Looking for camera suggestions

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starchild

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In the next few weeks, I'm planning on getting a loan (family- no interest) to get better equipment and do more with, I guess it would be called desktop publishing. I've been mainly learning MS Publisher (and Photoshop 6 and 7, which is the newest I can use on my WIN 98 almost 6 year old pc) I plan to get a better camera, new PC and probably a printe better than the Lexmark 5150 All in one (which was all I could afford at the time).

I've been using my daughter's 2 1/2 hear old Sony Mavica CD350, which I wrote about elsewhere (she had a problem with pictures on the mini CD it uses, and I took it to see how it worked for me, ask about it here, etc) Apparently the cd she was using (R) took 20 pictures, than didn't save the rest, as that's all that shows up on it. The next one she tried (same brand) said DISK ERROR and wouldn't even start. I have the camera and remaining mini CDs (Memorex) and used one, and now on the 2nd one. I knew nothing about this (and the camera) when I got it last weekend, but getting used to it and like some of the qualities it has. I had a problem getting pictures off this current cd last night, but opened them (in the CD-ROM) in Photoshop and saved them from there. Using batch scan to reduce the size and save them to a folder.

There's a cord to take them off using the camera, but my daughter can't find the software that came with it (she has WINXP and you don't need it for that) and I can't find it anywhere online. PTP Manager for Mavica 350.

Taking them off using the CD-ROM, they come off huge in size (like 22 inches wide) but only 72 resolution. I have them set on the next to the best setting for quality. Seems like everything I set this on they come out at 72 resultion. (my old Epson camera, I use a memory card and SanDisk with takes them off at 300 resolution. Then I can reduce them or save them higher for printing)

This is a secondary question. What I'm looking for is leads (to look into) of cameras to find one to buy in a few weeks. Price range, I'm thinking around $500. Or, maybe that price range for a more expensive one, a few years old, used. I like how the Mavica has the built in battery that's charged in the camera. I've been using cameras with rechargeable AA batteries and they run down fast and don't always work. With the Mavica, when I aim at something and click, it takes the picture everytime. (I've missed so many great shots I couldn't get again, because my other camera didn't work, or was too slow, even with freshly charged batteries). I like all the options and settings the Mavica has, now I'm getting to know them. I would prefer a memory card! Though I've ordered some Sony CD-RWs to try these.

I know people talk about a lot of megapixels like it's a status, but I think the lens makes a difference too. I've seen cameras with a lot of megapixels, but apparently not a good lens because the pictures don't look clear and bright, when printed/enlarged. (of course, I'm using an old 13" monitor, so will know more how things look when I get a NEW (bigger, flatscreen) one.

I've got 2 older Epsons now (650 and 750Z) both I bought used (for a low price) on Ebay (again, all I could afford at the time) which I think is a good brand, and good lens.

I also think Canon is a good brand.

I've seen several new small cameras, one a Panosonic ($150) and one a Kodak Easy Share($300) that seem easy to use- with a great zoom function (can zoom right in) but for some reason they seem more like "fun" cameras. For taking pics of the kids or something. I don't think the pictures look good enlarged. I'd like something I can print (notecards) or maybe make bigger- calendars or screensavers.

But, I like the zoom feature.

Have looked into and asked about SLRs (digital) and I used to have 35mm film cameras at times like that. Interchangeable lenses. Think that might be a big much.

Something digital, with features, good lens and mps and using a memory card.

I know, this is kind of a broad discription, and everyone has their own favorites and pet peeves about a camera. I've been thinking of going over the PHOTO thread below, and sometimes people say what camera they used, and making a list from that. But I have dialup and it's slow opening them.

Maybe just what NOT to get or what to look out for, too. Since I don't/won't have a lot of money to play around with, I want to get it right the first time.

Thanks,
Carrie
 
Joined
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Go to -

http://www.dpreview.com and go to the buying guide and features search. This will help you narrow down whats important to you.

I liked the Sony DSC-F707 and the upgraded version of that which is the Sony DSC-F828

The carl zeiss lense and the manual control over the lenses is much nicer than some of these point and click models. This is all my opinion of course.
 

starchild

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Sep 17, 2002
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Thanks!

