Author Topic: Digital Camera Recs  (Read 2166 times)

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Offline zalicious

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Digital Camera Recs
« on: May 11, 2008, 08:33:54 AM »
I'm in need of an easy to operate Digital camera in the $150 range. I look at the cameras in the store & become quite overwhelmed :-\. I'd like it to be re-chargeable. Any suggestions?


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Digital Camera Recs
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2008, 09:25:04 AM »
I'm in need of an easy to operate Digital camera in the $150 range. I look at the cameras in the store & become quite overwhelmed :-\. I'd like it to be re-chargeable. Any suggestions?
This stuff changes so fast - the major manufacturers have so many models with minor differences and frequent updates it is easy to get confused. Just about any major brand's (Canon, Nikon) current models (not all of models in the store will be current but you are more likely to hit your $150 range with an older model) are suitable for general outdoor and indoor flash photography. Don't be seduced by megapixel count. Do be concerned with the following features if you have special requirements:

- Close-up or macro photography. See how close you can get to a small item and keep it in focus.
- Low-light photography. If you'll be shooting without a flash, you'll want to see how much noise (random-colored pixels) is produced. Fuji cameras have traditionally performed the best in low light.

  Hope this helps a little.

Offline 2stone

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Re: Digital Camera Recs
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2008, 10:53:07 AM »
If you can find a good used Nikon SLR on E bay that is also a way to go.
Bill is right about the pixel count not being that important. I always use mine
on a lower setting to conserve card space.
One of the worst things in cheaper cameras is the lag time with the shutter.
It should be as close to instant as possible without having to push the button
and wait for the picture to be taken sometime in the future as is the case with
my cheap $119 Nikon

You may also want to use it for video clips,
so that ads another element to be considered.

willard
2Stone blog: www.2stoneblog.com

Offline November

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Re: Digital Camera Recs
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2008, 01:13:33 PM »
I'm in need of an easy to operate Digital camera in the $150 range.

The basic trichotomy of response you face is that professionals will typically tell you to get a Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera, prosumers will typically tell you to get a high-end point-and-shoot camera, and the average consumer will typically either recommend or discourage purchasing cameras they've actually owned, because they aren't constantly looking at cameras to see what else is out there.

If you are looking to record videos, you might as well write off SLRs.  I would write SLRs off just because you're wanting to spend $150 and you want an easy to operate camera.  When you say "easy to operate" I take that to mean you want a low-maintenance camera and a low learning curve, as well as a reduction of steps to capture a great image.  I'm not aware of any SLRs that can provide all those things.

High-end (or prosumer) cameras can be great, but like you said, there are enough out there to overwhelm a person.  Probably the single-most useful website out there for camera advice is: http://www.dpreview.com/  I would suggest you visit and read their reviews.  I side with Bill on the Canon or Nikon brands for prosumer cameras, but with so many things that could go wrong with digital cameras in the hands of a careless camera jockey, I would avoid purchasing used consumer grade cameras.  Used SLRs are a better gamble since the owners were probably very careful with such expensive gear.  I would also like to add the high-end Panasonic cameras to the recommended prosumer list.

As for inexpensive cameras, here are two that I like that are at least under $300:

Kodak Z812 IS ($250 or less)
http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=11592&pq-locale=en_US&_requestid=8196

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 ($150 or less) & DMC-LZ8 ($180 or less)
http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-electronics/shop/Cameras-Camcorders/Digital-Cameras/Lumix-Digital-Cameras/model.DMC-LZ8K_11002_7000000000000005702
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0701/07013102panasoniclz6lz7.asp

The Kodak Z812 IS is the one to get of the two if HD video is important.  Unfortunately, and surprisingly, dpreview.com lacks a review for the Z812 IS.  The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 is the easiest camera I've ever used.  It's so easy that I've taken a lot of photos of pizzas on this site with it because I didn't want the time expenditure of setting adjustments on a higher-end camera.  In just a single mode (Intelligent ISO), you can take a very wide range of shots.  The only down side to the camera is the quality of the macro mode.  Macro focus is unpredictable, so I sometimes just leave it in Intelligent ISO mode when shooting close-ups.

EDIT:
Golden Chalice thread images were taken using a Canon PowerShot S3 IS.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5028.0.html

Ultragrain thread images were taken using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6290.0.html

The S3 IS is many times more expensive than the DMC-LZ7, especially when you add on special lenses.

- red.november
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 02:25:34 PM by November »

Offline zalicious

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Re: Digital Camera Recs
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2008, 11:12:54 AM »
Thanks, guys for the info & suggestions. I started reading at dpreview yesterday. Red, your PanasonicLumix DMC-L27 does, indeed, take beautiful pictures.