What digital camera to buy?

I was at some friends’ house last night & we were playing with their new digital camera…a $300.00 Sony. I want one now, those are just cool!

I haven’t looked any different models or anything yet, but this weekend I think I’ll go shopping for one. I probably will stay at the lower end of the price spectrum, but if anybody has any suggestions about good features to look for, models to avoid, etc, I’ll take it under consideration. Thanks!

The 2.3 megapixel Kodak 3400’s are nice at around $ 300. - 350.00 dollars. I have two Kodak DC 280’s which are essentially the same thing. I would stay away from the clunky old tech Sony’s and Panasonics that store their images on floppy disks.
With digital photo storage cards going for around 50 cents a meg and 64 and 128 megs cards only around 35 and 75 dollars respectively you can snap away for hours.

The main issue is image quality. Don’t get anything less than 2.3 megapixels. The new group of 3 megapixel cameras from assorted manufacturers just out is probably where you want to concentrate your search. IIRC these are typically around 350 to 500 dollars.

http://www.dpreview.com has some professional reviews of the most popular digital cameras.
http://www.epinions.com has some good info from users re cameras they bought

Go to http://www.dealnews.com . Staples is always running a 50 off 200 or 300 purchases deal so you can get a 300 -
350 camera for 50 less in many cases.

I second the reccomendation on dpreview.com. Excellent, comprehensive site.

If you want to print anything larger than 4x6, you’ll definitely want to go with the 3.3. megapixel cameras. Those are pretty much mid-range these days, since the 4.4 megapixels are starting to come out. I recently bought an Olympus 3040z, and have been quite happy with it. I paid $750 for it, but could have gotten it cheaper online if I’d been a fan of delayed gratification. The price is dropping monthly anyway. My choice of models was constrained, however, by wanting to take the camera scuba diving, so I had to consider what was available for underwater housings. Olympus actually makes its own UW housing for about 1/4 the price of independent manufacturers, so that’s why I went with the 3040z. If I’d had my druthers, I probably would have gone with one of the Sonys with the Karl Geiss lenses.

Lenses are at least as important as the rest of the camera. dpreview will tell you way more than you need to know about the manufacturers’ lenses. Also, ignore any salesman who tries to sell you on a camera’s digital zoom. Optical is the only zoom that matters, since using digital zoom just costs you resolution and you can always close in with your photo software anyway.

Have fun! They’re really neat toys.

My philosophy for choosing cameras is to choose the most compact model available, even if this means you might miss out on some flashy feature (except picture quality, which is vital), reason being that if it’s small enough to put in your shirt pocket, you’re so much more likely to take it everywhere with you, these big bulky models with all kinds of features are fine and they take very good pictures, but you’ll soon find yourself leaving them at home.

We have a Kodak DC 210 that is a very nice camera, though obsolete compared to the new ones. I would recommend any of the DC series ones or the AGFA if you are looking for used or cheap. If you are looking to spend about 500, the most impressive one I’ve seen so far is the Olympus D-510. We are also looking for a new one and I’ve been going to the camera shops, talking to users, etc and that is about the best you can find for that price. It’s amazing. Also have to second the notion to stay away from the Sony Mavicas. I use them at work on and off and they are great for outdoor stuff, but when it comes to indoor/portrait type pics, forget it. The pic quality should be much higher, especially considering the price.

>> I probably will stay at the lower end of the price spectrum, but if anybody has any suggestions about good features to look for,

1.3 Mpix should be more than enough for everyday stuff. That’s 1280 x 960 pixels which is way more than you need on a screen. Get a 3x optical zoom which allows you to get only what you want in the picture and avoids having to crop (and lose quality) later. You should be able to get such a camera for a little over $200.

I had a Sony CyberShot, a 3.3 MPixel compact camera. It did good quality movies and fantastic pictures. It was also $700+, which I couldn’t justify, but wish I still had.

Look for a higher optical zoom, rather than strictly high digital, octical, IMO, makes for better picture quality. Ensure that you can get Li-Ion batteries or one of the other memoryless, long-lasting rechargable batteries. If you’re not interested in 8x10" pictures, just 5x7 and below, or just computer-screen images, 2.x or lower will suffice and that’s about it. All the rest is bells and whistles, but not really of consequence (except, maybe, for a USB connection.)

I just bought one a couple weeks ago:

Olympus C-700 Ultra Zoom.

So far I love it. It’s only a 2.1 megapixel camera, but the quality is very sharp (you can see some pictures I’ve taken with it here and here), it’s has a 10x optical zoom (which is why I went with this one), and you can change the aperture, shutter speed, even the film speed manually.

