Best Cameras

Jun 3rd, 1999, 12:23 PM
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Best Cameras

I'm going to start a new thread. My husband and I are interested in buying a new camera before our next trip to Italy(5 year anniversary) in November. I would appreciate any comments. We've always had the standard 35 mm point and shoot, ususally valued around $150-$200, and after our last incident in Italy need to buy a new camera, and would like a nicer one. While in Naples, we needed to buy a battery and the one we bought was defective and leaked and ruined the camera. We've heard good things about the EOS Rebel, but wanted to know if anyone could make suggestions. Thanks alot! Oh, I also wanted to say thanks to all, I've learned so much on Fodor's. There is so much valuable knowledge here,free for the taking and people are great.
Jun 3rd, 1999, 01:20 PM
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I have a Canon Rebel that I bought new about 4-5 years ago (?) and I like it a lot. The good thing about it is that it's pretty versatile, with the various manual and automatic setting options, plus it's pretty compact and easy to carry around considering all the features it has (and the newer models are even lighter and sleeker). It's also very easy to use, and the bottom line is, it takes good pictures! I would definitely recommend it, although I confess I'm a real amateur when it comes to photography and don't use it a whole lot except when on vacation. My boyfriend's main hobby is photography and he has 4 cameras, but even he likes mine better than any of his and is thinking about buying one himself. A couple of my friends have recently bought newer versions of it and they're really happy with theirs also. It does have a lot of features that I rarely have the occasion to use, but it's nice to have all the options anyway. And it's definitely a piece of equipment that you can add to, so it will grow with you if you are the type who likes to buy lots of fancy lenses and such (I'm more of a minimalist, myself). I did a lot of research before buying mine and at the time it was pretty highly rated by the consumer magazines -- you may want to look at Consumer Reports and see what they have to say about the latest model. Good luck.
Jun 3rd, 1999, 03:37 PM
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Hi Dawn,
When thinking about buying a new camera, you've got to ask yourself: APS or 35mm? I have both. The APS cameras are more expensive, but totally worth it. Search this forum for the thread called "APS or regular camera" -- there were tons of great opinions given on this subject. I just got the Olympus Centurion, because I set a price range (around $200-$300 USD) and this was the one I liked best. Of course, the greatest advantage of an APS camera is that they allow you to switch sizes of pics throughout the roll. APS have NO NEGATIVES, and come with a print index, which makes reprinting a snap, you can even switch sizes (from panoramic to group and back!). ALso, some APS cameras allow you to switch film mid-rolls. Not all have this ability to switch mid-roll. You need to look at your user's manual and see what it says. For instance, the Olympus Centurion does not allow the mid-roll switch, but it's "sister," the Olmpus Centurion S does (it is also digital, i think). If a camera has that ability, the film "saves its place" and knows where to start again. You can look at the bottom of an APS roll of film, there are 4 symbols, which allow you to see if a roll of film is new, used, or 1/2 used.
I also have a FUJI Discovery, 35mm camera, which has given me some of the best shots of my life! I just wanted a easy-load APS camera, and although I still use my FUJI all the time. Both have zoom lenses, and a bunch of options, which are neat if you have the time to play with. Oh, another thing: A lot of the new cameras are TINY, and I wanted something easy to grip, without getting my fat-sausage-link fingers in the shot! I looked at the EOS and thought, no way! My fingers are going to be all over that lens! Kodak makes some nice cameras too, but they felt so light, and I've learned the hard way too many times that light means easy to break.
I hope this helps! Feel free to e mail me if you have any questions!
Jun 3rd, 1999, 06:05 PM
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Hi Dawn -

I won't get into the camera issue because my philosophy is very different from everyone else's.

However, when it comes to film type, think very hard about APS vs. 35mm. Overall, there is no doubt APS is better. Only problem is, if you find yourself in a small Italian village and run out of film or forget to grab an extra roll, you may not be able to find APS. 35mm is widely available just about everywhere. I would worry that you may find yourself in a bind if you use APS. Perhaps, perhaps not.

