Best last-gen semi-disposable digital point & shoot

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by Pete D, Dec 3, 2012.

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  1. Pete D

    Pete D New Member

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    Ok, slightly odd request here. I have a public health research grant, part of which involves having some participants in Mexico who are at high risk of contracting certain diseases take photos of aspects of their environment which might affect disease transmission. The original idea was to give out ye olde disposable film cameras, but it occurred to me that since you can now fairly easily buy used point-and-shoot digital cameras for under $25 on amazon and ebay, it it'd be nice to go digital rather than film because a) our research benefits from being able to discuss the photos directly with study participants as soon as they bring the cameras back, rather than wait to get film developed; and b) we could give the cameras to participants to keep as a nice 'thank you' for helping us.

    The question I have for you experts in the field of digital cameras is: do you have any suggestions for model/s of point-and-click cameras from a few years back where lots of them were produced (ie lots on the used market) which take well to punishing conditions (ie are likely to still work even if used). Part of the reason for this question is I have 60 study participants and so am going to need 60 cameras, and would like to focus on hunting online for only a few models rather than sifting through dozens or more models and ending up with a lot of duds. I've responded to the standard forum questions below.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions..

    Pete

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    * Budget - What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.

    Total budget for camera, any needed battery replacement, any needed memory card, and shipping, is about $40 per person. But I have 60 people, so need 60 cameras. Total budget is somewhere around $3000 ($2400 for 60 working cameras, $600 for the inevitable duds when buying used online..)

    * Size - What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?

    Something that can fit in a handbag is preferable, but cost is more important.

    * Features - How many megapixels will suffice for you?

    Anything. Actually, the quality of pictures doesn't matter all that much for our research - the main purpose is to have something to help remind participants what they wanted to show us and talk to us about, rather than depict it clearly - in a worst case situation someone saying "if this photo was anything other than a grainy blob, you could see the squat toilet we use" would still actually be enormously useful.

    * What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x)

    As above

    * How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)

    As above

    * Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)?

    The simpler the better. In our pilot work, while everyone has used a camera at some point, 2/3 have never used anything beyond a film-based point-and-click with no additional controls.

    General Usage

    * What will you generally use the camera for?

    Indoor photographs that do not involve people.

    * Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?

    No.

    * Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?

    Yes, almost exclusively.

    * Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?

    No.

    * Miscellaneous - Are there particular brands you like or hate? - Are there particular models you already have in mind? - (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

    Nope, nope, nope. Cheap and cheerful is the desired outcome.
     
  2. brunerww

    brunerww New Member

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    Pete - there is a great price at Amazon right now on the 16MP Samsung ST200F SMART WiFi Compact Digital Camera. It is Samsung-ST200F-Compact-Digital-Camera marked down from $199 to $11.99. It would do everything you need - with the added benefit of wi-fi connection to your laptop. I don't know how long this deal is going to last, but I would jump on it.

    The least expensive high quality SD card I trust with my photos is the KomputerBay-Class-Ultra-Speed-Memory 32GB for $22.

    Hope this is helpful and best of luck with your project!

    Bill
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2012
  3. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    While it's possible to find a decent new or used digital camera on sale for $25 or less (such as the Samsung referred to above) the chances are very slim that you'll be able to find a provider that will be able to supply 60 units.

    There are disposable film cameras, sometimes referred to as "wedding cameras", which you can buy in bulk for as little as $5 apiece.
     
  4. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I found a website that offers a Vivitar disposable digital camera that you can buy in bulk. But the provider, ecamerafilms, is not rated anywhere so I don't know how reliable it is. Also, I suspect the quality of the camera is pretty poor.

    If you want good low light images you'll have to invest in a camera with a CMOS sensor, such as a Canon Elph 100, which will cost over $100.
     
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