Digital Camera help

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Sep 20th, 2004, 09:38 PM
  #1
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Digital Camera help

My daughter is going on an extended trip to Europe. She wants to take a digital camera and I told her I would buy it as an early Christmas present. I know absolutely nothing about them. I've been to three stores and read innumerable reviews online and I am more confused than ever. What I would like to get is a reliable camera that takes decent pictures in the $250 - $300 price range. I think it should have at least 3 megapixels and a 3X opitical zoom. Beyond that I have no idea what to get. Is one memory card system better than another? None of the cameras come with a very large memory card. Is there a particular size that would work best for a month long trip? Is it important to have rechargeable batteries? Does it matter what kind they are? Any help would be appreciated in that she leaves in about four weeks. Thanks
Jack is offline  
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Sep 20th, 2004, 09:57 PM
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I got an HP735 Digital camera and it has 3x Optical Zoom and 5x Digital Zoom. It also has a micro mode that lets you get very close to the subject, too. The bonus is that it can take video clips with sound, too! However, the video clips eat up the batteries rather quickly. I got a really nice battery charger and rechargeable batteries at Radio Shack for under $30 and it will charge either 4-AA or 4-AAA rechargeable batteries that are either Ni-Cd OR Ni-MH (Radio Shack Cat. No. 23-427). My brother uses the camera and purchased a memory chip, but I can't remember if he got the 64 or 128mb chip. At the present time it has almost 200 pictures and a few video clips on it.

I absolutely love this camera and the best part is that you can get it for around $200 when it's NOT on sale. I purchased mine at Office Max.

A tip: The digital zoom shows up only on the screen picture, you can't see it through the view finder. I didn't know this until my nephew showed me how it works.

This was my first digital camera and I knew nothing about them, except what I'd attempted to learn in advance. I was totally lost, as you are. You won't be disappointed with this camera. The pictures are beautiful, too. Just enough bells and whistles on this camera to do what you want it to, but not so many that it's a pain to learn.

I didn't get the docking station, decided to save the money and just got the battery charger and extra rechargeable batteries. I suppose if she's going to Europe, she'll have a converter she can use it with so she can plug it in.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 12:34 AM
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The Canon A85 (4 megapixels, 3X optical zoom + 3.6X digital zoom) will provide the best image quality of any camera in that price range. It uses Compact Flash Type 1 memory (standard, and inexpensive compared to SD/Memory Sticks/etc), and uses standard AA alkalike or rechargeable NiMH batteries. Which of these is better depends on how much the camera will be used. If there might be several days or a week or two in between uses you're better off with regular alkaline batteries, as these do not lose charge when not in use nearly as fast as rechargeable batteries. But if you think the camera will be used every day (or anything close to it) then invest in rechargeable NiMH AA batteries and a recharger with European voltage adapters.

As for memory size, get the largest memory card you can afford -- 128MB as a bare minimum and preferably 256MB, 512MB or larger. At highest resolution & quality the A85 can store 14 images per 32MB, so it can store 56 images on a 128MB card, 112 on a 256MB card, 224 on a 512MB card etc.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 04:04 AM
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I've found this site to be helpful: dpreview.com
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Sep 21st, 2004, 04:52 AM
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I bought my Canon PowerShot a few years when prices were still pretty high. I still use the same batteries and it came with a battery charger. My newest printer, a Canon Multipass has a compact flash memory card reader which makes it simple to input the pictures into the computer. The camera came with a USB hookup which is ok to use if you don't have to crawl under a desk to get at a USB connection. The other feature which we love is the av adapter which allows us to attach the camera to our tv to show pictures. Our son and his friends love to have slide shows with theirs. My Canon has thru the lens viewing which I use for almost every picture. If you use the display, it eats up battery power. Some cameras don't give you a choice. I had read that sometimes it is difficult to use the viewer in the sun if it isn't moveable so keep that in mind if the camera you are looking at has a viewer that isn't flexible. Watch for sales on the compact flash card, I got a 256k at a reasonable price. My camera also has settings for low, medium and high resolution. If I just want vacation shots to email, low is okay and then you can put more pictures on the compact flash memory card. I usually use the medium setting however. High is if you want 8x10s. The camera also came with several picture programs including Photoshop LE which I LOVE for picture editing.
These are the features I like. Buy an extra card when they are on sale. What a great Christmas present!
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Sep 21st, 2004, 05:02 AM
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It really doesn't matter whether a camera uses Compact Flash or SD. A 256MB card is now down to about $20-30 (or lower with rebate, if you know how to shop in the internet). It'll hold at least 150 photos at the "best" setting for a 3MP camera already. xD is still more expensive, but the difference between CF and SD is so small in price that it's a non-factor.

Check out the size and the build of the camera, as well as the type of batteries/chargers it use. Those are the things that differentiate the different brands/models the most. For travel, some are smaller than others. Some have nicer aluminum casing rather than plastic. Some can take AA/AAA-sized batteries, some only its own. Some you recharge by plugging a cord into the camera, some you take the battery pack outs.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 05:08 AM
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We love our Canon A-80. We got it at Staples and it came with a 32mb card, but there was also a special so it also came with a 64mb card. I would look for deals like that. Those two cards were enough for our 2 week Hawaiian honeymoon. I've read some good ideas on here though, where people go to photo places and get their pics put onto cds so then they can start over and take more pics on their memory cards. That is an excellent idea.

I read some Consumer Reports reviews and then compaired cameras on the canon website.

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Sep 21st, 2004, 08:35 AM
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As long as you go with a name brand camera, you almost can't go wrong. I have used Sony, Cannon, Fuji and Kodak. I will say that the Compact Flash card is the slowest of the choices and I would take that into consideration. By that I mean, from the time that you push the shutter to the time a picture is taken. I have seen the Sony perform best in a backlit situation. The Fuji models often have more optical zoom which is nice. Digital zoom is not of much use in my opinion.

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Sep 21st, 2004, 10:08 AM
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I've been using a Konica Minolta Dimage Xt for the last several months. Its a 3MP camera with an unusual 3X optical zoom that doesn't extend outside the camera. It is very small, fits easily in a shirt pocket (or a purse). I'm very satified with the pictures it takes. Its startup time is also faster than most of the smaller cameras. The camera costs about $250. I bought a 512MB disk recently at Costco for less than $50. It comes with its own Li-ion battery and charger.
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