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Troubadour Apr 10th, 2003 11:12 AM

I need help selecting a digital camera
I'll admit up-front that I'm pretty much ignorant when it comes to digital cameras. I would like to buy one for an upcoming trip to Italy. I would like to have one with a good deal of memory that doesn't need to be recharged every couple of hours. I don't need a high megapixel resolution or digital zoom, but would like a pretty high optical zoom. Any suggestions/advice/recommendations?

MFNYC Apr 10th, 2003 11:19 AM


drsawyers Apr 10th, 2003 11:52 AM

One of the best websites for learning about digital cameras is In addition to the camera reviews, check out the user forums - a wealth of information mostly from very knowledgeable users.<BR><BR> is also a good site. The camera reviews aren't as extensive or as technically detailed, but are probably easier for a novice to digest.<BR><BR>----------------------<BR>To answer a couple of your specific concerns:<BR><BR>- 3MP cameras are something of a standard at present. More than enough resolution for web photos, and prints look quite good up to 8&quot;x10&quot;. A lower resolution camera might be adequate, but you might also find it limiting. Most cameras allow you to take pictures as lower resolution to save memory, if you decide that's best for you.<BR><BR>- Compact Flash cards have become very cheap. For example, you can currently get a Viking 258MB CF card at for under $40US. For a 3MP camera, that's equivalent to about 10 rolls of film.<BR><BR>- Digital cameras have gotten a pretty bad rap for battery life. Maybe it was true several years ago, but most newer designs get at least 200 photos on one charge (varies with usage, of course). Take a look at the battery life comparison at:<BR><BR>Battery capacity has also gone up significantly; current NiMh batteries have about twice the capacity of typical batteries from several years ago. Of course, it helps to use the optical viewfinder rather than the LCD as much as possible. If you buy a camera that uses AA's, a spare set of NiMh is very cheap, less than $10US. Some cameras use proprietary Li-Ion batteries, which are more expensive but are lighter and usually last longer.<BR><BR>----------------------------<BR>Places to buy on-line:<BR><BR>The following typically have some of the best prices of &quot;reliable&quot; on-line suppliers:<BR><BR>Adorama<BR>17th Street Photo<BR>B&amp;H Photo Video<BR><BR>Be very cautious of internet deals that seem &quot;too good to be true&quot;. There are a lot of disreputable on-line photo dealers selling gray-market cameras, using bait-and-switch tactics, or otherwise being more hassle than they're worth. Also, merchant rating systems don't always provide a reliable measure - I personally think the opinions on user forums like are more useful.<BR>

scooter71 Apr 10th, 2003 11:53 AM

I have had a Fuji MX-600 since about 1999. It is a 1.3 Megapixel Camera and takes good enough pictures to print at 8X10...<BR><BR>I very recently bought a Canon Elph S200..<BR><BR>It is a 2 Megapixel Camera, with every function imaginable, and it is the size of a deck of cards! It even takes videos with sound. I've got a 128MB CF card in it, and can take 377 beautifule pictures on a single battery charge.. I bought (2) extra aftermarket Lithium batteries for $12.00 each, and (2) extra 64MB CF Cards, and it is all the camera I will need for Europe, and will fit in my pocket. Another thing is that it is 240V rated for Europe electricity, so all you need to recharge there, is the prong adapter..<BR><BR>I got it from after shopping around, and they had the best price.<BR><BR>It was $228.00 +$19.00 shipping by Fedex.<BR><BR>I made my decision after reading the (7) page review of the S-200 on &quot;Steves Digicams&quot; website.<BR><BR><BR><BR>

JoeG Apr 10th, 2003 12:57 PM

Troubadour,<BR>We were in the same situation last fall before our trip to France. We bought an Olympus D550 for under $300. I almost bought one of the really tiny Canon's but it would have been close to $400 with the same specs. We used a 128MB memory card which took about 350 pictures. I thought that I went crazy taking pictures but didn't use all the memory - ended taking &quot;only&quot; @275. I brought spare batteries but we never needed them. The pictures turned out unbelievably well - printed right off on my HP inkjet printer. At least three people that we showed the pictures to went out and bought the same camera. The beauty of it is after you download the pictures - the memory card is cabable of taking another 350 pictures. Plus you can print up to 8x10's and also view as a slide show on your computer or even a tv monitor. I'm no photo nut by any stretch but after learing a few basics it's pretty much point and shoot. Go for it!<BR>JoeG

Troubadour Apr 11th, 2003 06:21 AM

Thanks for the responses. I bought a Canon Powershot S400, with 256MB and an extra battery. I SHOULD be ready to go.

jmw Apr 12th, 2003 07:11 AM

Hi, I like the idea of carrying a little camera in my pocket -- gave up traveling w/my 35mm for that reason -- but are you folks saying that a dandy little package like Scooter's Canon Elph will disappoint when I try to print 8 x 10's ? Is there a great tiny 3MP? Like Troubadour, I really know nothing about digital, but I'm really particular about picture quality and subtlety of color. Thanks. J.

ira Apr 12th, 2003 08:47 AM

Hi jmw,<BR><BR> Go to <BR><BR><BR> for the elph 400. It is a 4mpx model of the elph 200. That should be good enough to satisfy the most discriminating tastes.<BR>

jmw Apr 13th, 2003 06:52 AM

Wow, Ira, thank you very much! J

ira Apr 13th, 2003 08:45 AM

You are welcome, JMW.

cask23 Apr 13th, 2003 05:06 PM

I bought a canon powershot s45 in January and love it. Great features and fairly small and easy to transport. I have sense purchased 2 256 memory cards and 2 additional batteries on ebay at a cheap price. Go to for digital camera reviews.

FlyFish Apr 13th, 2003 05:18 PM

Cask23 - Ditto on the S45. I bought one a couple months ago because I didn't want to take my G3 skiing and similar places where it might get whacked. Fantastic camera - basically the G3 in a much smaller and cheaper package. I see they've already come out with the S50 at 5 MP.<BR><BR>Does that handle refer to the late Warren W's winery? I'm a big fan, though the Cask23 comes a bit too pricey for regular drinking.

cask23 Apr 14th, 2003 04:21 AM

FlyFish nice catch, I am a big fan of Stag's Leap Cask 23, and for that matter their S.L.V. and FAY as well. I too agree their wines, as well as most California Cab's, have become outrageously priced!!

FlyFish Apr 14th, 2003 05:04 AM

This little exchange prompted me to check out the SLWC web site where I was greatly pleased to learn that Winiarski is still alive and (apparently) well. I'm not sure how I got the idea that he had died, but I'm glad I was wrong. I've had the pleasure of meeting him twice - once at the Boston Wine Expo and once at the winery. A soft-spoken and intense man making great wines, but oh my how the prices have increased of late! Many years ago I was buying SLV by the case; I'd need a second mortgage to do that today.

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