Digital camera: recommendations

Feb 12th, 2003, 04:08 AM
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Digital camera: recommendations

I'm thinking of buying a digital camera around the £300-400 ($450-600) mark, for use on all my travels far and wide. I'm considering:

Nikon Coolpix 4300 or 4500
Minox 3311
Olympus Camedia C4000

Does anyone have feedback about these cameras, or suggestions for another? My most important criteria are:
1. reliability (esp. on the move)
2. good wide-angle lens (or screw-on attachment possible)
3. easily visible screen
4. quick to turn on

Pixels are not so important tho it must be at least 2Mega.

Thanks for your help!
michaeld is offline  
Feb 12th, 2003, 04:17 AM
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I have a Pujifilm Finepix 2600. I am mostly satisfied. I usually take half a roll of film per day (10-15/day?) but I just returned from my first major trip with a digital camera. I took about 100 pictures per day of which I erased about 60 per day, often seconds after they were taken. So I still took 5 times more pictures than with film.

This camera 1. appears reliable, 2. does have a real zoom lens, not a digital substitute (screw-on is not possible), 3. does have easily viewable screen and viewfinder, and 4. takes 1.5-2 seconds to turn on. One does NOT have to turn off the flash each time. This is good for taking pictures of far away objects in low lighting or some museums. This is important to me.

QUESTION: The lens seems to be a bit slow so that one needs steady hands, tripod, or use of self-timer. Otherwise pictures are blurry if taken at dusk. Any other camera better at this?
Hiroshi is offline  
Feb 12th, 2003, 04:24 AM
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I also own a Fuji FinePix 2600Zoom. Got the 128 Meg chip and holds about 350 pictures.

Reliable, easily visible screen, quick to turn on, but no wide-angle lens.
Budman is offline  
Feb 12th, 2003, 04:41 AM
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Reliability. The Olympus Camedia 4000 and the 4040 seem to be very durable and reliable. I purchased six of these for my digital photo class. So far all have performed admirably, and all with novice student users handling them. We also have Toshibas and Kodaks, but the students have the best overall success with the Olympus models.
kathleen is offline  
Feb 12th, 2003, 10:15 AM
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I spent a lot of time researching digital cameras, and for me it came down to a Canon power shot for its small size and the fuji finepix 3800 for its remarkably clear outdoor pictures. I went with the Fuji. It's indoor pictures are as good as the others, but my outdoor pictures come out like I'm a national geographics photographer. Great zoom for the money too. A bit chunkier than most, probably because of the large zoom.

Here's a good site with reviews.

DanB is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 07:17 AM
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When considering purchase of a digital camera I suggest an alternative. A camera that records the images directly onto a 3" CD. I bought a Sony MAvica CD when they first came out and have been very pleased with the results.

Being tired of scanning hundreds of 35mm following a large trip, I bought a Sony CD-300 digital camera capable of recording 3.3 megapixel images directly onto 3" CDs, with an option of simultaneously recording a smaller e-mail size version. These images yield very sharp 8 1/2" x 11" prints from color injet or laser printers. I couldn't ask more from 35mm.

Since then, I have taken over three thousand still photos and several dozen movie scenes for a fraction of the cost of film and processing without the aggravation of scanning, or having to download my images nightly. A single CD-R now costs less than 50 cents (bought in bulk) for up to 180 MB of storage, versus the price of a memory card that needs additional hardware to be downloaded in order to be reused. I average over 110 high-resolution shots on a single CD. I travel without a laptop and return with 7 or 8 ready to go CDs. I also avoid a couple of hundred dollars of film and processing expenses.

The newer cameras on the market offer even more resolution for less than I paid. Everyone I have spoken with who bought these CD cameras is equally satisfied. (In fact, some of my friends and relatives who bought the similar resolution cameras using the memory card/stick technology have mentioned privately that they are a bit jealous.)
shutterbug is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 09:07 AM
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Grazie Dan for the comment. I just bought the Fuji 3800 and am stilling playing with it. Glad to hear the outdoor shots are good--what res are you using, and how many shots do you get on a 128 chip? Any other tips for setup etc. I am not comfortable yet.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 11:35 AM
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Bob, depends upon the number of pixels you have it set for -- the more pixels, the less number of pictures.

