There is no such thing as a perfect camera. My new one has a gazillion and one "fatal" flaws (I hope that as I become accostomed to it there will be fewer) but it does have the ONE thing that was most important to me.....
... it's waterproof!
That was the one factor that convinced me - the only thing this camera had that most others did not.
That said, flash is very important to me because I really never use any camera without a flash - ever. Even outside on sunny days. When they say "slow" are they talking 3 seconds? 5 seconds? I could live with that. Are they talking 15 seconds? I wouldn't want to live with that.
That does sound like a problem -- the blurry thing would not be okay and 11 seconds is pretty long. With photo editing softwear you can correct "under-exposed" photos but you can't correct blur.
I'm wondering if they were working off the camera memory or if they had additional memory. That makes a big difference on the recording time but I don't think it would on flash recharging time.
I don't really do continuous shooting so maybe it's just not as big an issue for me as it is for others.
I have more cameras than you can shake a stick at and I hardly ever use my film cameras anymore.
For one thing I have a big digital that will do what my film cameras would but even then I used my little film Elph almost more than my big digital. All the Elph did was take a picture. It had a flash and a little zoom lens and that was it. I used it constantly. My new camera is taking its place as it was so filled with grit and goo that the pictures weren't any good anymore. Plus, my lab closed down their branch by my house and the whole drop off, pick up, blah blah blah was getting too complicated.
I don't do much continuous shooting but one of my favorite sozlet expressions is AFTER she's made a really silly face for a picture, so that's often a one-two -- silly face shot, then immediately the delighted grin after the silly face shot.
Kid and pet pics are pretty dependent on flash recycle times. The CoolPix family is faulted some for that, though fresh batteries reduce the impact a bit. Not a bad idea to have a fully charged spare battery set or 2 on hand - for any camera. One reason I like stuff that uses AAs is that even though I have plenty of rechargeables, whenever the inevitable circumstance pops up wherein I haven't got a refit readilly to hand, conventional Alkalines will do fine in a pinch and can be found anywhere.
I happen, if ya wanna get into personal endorsement stuff, to favor the Nikon line for 35MM, the Canon line for point-and-shoot digital, having and using both, though my "Big" digicam is a pretty pricey, complicated, but extraordinarilly capable and versatile Nikon SLR, which uses the CompactFlash/Microdrive memory I already have a bunch of, and also has the distinct advantage of accepting the standard Nikon-mount lenses and accessories of which I have a fairly broad and costly collection assembled over many years (some of it goes back to the '60s and works fine with the digicam). It doesn't accept standard AAs, but it will accommodate the nearly-as-available CR2-sized batteries, disposable or rechargeable. Another "comes with the price" advantage to my Nikon digital SLR; it has both a "Hot Shoe" and a flash-synch socket, which allows it to use a variety of powerful, ultra-fast-recycling accessory flash units, the Nikon examples of which fully integrate with the camera's own exposure controls, taking its built-in flash right outta the loop (though it can be handy as a "fill" or "catchlight" light source). For most folks, none of that is gonna be of much practical importance. And, there's no getting around the fact that getting started with the digital body and a compatible lens in the first place is gonna be pricey enough a proposition to direct its desireability largely to folks who already are knee-deep in Nikon anyhow.
It does take a few seconds for the flash, but not 7-11 seconds, more like 3-4 seconds. If I give the camera to someone else to take a picture, I have to tell them, "hold the button until it flashes."
Canon PowerShot A520 digital camera at $153.95 at MP Superstore
. Main negative is limited battery life. Full featured and compact. Performs very well. 4 megapixels. Enjoy!
Ya wanna look at a few things beyond the upfront sale price of anything bought online - things like vendor reputation, product availability, and total delivered price. Here's an EXAMPLE
, based on that product, showing just that; the above referenced vendor has the lowest advertised price, but is hardly the best deal in the end. Caveat Emptor.
Cheapest Decent Digital Camera
Thanks to Phoenix, I suggest you try the following links:
I too am looking for a not hideously expensive digital camera, and have narrowed my options down (probably) to the Sony W5, the Panasonic, and the Canon PowerShot A610. All of these cost a bit more than you are looking for (plus/minus $250), but prices fluctuate, and you might find one of them in your price range.
