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  1. #1
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Digital Camera Recommendation.

    Hey Guys

    Was wondering if I could get some recommendation for a good Digital camera that is under $150. This is my first digital camera and what I should be looking at when buying a camera...

    Rechargeable or regular (AA) batteries?
    what size LCD
    picture quality
    reliability

    I was looking at several cameras ranging from bulky (Cannon) to slim (Fuji) and compact cameras seem to be easier to carry around or put in the pocket. So should I go with compact?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Smokey; 01-26-2009 at 07:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have a digital compact camera as well as a digital SLR, both Pentax. Compact cameras are good for portability, but they are a real trade off when it comes to functionality. (I may be a bit biased, though, as I have always been used to using an SLR.) I'm not sure what prices are like in the US, but from the amount you mention I'd guess you are looking at a compact camera.

    One thing to be aware of, with any camera, is not to get tooy hung up on the number of megapixels. Many compact cameras are advertised with 8 to 10 megapixels these days, but there is really no advantage of this in a small camera. 6 megapixels is more than adequate for good picture quality.

    If you get a camera which takes AA batteries, be sure to user rechargeable nimh batteries. Non rechargeable batteries will drain very quickly indeed.
    All we are saying, is give peas a chance.

  3. #3
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emesbee

    One thing to be aware of, with any camera, is not to get tooy hung up on the number of megapixels. Many compact cameras are advertised with 8 to 10 megapixels these days, but there is really no advantage of this in a small camera. 6 megapixels is more than adequate for good picture quality.
    I agree 100% with this advice. The lens is more important. Consider something with a big lens....like this Kodak EasyShare. Of course, the camera brands that have been around since before digital...Canon, Nikon, etc. are going to be good places to start.
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  4. #4
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    I can recommend Casio Exilim compact cameras. I have experience with two models, one a few years older than the other, both good looking, packed with features, both great.

  5. #5
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    I'm on my third digital camera. The first two were Canons but I went with a Panasonic this time around. Many of the Panasonics come with Leica lenses. And I was able to get stability control on the lower end Panasonics but had to go up to about $500 on the Canon's to get this feature. My camera is two years old now and you can get way more for your money now than when I bought mine.

    The features that I would recommend are a good lense and a stabilizer (reduces shake from your hands and when zooming). I like a strong zoom lense (mine is 10x optical/40x digital), but if you have a good quality lense and decent megapixals, you can always edit your picture in place of zooming at the time that you take it.

    As for batteries, my preference is AA's because if your battery dies and you are not in a position to immediately recharge it (say you're on vacation or on a day trip), you can always buy a set of batteries to get you by. However, this feature requires a bigger camera since it has to be able to hold the batteries. If you want a pocket size camera, you'll have to settle for a rechargable lithium battery.

  6. #6
    JSE
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    Been a photographer for many years and have some limited experience with digital point and shoots.

    Batteries - don't worry about this. Not a big deal. AA or the dedicated rechargeables will work fine. You can also get rechargeable AA batteries that will work great.

    LCD - most come with at last a 2.5" LCD now that is more than enough. Many now come with 3+ inch screen.

    Picture Quality - Most digital P&S are in the 8 to 10mp range now. Personally, I would not go above 10mp. The sensors for a P&S camera are all the same size regardless of how many MP a camera has. The more MP you cram onto a sensor, the greater the chance of getting digital noise. Many P&S cameras use in camera tech to reduce this noise but this in turn will decrease sharpness. So try and stay between 6 and 10mp.

    Reliability - don't worry so much about this. Most of the major players like Sony. Nikon, Canon, Casio, Fuji, Pentax, Panasonic, etc are all making good cameras now.

    There are two big important items I would look at when buying a P&S,.

    Number 1 and it's a BIG one.....DO NOT BUY A DIGITAL P&S CAMERA WITHOUT IMAGE STABILIZATION, PERIOD. It's just too hard to hold them steady when pressing the shutter release. The cameras are so small the act of pressing the shutter release will cause shake which will blur you shots. So, get some form of image stabilization. Different camera companies call it different things. If you buy a camera without it, I will hunt you down and beat you!

    The next thing to try and look for...... try and find a P&S with a wide angle lens. Most P&S cameras these days come with lenses that are 35mm or so at the wide end. 35mm is not wide. I would try and get a camera with at least a 28 to 30mm lens at the wide end. The wider angle will come in very useful for indoor shoots, landscapes, travel, budilings, group shots, etc. I could not live without this.


    If you want to buy online, try B&H Photo Video. They are probably the best online source for cameras. Good prices and great service. Adorama is a close second.

