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Recommendation for a beginning digital camera

Discussion in 'Technology' started by fish78, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. fish78

    fish78 F1 Rookie

    Sep 10, 2004
    4,727
    Georgia
    I will be spending time in Brazil during the next year and want to take some decent pictures while I am there. I am not even a casual photographer...I am looking for an EASY to use compact sized digital camera that I can have with me at all times. I want to be able to take decent snapshots of both scenery and people...Did I mention easy to use and idiot proof? I envision something that I can point and shoot and still get good results. Any recommendations are appreciated.
     
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  3. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

    Sep 25, 2006
    23,267
    Campbell, CA
    Full Name:
    Ian Anderson
    Hi,

    As no one else seems to be stepping up, I'll give it a go.....

    - The "megapixel wars" are over - As long as it's got at least 6MP (and I doubt you can even find anything with less) you'll get quality good enough to print from at up to about 8x10.
    - Get one with a "decent" *optical* zoom. Forget digital zoom, it's a waste of time IMHO. This zoom capability will give you a lot of flexibility when framing shots.
    - Get one that puts the lens away when turned off - That helps to protect it and you don't need the additional bulk of a case.

    Are you taking a laptop? If yes, also throw a card reader in with it and get two (possibly smaller) memory cards rather than one big one - The reader will be substantially faster at uploading and you can continue shooting while the other is being uploaded. If no laptop, get plenty of cards and be super critical when reviewing shots on the display - Delete anything that's not "perfect" - You're never going to use it!......

    And, FWIW, just because it's digital doesn't mean shoot 10 pictures of everything! - In summary, *think* when looking thru the viewfinder - How's the shot framed? - Will zooming in or out improve the shot? Anything "growing" out of peoples heads etc?.... This actually reminds me, I'd certainly get one with a "real" viewfinder and not just the display - For me at least, a viewfinder is much easier to use. Further, turning off the display will *substantially* increase battery life.

    As to specific models, I'm a Nikon guy but there are *plenty* of alternatives. It's a super competitive market with constantly lowering prices and you do tend to get what you pay for...... More $ = Better lens ("faster"), bigger zoom and typically a more "solid" feel.

    Any interest in video? Lots of 'em will also shoot video these days (Not HD, but good enough for web viewing) - BUT, this eats memory cards.....

    Oh, and get it well ahead of time and practice. Then practice some more.....

    Any more Q's, feel free to ask,

    HTH, cheers,
    Ian
     
  4. beast

    beast F1 Veteran

    May 31, 2003
    8,965
    Lewisville, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Guess
    I got my daughter a Canon A1000 Powershot for her birthday and the image quality is quite decent for a point and shoot. Perhaps the biggest weakness is the fact that it has digital noise in low light images but this is common for most point and shoots out there. I think I bought it for around $150.00 about a month ago.
     
  5. zygomatic

    zygomatic F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jun 19, 2008
    3,399
    Washington, DC
    Full Name:
    Chris
    Whatever you do, fish, go to Best Buy or someplace similar and try the camera.

    Seriously. Pick it up, fiddle with the buttons, and see what you think. Nothing, but nothing, will let you know how you'll like the camera as well as firsthand experience. It'll help you figure out whether or not you like the size of the LCD display, button layout, and how the camera sits in your hand.

    Most (but definitely not all) simple cameras take adequate pictures - but your interaction with the camera will determine how much you use it!


    Also, something to consider: do you want to have a built-in battery or a camera that uses AAs. There are advantages to both, but one nice thing about AAs is that they're readily available and save you possibly messing around with chargers. (That said, many in-camera battery chargers will handle foreign A/C with a cheap adapter)

    FWIW, my non-techie sister and mother both swear by Kodak. My girlfriend has a simple Sony, and it's good too, but the buttons are kinda tiny.
     
  6. fish78

    fish78 F1 Rookie

    Sep 10, 2004
    4,727
    Georgia
    Great advice, guys, just what I was looking for.
     
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  8. BrainchildF430

    BrainchildF430 Karting

    Oct 25, 2008
    195
    Beverly Hills
    Full Name:
    Aaron Schoenberger
    Definitely a good choice!
     
  9. Waldoonay

    Waldoonay Formula Junior

    Mar 5, 2007
    622
    Ottawa/Abu Dhabi
    Full Name:
    Walid Z
    It all depends at how much you want to spend.

    Sony makes VERY good cameras in my opinion. The menus are the easiest to navigate for anyone that doesn't know a lot about the technology. (They give you little bubbles telling you what everything does).

    The Sony W150 is a sweet camera and can be had for pretty cheap (~150). If you want to spend a little more and want a little more zoom, the Canon SX110 is also very good, although the DIGIC III image processor is a little outdated, it's still a great camera.

    Personally I would recommend looking into either the Panasonic DMC-ZS1 or the Canon SX200is. I think they give the best picture for the money, and can be had for less than 400.
     
  10. CustomFerrari

    CustomFerrari Formula Junior

    Aug 1, 2008
    719
    Rhode Island
    Full Name:
    Casey B.
    i would highly reccomend the smaller pocket sized cannon cameras i had one of those a while back took it everywhere with me worked for years unfortunetly i lost it
     
  11. fish78

    fish78 F1 Rookie

    Sep 10, 2004
    4,727
    Georgia
    Those are the two I am considering at the moment...
     
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  13. fish78

    fish78 F1 Rookie

    Sep 10, 2004
    4,727
    Georgia
    Actually, I am thinking about two cameras...a compact pocket sized AND a subcompact shirt pocket camera...Ideally from the same maker with the same basic manual of arms...that is why the Cannon and the Panasonic lines appeal to me...
     
  14. Waldoonay

    Waldoonay Formula Junior

    Mar 5, 2007
    622
    Ottawa/Abu Dhabi
    Full Name:
    Walid Z
    I personally went for the Panasonic because I got it for a steal, and really the extra 2MPs that the Canon gives you is not worth the upgrade.
     
  15. fish78

    fish78 F1 Rookie

    Sep 10, 2004
    4,727
    Georgia
    How much and where?...the daughter of a friend manages a couple of Ritz camera shops in Boston...I am trying to contact her to see if she can get me a "deal".
     
  16. CrusaderTBC

    CrusaderTBC Karting

    Apr 28, 2009
    157
    Washington, DC
    Full Name:
    Tony
    The panasonic lx3 is a wonderful pocket camera with very good custom manual capabilities.
     

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