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Old 03-06-07, 01:17 PM   #1
Magnolia_Fan
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Digital Camera Recommendations

I'm looking to get a digital camera for touring and cycling in general. I know I want a small and sleek one so I can stuff it into my jersey, but there are too many varieties to choose from! I want to spend $300 or less.

Any recommendations or things to stay away from?
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Old 03-06-07, 01:36 PM   #2
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I've had great luck with the Canons. I've had five of them, passing them on to kids, co-workers etc. Most of them record video, as well.

You don't need the highest resolution to take useful pictures. I'm still using an SD110 which has a max resolution of 3.2 mega pixels. You can get older cameras like that used on eBay for less than $100.


One caveat: some cameras use AA batteries, while others use custom internal battery packs with much longer life. But if you don't have access to your charger and a wall outlet, you can't easily recharge the latter. I carry a second battery - which is smaller than two AA cells.

When I was researching them (I also bought my wife a Nikon D50 last year) I used http://www.dpreview.com/. They have excellent reviews and forums.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:02 PM   #3
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I use 3 different brands of cameras and have been happy with all of them. We use the Kodak Share cameras, Fuji FinePix and I just bought a Casio Exlim EX-S600. I don't know if you can get the smaller camera with disposable batteries or not. All of my "card" cameras use proprietary battery packs. I also carry extra memory cards with me too.

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Old 03-06-07, 02:21 PM   #4
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Most of the big name cameras will be OK. I want to recommend getting a camera case that fits well and opens on the top. Using velcro and some foam for padding I go through the belt loop with the velcro and fasten the camera case to the stem or the head tube. This puts the camera right side up and it works like a pistol in a holster. You will take more photos when it's easy to use and get better shots. I take photos most of the time while rolling, even in back of me. Just shoot upside down and invert them in the computer. I just delete the bad ones. It does not take long to get the hang of it.

Also carry a plastic sandwich bag. In your jersey it will keep the sweat off the camera and if it rains put the camera in the bag and then in the case. Of course the bike mounted holster keeps the sweat off. And you don't have to take it out of the bag.
If you are carefull and pull the bag tight over the lens you can shoot right through the bag. You lose a little contrast but can make most of it up at the computer.
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Old 03-06-07, 03:51 PM   #5
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For point and shoots (not SLR style) I prefer, in this order: 1st Canon (also my first preference in SLR's), 2nd Olympus (hate their SLRs)--the point & shoots have very easy to use menus and the image quality is fine, 3rd Nikon--their menus are needlessly complicated to me but one can not go wrong with Nikor optics.
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Old 03-06-07, 05:05 PM   #6
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I like the Canons also, particularly the ones with Image Stabilization (IS).

One good thing about getting a camera that uses AAs is you can always find regular batteries for it should your rechargables run down (or even fail completely) before getting to a camp with electricity. I like the Energizer NiMH rechargables found at Wal Mart. 4 NiMH AAs with charger is nearly half the price of one proprietary Lithium battery that the other camera models use.

Check this link at B&H for a Canon IS in your price range. B&H is the best place to shop online too, btw.

Edit: Oh, and you will need at least a 1GB memory card or two if you want any sort of capacity. High megapixel cameras use lots of space in the highest quality settings, though that can be dialed back if you prefer capacity over outright quality.

Last edited by McDave; 03-06-07 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 03-06-07, 05:55 PM   #7
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The Olympus 720/725/770sw are a good solution as you don't have to worry about getting them wet(3-10m waterproof) and they will survive moderate knocks. Nice small package. Image quality is ok, battery life very good.
720sw going for under 300 on amazon.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:31 PM   #8
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2manyBikes has a good point about the case. My usual riding camera is my Casio Exlim and I wear it on a neck lanyard and keep it in my front shirt pocket for quick use while riding. Most of my bikes are upright style so that works for me.

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Old 03-06-07, 07:20 PM   #9
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Garandman has the right idea......no need to spend a lot of money for a "touring camera", there is the possibility it could get trashed quite easily on a tour, rain, theft, or in a spill. I have used the Canon S series cameras, such as the Canon S50, or S60, they are quite durable with a metal case and sliding lens cover, and offer more controll than many point and shoots. Like Garandman stated they can be found on E-Bay at a fraction of their price when first introduced. They are compact, but still not so small you can't grasp them. The metal cases can be quite slippery though, I used a product called GripIt, which is a self adhesive rubber textured material that can be cut to fit and placed it on the camera body in places you need a better grip, it also offers more scuff protection to the camera body.
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Old 03-06-07, 08:26 PM   #10
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Pentax Optio W10. Waterproof, no moving lens parts, shoots fine quality stuff. small and durable. It does take proprietary batteries which is its only drawback, but do charge up quick.
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Old 03-06-07, 08:47 PM   #11
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My recommendation would be the cheapest digital camera you can get - almost equivalent to a disposable.