I first set it at 1X and get about 300 or so pictures. The quality was great. I now set it on 2X for even better quality and get about 150 pictures.

I download them to my computer, back them up by burning them to a CD, and erase the chip and begin over again. It's great!!!
Budman is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 11:40 AM
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Before you buy anything you must have a look at the new Canon Elph. I have one and it's incredibly portable, powerful and full of features. Resolution is great and you can just stick it in a pocket and go.
yragasil is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 01:01 PM
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I too have the Sony Mavica 400 I think...maybe was purchased last summer.

I love the mini CD's. We prefer the RW ones!

I do tend to take more photos with digital...I don't have to hoard my film like I did with the APS or 35mm.

IT is SLOW however....but picture quality is AMAZING. The ability to capture short movies is great--hard to explain didjeridoo techniques to someone when you are a novice! Capturing the sounds of a Tasmanian Devil feeding--even more amazing!

For 19 cents I can take my cd to Sam's Club and have them print 4x6 for me. I usually make a nice representative sample of my trip and print them out to show friends. OTHERWISE--I am already to email!

WE have a Carl Zeiss lens and we bought both a WIDE ANGLE and ZOOM lens! I am extremely happy with them. Yes it is big and bulkier than most but sooo much more versatile. IF I lose my mini cd I am only out of the pictures and a less than a BUCK. We travel with a mini spindle that holds around 12 cd's.

Find yourself a great Lowepro bag and it will hold the camera and both lens attachments! Plus I love the options for Sepia and Black and White!
alise is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 01:21 PM
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I have the tiny new Canon Powershot S400 (4 megapixels, 3X zoom) and took it on its "maiden voyage" with me to Spain.

Am *very* pleased with the pics I got. Also took many more photos than I would have with film. It is great to be able to frame the shot with the display screen (holding it over the heads of the crowd, etc.) and then immediately be able to tell if it came out okay and re-shoot it if not.

Because the camera is so small, I find myself bringing it places I never would have bothered before, and thus getting lots more interesting spontaneous shots. A friend has a Nikon that's about the same size, but even lighter (the Canons are metal and the Nikon is some sort of plastic composite, I believe.) She is also pleased, though I think the Canons get better reviews for this type of compact camera.
Lesli is offline  
Jun 27th, 2003, 02:47 PM
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I LOVE my Olympus 3030 which I have had for 2+ years and feel little need to upgrade. I think the Olympus system and lens quality is excellent. It is only a 3X zoom but if and when you want to crop and correct when printing you can. The FUJI that offers a 6X optical zoom is very tempting to a first time buyer. BUT above all, I would listen to the photography teacher who likes the Olympus 4040 (the upgrade from mine). She is in the best position to judge from experience. You do need to have a computer with a CD writer (but doesn't everyone now?!) to take care of your pictures. DON'T FORGET to back up ALL the time. Son's computer was just stolen--I think we have everything somewhere.
Gretchen is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 03:40 AM
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I am a nut for this kind of thing - and am prepared to spend money getting the latest - your $400 buys one of the neatest gadgets and cameras i have seen on the market -
WHY it works well for travelling? the size!! it slips into your pocket very inconspicuous also takes 30 seconds of MOVIE with sound.
I dont think it gets mush better than this ----> look yourself---->