I have learned in my researching that you probably shouldn't settle for anything less than 4 megapixels, much preferably at least 5. Also, check the weight WITH batteries; this can make quite a difference in comfort for both portability and holding while shooting.
You could also look into the Fujifilm Finepix F10. As far as I can tell it's main drawback is rather high maintenance - according to the NYTimes article by David Pogue on Dec 15, the battery is pretty expensive.
My current dilemma is based on the need for a camera that will take the best low-light pictures, and one that is easy (read SIMPLE) to manipulate. These features may not be available in the same camera.
If you can access the NYT for 12/15, read the article; it's a good summary of what's out there.
once you make up your mind.
Thanks, tomkitten! (And thanks to timber and Slappy and carterreese for additional info, too.)
I'm currently leaning towards holding out for something a bit beyond my current price range -- if I can buy something for $100, that'd be more comfortable, and I don't think I can get an entire decent package for that kinda dough (or lack thereof). A digital camera is certainly something I want, though, so if I don't come up with anything more appealing in that range, I think I may just go for it and chip in as much of my own money as I need to.
For now, mulling. Will definitely use this info at some point, though, if not immediately.
I bought my husband the Nikon Coolpix for Christmas last year ($200 at Walmart) and it's a very good, functional, digital camera. The flash delay is a pain in the ass, but that's the only issue we've had with it.
Happy birthday, sozobe!
Just noticed - I goofed on the Fujifilm camera. It's the memory card that's expensive, not the battery. My bad!
Cheapest Decent Digital Camera
Warning: I found out the hard and expensive way that some batteries will fit and work fine in a camera, but not in the charger! This happened to me with the Nikon Coolpix 775 (which is the one I'm looking to replace). When it says "proprietary battery" you are locked in, and may not find the exact one you need too easily. That happened to me, and I thought any battery of the same specs would do. It wouldn't.
Oooh... good to know.
Yeah, that was one other bonus of the camera I bought my husband -- it took AA batteries. Some people don't like that, but we do because we are constantly losing the chargers.
Do ordinary AA batteries provide less power? Or is their drawback that they get used up more quickly than the rechargeable? Or is there a drawback at all?
Don't use "Standard" AAs, use Alkalines. Nominally, Alkalines start off with slightly greater voltage than do rechargeables, but that really isn't much of a factor other than absolutely fresh Alkalines will offer reduced flash and image write recycle times. That effect doesn't last long, and good, high capacity rechargeables, NiMH types, and good, high-capacity Alkalines should overall offer similar performance in number of pictures either will provide. I'd try to avoid the cheaper NiCad type rechargeables; their charge storage and energy delivery properties just don't quite cut it in momentary high-drain applications such as are typical of digital photography.
I would say they use up more often and there is the cost of replacement. For us it ends up the same as the cost to replace the charger is significant. If you are more organised, then rechargable will probably save you money.
Cheapest Decent Digital Camera
My choices have now boiled down to Sony W-5 or Sony W-7. The 5 has the advantage of using AA batteries, so I think that's the one for me. That convenience outweighs the expense of repeated battery purchase.
I thank everyone for sharing their opinions; it's been a big help!
Sozobe - I hope you let us know your decision. It seems to me that a year or two ago you wrote about the Sozelet and the digital camera?
Right now (but subject to change), I think I am going to wait until I have enough money leftover after more pressing things to buy a decent one. As much as I'd love to have one, it doesn't feel urgent enough to spend the amount of money I'd need to spend to get something decent, and I don't want to spend the absolute minimum and get something iffy. (My Canon is really quite good, and I can buy CD's with all the photos on it for like $2 when I have it developed at my local place, so the only thing really missing is speed/ convenience.)
There is a big gaping hole in my family room that I've been waiting for a year and a half to fill with a couch, might use the money to finally do that (looking at a nice one for $250 via craiglist tonight...)
Let us know how your quest turns out, though! I definitely am keeping all of this in mind and will likely come back here when I CAN afford it...