I've loved my Canon A300 / A310. Fixed lens, though no zoom. Works on AA batteries. Durable.

That said, where do you plan on touring and what kind of pictures do you expect to take?

Canon definitely comes out on top for build quality and picture quality. Their DIGIC processor does an excellent job interpreting data from the sensor.

I guess you should make a list - do you want:

{** Proprietary Batteries or AA
{** Waterproof
{** Zoom lens (how far)
{** High MP (price goes up)
{** Video function

Also, its important to keep in mind that the number one thing that will fail on a Point and Shoot will be the lens - most lenses that move tend to have some sort of failure in the motors, get stuck, or get broken.

Even with a waterproof (there are also some 'resistant' ones) camera you will still need a case to protect it from drops and impact.

Definitely go with Garandman on this one. Use Digital Photo Review as they are thorough and excellent.

You will definitely get more bang for your buck on used camera's, and anything over 4 MegaPixels will take decent shots - don't buy into the megapixel myth.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:29 PM   #12
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This has been bugging me for my tour. I have a Sony Cybershot that I've had for nearly a year. It works pretty well and would like to take it on my tour. I don't plan on being in a motel often enough to effectively keep my battery charged. I don't want to restrict my documentation of the ride because of it though. Does anyone know of a solar charger capable of charging a proprietary battery? Are there adapters sold for many cameras to work on slow trickle chargers?
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Old 03-06-07, 10:24 PM   #13
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Well,

I couldn't help myself and I went for an Olympus Stylus 710 I found at Target on sale for $200 and snagged a 1GB card for it as well. I also picked up a Bento Box, so I think I'll shove it in there for quick access! Now I want to find a really compact case for it, but that shouldn't be too difficult.
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Old 03-06-07, 10:41 PM   #14
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The Casio EX-Z850 is an excellent camera. You can let it do all the work, or you can set virtually everything manually to get exactly the shot that you want. The one problem that I see with it for touring is the base that is required for charging, but it is lightweight so it isn't too big of a deal to carry it in addition to the camera.

If you want to see some photos taken with the camera, check out my brother's website: JeremyRobertNelson.com.

Lots of the photos there were taken with the ExSlim. He clearly lists the camera he used under each photo.
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Old 03-08-07, 02:39 PM   #15
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I got this at Costco for 270. Great little camera!

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Old 03-08-07, 08:08 PM   #16
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Wide-angle lens on compact P&S

Hi!

Just wanted to put in a vote for getting a compact P&S camera with a wide-angle lens. Mutliple manufacturers have just begun putting out wide-angle models this past year.

"Wide-angle" in this case (so far) means ~28mm field of view fully zoomed-out. "Standard" P&S lenses typically start at 35-38mm. Althought it doesn't sound like a big difference, the visual impact is huge. 28mm is *great* for capturing more of the sweeping outdoor panoramas you'll likely be trying to photograph while touring.

Canon's model in this category, the SD800IS (or IXUS850 in Europe) is highly regarded (reviews at www.dpreview.com, etc.), and comes with image stabilization built-in. Big plus!:

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-PowerSho...3404498&sr=8-1


Other manufacturers have some well-regarded Wide Angle point and shoots as well, such as:

Panasonic:
- Existing: the Lumix DMC-FX01, FX07, and FX50.
- Just announced: Lumix DMC-TZ2 & TZ3 (a little bigger & heaver, but has 10x zoom with 28mm on the small end... this is currently the smallest 10x zoom camera in existence, I believe); the Lumix DMC-FX30 (their smallest compact w/ 28mm zoom).

And I thought Fuji had a wide-angle model that was well-regarded for low-light, but maybe I'm wrong...


