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Cheapest Decent Digital Camera?

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 07:05 pm
I got my camera about 4 years ago and I love it. It's a regular 35 millimeter, non-digital Canon Rebel G, very versatile and easy to use. I've taken some nice pictures with it. I decided to get it rather than a digital camera because it would take better pictures than a comparably-priced digital, and because of concerns about ink used to print digital photos degrading in a way that photos processed from film do not.

So, I love it, but the whole process of taking pictures, finishing off the roll, and taking it in to be developed is just so slow and ponderous (and expensive!). It's good for posterity, not so good for quick, off-the-cuff stuff. Ideally I'd like to have two -- my Canon and then a decent (but doesn't have to be fancy) digital camera.

A while ago I got a very cheap digital camera (about $70 about 4.5 years ago) that was fun to have while it lasted but was SO cheap that it broke (permanently) in no time at all.

I got some Christmas money and am thinking of using it for a digital camera, but I don't want to waste my money. If I want a digital camera, should I wait until I can afford a good one? I would be OK spending $100, would start to flinch at $150, and by $200 would want to just wait until I can afford a really good one.

Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,656 • Replies: 49
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Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 07:19 pm
Kodak EasyShare C330 4.0 MP. Around $130-140.
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Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 07:20 pm
There's a couple of Kodaks on bestbuy.com under $150. There were cheaper cameras, but I've never heard of the brand "Oregon."

I was going to say either Nikon or Canon, but the cheapest is $170(forget which brand). Good camera though.
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 07:39 pm
i just bought my first digital camera . it's a sony cyber-shot , 4.1 mp , 3 x optical zoom , carl zeiss lens , for CAN $ 199 (about US $ 150 , i guess) .
it is last year's model - new . it is rather small ,
about 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 , so should fit easily into a zippered pocket . it seems to have all the necessary features , manual is about 60 (!) pages , will i ever learn all about it ?
the replacement (about CAN $ 350) is changed to make it flatter and taller to fit into a shirt pocket .
haven't had any pix develope/printed yet , but the sony rep showed me some of his own pix taken with the same model - quite satisfactory . hbg
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 07:46 pm
digital camera
soz : here is a full description of the sony cyber-shot DSC-L1 . the price shown must be the old - or undiscounted - price. hbg
...SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-L1...
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Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 08:08 pm
What about checking ebay, or sites like half.com? Maybe you can find year old models that are still "new."
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 08:47 pm
There are a few decent, if limited feature, digicams in the $120-$150 range, but upping the budget to $200 adds a lot more choices. Try This Link - should take you to ZDNet's DigiCam Review pages, with the list sorted by price, lowest first. My recommendation would be at least 3MP, an optical zoom of at least 3X, and removable memory. Shutter lag and flash recycle time are big factors for kid&pet pics.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 09:03 pm
Oh look at all of this good advice!

I so want you to have a digital camera!

I got a groovy little one for Christmas - it was one I was holding out for but I also looked at the Nikon Coolpix which are pretty cool.

By the way -- I have all of my digital shots printed at the photo lab so that I don't have that ink on paper crap. Honestly, it is cheaper too - those ink cartridges and paper are pricey. Getting the color and exposure right can be hard. My lab does all of that for me and charges less than I could do it myself.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 09:10 pm
Oh yeah....

Happy birthday, darling, sozobe!
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 10:09 pm
Why thank you dollink! :-D

Tico, that looks good! $99 at Amazon right now (down from $129), good reviews.

Slappy, yeah, I really like my Canon and would be happy to stick with that brand. And definitely about checking for old models, I got my email pager that way (two models ago, but still perfectly good) for cheap.

Cyber-shot looks good too! I'm starting to get optimistic about finding something in just the niche I'm looking for (nothing too fancy, nothing too expensive, but good value for what little money I do have).

Thanks for the review pages timber, looks really useful!

Yay, boomer's here! (You're a big reason why I'm seriously considering this.) When I had my little tiny cheapie digital camera (it was actually marketed as a toy for kids I think, it was pretty crappy) I had just SO much fun with the instant gratification aspect. Take pic, post pic. Within minutes! Or send as email attachment, or whatever.

REALLY interesting point about photo lab and longevity, I didn't know that. Especially the price.

That kinda nudges me more towards going whole-hog on a digital camera and making the switch, rather than having an OK one. If I hadn't bought that cheapie several years ago I'd have $70 more to spend now... (well, no, I would've spent it on boots, but you get the idea...)

Hmmm...