    Here are a few choices that come to mind. They all have stabilization and a wide angle lens. They are right around your budget.

    You might also checkout Dpreview.com for good reviews.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...specifications

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...specifications

    A lot of MP but it might be worth a look since it's 24mm at the wide end.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...specifications

  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Great advice, JSE

    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    Been a photographer for many years and have some limited experience with digital point and shoots.

    Batteries - don't worry about this. Not a big deal. AA or the dedicated rechargeables will work fine. You can also get rechargeable AA batteries that will work great.

    LCD - most come with at last a 2.5" LCD now that is more than enough. Many now come with 3+ inch screen.

    Picture Quality - Most digital P&S are in the 8 to 10mp range now. Personally, I would not go above 10mp. The sensors for a P&S camera are all the same size regardless of how many MP a camera has. The more MP you cram onto a sensor, the greater the chance of getting digital noise. Many P&S cameras use in camera tech to reduce this noise but this in turn will decrease sharpness. So try and stay between 6 and 10mp.

    Reliability - don't worry so much about this. Most of the major players like Sony. Nikon, Canon, Casio, Fuji, Pentax, Panasonic, etc are all making good cameras now.

    There are two big important items I would look at when buying a P&S,.

    Number 1 and it's a BIG one.....DO NOT BUY A DIGITAL P&S CAMERA WITHOUT IMAGE STABILIZATION, PERIOD. It's just too hard to hold them steady when pressing the shutter release. The cameras are so small the act of pressing the shutter release will cause shake which will blur you shots. So, get some form of image stabilization. Different camera companies call it different things. If you buy a camera without it, I will hunt you down and beat you!

    The next thing to try and look for...... try and find a P&S with a wide angle lens. Most P&S cameras these days come with lenses that are 35mm or so at the wide end. 35mm is not wide. I would try and get a camera with at least a 28 to 30mm lens at the wide end. The wider angle will come in very useful for indoor shoots, landscapes, travel, budilings, group shots, etc. I could not live without this.

    ...
    All good advice, JSE, and I particularly agree about the images stabalization and the wide-angle lens -- 28 mm or less, (35mm equivalent).

    Personally I'd like this Panasonic DMC-LX3K for the 24mm lens and relatively advanced features. Unfortunately for you and me, Smokey, it's well above $150.

  8. #8
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    All good advice, JSE, and I particularly agree about the images stabalization and the wide-angle lens -- 28 mm or less, (35mm equivalent).

    Personally I'd like this Panasonic DMC-LX3K for the 24mm lens and relatively advanced features. Unfortunately for you and me, Smokey, it's well above $150.

    I have an older Panasonic FX 01 6mp P&S that takes great images. I take with me everywhere when we travel. Sometimes carrying a DSLR and assortment of lenses is no fun and just a small pcoket size P&S is all you need.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    All good advice, JSE, and I particularly agree about the images stabalization and the wide-angle lens -- 28 mm or less, (35mm equivalent).
    Meh, I'll give him a B+. He is Cartman afterall.

    Festus, you got a better chance of fishing out kex's camera that he sent overboard during his last cruise than finding a decent camera under $150.

  10. #10
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Meh, I'll give him a B+. He is Cartman afterall.

    Festus, you got a better chance of fishing out kex's camera that he sent overboard during his last cruise than finding a decent camera under $150.
    I don't know. The three JSE suggested all look like they'd do a good job. All were in the $150 range.

    I'll give him an A. A+'s are only given out to hot babes who went the extra mile.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  11. #11
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    I'm thinking... should I derail this conversation? Better not. Festus carries around two six-shooters.

  12. #12
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Meh, I'll give him a B+. He is Cartman afterall.

    Festus, you got a better chance of fishing out kex's camera that he sent overboard during his last cruise than finding a decent camera under $150.

    Bite me!


    Quote Originally Posted by GM
    I don't know. The three JSE suggested all look like they'd do a good job. All were in the $150 range.

    I'll give him an A. A+'s are only given out to hot babes who went the extra mile.
    Thanks for the support buddy. Rich's comments really dug deep.

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    Okay okay I'll send ya a Dundee!!! Sheesh!

  14. #14
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    Bite me!




    Thanks for the support buddy. Rich's comments really dug deep.
    You'll be alright once you get a little beer inya.
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  15. #15
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Thanks everybody.

    Emesbee: thanks for megapixel advice. pictures is going to be viewing on computer mots of time anyway, so as you said 6 mp should suffice.

    02audionoob: having big lens and being compact seem to be in direct conflict with each other. That is why having a hard time choosing

    Audio amateur: I see alot of good reviews on Casio Exilim, including from ConsumerReports. This camera is under serious consideration. The only sticky point might be that it uses rechargeable lithium battery vs AA.