The only downside of this camera that I can see so far is the manual is crap. By that I mean it tells you how to change all the settings etc., but it doesn’t tell you what they mean. It assumes one already has a working knowledge of cameras.

Other than that, I can’t recommend this one highly enough :slight_smile:

Cute parrot, Mauvaise! Those pictures are nice & sharp…how much did that Olympus cost? I just went to the site; I may have to search for prices.

The dpreview site is extremely informative. I can see I’ll have to educate myself a bit before I go shopping. I may even print this thread to take with me (Sony Mavica-no, battery types, # of pixels…this is a new language for me.)This is great, thanks, you guys!

Any more info, keep it coming. :slight_smile:

I’ve got a Sony Cybershot DSC-S30. It’s a lower end version (1.x megapixel) of the one thinksnow recommended. I believe Sony replaced my model with another that’s even smaller, but you might still be able to find the DSC-S30 online or in a store corner somewhere. Great features, nice form, good color. I’ve got a 64mb memory stick for it and at 1024x768 resolution I can cram over 70 pictures on it.

cough $600 at Circuit City. I also picked up an extra 32mb memory card. I found out after that Olympus is offering a rebate on that exact combo. If you buy this particular camera and a Smart Media product (memory card) they will give you up to $50 back … which basically works out to the cost of the memory card. Score! Now I just have to get it together to send everything off to them. :slight_smile:

I have been afraid to come in here because I figured I’d get laughed at for recommending Kodak cameras, but I see a few people already endorsed them!

We had a Kodak DC210 as our first camera (they no longer make it) and when it broke, we got another Kodak with more megapixels. I can’t recall if this is the DC240 or 280. We’ve been extremely happy with both of them; we’ve taken thousands of photos with each one, took it on a lot of trips, used them pretty hard. Kodak are by far the easiest to use–the menu is easy to figure out, the buttons are clear, etc. The camera salesman sort of sneered at Kodak’s investment in idiot-proofing, but we liked that we didn’t need to open the damn manual every time we used the camera.

I’d take more megapixels over other available bells & whistles anyday. Also, buy a battery recharger and some extra batteries–you’ll be glad you did.

http://www.officedepot.com/shop/catalog/sku.asp?BC=3%3A19%3A1901%3A1901002&ID=627231&LEVEL=SK&PP=301001

This one seems to have several of the features I’m looking for…high resolution, 2.5x zoom, integrated flash, for a reasonable price. I’m not sure what compactflash means for storage (I wanted a disk)…back to dpreview to figure that out. hmm.

Note that there’s no optical zoom on that one, so you’re losing image quality every time you zoom in.

This office depot camera would be a better choice -Kodak DC 3400 http://www.officedepot.com/shop/catalog/sku.asp?BC=3%3A19%3A1901%3A1901003&ID=565131&LEVEL=SK&PP=301001

It is essentially identical to the Kodak DC280 which is reviewed on dpreview.com except that the 3400 has slightly higher resolution at 1901 x 1212 vs 1760 x 1168 for the 280.

The best place to buy compact flash memory cards is http://www.newegg.com. The prices are 1/2 (or less) what the office supply and retail stores want for them. There are huge price differences in the retail markup on these “accessory” items.
…and here’s a $ 20.00 off Office Depot coupon via http://www.dealnews.com.
OfficeDepot.com: $20 off $100
10:54 am ET, Jul 11, 2001; expires 11:59 pm ET, Jul 31, 2001 OfficeDepot.com cuts $20 off a purchase of $100 or more via coupon code “DMAK4542”. Offer ends July 31, 2001.

Did I just get a deal!!! Not one to delay gratification, I just went down to Office Depot because it’s close. I picked the Kodak DC215 …

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/store/catalog/Product.jhtml?PRODID=673&CATID=6

…which was priced at $299. The register scanned it at $119. I told the clerk that was the wrong price. She rescanned it…$119. I began to tell her again that was the wrong price, but she interrupted, “Well that must be the price because that how it scanned.”

Cool! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: So…I got a new digital camera, for a really good price!

‘Scuse me for buttin’ in, but I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments. By coincidence, I was just about to take the plunge into digital in advance of an upcoming business trip; after reading the comments here, and hitting the review sites, I too settled on the Kodak DC3400. Just tried it out and have to say I’m well satisfied, although it is a bit clunky compared to Carina42’s purchase. After a bit of searching, found it at a local Staples for no more than the cost of ordering online.

It does seem that the DC3400 is being phased out in favor of the much less attractive DX series, however, so if yer set on having one, better move.

El_Kabong…That was one of the cameras that I wanted to look at, but Office Depot was out of them. Cranky’s reccomendation as Kodak being user-friendly pointed me in that direction, & I was going to look at Olympus, too.

I’m still playing with it…:smiley: