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Thread: New camera help

  1. #1
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Maybe OT but it is something we all carry on tours and I know there are a few camera bugs lurking here.

    I was going to up load some pics from the weekend tour and man do they look badly out of focus. I checked my digital AF camera and the lens body is really loose (Olympus Camedia 2020 ) It is old and isn't worth even trying to get it repaired . So I'm gonna shop for a new one, what I want is something compact ,small is good ( not an SLR) and at least 3 megapixels. It should have some zoom/tele capabilty enough to equal about that of a 135 mm lens on a 35mm SLR. I would like to keep the cost under $350
    any suggestions?

    Rick
    Last edited by velonomad; 05-31-05 at 12:27 PM.

  2. #2
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    To my way of thinking, this is the biggest drawback to digital: even when the cameras can be repaired, it is often cheaper to buy a new model that has more/better features.

    Anyway, do you like the Olympus? I've had mine (c-40?) for about 4 years. I bought another for my girlfriend, though I don't recall the model. Its compact, 3 or 4 megapixel, roughly in your pricerange. I chose the Olympus because they use AA size batteries & don't have a proprietary file format.

  3. #3
    Soma Lover
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    I recently purchased a Canon Elph SD110 from Amazon for 58% off. I love it. It's so small a buddy out on the trail asked if it was my MP3 player. Metal case, good battery life, microphone. Two drawbacks: only 2x optical zoom, proprietary Lithium Ion battery pack. Neither matters to me. I take 95% of my shots at a 35mm or 50mm equivalent which it does well and it's a mountain camera for me. I'd prefer to lug along my Minolta Maxxum SLR on a bike tour.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    I've been using a Pentax Optio 33WR camera during my last five or six bicycle tours. It's compact, takes great pictures (assuming I point the camera in the right direction), water-resistant and since it's around two years old should be inexpensive.

    3X analog zoom as well. I wrote up a bunch of info about it here:

    http://www.bicycletouring101.com/Pho...ingACamera.htm

    ~Jamie N

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    Human donkey x2mars's Avatar
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    canon A400, under $150. excellent camera, and it uses regular AA batteries
    your chariot has arrived

  6. #6
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    I carry the Canon PowerShot S410 Digital Elph. Great, small, lightweight camera.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctyler
    I carry the Canon PowerShot S410 Digital Elph. Great, small, lightweight camera.
    I just bought the SD300 (4MP), which I think supercedes the S410. It took around 140 photos at full resolution (plus a fair bit of me fiddling with different functions learning how it works) before the battery light started flashing, and recharged in under 90 minutes. I'm really impressed with how quickly it starts up, and the write speed is great. Complements our Canon G2 digital and SLR nicely.

    B&H Photo Video sell it for $350 including a 512mb hi speed memory card, or $300 without the memory card. There's a 3.2mp available for $240 (SD200).

  8. #8
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    I suggest you look at prices for cameras in the 5,6 or higher megapixel range. They have come down markedly in the few years you have been using your current camera.
    Just Peddlin' Around

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    A review of Digital cameras I saw in the NY times rated the Canon and Kodak (4 or 5 Megapixel) as best for general use and useful features. It said avoid ultra small as the miniaturization resulted in lower picture quality or reduced features. Get a camera that runs on AA batteries as you will never be lost for power. My wife bought a Pentax S50 which is very nice.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webist
    I suggest you look at prices for cameras in the 5,6 or higher megapixel range. They have come down markedly in the few years you have been using your current camera.
    Why?

    A 4mp image can be easily blown up to 8x10, even 11x14 if the printer knows what they're doing. Once you factor in memory and perhaps a spare battery, I can't imagine many quality 5+ megapixel cameras being available for the poster's $350 budget.

  11. #11
    Senior Member meanderthal's Avatar
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    There are certain drawbacks of digital that get worse with compactness--namely image noise, red-eye (using flash) and chromatic aberration (often erroneously lumped under the term "purple fringing"). That's not too relevant if you don't often intend to view your photos at their highest resolution or print much larger than 4x6, because many of the flaws aren't visible at that size. But if you're going to print 8x10s or crop excessively before printing smaller ones (thus exposing to view the digital "flaws"), you should plan to do some post-processing using photo editing software. That's not a bad thing, as it give you creative opportunities over and above just fixing problems. But if you don't want to do post-processing, stick to smaller prints or avoid smallish cameras.

    That said, I recommend the 5-megapixel Canon SD-400, which is selling in the area of $350. (buydig.com has it for $332). It weighs only 5.3 oz. with battery! A full review of this camera is at http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ca...ew/index.shtml

    Comparative prices are listed at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/spec...anon_sd400.asp

    Good luck,

    Lew
    An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. - G. K. Chesterton

  12. #12
    Senior Member meanderthal's Avatar
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    Stubacca - a good argument for high megapixels is that it allows you to severely crop an image and still have enough pixels to make a decent print. Yes, it's a good idea to compose the image properly when you take it, but once you view an image, you sometimes recognize an image within an image that you'd also like to print--e.g., extracting one or two people from a group shot. If you start with 3Mp, once you've cropped you'll fall short of the 1200x1800 pixels that allow full use of the printing capabilities of typical mass-market printers such as the Fuji Frontier used at WalMart and such. If all you do is print from camera, just as taken, then yes, 4Mp is fine for 8x10's.

    Lew
    An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. - G. K. Chesterton

  13. #13
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Canon A95.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  14. #14
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanderthal
    Stubacca - a good argument for high megapixels is that it allows you to severely crop an image and still have enough pixels to make a decent print. Yes, it's a good idea to compose the image properly when you take it, but once you view an image, you sometimes recognize an image within an image that you'd also like to print--e.g., extracting one or two people from a group shot. If you start with 3Mp, once you've cropped you'll fall short of the 1200x1800 pixels that allow full use of the printing capabilities of typical mass-market printers such as the Fuji Frontier used at WalMart and such. If all you do is print from camera, just as taken, then yes, 4Mp is fine for 8x10's.

