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Digital Camera Recommendations

I have no idea what to look for

4:14 pm on May 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the market for a new digital camera, but beyond a few things, I don't really know what I'm looking for. So I was hoping I could get some recommendations from my fellow WW'ers! ;)

The features I need/want are:

- 5+ megapixels
- Good optical zoom, 8-10x
- Easy to use (point-and-shoot)
- Video with sound, preferably mpeg format
- Very low shutter-to-shot time (short lag between pressing button and when the image is actually captured)

Additionally, I would like the ability to use an external flash, and it would be great if the camera used regular AA or AAA batteries. An added bonus would be the ability to use external lenses, but that's not so important to me.

I've found a lot of cameras that meet these basic criteria, of course, but on reading some of the reviews I'm baffled. They're talking about color accuracy, noise reduction, etc., which I know are important but I don't know how to analyze. So any recommendations on a good camera meeting these basic guidelines would be most appreciated!

My budget is around $200-$400.

Any suggestions?



11:40 am on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The most important factor with Digital cameras and the most overlooked is the quality of the lense.

Lots of the low cost high megapixel cameras skimp here and it really tells.

Canon and Sony jump to mind as manufacturers who use good optics.

11:45 am on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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You might try the Olympus C-765 UZ this has the zoom you are after but is only 4 mega pixels I haven't used it but I think that the reviews are quite good.

Also if you google dpreview you will find a digital camera review site this has some very good indepth reviews on cameras.

I have found that there is no camera that does exactly what you want so you may have to comprimise somewhere.

4:13 pm on June 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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don't know what it costs but you might look into the newly released Canon S2 IS.

5 megapixels
12x optical zoom
black & white, sepia and other settings.

I'm not sure if the S2 has the option to hook up a flash (the S1 didn't). if you get a slave flash (with one of those sensors on it) it will work as another flash.

I've got the Canon S1 IS (3MP, 10x optical) and love it.

4:52 pm on June 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like you want a Panasonic fz20 or fz15, but they're a little over $400 (the 20 is a bit over $500). they're pretty big though so it's not the sort of camera you'd carry around everywhere (it certainly won't fit in your pocket), but it'll be a good camera to grow with, especially with the manual features.

As steve mention above, one of the most important components of any camera (if not the most important) is the lens, so whatever camera you look at, make sure you check what the reviews or opinions say in regards to the quality of it. Although a lot features can be useless, image stabilization is actually pretty cool, so try to get something that has something along those lines.

6:55 pm on June 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yes, the FZ20 is great. It has a Leica lens, but no regular AA or AAA batteries but an own proprietary accu.

Besides reading abstract reviews it may be worth visiting a local photo shop to see some cameras and listen to a qualified dealer's recommendation. With your own expertise from the reviews you've read earlier, you may recognize if the dealer is knowledgeable or not.
I did so, and did not mind to pay a slightly higher price in the local shop than to purchase online from the cheapest source I could find somewhere overseas. And these few extra dollars payed well when I noted a few days later that my new camera had a defect. Stopped by on my usual way to the office on the next morning to get a replacement without any trouble.


6:32 am on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I use a Canon Power Shot S500 Digital Elph, which is a terrific camera and meets most of your specifications, including price. It does not use regular batteries, however.
10:05 am on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would definitely recommend you get something that lets you have manual control. Point and shoot digital has too many limitations. Something that will allow you to control depth of field, shutter speed and focus is essential if you intend on taking photos that look more proffesional. This may mean spending a little more. We use a Nikon D70, a brilliant all rounder but will cost you around 500. Although second hand one can be picked up at bargain prices.

That said I also have a pocket Sony Cybershot that doesn't do a bad job in the right light.

9:49 pm on June 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have 2 digital cameras

Olympus mju 400 (1 year+)


Casio Exlim z750 (4 weeks ago)

I would say

AVOID olympus at all cost. I used to have Olympus Film based camera and I like it very much so I thought their digital camera would be good. But I am wrong, here is the *nightmares* of having Olympus digital camera.

1. LAG time, from the time you want to shot to the time you are able to shot, it will be more than 2 seconds. All birds has fly away. And after you click the shuttle button, it still take another 1 second before it really snap. So if you ask someone to take a photo for you, they might thought the picture is already taken after they press the shuttle and may not hold the camera long enough for the snap.

2. Battery power is so weak. Never can you get over 100 snaps with one full charge. I have to buy another battery to standby.

3. Poor Reset/Memory feature. You got to set AUTO RESET OFF, or else the camera will always pick the default resolution after startup instead of the one you have selected. If you turn auto reset off, then everything else will not be reset, for example, Flash Type. You select No Flash and the next day you startup the camera and it is still No Flash.

4. Stupid Replay mode! You got to 'fast double click' on a button. Very inconvenient.

5. The shuttle button is long and if you press in the middle instead of the site (which most people will), it is hard to press on it and thus it shake the camera a bit and you often get blurry picture.

6. Often get blurry picture even on steady hands.

I bought Casio because it solved all my problems above.

10:06 pm on June 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've a Canon G3, they are now up to G5 or G7 I think.
The camera is awesome, fantastic battery life, great pics, use a 256 meg card and get over 200 pics at 4meg on them.

I totally recommend them as a camera. I was told by a dealer that some of the cheaper "point and click" cameras now only have a life of about 1 years. He was getting many back dead just after the warrenty had expired.

1:10 pm on July 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I use an Olypmus C-765 UltraZoom. Its only rated at 4.0MP, but its a very versatile camera, and I get great pictures with it (and that's not due to my photographic skills).


1:06 pm on July 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm finding my Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P93 is adequate for now. But having migrated from a Nikon SLR film camera to a the Sony, frustrations do arise. The Sony has great features for it's size and 5.1 MP is ok but I'm waitng until I can afford a Nikon digital SLR.

Depending on your needs and passion for photography, a good point and shoot unit may keep you happy. The Sony has many features to keep you creatively busy. There's many other options/brands to consider.

[edited by: Woz at 1:12 pm (utc) on July 6, 2005]
[edit reason] No URLs please, see Tos#13 [/edit]