Are digital cameras worth it yet?

They don’t seem clear enough for me. I’ve got a Polaroid one-step ($35) and it seems to get better sharpness than the many-hundred dollar models.

It depends. If all you want is a few occasional candid photos you can store in album, then no it’s not worthwhile. If you need or want to take a lot of pictures and be able to manipulate or use them (easily) in digital docs without scanning them in, then digital is the way to go.

Quality of the the better digitals (ie $ 500+/3 megapixel+) will rival your Polaroid. Although standard film inherently has much greater potential resolution than affordable CCDs real world output from a 4 MP camera on a high quality, photo quality printer )HP 970 etc) will be as “photo-realistic” as any inexpensive candid camera output.

Actually, the quality of a $50, 640X480-resolution model will rival any Polaroid. But those are the low-end digital cameras. In my opinion, if you’re going to go digital, be prepared to spend at least $350… for a model that gets at least 1.3 megapixels, at least 2X optical zoom, and at least a 32-megabyte memory card (preferably 64-meg or above).

But if you really want “professional quality” without shelling out a crapload of money, stick with film… a pro-quality digital camera will run into several thousands of dollars (ultra-fast shutter speed, better customizability, better zooms and lenses, etc.)

If it means anything: I bought a Kodak DC215, and my thought at the time that I bought it was “This will be a cool toy, but it won’t replace my 35mm camera.” That was about a year and a half ago, and I haven’t used my 35mm since.

I’m like Sasquatch. My husband wanted to get a digital camera two years ago and I thought it was ridiculous, that it would just be a toy. Fun, novel, but impractical and not used much after the initial excitement wore off.

We’ve taken over 4,000 digital photos since and are contemplating our third trade-up to a nicer model. I’m eating crow.

(Admittedly, a lot of it is used to document Cranky Jr.s development for grandparents who live much too far away)

I’m really looking for a camera that can satisfactorily capture the act of tooth-brushing. Can you recommend a model?

What are your thoughts on long-term cataloging, storage, and retrieval? That’s held me back on getting a digital camera - will the files I create today be readable on the computer technology used, say, 20-30 years from now? I take mainly slides and it’s easy to store them.

I have to admit that I’ve had my slides scanned for (extreme) enlargements. A 24"x36" print made at 150 dpi calculates to 20 megapixels. Can’t afford one of those digital cameras yet.

Mrs Chance adores hers.

Not an analog shot among them.

I’d say that many proprietary computer image formats such as .bmp and .jpg are pretty much here to stay; they may not be the best available in 20 or 30 years (there will probably be something with better compression or something), but the sheer volume of images that people are producing using current formats dictates that there will be a demand for software that can use them.

That’s a good point. Generally, I make prints of the best ones. That’s been our answer. Otherwise, my husband stores all the digital files on his current computer, making frequent backups. If computer technology changes, we’ll have to figure a way to convert the images.

What we find is that because we don’t have the cost of developing, and can see pictures immediately, we take many more pictures of each event than we every used to with a regular camera. That means a lot more photos that are throwaways, but at least one superb shot in each lot. For example, we took over 20 photos trying to a get a good one for our Christmas photo this year, and didn’t have to wait a week to see if they turned out.

I adore mine, thought it was just a toy when my husband got it for me last Christmas, It’s a Canon Elf.

I have taken a couple of really remarkable photos, why? Because I shoot tons of pictures!

That’s what photographers do, and now I understand why. I never have to buy film or pay for developing again.

I’d have to vote, definitely worth it.

You can save a ton in film and processing costs by only developing the few photos you want prints of. Then again, we seldom get prints, so I’m not sure if its a net gain or not.

Well, you certainly will be able to convert any digital file into any new kind of storage there will be - that shouldn’t be a problem. Photoshop v. 999.2 in the year 2040 will handle it. :smiley:

I have an Elph and I love it.

Whereas I have only have, say, twenty or thirty decent pictures (decent quality, you sickos) documenting my teenager-hood, I have hundreds from the last year alone. Granted, they may not be high quality enough to enlarge beyond and eight by ten, but honestly, how many of us non-proffesionals blow up our photos that big anyway? These pictures will still be great to show my future grandkids what grandma looked like with pink hair.

I love not having to worry about or pay for film. I know I have already saved hundreds of dollars on film and development costs. I also love being able to see and delete bad shots on the spot. No more using a whole roll of film on something and then having to wait to see if any of them turned out.

I also love my Elph’s potability. It is about the size of a deck of cards. I can easily slip it into a purse or pocket and be ready to capture anything that comes my way.

MMMMMmmmmm…I love it, I love it, I love it! My Elph just went on it’s first vacation, and I took something like 144 pictures- in two weeks.

As an old glass and metal vintage Nikon camera collector I’m obliged to point out that film has billions (yes, that was Carl Sagan’s voice…) of pixels per picture.

That said, you bet I’m going to buy a digital camera. One of Zenster’s axioms about tools and instruments is that the easier they are to use, the more you will use them. Sounds pretty obvious when you read it, but there is a magnification in how often you use something when it is so much more cost efficient and simple to operate.