    FA: Your comments regarding lithium vs AA is exactly my thoughts also. AA are preferable, but it dies make the camera bulky. Another sticky point.

    JSE: Thanks for Image Stabilization and specially wide angle advice. I will look at lens range from now on. Also you get A from me also. Tex is bitter because he still got his Vivitar film camera from Walgreens.

    Feanor: $500 camera?? Mmmmmm......no comment! LOL

    Tex: I am with GMichael on finding a decent camera under $150. I am supposing camera will get alot of abuse, so disposability does factor in. I'm also cheap

  16. #16
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey

    02audionoob: having big lens and being compact seem to be in direct conflict with each other. That is why having a hard time choosing
    I guess it depends on how compact you want it. The Kodak EasyShare is nowhere near as large as a Canon SLR but it's not something you slip into your shirt pocket, either. IMHO, size matters. People using tiny cameras might think they're getting good pictures, but they've likely forgotten what a good picture looks like. My wife bought a Canon compact camera to leave in her purse all the time and a Canon SLR for special occasions. The picture quality is so dramatically different she can't really tolerate the compact camera. It sits unused most of the time while she lugs around the big camera. I doubt the difference has anything to do with bells and whistles. I suspect it's the lens.

  17. #17
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    I doubt the difference has anything to do with bells and whistles. I suspect it's the lens.
    The lens is part of the difference but in general, the smaller the piece of glass the easier it is to perfect it optically. Leica rangefinders and lenses are legendary and the lenses are second to none. They are about half the size of comparable SLR size lenses.

    The biggest difference in the image quality between and DSLR and a P&S compact camera is the size of the sensor. The sensor in a Digital P&S camera is approx. just under 9x7mm. The image sensor for most DLSRS is approx. 24x16mm. The full frame DSLR cameras have sensors roughly the size of a 35mm negative or 36x24mm.

    Here is a lonk to show the visual difference between a P&S sensor and a DSLR sensor. In the top graphic, the green sensor is for the P&S and the blue is a DLSR. Big difference.

    http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glos...r_sizes_01.htm

    Like I mentioned earlier, the more pixles you cram into a sensor, the greater the chance for reduced image qaulity. In general, a larger pixel can capture more information which results in greater image quality. DLSR have big sensors that accomodate larger pixels, thus the better quality.

  18. #18
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Given that bit of education on sensor dimensions, what do you make of the comment on the sensor on this specs page for an EasyShare...

    http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQueri...q-locale=en_US

  19. #19
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    I understand

    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    ...
    Feanor: $500 camera?? Mmmmmm......no comment! LOL
    ...
    $500 is more than a lot of people are willing to spend on hi-fi.

  20. #20
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey

    Your comments regarding lithium vs AA is exactly my thoughts also. AA are preferable, but it dies make the camera bulky. Another sticky point.
    You can get replacement batteries for the custom type. I have an extra that I keep charged up. They are not hard to carry (just slip it in a pocket). When one dies, I swap it out and then charge it when I get home.
    Don't buy the replacements from a camera store though. They cost way too much there. 3rd party batteries can be found on-line for around $10 (depending on the make and model). Get an extra charger too. It's worth it.
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  21. #21
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    Given that bit of education on sensor dimensions, what do you make of the comment on the sensor on this specs page for an EasyShare...

    http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQueri...q-locale=en_US

    It's a little confusing but the image sensor is not 1 inch by 1.7 inches in size. 1/1.7 actually translates to 7.60mm x5.70mm. WTF?

    See chart here:

    http://www.anandtech.com/digitalcame...spx?i=3290&p=2

    Here is a cool chart from a Flickr member. You'll notice the image sensor in question is at the lower left corner of the chart. Very small compared to other sensors.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/martyoh/2441153135/

    I think a lot (meaning most likely all of them) of companies use "fuzzy" math to describe their sensors.

    If we have any math whizzes out there, please let us know how 1/1.7 translates to 7.60x5.70mm. I would interested to see this.

  22. #22
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Feanor: $500 camera?? Mmmmmm......no comment! LOL
    Hell, I have spent more than that just on each of my tripod legs to hold my cameras. Plus another $300 or so on a couple of tripod heads. And I have a few tripods.
    Last edited by JSE; 01-28-2009 at 11:26 AM.

  23. #23
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    Good. Give me one knucklehead.

  24. #24
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    You already have a knucklehead.
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  25. #25
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    You already have a knucklehead.

    No, No, No, No........get that image out of my brain. No, No, No, No, No....

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