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digital camera advice

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my wife has decided that she wants a digital camera.

neither one of us is all that tech savy.

any advice or shared experiences would be greatly appreciated.

i assume we are looking for something in the 3 megapixil range.

probably looking to spend something around $300.

what should i look for?

what are the most beneficial features?

is there a particular brand to buy (or stay away from)?

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With many of the newer models, the stress has been on the number of pixels. More pixels doesn't necessarily mean better pics, though. The signal needs to be processed and many of the cheap, 5+ Mpix models produce very "nervous," shimmery pictures that are overly detailed and do not leave you with a realistic impression. Many of the older, 3.2 Mpix models actually produce better photos. Thus your choice to stick in the 3.2 Mpix range is very sensible.

You will want a bigger memory stick than the 8 or 16MB that usually comes with the camera. These have become much cheaper during the last year though, and a 128 MB stick can now be had for something like 50 dollars. Such a stick stores up to 150 high quality pictures.

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I frequently borrow a Sony Mavica that uses a mini-CD for storage. I have a couple of rewritable CDRs for that and I can take hundreds of photos at the highest resolution (3 MP, I think - each photo is about 1.3 MB) without any worry about running out of space - and another CDR is way cheaper than any of the alternative memory choices. It can connect to the computer via USB, too. So just download the photos, reformat the CDR and you're ready to go.

Are there models still using a mini-CD for storage? I don't see them around. Were there downsides that have led to its being abandoned? Personally, I don't have any problems with it - if I could just get some more zoom, I'd be in heaven.

Mike

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The biggest thing even before worrying about pixels is the lens itself. Most digital cameras have cheap lenses. My Sony has the Carl Zeiss lens and I've A/B'd it with cameras that have more pixels but standard lenses and it blows them away.

You only get out what you put in, afterall.

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The biggest thing even before worrying about pixels is the lens itself. Most digital cameras have cheap lenses. My Sony has the Carl Zeiss lens and I've A/B'd it with cameras that have more pixels but standard lenses and it blows them away.

You only get out what you put in, afterall.

Garbage in, garbage out.

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i'm old school

i just bought a canon rebel, not digital, those are $1000+.

ss1

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a couple more years pass, and I'm finally getting around to purchasing a digital camera.

Leaning towards a Canon A-series--the 570 IS, or 710 IS. Anyone familiar with these, or the Canon A-series more generally? I'm interested in something between a simple point and shoot and a pro camera, meaning I'll probably end up just pointing and shooting, but think I may at some point want to do more than that. Thoughts on other brands, lines, etc?

amazing how the technology progresses in a few short years.

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About all I know is if you have a lot of zoom (e.g. 10X) you don't need a lot of megapixel, can get by with low megapixels (e.g. 3.2).

And, the Olympus C-740 takes good pics but is not user friendly. I still can't figure out how to get the date printed on the print, and I've had it over two years.

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If I was going to get a point-n-shoot right now, I would pick up the Canon PowerShot SD800 IS. It seems to get good reviews and packs a lot for the price. Amazon is selling it for $320 these days.

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Edited by BFrank

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I echo Jim's advise re lenses. They are very important for good results. SLR are the best, but They are costly, big and relatively heavy. If you're aiming towards the compact cameras - I wouldn't go to the ultra-compact ones. They are generally priceier because of miniaturization expenses, but usually the results are not as good as the "normal" compact ones - again - because of the lenses. In general - Bigger lenses are better.

If you are considering buying the X10 zoom cameras, consider getting one of the new models with the "anti-shaking" mechanism. again - it'll cost you...

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Thanks everybody. The Canons I'm considering now both have Image Stabilization, and not-too-ultra zoom (4x). I'm definitely steering away from ultra-compact, at least for a first camera, mainly for the tradeoff mentioned by WL. Nice review site, Christiern.

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I'll second Steve's site!

Excellent!

Here's a list of his best

if you're in a hurry:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html

You may want to try dpreview

and especially this page for narrowing your choice:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare.asp

I want to expand beyond my faithful Sony this summer,

so I'll be checking these sites as well next week.

Rod

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If you're looking for compacts with good lenses, the Panasonics have Leica lenses. Can't get much better than that.

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I think you will find the reviews (with sample photos) on this site helpful.

Whoa! Nice site.

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