Right now I'm just collecting names to start with.

Of course, everyone has their own personal opinions about this, but someone who owns/users a camera gets to know it, too.

Thanks for the online link, too.

~ Carrie
 
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Aug 28, 2004
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I just bought a Casion 7.2mpx. It is responsive, takes very clean jpegs and fits in your shirt pocket. I paid 269 at B&H, and it is the first point and shoot that I really like. It's the EX-Z120.
Oh, it also takes very decent video and has manual controls (although limited). The zoom is okay----
 
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Mar 27, 2005
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Nikon and Canon, hands down. I would never even consider a camera that wasn't made by one of those two companies. There is no doubt in my mind that there are other good cameras out there, but I have not encountered any that impress me, and I've seen quite a few. Sony cameras are good, but fairly expensive, so that drives me away from them.

I would avoid Kodak, and absolutely DO NOT get an HP. I've never used a Casio, but I can't imagine they are any good. Casio makes watches, not cameras. Many people will disagree with this, but Olympus and Minolta are both brands I would avoid (good features, disappointing image quality).

Be careful what you hear out there... people will buy $100 Kodak cameras and they say they're great... they'll love anything that takes a photo whether it's good or not. Listen to the pros. And ignore PC magazines and what not, their reviews are usually nothing but padding for their ads, and they will say anything is good (they have to put something in there for people to read). There are some very good reviews that actually discuss issues that matter. Here's one site I would definitely look at: http://www.dpreview.com/ (it was already mentioned).

You were saying something about resolution before... 72 DPI and 300 DPI... I didn't really understand what you were getting at, but I thought I'd mention that DPI doesn't have anything to do with anything, except it tells the computer how large to print the image. If you override the print scale when you print, you can print it at any size you want, without modifying the original image. It doesn't really matter what the DPI is. It can be 1, and it will look the same if you print a certain size, like 4x6. You can set the print size to whatever you want regardless of the size of the image.

You hit the nail on the head when you said that the MP rating doesn't matter. All that is is the number of pixels in the image. Without a good lens, a good sensor, and good post-processing, a photo will look like garbage no matter how many pixels comprise it.

Whatever you get, make sure you can return it. Take photos in every situation you can think of and make sure the camera can handle it. If it can't, take it back and get something else.
 

starchild

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Sep 17, 2002
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Thanks for the good advice. Going by 35mm I've always had the idea Canon and Nikon are very expensive. But, now I'm looking for something "better". I'm also thinking of the idea of buying something 1-2 years old, people seem to be continually going up in equiptment, and selling what they have. Thus, someone's $1000 camera, might be selling for less, a few years later, but still just as good and useful (they bought something more expensive with more gadgets on it) Long as I know the make and model I want, to start with. I've bought all 2 of my cameras (working up in quality) from someone on ebay, and they've all been good (considering what I paid and their age). The last one was last year, an Epson 750Z (zoom) (I had bought the 650 no zoom the year before because I knew someone who had one like it) which was, I think around 5-6 years old and $86 (counting postage). (I've been on a very tight budget and have to not pay a bill and/or save up just to get what I've been getting. Doing the best I can with what I can do)

What you said about Kodak, I've noticed this (and the same, people who own them like them and think they're great!) I know someone who has had 3 Kodak Easyshares, starting at $250 and the latest $300. They say "it has X number of megapixels". The last one (I saw) is very easy to use and has a great zoom - goes in close at a touch, but the number of megapixels is set with the quality of the pictures. Like you can take so many at the 5 mp setting. I kind of like the idea of having a more medium size camera, that seem like a REAL camera (something to hold onto). LIke the Mavica I am using now. It's not like the ones the size of a playing card. (I've also noticed the Mavica has a noise, like a shutter, and film advance- 35mm style, when a picture is taken. I'm thinking this isn't needed, it's just added to make it sound like it's doing something like a "real" camera. It beeps, also, which is probably the sign the picture has taken)

