Buying a digital camera?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Frosty, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    I have had cameras in the past, one of the types with film in it but have lost them all or left them on resteraunt tables.

    These digital things are impressing me, I want one, I want a simple cheap one,-- It doesnt have to hold 100's of pics as I can down load as I go. I have a blue tooth dongle but---I will be struggling with the down loading bit,--maybe a wire would be more suitable.

    Anyway, any suggestions? There is so many out there. I fancied that one that calls itself 'coolpix' about 175 US dollar.
  2. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Hi Jack,
    I've been a photographer for quite a while now... been all-digital for the last few years, with a few different camera.... I love it.
    Coolpix is a Nikon brand, they're very well known and of generally good quality. The good film camera brands- Canon, Olympus, Nikon, etc- all have good digital lines too.
    The key is to look past the marketing hype and look instead at the lens. There is no point in putting a 6 megapixel sensor in a camera with a shitty plastic lens. My 4 MP Olympus (which has a sweet 11-element multicoated lens) makes dead-perfect 8x10 prints every time; a 6 MP unit I've used (I won't say the brand) that had a tiny 1/2" diameter lens gave maybe one clear picture in 10. Seeing as 90% of most people's photography is never going to be blown up to poster size, there's little benefit to spending more for a good sensor when the lens can't make that sharp an image anyway. Look for a larger diameter lens, optical (not digital) zoom. Good lens coatings (lens will look a bit green or purple instead of plain glass) make for a much better picture. Don't bother with gadgets like WiFi or Bluetooth upload, they NEVER work as advertised- a plain old USB cable is all you need. And finally, once you've found a few you like, any good camera store will encourage you to take a few photos with each- try shooting inside the store, and also in the parking lot- and will burn those photos to CD for you to compare on your own screen and printer. Try before you buy, always!
    In the $150-200 US range, there is a huge variety of cameras- try taking pictures with a few demo units and you'll soon get a feel for quality.
  3. Man Overboard
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Man Overboard Tom Fugate

    DP Review is a website dedicated to testing digital cameras. There reviews are second to none. They usually include sample shots from each camera that they test. You can usually get more info about the camera from their site than from the manufacturer’s site. I personally would stick with Nikon, Canon, Fuji, or Kodak in the under 400 dollar range. (maybe Sony)
    There is a link at the top left hand side; click on ‘reviews’. There are usually 5 pages or more to a review, with sample shots at the end of the review. Also check out the ‘comparisons to other cameras’ section of the review to see how your particular camera of interest stacks up to others in the same price range. There is a lot of info on their site, it is where us pro shooters go when we want to find out more about the latest pro cameras coming out.
  4. SAQuestor
    Joined: Sep 2003
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    SAQuestor Senior Member

    I heartily second DPreview as THE place to go to check out digital cameras. I looked and looked and did I say looked? around those pesky Internets before I bought both of my digital cameras. I used DPreview both times as the "control" as I checked other sites and reviews. Both the cameras I have bought were highly recommended on DPreview and I can say that neither has failed me yet.

    One's a Minolta point and shoot - about 4 years old now. And the other is a Nikon D70 - about 2 years old now.

    May I also suggest these digital photography sites:

    Thom Hogan - Nikon Field Guide
    Digital Outback Photo
    If you decide to buy a Nikon camera
    If you get a camera with interchangable lenses then I suggest Visible Dust

    Finally, I bought both of my cameras from web based discount retailers. Check the reviews on some of the above sites for the best - make that most reliable - ones.

    One other place to check is eBay. I bought 6 lenses for the Nikon off of eBay and not one complaint. Normally I used the "buy it now" feature and bought from bricks and motar camera stores that had/have a shop on eBay. And I scrutinized their 'reputations' carefully and if any looked the least bit flaky I avoided that shop.

    I did get one bad deal off of eBay. I bought a spare battery for the Nikon from a retailer in Hong Kong. The battery was ~1/3 the price and it worked once or twice and now won't take a charge. I bought a 'real' Nikon battery and paid throuogh the nose for it too. So not all is wonderful on the auction site.


