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I'm ready to buy a digital camera but need your help!!!

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I'm ready to buy a digital camera but need your help!!!

Old Jan 20th, 2003, 07:06 AM
  #1  
digital101
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I'm ready to buy a digital camera but need your help!!!

Hello digital experts:
I know there are tons of post already about the subject but I would like to start from square one.
I made a decision to buy my photography freak husband a digital camera for his birthday. On our last trip to Europe last December he took a total of 65 rolls (he brought two cameras, Nikon and Canon)one of them malfunctioned due to overused; the cost to buy the films and to develop cost us arm and leg and yes we are nuts not to think about going digital.
Please help me! If I walk in to a Best Buy store other than the camera what other gadgets do I need? I don't want to depend on the sales clerk to show me a lot of things that I don't have a clue on. What kind of battery, memory card that is ideal for my husband who takes loads of pictures? He loves photography and we have a new printer that I believe is capable of printing pictures. This would be a surprise gift that I don't to give him hint.
I DO APPRECIATE YOUR INPUT. THANK YOU.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 07:18 AM
  #2  
Frank
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Some advice, but not everything on the subject:
1) use film for the "best" pictures. Detail is better, it might last >100 years, you can see your work without a computer.
2) Visit www.cnet.com for reviews
3) A real zoom is better than a digital zoom. A digital zoom is fake-all it does is magnify a bigger and blurrier image. A real zoom uses a zoom lens.
4) 2 MP is good. 1MP is too primitive.
5) I think there are 3 formats, Compact Flash (most common), Smart Media (quite common), and Sony (only Sony uses it). If one format is to die, it's Sony.
6) Digital cameras encourage taking too many pictures then erasing the one's you don't like. That's ok to me. I have 2 small cameras, one of them digital. On a trip, I take 10 digital for each film picture. I end up erasing about 50-75% of the digital pics.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 07:21 AM
  #3  
xx
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I was going to suggest buying a 64MB memory card(which is what I use) but if your hubbie took 65 rolls of film on your last vacation, then I advise getting the biggest memory card you can find! A 128 MB card should enable you to store around 200 good quality photos (if you downgrade the quality you can store a lot more), although this will depend on the type of camera you choose.

The other thing to remember is digital cameras just eat batteries, so make sure you buy a model that comes with its own battery charger (most do).
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 07:22 AM
  #4  
photographer
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Do you think that your husband would like a digital camera? Sounds to me like he really enjoys using 35mm cameras. Or,do you just want him to go digital to save money? Don't get me wrong, digital is great, but only if that's what you want. There are a lot of advantages to staying with 35mm as well. Better check out his preferences first.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 07:52 AM
  #5  
Jill
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I recently bought a Nikon. I think the D100 SLR are to big for me, and ended up with the compact Nikon 5700 which has an electronic viewfinder which is a big plus (what you see is what you get). Not many Digital cameras are SLR, and the viewfinder on most cameras is somewhat incorrect. An electronic viewfinder is the closest you can get a fully SLR. I am very pleased with the camera. If he has a Nikon, some of his lenses may be used on the digital as well.

I bought a 512 MB Compact Flash memory card 12xspeed from Lexar, the bigger the better. The speed is how fast the picture is saved, and the MB is how many pictures you could save without having to download and erase.

Canon does also have good cameras. That being said. And depending on how much you are willing to pay the Canon G3 is a good camera.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:01 AM
  #6  
Jill
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The battery mostly comes with the camera and there is usually a memory card that follows. It is often so small that you have to buy a bigger one but it is a start.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:06 AM
  #7  
William
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I have a canon g2 (the g3 is the current model) and it has all the bells and whistles a serious amateur photographer could want.

Most cameras come with some sort of memory card, but not a very big one. You can buy bigger memory cards, and even small hard drives that will fit in the memory card slot, but you have to check compatibility. I ended up with a 128 meg card (about $50), which will not hold all the pictures I will take in a trip, so I got an mp3 player (archos multimedia jukebox, just over $300) which has a 20 gig hard drive, and can hold music, pictures, and even some movies. I put all my favorite music on it to entertain me on the flight over, and I still have over 15 gig of space left for pictures. My plan is to carry the camera during the day, and download the pictures into the mp3 player each night. Other people report they just take the camera to the appropriate shop and have them burn the pictures onto a cd, but I would rather spend my time taking in the sights than looking for the appropriate shops.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:06 AM
  #8  
Andrew
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Here are a few suggestions to expose you to more info:

- visit the Usenet newsgroup rec.photo.digital (go to http://groups.google.com and search for it).

- visit the site http://www.dpreview.com - great info even if most of it is high-end.

Andrew
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:07 AM
  #9  
Grasshopper
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I do love my digital camera and I've taken great pictures with it. I'm no expert but I've had great results. I have an Olympus D490.

Just a tip, if you upload your digital photos on ofoto.com you can get prints of the ones you like in different sizes very cheaply. It's better than printing out a whole role of film and liking half of the pictures.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:09 AM
  #10  
Gary
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Besides the camera you will need to get a digital wallet, it is a portable hard drive,you can download you pictures from your camera card. They now have over 10G of memory, room for thousands of pictures.
For more information see dpreview.com.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:17 AM
  #11  
Andrew
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I went digital a little over a year ago. I bought a digital SLR (Canon D30) that uses the same lenses as my 35mm Canon - warning, this is an expensive proposition! I still use my 35mm for some things, because the D30 still have some limitations.

For most people, a consumer digital camera costing $300-$500 will do just fine. You want something that is at least 3 Megapixels, so that you can get great prints up to 8x10 or even larger. At the standard 4x6 size any camera in that price range should give you excellent prints.

I'd get a large memory card that can hold many pictures - or a couple of smaller ones so you can split up the load. Perhaps two 128MB cards or two 256 cards if you can afford them. Remember, when you go on vacation, you'll want a lot of photo storage.

You'll also want to get computer-savy with photos if you aren't already. You can start doing this *without* a digital camera. Get your next roll of film scanned onto CD as well as getting prints (most consumer prints today are made digitally anyway, by scanning your negatives and printing digitally). Then import them into your computer and play with them. Is your computer fast enough to handle them? Do you have the right software? If you have a CD burner, try burning two or three photos you got scanned to a CD and try getting prints made (see below) as an experiment.

It is possible to get prints without owning a printer. There are many online photo stores now where you can upload your photo files to a website and have prints sent to you. Both Wal-Mart and Costco offer these services on their website. However, at some Wal-Mart and Costco stores you can get digital prints at their one-hour service (I am *not* talking about those little print kiosks where you get a print right there for 49 cents a pop).

My Wal-Mart will take a CD or memory card with my digital photos and give me prints in about an hour (29 cents each). My local Costco has an upload kiosk where I can upload my photos into their system, chooing which ones to print, and I can get the prints back in 24 hours (19 cents each). The Wal-Mart method is expensive if you are doing lots of pictures, but with digital you find you don't *want* every picture printed! If you don't mind two trips to Costco, 19 cents a print is a great price.

Both the Wal-Mart and Costco retail services use the same printers that they use for their one-hour film prints I believe.

Andrew
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:31 AM
  #12  
eric
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Go to www.steves-digicams.com, they review all digital camera's. I'm in the market for a digital camera and have decided on the Minolta Dimage 7i or the Nikon coolpix 5700, both are 5 megapixel and have 7x (Minolta) & 8x (Nikon) optical zoom lens. They are expensive but in my opionion are two of the best for the price.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:56 AM
  #13  
ann
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Digital is definitly better! I was a hard core 35mm user who switched about 2 years ago and am very glad I did. I have an Olympus 2100UZ which is 2mega pixels and I can print 8x10 with no problem. I did just get a Nikon 5700 which is 5mp and can print much larger. The beauty of digital, especially for someone who likes to take a lot of shots, is that once you get home you can choose which ones to print. Saves lots of money over printing them all which you have to do with film (unless you have your own darkroom). Plus I actually like showing them on the computer which I didn't think I would. I recently made a CD of my last trip (several hundred shots) to send to some relatives out of state. They had asked for it but I figured who would want to look at that many pics of someone else's trip - well they loved it and are showing them to friends, etc. And all for the $1 it cost to burn the CD. Plus, if you or your husband want, you can get into Adobe photoshop and do some amazing things with improving your shots.