What I've noticed with the Easyshare pictures (I've seen online) they don't seem big and clear and you can't enlarge/print them well. I made some into a screensaver (for the person who took them) and couldn't use full screen because of this. This is one reason I got to thinking about the number of megapixels and quality of lens= picture. As I've said elsewhere, in the 60-70's I came across an old Exacta SLR (going by the model number was from ww2) I never had a flash for it, but it took the BEST quality, detail, sharpness - pictures I've ever seen. Someone won it in a poker game in the Navy, and didn't know how to use it so gave it to me. After a few years, the body broke (I've had other SLRs like the Pentex K-1000 that had the same thing happen. Something goes on the body. The shutter or advance lever) In a moment of denseness... (while packing to move) I thought "I will never be able to afford to get this fixed, or a new body" and gave it away to someone else. Of course, I could have kept the lens! (used it on another camera, got an adaptor maybe) Anyway, hindsight...
As to resolution, what I mean is. When I take pictures off the Sony Mavica digital camera I'm using (my daughter's) putting the mini CDs, in my CD-ROM drive (which doesn't work as easily as it should. Either there's something wrong with the camera, the cheap CDs she has, or my PC which is old and starting to slow down) the pictures are saved at resolution of 72 and huge size like 22" wide. With my Epson camera, I take the pictures off with a flash card in SanDisk they come off at resolution of 300 and 3-4" wide. Thus, I can reduce them to 72 if I want to send them or put them on the web, or leave them 300 (or 200) to print them.
I've been told (here) that you can't ADD resoluton unless the original picture (and resolution) is still there. Thus, if it comes off the camera (mini cd) as 72 resolution, I can't then make it 200 or 300 to print it?
I'm still kind of confused about this.
I know when my daughter was using the Mavica, and used the USB cord to take pictures off it (and would send some to me) they would be higher resolution.
Since I want to take pictures to use to print (notecards, etc) I'd like them to come off the camera at a higher resolution. I have it set to "fine" (it has fine and standard) and the next to the best in quality.
Maybe you are saying just because it says 72 resolution on the pictures that are saved from the mini CD, doesn't mean I can't set it for higher and print at higher dpi?
This is all fairly new to me, because up till now I've mainly taken pictures (with my previous 2 cameras) to put online.
In a way it still amazes me that I can "talk" computer stuff (LOL) It's like another language.
Thanks,
Carrie
 
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My dad has a nikon, coolpix S1, says it's fantastic
I've been quite happy with Konica Minolta aswell.
 
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starchild said:
As to resolution, what I mean is. When I take pictures off the Sony Mavica digital camera I'm using (my daughter's) putting the mini CDs, in my CD-ROM drive (which doesn't work as easily as it should. Either there's something wrong with the camera, the cheap CDs she has, or my PC which is old and starting to slow down) the pictures are saved at resolution of 72 and huge size like 22" wide. With my Epson camera, I take the pictures off with a flash card in SanDisk they come off at resolution of 300 and 3-4" wide. Thus, I can reduce them to 72 if I want to send them or put them on the web, or leave them 300 (or 200) to print them.
It doesn't have to be 72 dpi to put it on the Web... when you view them on a computer, a pixel is a pixel. DPI only matters when you print it.

72 dpi was adopted as the "official" computer resolution because Mac monitors used to only be 72 dpi... 72 pixels on the monitor were an inch accross, so if you saved an image in 72 dpi, you could easily control its size on a monitor. That's an obsolete idea, though. With today's varying resolutions and monitor sizes, there is no magic number - although, 72 dpi is a decent average.

In any case, with photos, it doesn't matter, unless you want to control how many inches accross it is... and in that case it still doesn't matter what the dpi is, if you want it to be somewhere around 10 inches accross on a lot of monitors, make it 720 pixels wide. It doesn't matter if it's 300 dpi or 72 dpi, 720 pixels will be the same width on the screen.

People very commonly mistake dpi for something computer-related, but it only affects a print, nothing else.
 
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The operating features you want are the same choices as for a film camera: zoom, light sensitivity, automatic settings for speed+aperture+focus, macro/manual focus, etc.

