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Digital Camera Features
What to look for around $1000?
Thors Hammer

 3:24 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Nice topic, hee hee. I am going to buy a digital the middle of this month. Ive got about $1000 to spend, anyone got any suggestions what this kind of budget will buy????

What are the most important thing to look for, and to avoid????




 3:30 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'd look for an optical zoom of 4x or more, and real image resolution of 3-4 megapixels (as opposed to interpolated resolution). Some kind of "standard" memory storage: SmartMedia or CompactFlash, preferably.


 3:28 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I *HIGHLY* reccommend the Sony CD-Mavica Cameras. The new ones are 3-4 Megapixels, they have 3x zoom, and best of all they burn your images onto a 3" CD-R or CD-RW - no more messing with memory cards and card readers! You can put up to 165MB of images on the disk and the disk can be read by your computer's CD drive. The disks are about $5 a piece, compared to $75 for a memory card. The camera is $900.00


 4:17 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Go for the highest optical zoom you can afford. The optical zoom does a much better job than a digital zoom. I know Olympus makes a camera (I think it is the c-700) that has a 10x optical zoom.

Overall I have liked the Olympus cameras. I have used the Mavicas in the past and haven't liked them as much. I would rather have a small Smart Media card than a CD.

Thors Hammer

 12:00 am on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Lauren and DrCool. I just went to sonys site, and WOW... Give me some feed back here are the stats for the Mavica CD400 :

and here is the info on the DSC F707

I really like the idea of saving to a rw disk, over and over again. The savings for the amount of savings must be great. And trasfereing the data/images to a computer that doesnt have a smart media reader is a great plus imho.

Have any of you used any of these cameras? What would you say about them??

Im going to check out Olympus now, brb ;)



 12:09 am on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have a minolta dimage7, 5.24 megapixel, 7x zoom, got it in an open box special for 800. look for the ability to set a custom white balance, nice if you are taking product shots. High resolution is nice even when your final image is small, gives photoshop more to work with when making adjustments, retouching, etc. Also buttons are easier than menu's in my book. read the reviews, there are a couple good sites specific to digital cameras. The Sony DSC-707 is a great camera from my reading, it was the other contender, but liked the deal on the Minolta. I also bought a 128mb compactflash, and just drag and drop via usb, works well.

(edited by: SmallTime at 12:14 am (utc) on May 8, 2002)


 12:13 am on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

minolta dimage7, 5.24 megapixel, 7x zoom, got it in an open box special for 800

drool, drool...

Yes, definitely zoom, resolution & white balance. Those are the top 3. Storage media is really a matter of personal preference...


 12:22 am on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I just wanted to drop this ressource. It is a very good digital photography review site.


They have a very good tool to make a selection within your budget.


If you could spend more you could get a pretty decent SLR. This makes a HUGE difference.


Thors Hammer

 12:38 am on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

So far I am very impressed with the Sony DSC F707
I just wish it had more memory to start with. And I am finding it for around $850 on the net. If I go to Beast-Buy ;) I might have to pay the full $995 Hummm, I wonder if they match internet prices???? Anyone know??



 9:24 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just my plug for a site that I like...

Once you have reviewed the cameras and have decided on a few look at www.pricescan.com. It compares prices from several sites on the web so you can find the best price for your camera. One camera I looked at was MSRP $699 and I found sites that ranged in price from $220 to $750.

my 2 pence worth


 9:27 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just checked pricescan and the Sony DSC F707 can be had for $729 on a few sites...

Thors Hammer

 11:22 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yummyyyyy. ;)

Im going to make my decision by this weekend, and pick one up.

Got to get a real nice high end photo quality printer to go with it also. Any suggestions???



 11:25 pm on May 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

How about you start a new thread for the printer, Thor? That way, wmw visitors looking for related info later can find the topics more easily on the site search! :)

Thors Hammer

 1:43 am on May 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

Good idea, thanks. Im sometimes a slow learner ;)



 5:45 pm on May 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

I bought the Sony CyberShot DSC-S75 not too long ago, I wanted a CD-Mavica but couldn't afford the $1,000 price tag. The S75 is pretty nice, 3.34 MP and 6X optical zoom and I think it's priced around $400. I know they have better ones out now (up to 5 MP I think). I found the camera to be easy to use and it takes incredibly clear pictures. It uses the sony memory sticks but images can be transferred to a computer with an included USB cable without having to spend an extra $70 on a card reader.


 6:10 pm on May 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

This just in:

Olympus is about to release a new C-series: C-720, 3 mp, 8x zoom, priced around $600 USD. Uses SmartMedia, includes rechargeable batteries, and has a pretty speedy shutter for better "action" shots...

Supposed to hit the streets in June.