I still need someone to talk me out buying a Sony Mavica. Using diskettes for your media is so cheap and easy to download I just can’t seem to get it out of my head. The big viewscreen is nice too, but I’ve heard bad things about their compression algorithim. As previously mentioned, best of all you can shoot ten times as many pictures. At a professional shoot, you count on one real keeper per roll of film. That gets real expensive, real quick, trust me. Yes, your keepers are real stunners, but they cost you up the wazootie.

With a digital camera you can blast away with impunity. Using on-the-spot editing you can save a day’s worth of keepers without having to exchange a memory stick or downloading. There is nothing to match such convenience. When you want portrait level photography, you have to use film, no doubt about it. Most daily requirements don’t call for portrait level work. Capture more of your life and have more fun sharing it with more people. It’s as simple as that.

Actually, I wouldn’t necessarily talk you out of it, as long as you get the 1.3 megapixel model (there’s one that still take shots at a lousy 640X480… which isn’t even worth contemplating). The Mavica actually has MUCH better zoom (8X optical… best I’ve seen on a $600 camera) and you can get a crapload of storage space for cheap. However, this crapload of storage space will take up a crapload of physical space… Mavica’s are huge. The floppy disks are huge (don’t believe me? Try toting sixty of them around wherever you go). So you have a little give-and-take.

Actually, not really. You just need to shoot the picture at a much higher quality than you intend to print out. You know how they say that those 1280X960 shots come out to about 17" X 13"? They lie. If you print them any larger than, say, 6" X 4", you’ll start seeing pixelation. And you’ll want something more than 1600X1200 (2.3 megapixels) for a 8 1/2" X 11" printout.

Also… if you’re going to get a digital camera, get a photo printer. Our Canon Bubblejet 8200 is SWEET. It takes a while, yeah, for some shots (several minutes for an ultra-high-photo-quality, full-page print), but it’s worth it.

I had no intention of trying to replace my Nikons with digital so I finally decided to buy when price/performance hit the level I wanted. Canon Powershot A10. 1.3 megapixes, 3x optical zoom and CF memory for $300. More than enough pixels for any screen images but not enough for a sharp 8x10 print. For that you’d need 2.1 megapixels to even be marginal. It does’t have the manual control I’m used to but has enough override to be remarkably flexible. +/-2 EV in 1/3 inrements, some control of white balance and a slow sync fill flash mode. Flash photos are going to look like flash photos but that’s a consequence of built in flash. A far more expensive camera would have sync for an external flash.

Accessories will kill you, I spent half again as much as the the camera for NiMH batteries (3 sets x 4AAs) a one hour charger (RayOvac, $30, worth its weight in gold), 160MB worth of flash memory cards and card readers for USB and PC card. I also indulged in an underwater housing. Pricey but worth every penny. Girls become so uninhibited underwater. Recharchable batteries are a must. You will bankrupt yourself if you use Alkalines.

This is a panorama I shot two weekends ago. The camera has a built in feature to assist shooting panoramas plus software to stitch and distort the images. It was taken hand held, not on a tripod.

Warning: the first panorama is nearly a megabyte.
plus a “thumbnail” of the panorama

A portrait of a friend done with natural window light. Long shutter speed so done on a tripod.

Zenster, memory is getting so cheap I don’t bother trying to edit or delete in the field. 160 megabytes cost me $72. I can store approx 214 images at 1280x960 resolution with minimum compression/highest quality. I am so glad I went with CF memory instead of floppy. I just plug the memory card into the reader which behaves like a disk drive, drag and drop to my internal hard drive then use paintshop pro to view the thumbnails and cull the junk.

The problem, Padeye, is that Sony insists on using only Memory Stick in all of its devices. Memory Stick is about twice as costly as CompactFlash or Smartmedia (or even IBM’s Microdrive, which works in some media slots, and can store anywhere from 384 megabytes to one gigabyte… the latter costs around $400, I think). However, Memory Stick is much SMALLER, so if you’re someone who recently won the lottery, go with a Sony model and buy several dozen 128-MB mem sticks, and put them all in a tiny wallet-sized case…

Excellent panoramic shot, by the way.

Actually Spoofe, that’s another reason I didn’t go with Sony. After doing research on this I decided CF was the only way to go. Smart Media might have been an option but still inferior to CF. I just watch the newspaper ads for the dark overlord of discount electronics (Fry’s) and snagged the best deals. I’d like to get at least another 128MB capacity before the october trip.

Thanks for the compliment on the panorama. I’m really starting to have fun with photography again. I can actually see myself getting a serious professional level digital a couple of years down the road. I imagine we’ll be seeing 6-8 megapixels where the 3.3s are now and memory cards continuing to follow Moore’s law.

FWIW the microdrives only fit type II slots and won’t fit most of the amateur level cameras. I’ll hold out with the 80MB modules until prices drop enough I can get 256s cheaply.