallen since last year. For example, you can get:

    * <a href=""; target="_blank">Canon PowerShot A40 for $300</a>

    * <a href=""; target="_blank">Canon PowerShot S200 Digital Elph for $350</a>

    * <a href=""; target="_blank">Canon PowerShot S330 Digital Elph for $400</a> and

    * <a href=""; target="_blank">Canon PowerShot S40 for $600</a>

    Mandricard: At this point, you simply have to decide whether you want to spend more or less than you planned. My suggestion is that you spend less, and then get a better model once you are more familiar with digital cameras.

    Last year, the cheapest DSLR with interchangeable lenses (Canon D30) cost $3000. This year, there are two DSLRs at $2000 (Canon D60 and Nikon D100). Who knows how low they will go in 2003. The prices for the mass-produced low-end consumer cameras have fallen further than the prices for high-end consumer, prosumer and professional digital cameras. In my opinion, the argment for getting in at the more affordable low end now is strong.


    [ 05-03-2002: Message edited by: Escher ]</p>
  • Reply 37 of 117
    Has anyone here had any personal experiences with the Nikon Coolpix 995?

    I have seen it for a good (that is good for the U.K.) price of £405, and I am tempted. The review at is v. impressive. Thanks in advance.

    - T.I.
  • Reply 38 of 117
    bellebelle Posts: 1,574member
    It's a little out of the required price range, but given the discussion on other cameras here, I'd like to add a vote for the Canon G2.

    I recently replaced my battle-weary G1 with the G2 and a 1GB MicroDrive.

    It's a wonderful camera, though the manual focus system takes a little work. The battery life is outstanding. I carry my camera almost all the time, and can fill the disk (512 JPEGs at maximum resolution) before having to recharge the battery.
  • Reply 39 of 117
    Eugene, I am just curious, you seem to have a general aversion towards Nikon cameras. What brings this on? I am only asking because some of their models are indeed highly rated.

    - T.I.
  • Reply 40 of 117
    [quote]Originally posted by Belle:

    <strong>It's a wonderful camera, though the manual focus system takes a little work. The battery life is outstanding. I carry my camera almost all the time, and can fill the disk (512 JPEGs at maximum resolution) before having to recharge the battery.</strong><hr></blockquote> about letting me see a picture of you, belle?

    I have the Canon PowerShot S30 ($499 retail). 3.2 megapixel camera..really nice and takes good pics. I really like mine.
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