In a few years, APS will no doubt be standard. For now, I would suggest either using 35mm or making sure you take plenty of extra rolls of APS so you don't have to worry about running out.

Good luck.
Jun 4th, 1999, 07:52 AM
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I'm back -

My cousin is going to Paris next week and we have been discussing film. She is an avid picture taker and wants to take some pictures in b/w. I was talking with my husband about this because he used to be in the industry. His advice, in case anyone out there is considering this like my cousin, you can take color film and develop either color or b/w pictures from it. No need to carry both types of film if you think you might want some b/w pictures later.

It is true that b/w film will develop better b/w pictures than color film, however, my husband tells me the difference is almost not noticeable, especially to us non-pros.

So, if you're going to Europe on vacation, take color only, if you're going on a picture taking trip, you may want to take both.
Jun 4th, 1999, 09:48 AM
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A lot would depend on how much you want to spend and whether you are into photography or just want to take good photos in your travels. I would recommend against the APS too. I have read recently that a large number of labs do not process it yet. I can only speak for Canon in SLR cameras since that is what I use. For most travel, the rebel would be very nice, since it is light-weight, and the new version has some very good features. For more serious photography, you may want to begin with an Elan II. You will also have to make lens choices. For travel, try to get something that goes at least as wide as 28mm if you can. Canon makes some excellent zooms at 28-105mm, 24-85mm, 28-135mm, etc. If you want to check out a site with incredible photography information, look at It includes a section on buying a camera. Keep in mind when looking at the site, that it caters to serious amateurs and a few professionals, so don't let them convince you to go out and buy a 1500 zoom to start. The Q&A search function there will turn up information on about any camera you can think of, and the site users are very opinionated. When you get ready to buy, I highly recommend B&H Photo in New York. Most of these discount places will cheat you in a second, but most photographers absolutely love B&H. I always buy from them (including two cameras). For about $10 in shipping costs, you can get your camera in 3 days at a substantial savings. They have a website and their lengthy ads are in most photo magazines. Great for film too.

If you want another point and shoot, I have heard great things about Yashica and Olympus.
Jun 4th, 1999, 01:13 PM
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The choice can be very easy or very confusing depending on what you are after. Since you mentioned you always used point and shoot 35mm camera you I presume you are new to SLR?

With SLR you gain control over exposure,
aperture, and focusing you did not have with point and shoot (expect for the one mentioned I have not seen before.) This also adds to unnecessary complexity if you do not care to use these features. Different companies use different strategies to lock out inadvertent setting changes, some good some very poor; easily changed by putting camera in/out of the bag, you need to have it demonstrated if lock out makes sense to you if you want to continue to use SLR camera in P&S mode. I bail out my wife with her Pentax SF1 to put back into full automode, even though I think their lockout is very good, somehow it got set to manual override of some sort.

Focus control. The SLR you can SEE what you are actually focusing. I like simple center target kind since I know the depth of focus range in front and behind the target. But newer cameras look around the field to guess which objects you are trying to focus. This sometimes is not what I have in mind. Some camera makes this very difficult to override.

To take pictures of flow of water - water falls, fountains, etc. YOu need to able to override the shutter speed, usually slow down. Again, have this demonstrated how easy it is to do this if you intend to use this feature. Same for night shots like the Eiffel Tower shot mentioned in "Monica's pictures" in this forum. What make sense to one photographer does not necessarily make sense to you.

Same for the aperture control. Intelligent auto focus camera tries to focus everything by using small aperture. This is not always desirable if you want to have one particular object only in focus. Again, camera should be easy to do the aperture override.

