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Well my Fuji S5000 stopped functioning. I really liked it when it worked.

So...what I am looking for is a camera that is small/compact, has good resolution, zoom, movie making capabilitry and doesn't have too much of a lag (setup) time from when it is turned on. Under $300.00.

On the other hand, I could spend some $s and get a higher end digital camera like with SLR type features and just snap pics when I stop.

Last option is a digital video camera with snapshot capability.



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Kari was doing some research lat week on digital cameras. Olympus has or is coming out with a couple; I think they are the 500 and 550 (or 300 and 350, can't remember). They had all of the features you're looking for and the higher end one was 8 megapixel, but I think it's price was around $500. Supposedly they've addressed the lag of their earlier models (my biggest issue with the one we have).

I also have a Canon EOS 20D digital SLR that is an absolutely fantastic camera. If you go the SLR route I can highly recommend this option. It definitely gives you a new outlet for farkle funds - lenses, tripod, filters, camera cases, flashes, etc. ;)
 

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Raffy,

I spent weeks researching my last purchase (two months ago) and ended up with the Sony DSC-P200. It is a kick butt little camera. Not only is it fast as hell, but the photos it takes are amazing for an ultra compact.

The most pleasant surprise of all, however, was the video quality. With a high-speed memory stick, it takes video every bit as good as my old 8mm video camera. Not bad for a shirt pocket-sized unit.
 

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Raffy,
Any of the Nikon point and shoot digitals will be good. But, if you want more control, the DSLR is the way to go. You have two excellent choices in small body Nikon SLR's here: The D50 and the D70. Of course, it becomes a farkle in it's on right with buying more gear to go with it!

Of course, God will forgive you in you choose Canon. Heh, heh...

Just remember though, if you don't mind looking like a geek with the leetle screen held out in front of you and you just want to shoot and go...get a small digital point and shoot. If, on the other hand, you like looking through the lens ....definitely not geeky...get the DSLR! I hate those leetle screens and my eyes aren't gettin any better!!! But, that's just me.....YMMV
 

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As you know I really like both of my Canon digitals. I have a SD500 and a S45 (Billy has the later model of that camera, the S50). I think a S80 or SD500 would be great choices. You can see sample photos, features and what comes with the cameras here: www.powershot.com .
I have an underwater case that Canon sells so I take mine scuba diving too :).
 

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Spent many an hour at the following sites before purchasing my Canon Powershot A85 (they're onto the A95 now, or better).

http://www.dpreview.com/

http://www.dcresource.com/

http://www.steves-digicams.com/

My personal favorite is "Steves" site...

I needed something for the wife to use (full AUTO function) and something I could play around with (manual modes), plus has a nice "flip-out" screen for those self portraits, uses CF cards (not such a big deal these days), and with rechargeable batteries (4xAA) I get 200+ shots from the thing (WITH flash) - not a bad little camera. I would have preferred something with a better optical zoom, but at the time these were bulkier.


Have fun!
 

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The Canon SD400 has all the features you seem interested in and will save you a bit over the 500. The Canon lithium battery is attractive compared to the SONY which features one peculiar only to SONY and is harder to replace or charge.
 

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I really like my Canon A95. 5.0 Mega Pixels, and offers most of what you are looking for and affordable. The four AA NIMh seem to last forever... Duracell rechargeables... So many choices out there... Good luck!
 

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A vote for Canon

We have had the Canon EOS Rebel for quite a while now and it is incredible. The quality is great - price has dropped. Big selling point for the slr type is no delay when you push the trigger. For a bit more money the 20D is the way to go. But you can't go wrong withthe EOS Rebel.

Great Camera - Great pictures.
 

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I have an Olympus C50 and have not been happy with it. Has broken twice. Olympus cameras also use XD memory instead of the more common SD.

I preferred my Canon's and will go back there for my next camera. The wife just bought a 7megapixel Casio EX-Z750, but I have not played with it.

Got a Canon SD300 for my son and he loves it. Small and takes great 4 megapixel picture.
 

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We have 2 Olympus. Mine is the Stylus 340, 4MP, 3x optical zoom (I ignore digital zoom), and WEATHERPROOF! It rides in my left breast pocket of my 'Stitch, attached to a lanyard. Have had it out in a raging downpour with great results. W has the UltraZoom 5xx - 10x optical zoom with better low light capability than the Stylus. VERY happy with both. Have probably been updated since we got ours over a year ago. Quick start-up time, very nice shutter response time, too.
 

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Wipedout said:
We have had the Canon EOS Rebel for quite a while now and it is incredible. The quality is great - price has dropped. Big selling point for the slr type is no delay when you push the trigger. For a bit more money the 20D is the way to go. But you can't go wrong withthe EOS Rebel.