Digital gives you additional choices: LCD screen size, LCD rotation, view finder, pixels, storage media, output to TV+USB, anti-shake, video, etc.

Decide what features are most important for you in a camera, then look at the additional digital choices. For my second digital (a replacement for a Sony DSC-F505V) I wanted high zoom for nature pics and LCD positioning so I could also hold the camera overhead or waist level. That eliminates SLRs and pocket types. Look at the camera features available on manufacturers web sites and technical evaluation sites.

For me, last August and September, that left the Canon S2 IS, Nikon Coolpix 8800, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30, Fuji Finepix S9000, and Konica Minolta DiMage A200. I made a spreadsheet to compare features and prices, both list and internet. I reviewed postings and evaluations in the online news groups and forums. I went to stores and held the these cameras because physical size and control position affects the "feel" and comfort when using a camera.

Last November I bought the Panasonic FZ30 because its basic 12x zoom at 8 MPixels is capable of 19.1x zoom at 3 MPixels and it also has anti-shake and a rotatable LCD. It was in the upper-middle of the price range of these cameras at about $540 online.

After several months of use, including an overseas trip, I am happy with my choice.

Your choice might be different but I think a similar sequence of selection and evaluation would make your own choice a "happy" one. Send me an email if you would like a copy of my spreadsheet.
 
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ebloch said:
The operating features you want are the same choices as for a film camera: zoom, light sensitivity, automatic settings for speed+aperture+focus, macro/manual focus, etc.

Last November I bought the Panasonic FZ30 because its basic 12x zoom at 8 MPixels is capable of 19.1x zoom at 3 MPixels and it also has anti-shake and a rotatable LCD. It was in the upper-middle of the price range of these cameras at about $540 online.
We just bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5.... 5MP... 12X optical zoom... image stabilization. Very nice camera! We got the camera, a full-size tripod, an extra 256mb card, a camera bag, and a wide-angle lens for $400... Ebay seller... had to put up with a sales pitch on the phone to try to sell me a $200 battery... lol... anyway, we love the camera.
 

starchild

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Joined
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Thanks for all the latest suggestions.

The two Panosonics (mentioned) sound good. Also, I have on my rough list some Canons (D series I guess, EOS5D,, 350 D and a few others) The Nikon Coopix 8800 has come to my attention several times.

I can have the money I think by the end of Jan, first part of Feb (daugher is getting a mortgage on her house that is just about finalized, and giving me a loan. Actually, she would buy me stuff, but I offered to make small paymetns back. Figure that way I can get more and better and feel it's me- starting a business of some kind).

Right now I have everything jotted down on scrap paper, but plan to get more organized as it seems to be working out.

Another thing I'd like (but could live without) is showing the pictures from the camera on the t.v. screen. The two Epsons I have do this, and I've gotten so I save them through the VCR on video besides taking them off on the computer. I can also pick out ones that look especially good, have possibilities to use for something, by seeing them bigger on t.v.

After using the Sony Mavica with the mini CDs, (my daughter's) I'm going to be sure to look for a memory card. I have a SanDisk (USB drive) to take the pictures off the memory cards I now have, which are about the size of a book of matches. From what I've seen of newer cameras, they have smaller ones.

I also have to pinpoint printers to look at, too. I know the best ones are probably laser and expensive, I just want a good inkjet one (not too expensive but not cheap liike so many are). I've been printing out note cards (practicing) and what I have now is doing okay
I think the paper is going to be a big factor. I need cardstock that has a slight gloss on the side that gets printed, but not on the inside that (in theory) gets the note written on it.

If people still write notes (LOL)

At least I have some names (cameras, and one printer HP 32C) to look up and find out about. What I've noticed with online reviews is, some people will praise something and love it and some will complain and find fault.

Good point about holding it in the feel/size. I kind of like a camera that feels like a camera (like the Mavica does- this also has a shutter/film wind noise, which I am guess is just added and really doesn't DO anything. It gives a little beep first when the picture is taken, but gives that sound like a shutter and film advance for effect)

~ Carrrie
 
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