APS/35mm. This difference, I think, is more ideological overall. Categorically there are pros and cons that can be said. I use Canon AE-1 (35mm, old camera) with all sorts of gadgets, Pentax SF1 (35mm), and Canon EOS IX Lite (APS) along with 35mm and APS point and shoot cameras. For the next trip I would take my EOS IX lite--reason? weight and size. I took Pentax last time and my shoulder told me to carry something lighter next time. You have to weigh the factors that is important to you.


film price: 35mm is cheaper and more choices available.

development/reprint: APS 1hr process is very hard to find. APS overnight cost is higher also.

film size: APS cartridge is smaller and also comes in 40 exposures. More exposures per volume in your bag, but not exceeding so to make this a sole criteria.

camera size/weight: APS camera CAN be made smaller than 35mm. Although a given 35mm camera can be smaller than a APS. Don't be fooled and look at the specific model of interest to make sure you can care to lug around a camera of that size and weight.

loading: APS is easier to load in a hurry. I always seem to be loading my Pentax 35mm on the run while walking, trying not to drop the film while threading the film (it is semi auto load, but leader must be aligned correctly,) I have my share of misloading.

quality: There is disagreement for small size prints up to 5x7. I believe
APS is grainier than the corresponding 35mm. The small APS P&S camera with very small lense also force use of the faster film, making this worse.

So why would I take an APS camera when I have a 35mm SLR that takes better pictures cheaper? Sometimes it is smaller camera or no camera. I had enough with the space and weight my 35mm camera took along with larger 35mm film canisters in my bag.
Jun 13th, 1999, 12:02 PM
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I think most pros feel APS is inferior.
Jun 14th, 1999, 11:50 AM
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Dawn, my 17 year old daughter just came back from a four month exchange program in China. She wanted a good but easy to use point and shoot type camera, and we ended up getting her the Samsung which has a zoom lens from 38 to 145! Very long. The lens is German and the camera came highly reccomended at our camera store (one of the best in the area). Well, 750+ photos later, the camera is fine, the photos are very very good, and it's leaving on another trip to Israel in two weeks! It's very small/light/easy to use. Keep in mind, even if you decide to use 35mm film you can still get your photos digitized (i.e. on a computer disc) and you can get an index print made as well. You'll still have to keep your negatives, but an index print makes it easier to see what's on the roll (just like the APS system). Oh, the Samsung was in the $250 range, but seemed a good value for what it includes. Don't be put off by it not being Japanese (it's Korean actually) because the lens is the key and it's very good. I'm also an amateur, but this was my recent experience.
Jun 15th, 1999, 04:33 AM
A Vernon
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I prefer the quality of an SLR, but the convenience of an APS on vacation wins!! The size of the canister is incredible, the size/weight of the camera is wonderful, and the three photo sizes can be a lot of fun.

The issue not addressed often enough is the processing. Walmart/KMart/Target processing is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Many cameras will take about the same quality of pictures -- the difference is in the processing. Find a good processor and pay the extra money to get quality prints. My processor also provides a print index for 35mm, not just APS.

Jun 15th, 1999, 06:34 AM
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Jun 15th, 1999, 03:46 PM
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I bought a Canon ELPH APS system a year ago and it is great for touring. Light weight, small and good pictures. Why lug the big ones around anymore? Plus, Fugi and kodax both make the file so i doubt you will have problems finding it if you need some, but you should carry all you need with you. Go look at the ELPH. Hot product, great camera for Europe and touring.
Jun 16th, 1999, 11:24 AM
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If you want to go small and light, get a Canon Rebel with a 50mm/f1.8 lens. You should be able to get the camera body for $200 or less I think, and the lens is under $100. Very very sharp lens and great for low light conditions. The only disadvantages are it does not zoom, and you will have to get closer to things than with a long lens.

I think it depends on your priorities. You would be thrilled with the photos from an SLR, and if you are serious about photography this may be important to you. If you just want to get some good pictures to remember your trip by, I would go for a small quality point and shoot.
Jun 16th, 1999, 01:20 PM
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Another vote for the Canon ELPH APS. We just returned from Europe and our photos are wonderful.