 7:06 pm on May 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

In full agreement with lauren1396. I have a SONY CD1000. 2.1 megapixel, 10X optical. I also have the tilting strobe, wide angle lens, multiplier lens. I can shoot telephotos, time exposures and excellent closeups & just about fill a frame with a penny. I've printed 11x14 photographic process without pixelation. Tons of resolution for webwork. The camera is somewhat larger than most, but lightweight. The CD storage makes moving images onto a hard drive very easy and the media is both inexpensive & acts as backup storage. The batteries are 'smart'. Not a rapid-fire camera as it takes about 5 seconds to record between shots. I've had the camera for a year and recommend it for consideration.


 7:45 pm on May 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

We've got a Sony Mavica FD95, it uses floppies verses the CD. I checked out the CD version and found out that you have to burn your images on it before you can remove and place into your computer.

Where with the floppy just pop it out load it up and pop it back in.

It also comes with a memory adaptor for the floppy but BEWARNED, if you have any other writing device on your computer, (beside your floppy drive) ie CDRW, DVDRW, ZipDrive, etc. YOU CAN NOT USE IT!!! First hand experince, spent 2 days trying to figure out why it would work.

Thats my 2 cents may 3 cents worth


 6:02 pm on May 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

sparrow: I checked out the CD version and found out that you have to burn your images on it before you can remove and place into your computer.

To clarify:

With the SONY CD 1000 camera, I "initialize" the CD in the camera to format it to accept images. The disk can be removed and replaced without re-initializing the CD. To view the photos or download onto your computer however, the CD must be "finalized" in the camera. Then the computer's CD drive can read it.

A finalized CD can be reinitialized to accept more photos. Finalizing a CD uses up some of its space, so if you finalize a CD several times to download groups of images, it won't hold the full complement of shots that a CD used from beginning to end without finalizing.


 5:11 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

For my 2p worth which may be too late as Thor you may have bought the camera by now.

I would definately not go for a disk or cd in camera unit.

Smartmedia or compact flash card cameras with a USB connection allow you to shoot as many images as you like, write times to the cards are fast, you can drag them into your PC before deciding which are worth keeping and which discarding because the on camera lcd screens are not that good for reviewing pics in.

It seems a waste to write and close a CD and floppy, well the largest tiff image my Fuji FP4900z takes is 16mb, some floppy if you can fit one of those on it :-)

Features I would look for:

as much as you can afford especially if you plan to print.

as good as you can afford. (you can check these out in detail at dpreview.com) If you cannot stretch to a DSLR then you may want to be sure there are lense accessories e.g. adaptor for filters and or telephoto or wideangle etc ..

Storage Media:
reusable, common, cheap to buy more... oh and big! Plus I think a USB connection is a must ...

Battery life:
check the reviews, digital cameras are much harder on batteries than film units.

Battery prices:
You are likely to want spares, check CPC if you are in the UK.

Others ... built in flash, hot shoe .. size and quality of viewfinder .. iso ratings, shutter speeds .. aperture options .. extent of manual mode ..

Oh and last but not least repute of maker and seller and length and quality of return and repair policy etc ...

Hope this helps... and if you have bought an in CD camera... ooops dont read this message I am sure you will be very happy with it :-)

Thors Hammer

 10:56 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Mark_A for the reply. Actually I did not get it that weekend, something came up and I was unable to get around to getting the camera. Now this weekend I have to put in a new upright deepfreeze we got *sigh* :( .

I will end up getting it the 1st of next month. I went by best buy the other day for something else, and saw that they had an open box item of them in stock for $900.00 with everything included and full warranty. I was very impressed with the camera as a whole. I still think it will be the one I go with.

I agree to some extent about the floppy / cd cameras. Except the Sony cd will write to rewriteable media, therefore the expense is very acceptable. But as you mentioned, the transfere rate kinda blows imho :) .

So, if any of you have any more suggestions let me know. Im still in the market for one.



 7:01 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thor the best place I found to check out cameras was at www.dpreview.com they do very detailed reviews of each model including full size sample images you can download and test for print quality.

There are forums for each make so you can get some idea of how owners think, though you will find that a little something called "cognitive dissonance reducing behaviour" means that most folks when they have shelled out so much money to go digital will not hear or give much criticism of their own choice !! makes it harder to see the real differences..

One point ... if you want to make really sharp and narrow depth of field images (basically wow! shots) like this one (not mine btw):

Then you may need a better camera or lense combination than most of the prosumer units come with as standard.


 7:23 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Oh and just to show that I have an enlightenned aproach to my own buying choices: I bought a Fuji Finepix 4900Z some time ago which has:

- 6x optical zoom
- ISO 125 - 800
- Smartmedia memory cards (now up to 128mb)
- burst mode
- Auto, Aperture, shutter or manual modes
- auto or semi manual (fly by wire) focussing
- Jpeg, Tiff or Avi (w/o sound)
- A Fuji Super CCD (about which there is some discussion as the camera generates up to something like 4.9mp images but these are interpolated up from a honeycomb of 0.5 as many actual CCD elements)

To critique my own choice, I chose it because I had never had a proper camera with all the adjustments you can use ... the next generation FP6900z had come out so this one was marked down at a good price andwas ex stock, I did not expect to want to print much as I wanted it for web work mainly ..