Sam
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Old 03-09-07, 02:46 AM   #17
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For me my biggest thing from the first digital camara I bought to the second was the the need for a high optical zoom. It would also be nice to a wide angle so maybe sometime down the line.
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Old 03-09-07, 03:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
Pentax Optio W10. Waterproof, no moving lens parts, shoots fine quality stuff. small and durable. It does take proprietary batteries which is its only drawback, but do charge up quick.
+1. You could also find an older Optio WR33 or WR43 somewhere. They have the same waterproof, no protruding zoom design as the newer W10. Less megapixels (3+ and 4+, respectively), but they're relatively small, built to last and use AA batteries.

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Old 03-09-07, 04:16 AM   #19
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I'll second the Canon Power Shot series. Just bought an A630. They go for $250 - $300 and are 8.0 mega pixels with lots of zoom. There a slew of accessory lenses and other goodies available.

The downside is weight. It is a rather large P&S, point & shoot. Uses 4 AA batteries. Buy a case or carry it on a fanny pack.

Tim
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Old 03-09-07, 07:02 AM   #20
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I bought my Casio Exlim specfically for cycling because it fits in my front shirt pocket while on a neck strap. I got the idea from a fellow Nutter up to this point my main camera had been a Fuji Finepix 2600 that uses AA batteries, but it was bulky and hard to keep at the ready. It did great for "planned" pictures but I wanted something that I could whip out, punch on button and be ready to take pictures. I chose the Casio over several other cameras for a couple of reasons, one was the quick recovery time, another the battery life is out standing. It can take over 400 pictures on a single charge. The down side is the size of the charger base it requires. I plan on buying a second and possibly a 3rd battery pack if the need ever arises. As far as charging stuff I have plopped my butt in a seat a local restaurant an plugged my cellphone into the wall plug near my table while I eat a good lunch. Many of the stop and robs have an outside pay air pump...with a plug in handy I love the idea of a solar charger and have looked into using my hub generator as a charger. Just haven't needed to go any further with the idea at this point.

Aaron
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Old 03-09-07, 09:27 AM   #21
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Which ever camera you decide on, you should get the new Sigma lens Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0703/07...ma200500mm.asp
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Old 03-09-07, 05:48 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splandorf
Hi!

Just wanted to put in a vote for getting a compact P&S camera with a wide-angle lens. Mutliple manufacturers have just begun putting out wide-angle models this past year.

"Wide-angle" in this case (so far) means ~28mm field of view fully zoomed-out. "Standard" P&S lenses typically start at 35-38mm. Althought it doesn't sound like a big difference, the visual impact is huge. 28mm is *great* for capturing more of the sweeping outdoor panoramas you'll likely be trying to photograph while touring.

Canon's model in this category, the SD800IS (or IXUS850 in Europe) is highly regarded (reviews at www.dpreview.com, etc.), and comes with image stabilization built-in. Big plus!:

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-PowerSho...3404498&sr=8-1


Other manufacturers have some well-regarded Wide Angle point and shoots as well, such as:


Sam
The problem with the Elph series is that it requires a rechargeable battery. I really would not want to be bothered with recharging. It is much easier to go out and buy some AA batteries when you need them.
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Old 03-09-07, 09:19 PM   #23
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It depends whether you just want it for cycling. In my case I have an SLR for fancy stuff, and I am getting a 4 meg Canon with an the best optical zoom numbers I can find. It should be less than $200 and it will use AAs I can get on the road. If you are an experience (possibly older photographer), the kind of person who takes the pics carefully and not by holding up the camera between two fingers and flashing away (can be good at sports events), then you are unlikely to need image stabilisation with the lenses on these smaller units. IS can suck up a lot of battery juice, if it's a mechanical system.
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Old 03-09-07, 09:42 PM   #24
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Eric,

I thought I had it big when carrying my SLR + 18-70 and 70-300 lenses.
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Old 03-09-07, 10:08 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cs1
I'll second the Canon Power Shot series. Just bought an A630. They go for $250 - $300 and are 8.0 mega pixels with lots of zoom. There a slew of accessory lenses and other goodies available. The downside is weight. It is a rather large P&S, point & shoot. Uses 4 AA batteries. Buy a case or carry it on a fanny pack.
Yes, but the batteries are available anywhere. The alternative is the custom rechargeable battery + recharger (plus maybe a spare rechargeable in the event first one dies), which usually weigh more than 4 AAs.

The latest Power Shots have reduced power requirements and run off 2AAs, with nearly same number of pics you'd get before with 4AAs.

The Canon PS series is good place to look for a deal on a nice digicam. Older 3-5 MP models in exc condition can be had for under $150.

good read: http://www.dpreview.com/
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