Food for thought and fun to think about, keep it coming!
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 10:11 pm
Amazon has the Coolpix for $150!

Would that be your recommendation if I could afford it, boomer?
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2005 10:24 pm
This looks promising too, for $135: Canon Powershot A410 3.2MP Digital Camera with 3.2x Optical Zoom
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2005 09:25 am
I know a lot of people who have Coolpix and love them. I have never heard a complaint.

I think they are priced very good and are easy to use. I really like easy to use -- I don't want to have to think my way through a picture every time.

(That's the problem I'm having with my new little digital. It doesn't have an optical viewfinder and I'm having a hard time adjusting.)

I'm not a "gear girl" though. I don't think the actual camera makes that big of a difference.

If I were you - I'd take a day to go hold some cameras and find one that is comfortable in your hands, that fits in your budget, that easily connects to your computer, that uses a memory card*, and that has a few bells and whistles that you really want (my new one has tons of stuff I will never ever use).

* I had to buy new SD cards for my new camera -- they started at $50 - don't forget to calculate that into your price. You will want additional memory as they will speed up your camera AND give you some flexibility. My camera only holds 4 photos without the card when I'm shooting at high resolution. What's the use of having a pocket camera that has to be plugged into your computer every 30 seconds?
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2005 09:43 am
Oops! Like boomerang said, don't forget the memory card. That's another $50. Some cameras come with but those cards are small and if you're actually printing your photos at 300dpi, you won't get many shots with the come-with card.

Also, battery life is short with digital cameras so factor in a charger as well.

I've got a Fugi digital that I love but I'll never, ever get rid of my Olympus 35mm. Never!
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2005 11:17 am
boomerang wrote:

If I were you - I'd take a day to go hold some cameras and find one that is comfortable in your hands, that fits in your budget, that easily connects to your computer, that uses a memory card*, and that has a few bells and whistles that you really want (my new one has tons of stuff I will never ever use).

* I had to buy new SD cards for my new camera -- they started at $50 - don't forget to calculate that into your price. You will want additional memory as they will speed up your camera AND give you some flexibility ...


Best advice I've seen on this thread yet. Anyone living anywhere near a city oughtta go "try them on" before buying just about anything online - save a lotta disappointment and unpleasant surprises that way. And extra removeable memory (bargains galore out there online - stick to major brands and known-trustworthy vendors, of course), along with a USB card reader (they're cheap), are just about indispensible for digicams.
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2005 11:17 am
We've enjoyed our Canon PowerShot enough to upgrade to the 10x optical zoom version.

Don't know what current prices are; Canon does well on Consumer Reports.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2005 11:39 am
IMO, the majors, all originally filmcam makers, all are good performers; pick-and-choose for price vs features and fit-in-your-hands from among Canon, Fuji, Konica/Minolta, Lieca, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax - with Panasonic and Sony, though not old-line camera makers, right in there too. A possible consideration is compatibility with any existing removeable memory you might already own (I already have lotsa CompactFlash Cards and MicroDrives, so thats what I call a "make-or-break" decision point). Removeable/rechargeable batteries are a great idea too; I lean toward stuff that can use AA batteries, since I already have a buncha high-quality, high-capacity rechargeables in that size. No matter what the specs or features, the camera (or other digitoy) hasta work for you, and a good one will work for years. I still have my first one, one of the first 1.5MP models, with no optical zoom and about the size of half a brick - works fine; its ultra-simple compared to contemporary stuff, but Mrs Timber uses it allatime - she's pretty well got it figured out after about 7 or 8 years :wink:
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Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2005 11:43 am
I have a Coolpix, and like it. It's easy to use, has more features than I use and takes decent pictures.

Definitely buy rechargable batteries, they go pretty quick.
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2005 12:37 pm
soz : you can always pick up a few copies of "modern photography" at the library to have a look at the latest offerings . i'm always amazed at what's being offered . interesting that old leicas and similar cameras still command top dollar . hbg
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Dec, 2005 12:45 pm
You guys are providing great advice, thanks so much.

Any thoughts on the larger question of going for something cheap and minimal (but serviceable) as opposed to holding out for something more expensive ($200+ including memory card) and really good?

Since I have a perfectly good 35MM it's not super-urgent to get a digital camera -- I WANT one, but I'm wary of the lesson of the super-cheapie...

Re: the Coolpix, there was a review on Amazon with lots of "valuable" ratings (or however they do it) that said it has a fatal flaw which is that the flash takes a really long time to recharge. Any of you with experience with the Coolpix have problems with that?
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