Am I happy with it 4k shots later .. yes .. however you can tell by my wish list where its shortfalls might lie:

What I would love but cannot really justify:
- a digital SLR with a much much better viewfinder than the small lcd (EVF) of the prosumers..
- the ability to add / change lenses from a range
- fully manual focussing for low light and faster focussing with the better viewfinder / lenses mentioned above
- more reolution for larger blow ups in print .. see I changed my mind about printing, when you get a great image you just will want to print it ... and some printers go at 600 or 1200 dpi which makes a 1.6mb jpg pretty small in standard resolution ..


 8:01 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ahh... you feel almost exactly the same way I feel about the finepix 4900Z I ordered for the office. I would almost HAVE to go with aMinolta digital camera body for personal use, so it could use all the Minolta 35mm lenses I have, and truly replace my film camera.

But as a digital, the Fuji 4900Z has made me very happy with its image quality. Especially compared to the 14X zoom sony mavica floppy camera we had stolen from the office. I much prefer the Fuji with the higher resolution & the teeny little smart media cards.


 8:27 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mivox its interesting I forgot to mention size in my "against CD" notes, to the first few posters.

Smartmedia are credit card size (and compact flash I think the same size) .... can get 128mb ones now (they fit in your wallet) you can have all the extra storate space without having to carry about any physical kit.

BTW the latest finepix 602 has a slot which will take a 1gb microdrive.

Interesting you feel the same about the viewfinder etc..

Unfortunately I did not have a film slr so have no lenses already which is one of the things holding me back from a proper job.

I saw the website of a pretty slick wedding photographer who uses two or more cameras, one dig one film and shoots photojournalist style. Amazing images, the kit he had was a big investment but get this, he was doing loads of weddings a year at $9k each.

Not sure I can justify a digital slr until / unless I get paid seperately for photography and am not yet good enough.

BTW do you know Mivox what the lifetime of the slr bits is?

With all the new DSLRs coming out I am wondering if some used bodies will come up.


 8:55 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Smartmedia are much smaller than credit cards... about 1.5" x 2" actually, but MMC (about the size of a postage stamp) are slowly taking over the ultra-small memory market, I think...

I love my SLR. The lack of a through-the-lens viewfinder is the #1 drawback of every single digital camera I try, because I can't quite justify the price of true SLR digital bodies/camera backs. Canon, Minolta and Mamiya all offer true SLR digital options... I just don't have $5000 to spend on a camera/accessory kit.

what the lifetime of the slr bits is?
No clue.


 10:21 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mivox "I just don't have $5000 to spend on a camera/accessory kit."

Me neither and if i did I have other priorities now (family, taxman, motorcycles etc) which mean it would be a big indulgance :-(

However having not had a film SLR myself can you advise the economics / practicality of getting a (now very cheap) used film SLR and some lenses, film developing normally with a shop then scanning and using digitally when needed?

Do you do this yourself Mivox?

NB one of the other things that bothers me about prosumers is that they are not really for "this world" .. ie no O-ring seals etc so in bad weather when some amazing images are to be had (I think) .. plastic bags would need to be wound around them to protect them from shorts etc .. yuk.


 8:57 pm on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Honestly, I haven't used my 35mm in over a year... hehe. It's so old, I have trouble finding batteries for it. The last ones I bought only lasted a couple months...

But if I were to start using a 35mm again, I think I'd buy a film scanner instead of getting prints made. Then, you'd have your images in digital & film form, and could either send the dig. files to an online digital-to-print shop, get regular prints made from the film negs after you'd "previewed" the images on your computer, or just print snapshots out on a good quality home printer.

Mmm. Makes me want to go buy more camera batteries now... ;)


 6:10 am on May 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

"either send the dig. files to an online digital-to-print shop,"

Mivox have you tried any prints from the 4900 this way, I assume they are exposting it somehow onto photo paper rather than just printing it with an ink jet.

Do you get significantly better results than printing on a local pc printer?

Is that perhaps where one sees the difference between 16mb tiff and 1.6mb jpeg?


 7:03 am on May 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hehe... you mistake me for an expert. ;) I've never used a dig. to print service, but I read a glowing review of one the other day. shutterbug.com or shutterfly.com or shuttersomething.com.

Just seems more efficient to preview & crop images the way you want, and then only order the prints you want rather than ending up with a half roll of 4x6 prints you hate...

As for the 4900, You could get great 5x7's out of it I think, but for an 8x10 I'm pretty sure you'd want to *take* the perfect photo at maximum resolution, and have it printed un-cropped.

I like my 4900 for web work, but if I was going to get heavy into wall-hanging-8x10 & up size prints, I'd definitely invest in a higher resolution camera (well, honestly, I'd dream about investing in a higher res. digital, but I'd actually take my 35mm in for a tune-up and go back to using film.)

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