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  1. #1
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    Default Please offer camera recommendations

    I'm split between getting a compact p&s, or a slr-like camera. My main draw to the slr-like cameras are the ultra zoom lenses, and the possibility of using them for a photography class. I should probably get two cameras, but that really isn't an option at the moment.

    I must use AA/AAA batteries. I frequently snap 100 pictures to get 1 decent photo. Rechargeable batteries are worthless when I forget to charge them.

    Btw, I'll be referring to my old camera a lot....a FujiFilm FinePix 2400Zoom. I bought it over 8 years ago because it could take about 100 pictures with alkaline batteries, almost double that on NIMH batteries, had 3x optical zoom which was pretty good back then, and could take 2.1 megapixel pictures that'd fill up my entire 1600x1200 monitor.

    Budget

    $200-350....although $350 should include the camera, case, memory, and any other must-have accessories.

    Size

    Compact to Ultra-zoom/Slr-like

    Features

    How many megapixels will suffice for you?
    6 to as many as possible....although I've gone for the last 8 years on a 2.1 megapixel camera and never really felt a need for more. I think of high megapixel abilities as a bandaid to hardware or user induced zoom deficiencies.

    What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x)
    I currently have 3x optical zoom, and that's nowhere near sufficient. I want to step up to at least 6x, although the 10x-12x ultrazooms are attractive, especially since extenders can be used to further increase the zoom.

    How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
    3 for color quality
    8-10 for detail quality

    General indoor and also very-close macro shots are VERY important. My current camera is nearly unusable indoors unless it's in an office with arrays of fluorescent lights....and leaves it almost worthless at home. I'd also like to use this for biology photos that'll require very close and detailed shots.

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

    I need to learn what these are....

    General Usage

    What will you generally use the camera for?
    Family photos.
    Shots of items taken indoors at home (poor lighting) to sell online.
    In class of small organisms as little as 1 cm wide)
    Shots of still nonmoving animals both in and out of the water although the camera will be out of the water....although a camera with an underwater case accessory would be nice if I ever decide to get my feet wet.

    Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
    No. All photos will go on my website, although some, maybe all, will be in full resolution.

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
    Almost all my shots will be indoors.

    Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
    Very rarely. The closest thing to an action shot will be taking pictures of objects as I drive or ride by...I ride a motorcycle.

    Miscellaneous

    Are there particular brands you like or hate?
    I assume FujiFilm and Fujitsu are the same company. My old FujiFilm digital camera has served me well for almost a decade, and did everything I expected it to do when I bought it. I also have a Fujitsu tablet pc that I really love. That said, I'm not willing to give up much to stay within the Fuji family.

    I very nearly despise Sony.

    Are there particular models you already have in mind?
    FujiFilm S700
    Canon S5
    Canon A570 IS
    Canon A720 IS


    (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

    Image Stabilization is must. The closest thing to a tripod I'll use is a mount on my motorcycle, or a harness bar mount in my car for canyon carving runs....both of which will introduce lots of vibrations.

    I'd also prefer to have it be weatherproof, have a rotating lcd, and a hot shoe...although I can deal with having none of these.

    My old FujiFilm has been stored in a waterproof Otter Box for the last 8 years. While that may seem like overkill, I lost quite a few cameras while on kayaking and canoeing trips even though they were packaged in at least two layers of ziplock bags.....and I also dropped one down the throat of a rapid, but that's another problem!

    Quick time to first photo is also a big deal.

    Video recording abilities would be sweet too......it'd help replace my video camera that was stolen last summer.
    Last edited by leaftye; 10-06-2007 at 08:30 PM. Reason: Added a link for the S700 and removed the FujiFilm F50 because it doesn't use AA batteries.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Please offer camera recommendations

    Canon's Powershot A710 IS and A720 IS both have 6X optical zooms, are stabilized, offer good image and color quality, have waterproof cases available from Canon, and have a close-up lens accessory available, which might come in handy for those 1 cm critter shots. Both use AA batteries.

    The A720 IS is the newer of the two, and has 8MP; the 710 IS has 7MP. Both are in your budget range, with the older 710 probably being the most reasonably priced, if you can find one. I would expect image quality would be largely the same between the two cameras............
    Last edited by Jim Keenan; 10-06-2007 at 12:20 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Please offer camera recommendations

    Would the A710/720, or any of my other choices, be suitable for a first year college photography class?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Please offer camera recommendations

    All your choices have manual controls, so they can function like a DSLR for exposure purposes. I would think manual controls might be a course requisite, but you probably need to check the course description or with the instructor to see if your camera would be acceptable.

    The Fuji doesn't have real image stabilization - it bumps up the ISO to achieve faster shutter speeds as a means of keeping images sharp. It also doesn't have the Super CCD sensor that seems an integral part of the Fuji P&Ss that achieve the better high ISO noise performance, so the act of employing "image stabilization" is apt to increase noise in your images. Cameras that stabilize by moving lens elements or the camera sensor are a better way to go, all else being equal.

    The S5 price starts right at the upper edge of your budget window before adding in a memory card or any other extras. The 32MB card included by Canon isn't large enough for serious shooting. If you're prepared to exceed your budget limit, the S5 would be my first choice because of the 12X zoom.....then the 720/710, and finally the Fuji (because of the stabilization).

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Please offer camera recommendations

    I might be able to bump up my budget a little.... What do you think about the Fuji S6000fd? It has the SuperCCD, so it should be able to do well at low light. Of course the S5 sure looks good with the hot boot, rotatable lcd, stereo mics, more megapixels and 12x zoom.

    Oh, and I just checked my college catalog....photography won't count towards my degree, so whatever I learn about photography, I'll need to learn in books, here and by experience.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Please offer camera recommendations

    The S6000fd is a definitely a nice, and well-equipped camera.
    Best Regards,
    Ben

    Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
    Canon Powershot G7
    Pentax Optio W10
    Canon Powershot A95

    www.DigitalCameraReview.com | www.Brighthand.com | www.NotebookReview.com | www.SpotStop.com | www.TabletPCReview.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Please offer camera recommendations

    Ben, so I couldn't find any local shops that had it in stock, but I found this Staples deal...$400, $75 rebate, free all-in-one printer, free shipping.

    I figure I'd sell the printer, which should put my net purchase price under $300. Good deal? I just wish I could've picked one up locally for closer to $350 today.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Please offer camera recommendations

    Looks like there are some places online that have prices around $300: http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/d...ay=priceDetail

    Amazon has it for $326. B&H (very reputable photo store) has it for $325 and a $50 mail-in rebate, for a price of around $275.
    Best Regards,
    Ben

    Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
    Canon Powershot G7
    Pentax Optio W10
    Canon Powershot A95

    www.DigitalCameraReview.com | www.Brighthand.com | www.NotebookReview.com | www.SpotStop.com | www.TabletPCReview.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Please offer camera recommendations

    Oops, sorry, buy "it", I meant the Canon S5. I've been looking locally today, so I've only been looking at Canon because I don't expect many brick & mortar stores to carry FujiFilm.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Please offer camera recommendations

    If your net is under $300, then that sounds like a good deal to me.
    Best Regards,
    Ben

    Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
    Canon Powershot G7
    Pentax Optio W10
    Canon Powershot A95

    www.DigitalCameraReview.com | www.Brighthand.com | www.NotebookReview.com | www.SpotStop.com | www.TabletPCReview.com

 

 
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