  5. naturewaterboy
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    naturewaterboy Steel Drum Tuner

    DP review is definietly a good source. I'd recommend a Fuji S5200 . I've had the predicessor for several years, compared picts to other's photos and mine are clearer than any of those I've seen, and lots of versitility if you choose to use it, or simply point and shoot if you don't want to bother to learn.
    With digital though, you can try some setting and immediately see what you get, throw it away if you don't like it.
    One of the big reasons I chose the Fuji is that it has a 10x optical zoom which blows away the standard 3x found on most cameras in it's price range. And all for US$220 on the internet. Get a 512mb memory card with it and you don't have to think about downloading = for just another 50 bucks. You have to have the memory cause the cameras all come with just 16mb and that's enough for only about 10 pictures. Also always shoot at the highest quality - never know when you'll want to look up close at something in a photo and if you shoot on the lower quality settings in order to get more photos on a small memory card, you'll regret it cause you can't blow the photo up without it turning to mush.
  6. bilgeboy
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    bilgeboy Senior Member


    No "Best Buy" in Thailand? You can buy a real nice camera for under a hundred bucks, with case, strap, etc. I bought a Fuji for dirt. Its great. I'll mail you my old camera if I ever get it back from my Aunt. You can have it. Its an HP 2.something megapixels. You will love it. Its worth nothing in the US, I just left it at my Aunts house, and rather than go get it, I bought a new one with double the MP

    Do you want it?

  7. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I do professional photography. I use a Canon 20D but that is way out of the price league you want. I had a little 2 megapixel FUJI 2650. I used it as a pocket camera and my wife use it for ebay shots. It had a great lens. Very sharp. I paid less than 200 for it brand new 4 years ago. Today you can get the same thing at 5 or 6 megapixel for about the same amount. I second the comment on a USB cable. Keep it simple. That's all you need to down load your pics. Some of the newer computers actually have built in card readers so if your computer has that make sure you get a camera that has the kind of card your computer reads. Then you don't even need a cable. Just take the card out of the camera and stick it in the computer.

    Unfortunately I dropped it and broke it. Damn!
  8. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    [QUOTE=bilgeboy; I just left it at my Aunts house, and rather than go get it, I bought a new one with double the MP

    Do you want it?

    Bigeboy-- that is a very kind offer thank you ,but I think your Aunt will be a more deserving recipiant. It would probably cost more to post it!!!!

    But anyway Im still looking at them. Although this island dont go too much on Chemists and medical centres,-- camera shops are every where. Its a duty free island but apparantly not profit free!!! I cant find any thing under 200 US. But they 'all' seam to be 200Us -- a bit of stern negotiation required I think.

    Good tip on the lenses. Am I right in saying that optical zoom is replacing the lense and---Eeer theres another zoom that leads me to think that it is software enhancement.

    How do you know how long the battery will last? After all---

    'with a digital camera your ceativity is limited only to yourself and your battery life" Thats good that,--- I like that bit.
  9. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    Optical zoom constitutes an extra set of lens elements inside the thing, that change the magnification by sliding along the barrel just like in a conventional camera. Digital zooms simply cut out the middle of the image and enlarge it, like blowing up a negative to poster size and then cutting out a little piece. Thus a digital zoom cuts back on the quality, big time- a 2x digital zoom reduces the image quality by a factor of four. Good optical zooms maintain the same ability to focus and the same image quality across the entire range.
    As for batteries- well, I use NiMH cells that are an AA size, and so I can simply swap sets out when they die. Lithiums can usually handle more charge cycles but are also a lot pricier when they do crap out.
  10. bilgeboy
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    bilgeboy Senior Member

    No problem...nobody is using it. If you don't want it, it saves me a trip to visit an Aunt that I have otherwise been not seeing enough of. (She doesn't care for boats! ) I really hate that kind of thing...visiting someone only when you want something. I should pay her a visit, and NOT pick up the camera. Kind of a penance. I would have grabbed it for you, though.

    Since you don't already have a dig cam, you are going to love whatever one you do get. I vote you go cheap. You obviously use the computer alot, and dig cams and computers are just an amazing combo. You will love it.


  11. Jimbo1490
    Joined: Jun 2005
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    I have an Olympus E-10 and could not be happier with it. It is a metal body 'semi-pro' digital SLR with more features than the casual user will ever need, but it is still easy enought to use that you will be taking pictures within a minute of getting it out of the case the first time.

    I bought mine factory reconditioned from a reputable dealer who also is an ebay seller (B & H Photo). It turns out that Olympus is the ONLY manufacturer that re-certifies its reconditioned cameras to factory new operating spec; the other manufacturers just get everything working again, even if some parts are degraded like a view screen with 'dead' spots or a scratched lens. So other than superficial wear marks, my camera funcioned as exactly new. I have had it over 3 years now and taken thousands of pictures without the first problem. I saved quite a bit buying this way as it was only about $700 with leather case, strap, 2 sets of NiMH batteries and charger and new manuals, software, USB cable and etc., which was about 40% off of what that camera package was selling for new at the best discounters. It came with a warranty from Olympus serviced by B & H, though I never had to use it and it is now expired.

    You can probably find a deal like that on an E-500 and get a ~$1500 camera package for half the money. When you buy a quality camera, you will not have the urge or need to upgrade it every two years.

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