come back and tell me which one you get - i am interested about your choice

SoftwareGenius is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 12:44 PM
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Software Genius: did you compare casio ex-z3 with with minolta diamage xt? am in process of deciding tween these two. i also believe size matters, and in the case of a traveling camera, smaller is better for me.
Chiquita is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 01:05 PM
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For digital camera info and reviews (some of which compare similar models side by side), see the following websites:
Lesli is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 01:12 PM
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I've had a Canon Powershot S30 since last fall -- specifically so we could take it to France this May. I LOVE IT! It isn't the elph -- that was just too small for me. I love the size of this camera, it does fit into my handbag so I carry it OFTEN. It has a nice little zoom, and fairly decent wide angle capability. Mine is 3.2 megapixels, and an easily rechargeable battery that easily lasted all day when out and about. The recharger came with it and simply plugged into one of those little plugs that fit European power sockets. I'd recharge it every night while we slept. Set on M2 resolution (1040x768)I could get over 350 pictures on a 128 MB sanDisk. In Arles, we even found an internet guy who downloaded the disk from my camera to a CD for 5 Euro, so I could erase it and have more memory for more pictures! It also takes movies with sound, however I haven't bothered to learn how to do that yet...(yikes, imagine!) but the photos we had made (I use ofoto online, as well as a kiosk at my local camera store) are incredible. And I have always enjoyed sharing digital images with my friends and family. I've burned a couple of "archive" CDs full of photos that I can always print if I want to. The slide show option of viewing your shots while the disk in in the camera is nifty, and you can of course delete shots that didn't turn out as well as you wished. Is the Olympus Camedia the one that uses "regular" batteries? A friend has one of those, and she complains that it burns through batteries pretty quickly. Even when setting the resolution higher (this camera goes up to 2048x1536) gives you 136 shots on a 128MB disk. My sister gave me an extra disk for Christmas, and I like that you can erase them and use them over. Now they are making them even bigger, which just blows me away.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 04:25 PM
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A couple other thoughts on the CD models.

I have a Sony CD-300 with a 3.3 Megapixel resolution (2048x 1536). The camera can be set to shoot and store at a lower resolution to get more shots on a CD, but the quality is poorer. I get over 100 high-resolution shots (1.5 MB each)
per CD.

I have shot over three thousand shots so far, and people (non-family and friends) have been happy with the results. One of them was a cousin, also a semi-pro, who invested originally in a Nikon 3.3 megapixel model.

Like Alise mentioned, sometimes recording is a bit slow. I switched from 4X CDRW to 16X and 24X CDRs and have been much happier. At less than 25 cents each for CDR bought in bulk, what the heck?

When I print, I get 8 1/2 x 11 phots that rival and even surpass 8 X 10s from my old Canon, Yashica and Pentax 35mms.

The newer cameras are capable of 4 and 5 megapixel photographs. I suggest shopping at other sites beyond Best Buy. I have no retail preference, but I have seen these at several locations in the $500-600 range. But, like film cameras, make sure you buy cameras designated for the American market if you want Sony America to honor the warranty. For peace of mind, avoid the "grey market."

Batteries last about an hour, but the camera shuts down after two minutes of idleness to conserve energy. I am a heavy user use three batteries when travelling overseas. I have never run out of juice before getting back to our lodging, even after finishing two CDs (over 220 shots). I've learned that with the CD model, battery time is consumed by too frequent looking at what you've shot (hard to resist) and taking lots of movie clips. In Taormina, I filled up two CDs (including over 15 mpg clips), and still managed to get back to the hotel without running dry.

The hard part is sorting out and figuring which shots NOT to post on my pages when I get home.

One more plus for the CD camera is if (when) I decide to get the newer and higher resolution "toy" there will be no concerns about compatibility of auxillary equipment, memory cards, etc.

Good luck with your selection.
shutterbug is offline  
Aug 11th, 2003, 12:08 PM
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Shutterbug, Kathleen and others in the know...
Do you have a recommendation among the 5 megapix models out there? I have been looking and looking at on-line reviews and my head is swimming. So far, Canon S-50 and Sony DSCP92 and 10 look good. I'd like it to be compact, but do not want to sacrafice image quality for compact size. Also, I want to be able to shoot in black and white- all for under $600. Tall order, I know! Do you know these three cameras, or do you particularly recommend another? Thanks!!
nsm2 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2003, 12:52 PM
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We just bought the Canon S-50 and love it so far. We're just learning how to use it but so far so good. We also found it for $200 cheaper online vs. in the stores...It has the movie feature, a feature to patch together photos for a panaramic view, great zoom lense, good screen. It's 5 megapixels...
swalter518 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2003, 01:37 PM
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The Canon S45 is virtually the same camera as the S50 for $150.00 less. The difference is that the S50 is a 5MP, while the S45 is a 4MP.

Read the reviews on both of these models at

The S45 gets a higher rating (not much), but it might save you some money.
Jim_Tardio is offline  
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