And a funny story: while dining at a restaurant in Florence, we discovered that the Dutch couple next to us, the Japanese family next to them and my husband and I had the same cameras!(But with slightly different names.) We took them out and compared and had a few good laughs.
Jun 16th, 1999, 03:35 PM
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Hi Dawn - i just went through the "which new camera to buy" decision myself. I ended up with the new Canon Rebel G2000 with the 28 - 80 mm USM lens (a little more expensive than the standard 28-80 mm lens). Took several rolls in London recently including pictures of the Albert Bridge light up at night (hand held in both p&s and manual mode - both came out great as did all of the pictures). There are many good 35mm cameras out there but the Canon is excellent. If you decide to but from mail order definatly use B&H (though i haven't bought from them myseld i know many people who ahve and they swear by them). If you want more camera info check out ""

Good luck and have a great trip!

Jul 12th, 1999, 12:53 PM
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As a photographic equipment specialist, I may be able to give you a bit of insight here...

First, APS does have negatives. They are rolled up in the original cartridge and returned to you with a thumbnail proof-sheet and your prints. The good things about APS are: small camera size, date and frame number on back or every print for very easy ordering of reprints and enlargements, completely fool-proof loading, and longer roll lengths (15, 25 or 40 instead of 12, 24 or 36 with 35mm). The downsides to APS are that the negative is substantially smaller than 35mm, which results in less clarity for enlargements, although an occassional photographer or hobbyist might not notice or care. The other disadvantages to the APS format are more expensive film proccessing, and more importantly, limited film choices. The only film speeds currently available are 100, 200 and 400 color print and 400 black and white. This could be a problem if you like to use high speed films for low light, or like to shoot black and white.

That being said, the Canon Rebel is a great series of 35 cameras for beginners, and has been the starter camera for many people who have grown into serious photographers. The most current model is the new Rebel 2000. It's a bit smaller and lighter weight than previous models, but best of all, it comes with a 28-80 lens instead of a 35-80 as part of the kit. That is a real bonus when you are on a narrow street trying to get an entire building into your shot-- you'll appreciate the extra wide angle. If you like the Rebel, but want to go the APS route, there is the Canon IX Lite, which is very similar to the Rebel series, but for APS format film. Retail on the Rebel 200 or IX Lite kits should be around $400.

The best bet for making a good decision is to go to one of the reputable photographic stores: Ritz Camera, Wolf Camera, or an independent. Most of them price match the local superstores on the same merchandise, and they will have experts there who can help you choose what's right for you.

Hope that helps!
Jul 12th, 1999, 09:36 PM
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Hi, Dawn,
Although I am a Nikon user of many years, I looked at the Canon Rebel recently when a big event gift was needed for a relative, and I was impressed by its versatility and especially the light weight and compact size. It can be either a point-and-shoot or the real deal for more serious photography. I don't think it's very much harder to load than an APS machine, and the other posters are right about scarcity and cost of APS, especially in smaller places. Virtually unavailable in fact in lots of towns.
Having confronted a lot of travel situations in the past year or so, I do have to suggest that you have a look at some more aggressive zoom lenses, such as a 28-200mm like the one I use as a basic lens. It's not very fast (f/4 or so) but what versatility! Pay the money for a good lens, and also the bigger 35mm negative format, and I bet you'll thank yourself later. Happy snapping!
Jul 13th, 1999, 10:06 AM
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I am a's what u a Fuji 270. They're lighweight, and have drop in loading. Great for vacations. Get 200 film, and you're set. THe picture quality is excenllent..and u get a lifetime battery too!
Jul 13th, 1999, 10:30 AM
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I have to agree with Bob. I have a Canon ELF and wouldn't part with it for the world. I took it on a month long trip all over Europe and then again to France last year. The pictures are excellent. The APS system is the best.
We took 28 rolls of film that first month and there were no problems. I would agree with the person who had concerns about availability of this type of film. I was able to find it in most major cities (Barcelona, Paris, London), but I it was nowhere to be found on Mont St. Michel in France. Just make sure if you purchase one of these cameras that you bring along extra film. Hope the trip to Italy is great.
Jul 13th, 1999, 10:43 AM
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Thank you everyone for your input and knowledge, much appreciated!!

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