Great Camera - Great pictures.
I second that its a great camera been wanting one of those for a while, but this darn LT MC hobby is cutting into my photo hobby funds.
 

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Yep, Canon

I too have a Canon SD500 that I am VERY pleased with. Really outstanding pictures, I dragged it all around England with nary a problem...
 

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RaffyK said:
...what I am looking for is a camera that is small/compact, has good resolution, zoom, movie making capabilitry and doesn't have too much of a lag (setup) time from when it is turned on. Under $300.00.

On the other hand, I could spend some $s and get a higher end digital camera like with SLR type features and just snap pics when I stop.

Last option is a digital video camera with snapshot capability.
Raffy,

Let me attempt to address all three of your possible choices (based on the 3 paragraphs above), but first you need to really do some thinking about what's important to you, because they really serve 3 very distinct purposes. It depends on what your PRIMARY goal is. Partially because my other primary hobby is underwater photography, I own all three (a small point & shoot digital, a DSLR - actually two, and a digital video with still capabilities), and I use them for VERY different purposes.

1. If your primary concern is having something you can take everywhere, so that you are always ready and able to take good photos (as in Blazing Saddles - "Pardon me while I whip this out..."), then the small point & shoot is the best option, and I would highly recommend a Canon digital Elph.

I have an SD400 (5 megapixels) Elph that's several years old, and have been extremely happy with it. It easily fits in my pocket to take to dinner or wherever. However, for a few dollars more, they now have a 7 megapixel version (the SD550) that is even better (hell, just reading about it for YOU to see if they've reduced shutter lag and other such things, I got so excited that I'm probably going to have to buy one myself!). The Elphs are amazingly small, and yet have great optics and features. If you're going to go small, this is about as great a camera in as small a package as I know of.

This link has a detailed review of the SD550 - use the pull-down menu to skip to the "Conclusions" page for a summary of the key advantages (1.1 second startup-to-first photo, FAR less shutter lag than most point & shoots, larger screen, macro capability, etc.):
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/sd550.html

2. Digital SLR -- if your primary concern is being able to get the best photos, using a variety of lenses (true wide angle to long telephoto), such as to take wildlife photos from considerable distances, then DSLR is the best way to go. Without getting into the whole Nikon vs. Canon debate, I'll just say that there are excellent DSLRs from both makers, and I'd go one of those two routes (since they will always have the most upgrade options in the future).

If you choose to go with Canon (as Randy Prade and I have done), I'd suggest that you get the Digital Rebel XT (also known as the EOS 350D) rather than the original Digital Rebel (EOS 300D). While the 300D is a very good camera (I had one), for the few hundred extra dollars, you get a significantly better one in the 350D (8megapixel vs. 6 and an entire generation later technology). The next step up is the 20D (what I replaced my 300D with), but like Canon's professional cameras (e.g., the Mark II series, which is what I primarily use underwater), the 20S is considerably more money, and for your purposes probably unnecessary expense.

My suggestion if you go the DSLR route would be to get a 350D (Digital Rebel XT) or -- if you need to save a few hundred dollars, the 300D (Digital Rebel). In either case, buy just the BODY with NO lens, and buy a Sigma 18-200mm zoom lens separately. It is far superior to the lens Canon packages with those cameras, and it will cover 95% of all the shots you will typically want to take, so there's no use wasting the extra $100 on the lens that comes in a "kit" with the camera. Later, you can add the 10-22mm wide angle, 60mm 1:1 macro, and/or a longer telephoto lens if you really "get into" photography. Whatever lenses you do buy, be sure to buy a UV filter (primarily to protect the lens itself) and a polarizer.

Here's a comprehensive review of the Digital Rebel XT (you can also find the old Digital Rebel and other great reviews on this site):
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos350d/

3. The final option is to get a digital video camera that also takes fairly high res stills. You would choose this option if your primary goal is to take video, and you only rarely care to take stills. There are some very good camcorders that take good stills; I have a Sony DCR-PC330, which takes 3.3 megapixel stills, as well as excellent video (it was $1,700 or so when it came out, but one can now be had new for about $1,000). While something like this is a viable option, it is not necessarily the "best" option. Personally, I think it makes more sense to buy a good still camera, and if you really want to take video, get a good 3CCD video camera separately. But if you really want/need to take both video and stills, and want to do both at a reasonable price in ONE package, you can certainly do so.

One important thing to remember if you plan to take photos from your bike (or have a passenger do so) while moving is shutter speed. While you can take decent video from a moving bike (assuming you mount the camera somehow), you will NOT be able to get decent stills because you cannot manually select a fast enough shutter speed. With either option 1 or 2 above, you can use a high shutter speed (especially with the DSLR, with which you can set a specific speed like 1000th of a second) and likely freeze any scene you're riding past. Taking stills with a video camera while you (and/or the subject) are moving will result in nothing but blur.