The above mentioneed sites have tons of information, reviews, even forums to ask questions on (my next favorite after Fodors is to go to dpreview's forums). Also megapixel.com is a good site. I would seriously consider buying on line also as you can save quite a bit over going to best buy, etc. and the sales people in those stores are generally quite ignorant anyway. I will say though, that circuit city has a liberal return policy so if you are not sure what your husband wants that may be the way to go. Most other stores, as well as most internet sites have a 10-20% fee for returns. Buying on line requires some research to find reputable sites but the photo sites listed above will also help with that.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 09:06 AM
  #14  
Jill
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Eric, I agree with you. The Minolta DiMage 7i is probably more easy to use than the Nikon 5700, turning wheels instead of pressing buttons. It is a bit ugly looking however.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 09:17 AM
  #15  
digital101
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THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR WONDERFUL INFORMATIVE REPLIES!!!
Yes, my husband would like to embrace the digital camera for this century. He did itemize what he had spent on rolls of film, batteries and the development.
When he went to pickup the developed films the lady at the store was about to faint after ringing all the 65 rolls!

It's nice to hear from you experts on this board! I really do appreciate it.
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 09:21 AM
  #16  
Eye Spy
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Nikon D1 hands down. Nikon is the superior brand in my opinion for 35 mm photography even if I prefer regular 35mm SLR (slides) as opposed to Digital. Check out www.nikonusa.com and bhphoto.com.

 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 09:24 AM
  #17  
Eric
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Jill

I never thought about comparing the two camera's but your right, the Minolta is a bit ugly compared to the Nikon, pretty funny.

See ya later
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 09:54 AM
  #18  
John
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A couple of thoughts from another convert from film (30+ years, own darkroom, $000s in gear, etc...)

3 megapixels is the minimum for decent prints 8 x 10 or larger, 4 or 5mp may sound like overkill but allows selective enlargement later.

Optical zoom is crucial, which makes the lens quality equally crucial. You can digitally "zoom" on your computer to your heart's content later.

Two 128mb cards may well be cheaper than one 256mb - and as someone said earlier, the speed at which the image is saved is very important. Digital cameras don't permit the same snaps per minute as film, so if you're taking pix of "action scenes" film is better.

If you use the higher resolution settings, a 3mp camera full image will cost you around 900K in memory - do the math.

Toss as you go. There's no reason to use up memory card storage on images you know you won't print at some point.

GET A CAMERA WITH A RECHARGABLE BATTERY, then buy a spare. Make sure the recharger is compatible with 220/240v European current. Cameras without rechargable batteries go through them like crazy, and they're really expensive, and often scarce, too.

Many many places offer printing services off digital cards, and having the prints while you travel is fun. Make sure you have the pix burned to a CD before the photo shop erases the card.

Enjoy!
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 10:29 AM
  #19  
Dave
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I personally don't think this sounds like a great surprise gift. If your husband is truly a "photography freak", will he be satisfied with a camera that might not meet his requirements?

To get the kind of control, image quality and versatility he's probably accustomed to, you'll need to go with a top-line "prosumer" camera like the Minolta Dimage 7i/7Hi, Nikon CP5700, Canon G3 or Sony 717. These range from $800-$1200US. While each of these is a fabulous camera and produces excellent images, they each have specific advantages that make it difficult to decide which would be best for someone else's use. Even your husband probably could not decide which of these he prefers without extensively studying the specifications and perhaps even trying each one out for himself.

You could buy a less-expensive model, but most "consumer" level cameras don't offer enough control for a true "photography freak".
 
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 10:42 AM
  #20  
Amy
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If you aren't already overwhelmed with information, I'll add my 2 cents:

1) Digital cameras strike me as a bit more fragile than a rugged 35mm. Any one else's thoughts on this are appreciated, but if your husband has already worn out a camera this may be a consideration.

2) If your husband is a real shutterbug, he may have preferences about using certain lenses, etc. He won't have quite as much flexibility with a typical digital camera, unless you get the profession version like the post-er above. That can be expensive.

2) There is a compromise between digital and 35 mm. Last time I came back from Europe I asked that all my 35 mm pictures be deliverd on CD Rom. Kodak and other photo developers do this service. I did NOT get the 4x6 prints that most people order, and that saved a lot of $$$. I got only development PLUS the CD Rom. You can then view all of your pictures on a small sheet that comes with the CD ROM, plus you can do a fuller review on your computer. I then did custom prints (up to 8x10) on my computer using Adobe Photoshop to clean up and fine tune the prints. I used printer paper made for photographs, this paper is not cheap but I only printed about 50 prints total out of the 15 rolls that I shot. I have a pretty good color printer (but not the best).

I found this to be an unbeatable combination, no one who has seen the prints can believe how crisp, lifelike and perfect they are. Also, I don't like the digital format--to me the colors/details aren't as good as 35 mm. So this gave me the best of both worlds.

Anyway, more food for thought. Have a great trip next time!
 

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