    Lew
    A fair comment. As with so many other purchases (e.g. bikes!), it really comes down to buying the equipment you need. If you don't crop substantially and/or you don't print photos at 8x10, 4mp is going to be more than enough. 5mp isn't really going to give you that much added flexibility, though a 6 or 7 might be worth it. If you really need to be able to crop or print large prints on a frequent basis, a compact camera like the Canon digital elph isn't the right camera.

    More importantly, more megapixels means higher purchase price + higher memory requirements. Sure, the SD400 sells for around $350, but you need to add another $50 at least for sufficient memory (512mb) and potentially a spare battery too. A quality 4mp camera with sufficient memory is only going to just sneak under a $350 budget.

  15. #15
    Senior Member meanderthal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad
    It should have some zoom/tele capabilty enough to equal about that of a 135 mm lens on a 35mm SLR.
    Rick - one more thing: you'll have trouble finding a compact camera that goes to the equivalent of 135mm in full-frame. They usually the range of 38-105 (full-frame equivalent) or thereabouts. People in the forums usually complain that they're not wide enough, rather than not long enough. For many compact cameras, there are aftermarket lens adapters to extend the range at the low or high end. Canon makes them for the SD300 but not (yet) for the SD400.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stubacca
    If you don't crop substantially and/or you don't print photos at 8x10, 4mp is going to be more than enough. 5mp isn't really going to give you that much added flexibility, though a 6 or 7 might be worth it.
    I agree--a one-megapixel difference isn't that much of a jump. Rick's aim was "at least 3 megapixels", so I figured 5Mp was the closest significant step. You're right, though, the 512Mb SD memory and spare battery at around $60 each will push the total above $350. (to $447 at Beach Camera). Funny how those things add up. Since the digital photography age came into its own, we've become conditioned to treat the incidentals--the under-$100 items--like pocket change, regarding them in the same way a politician thinks of $1M.

    Lew
    An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. - G. K. Chesterton

  16. #16
    Has opinion, will express
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    The three measures I have used in sourcing a camera are the expertise of the manufacturer in quality lenses prior to digital, the megapixel rating, and the use of AA batteries.

    I am not likely to ever use a picture for posters, or even 8x10 prints. and I am reasonably OK at composition, and therefore severe cropping while retaining quality is not so much as issue. Most of the pictures I take are likely to end up on a webpage anyway. So, 3.2 megapixel is sufficient for me.

    Oh, and price... I am cheap and shallow, so the cheaper the better.

    In the end I waited for a catalogue from a store with a $50 off the Olympus D-525 camera -- 3x opitcal zoom, 12x claimed "seamless zoom" which I am not really likely to need. I think it is a discontinued line from Olympus, but that doesn't bother me. I added a 256 megabyte memory card, that should fit several hundred shots at 6 x 7 size. All-up cost was just under AUD$230... or about USD$175.

    I used the work Canon PowerShot A70 as a measure... that cost around $600 two years ago with very similar specs. The real exception was the Canon has a metal body, and the Olympus has a plastic one.

    I took the following three shots from my front door of Mt Wellington, in Hobart, Tasmania, as it did a disappearing act. They were taken at the next level up from 6x4 size (640x480) -- which is 1600 x 1200. They have only been cropped and resized without any retouching, using good ol' mspaint (in my opinion, a highly underrated, very simple piece of picture editing software).

  17. #17
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    wow! thanks for all of the replies so far. I am starting to narrow it down a bit by only considering cameras that only use AA batteries. This may be a good excuse to take the train to NYC and go to B&H while I'm there

    Rick

  18. #18
    Senior Member meanderthal's Avatar
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    Rick - if you're aiming at AA-battery cameras, you might consider the 4-megapixel Canon A80, which has been out for over a year. One Call has it for $212 including shipping.

    http://dpr-cnet.com.com/Canon_PowerS...html?tag=pl&q=

    I bought the A80 for bike touring and I think it's pretty good for a compact. Like many of them, it does exhibit purple fringing in high contrast areas where part is overexposed (typically, tree limbs against bright sky), but that can be eliminated or lessened considerably by stopping down to the lens's sweet spot of f5.6. If any remains, it can be fixed in an editor--or ignored, if you're just printing 4x6's, where it won't show up anyway.

    Battery life is great. With a 2300 MaH set of NiMH's, I get well over 200 photos using the LCD all the time. And the swing-out LCD is wonderful. I just wish it were larger (like the successor A95's).

    Here's a review I wrote at CNET a year ago:

    http://dpr-cnet.com.com/4014-6501_9-...501_9-30520381

    Here are 3 shots I took using the A80 (I've fiddled with them using an editor, so this reflects the capability of the A80 plus editor):

    http://www.albumtown.com/showalbum.p...=2383&aid=6386

    Be sure to wave if you take the train southward

    Lew
    Last edited by meanderthal; 06-01-05 at 09:49 PM.
    An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. - G. K. Chesterton

  19. #19
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    try the vivicam 3935 great is 5.o pixel

  20. #20
    Senior Member Primevci's Avatar
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    once u got digital slr u never go back i have my nice rebel "wish it was a 20d" with a nice tamron lens and a 550ex drooool.. i like slr because u have total control over lens flash and most options mm im still noob to photography but i like this shot



    Or this "Crappy kit lens"



    so dont count out a slr u probly can get a 300d for cheap now...
    Last edited by Primevci; 06-02-05 at 04:19 AM.
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