One other suggestion. Once you decide what you want, if you plan to buy it online, I suggest that you use B&H Photo (www.bhphotovideo.com). They're widely considered the most reputable mail order/online photo and video shop. In fact, if you're shopping prices online, and somewhere else is advertising a price significantly below B&H's, it's likely a scam (e.g., doesn't include a battery or charger, or isn't really in stock and they end up trying to bait & switch you to something else...). Most of the professional photographers I know order most of their gear (as I do) from B&H. (I have no financial interest in B&H - I just recommend them because I'm a satisfied customer...kinda like I refer lots of people to you for LT accessories, Raffy! ;).

I hope the above is helpful. I'm not sure you'll get what you're looking for for $300, but you can sure get a fine substitute for your last one for around $500 (B&H is currently selling the SD550 for $450)!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you all for the suggestions..

on what I should buy.

Special thanks to Bruce for the informative writeup.

Just so you know, photography is in the blood...grandpa was a professional photographer and used the hooded cameras and sold cameras for a living. Dad is/was a semi-pro having been around cameras all his life. I finally got dad to give me his old Canon with all the lenses, filters etc.

I'll check out the links.

Thanks,



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RaffyK said:
on what I should buy.

Just so you know, photography is in the blood...I finally got dad to give me his old Canon with all the lenses, filters etc.
Geez, Raffy -- if you've already got a bunch of Canon lenses, and some natural talent to boot, this seems like a pretty simple decision...get the Digital Rebel XT! Most or all of those Canon lenses will fit right on it (although they will "act" like they're 1.6x as long due to the "crop factor". That's good news for telephoto lenses (a 300mm lens acts as if it were 480mm!), but makes it tougher to get wide angle (so you might want to go ahead and get the 18-55mm lens that comes with the camera if one of your dad's lenses isn't 18mm or wider).

And if you still want a tiny point & shoot camera to carry in your pocket, PM me; I just ordered a SD550 and I've got that 5 megapixel SD400 that I'll sell you at a killer price. ;)
 

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Raffy,

Check out the Panasonic line of digitals. They make the FZ series, which you can get a Circuit City and stores of similar ilk for a reasonable price. I use Nikon SLRs for my serious pics, but my FZ3 fits right in the tank bag and takes great pictures. Most people can't see the difference between the FZ3 pics and my D70 pics unless I show them really big enlargements. Of course, this may say more about my photographic ability than the camera, but I'm really happy with pics from either of them. My one word of warning: Get a camera that fits your hands...some of the little ones can be a real bear to operate. Fitting in your pocket is only a feature if you can take a picture with the thing once you remove it.

And Bruce is right: if you've got a bunch of Canon lenses, a Digital Rebel is a no-brainer. DPreview.com is a great site to compare features and prices otherwise.

Happy hunting,

and you probably thought there were a lot of farkles for LTs...wait until you get lens lust!

Brett
 

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What Gino said...use those links he added, and study some on those. There's a ton of info there.

The A95 is a good recommendation.

Don't get carried away with a certain gizmo that a certain model has, then forget about the important parts...1. Size; must be pocketable for you MC trips 2. Plenty of cheap storage; try to stay with a CF card 3. Good battery life; most have it now, but watch the reviews and comments in the dpreview forums for that camera 4. Quick focus and start up; very important for MC use. You can get a great camera, and even with quite a bit of abuse, I can't kill my old ones.

If you also like to go bigger, I love my Canon 20D. It is magnificent in every department. Such as 0.3 seconds from turn on to photo! With digital SLR's, its the camera body that's cheeep, its the glass that's expensive!

Good luck and happy shooting!
 

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pjessen said:
... I love my Canon 20D. It is magnificent in every department. Such as 0.3 seconds from turn on to photo! With digital SLR's, its the camera body that's cheeep, its the glass that's expensive!
I agree, Pete. I love the 20D. However, I think as a first D-SLR purchase, the Digital Rebel XT offers more incremental value vs. the original Digital Rebel (for only a few hundred dollars more) than the 20D does vs. the XT (for about $500 higher price). Both the 20D and XT are 8 mp and use current generation Canon technology. And I know several professional photographers who use the XT and get amazing results, so for anyone with budget constraints, it makes more sense IMHO to get the XT and spend the extra $500 on glass (lenses).

But you are SO right about that (lenses) being where the biggest potential expense is! It is SO easy to start thinking you "need" those damned L lenses...:eek: Talk about a way to blow a farkle budget fast!!!
 
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