New digital camera suggestions

Hi guys, I'm going to be buying a new digital camera in the near future, and I'm looking in the $400-$500 range. I'm almost entirely interested in just pictures, and not so much video. Although I guess that would be a plus.

Obviously in this price range it won't be a top of the line camera, but I would assume it would still get me a pretty nice one. My main concern is picture quality and clarity.

My old camera is biting the dust, so it's time for a replacement.


Thanks. 8)
 
I appreciate pictures more than video as well, but if I could get a Video Camera I would, and if I could afford one, I would, just because it would be a cool plus.

First, I would reccomend the Canon brand, just because Ithink it's the most reliable camera corporation. So, your looking for a moderat poitn and shoot camera then?

I know this is a great camera, seeing as I've used it before: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canona620/

I would reccomend it to anyone. It has superb image quality and has some great presets on it, all for a great price, and it has manual controls.

Another great camera htan I have used before as well is the: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons2is/

Good Luck!
 
Thanks for the suggestions Andrew. I really like that Canon A620. That's about exactly what I'm looking for. I may just get that one. Right in the price range too. :wink:
 
I'm a big backer of Canon as well. I think you will be very happy with several Canon cameras in that price range. I have a Canon point and shoot and a Canon DSLR. I rarely break out the DSLR anymore.

Make sure your point and shoot has a manual mode. So you can adjust aperture and shutter speed. Also, make sure you have the option to shoot in raw.
 
Joel,

Your $500 upper limit puts you at the threshold of a DSLR. You can get a Nikon D50 new for $550, plus another $50 for more memory (true for any digicam you get.)

You'd still need a lens... With a cheap aftermarket lens, or Nikon's not-all-that-bad 'kit' lens, the camera will most likely (anyone else agree?) produce images as that are better than those from a $500 point and shoot.

I know this puts you around $650, and lord knows I'm usualy the one suggesting a lower end purchase. In this case, the image quality and operational flexibility of a DSLR just might be worth a few more $. (More spending will no doubt follow when you want to expand your lens collection... :? ) Just a thought.

If you go for a P/S, forget about counting those %^&$@$ megapixels! Look for build quality, lens sharpness and speed, battery life, weatherproofing, etc. There are SO many cameras that specific advise is hard to offer. Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and more all make excellent stuff. If you're feeling political, boycott Sony, lest the driver CD installs a rootkit on your computer! ;) Head over to Dpreview, Imaging-resource or Steve's Digicams and start reading....

IMO, a sub $300 5MP point and shoot camera is a better buy than a $500 8MP. With the tiny sensors used in P/S cameras, the extra pixels will not bring a proportional increase in resolution.

-Greg
 
Hey Greg, that Nikon looks pretty nice too. It's a little more than I want to spend, but it does have some very nice features. Pretty tough decision. That different type of sensor; the DSLR, is that a big step up from the regular P/S cameras? I'm still sort of a newbie when it comes to cameras.

How are the battery lives of these respective cameras? I know with my last camera, it ate batteries for breakfast.


Thanks again guys. 8)
 
My experiences with Canon's digital cameras came from the A85, and they've been great. The quality of shots I've taken with this P/S camera are great! My expectations in a camera are nothing more than to be able to add to my 8x10 collection and this camera works perfectly! I've even taken some incredible lightning shots with this using its manual settings and they've turned out great on the wall as well.

Any of the Canon P/S cameras I would recommend as long as they DO have the manual settings which give you greater picture-taking ability. I also picked up a cheapo lens adapter and set for this camera and it'll give me all the flexibility I need without having to spend a fortune on a DSLR.
 
The Canon P/S that I reccomended to you, as excellent battery life dude. IT's a great one to have, it seems most Canon cameras have great battery lives. MY Canon 350D has an amazingly long battery life.....it's crazy. My old Nikon, which was a Nikon D70, had horrible battery life, and lasted so short I might as well, just keep it charging while I shoot. Also, my old Nikon Coolpix 4800, "Ate Batteries For Breakfast." Maybe Nikon's have a bad battery life? I also have heard some pretty bad things about the Nikon D50 dSLR.


And yes, it is quite a big step up, because you have your lenses, sensor and a lot more responsibility comes into play with a dSLR than just a simple P/S.
 
Hey Greg, that Nikon looks pretty nice too. It's a little more than I want to spend, but it does have some very nice features. Pretty tough decision. That different type of sensor; the DSLR, is that a big step up from the regular P/S cameras? I'm still sort of a newbie when it comes to cameras.

How are the battery lives of these respective cameras? I know with my last camera, it ate batteries for breakfast.


Thanks again guys. 8)

As a general rule, a DSLR camera will produce better images than a point+shoot at comperable resolutions (megapixels). The larger sensor produces better tonalities, less noise, and sharper images. I've never used a D50, so please don't take my writings as hard advice. The D50 I played at the store with felt reasonably solid (For a DSLR! Compared to my Jurassic-era film bodies, they are all plastic junk! ;) ) and the camera gets decent reviews. Is it worth nearly $700? I got no clue!
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That said, a good $300 P/S will take sweet pictures. If you can, borrow a few diferent cameras and try them under overcast conditions. If there's a good camera store around, pay them a visit. If you get real lucky, you might even get a salesperson who knows WTF they are talking about. Tell him/her that you want to shoot weather, and maybe, just maybe, they will offer some good advice, instead of just pushing you toward the most expensive thing in the store. As mentioned, look for water and dust resistance, battery life, durability (no flimsy telescoping plastic lens poking out, waiting to be whacked), etc. (The few waterproof cameras I could find on-line all suffer dumbed-down controls.) Take your time and try before you buy!

-Greg
 
Well, I ended up getting the Canon A620 P/S. So far I love it. It takes very good pictures for a P/S.

Thanks again everybody for the suggestions!
 
I just purchased the Canon SD550. It's 7.1 megapixel, very small, and takes great pictures. Remember, you will be more likely to use your camera when you have it with you and an SLR and all the attachments requires alot of arms to carry around.
 
Originally posted by Patrick Ware
....Remember, you will be more likely to use your camera when you have it with you and an SLR and all the attachments requires alot of arms to carry around.


Yep. My buddy found that out today. He just bought a Canon Digital Rebel SLR. We went for a drive up north into Wisconsin and he brought along a ton of gear. Lenses, filters, etc. I just had my little camera bag.

Even though his pictures turned out very good, I'm still happy with the clarity of my pics and the ease of use with my A620. I'll post a few pics on here as soon as I get some new web hosting shortly.
 
Originally posted by Joel Wright
Well, I ended up getting the Canon A620 P/S. So far I love it. It takes very good pictures for a P/S.

I own a Cannon Powershot A520 (similar cam just not quite as good/expensive) and if your cameras performance is anything like mine I know you will be satisfied. I am also a fan of Cannon camera's as they have performed well for me.
 
Congratulations Joel! I am sure you will enjoy your Canon camera. It's a good one! SLR's and dSLR's are harder to lug around, and your less tempted to pull out the gear if a shot comes up, because of having to get all the equpment out and so on.
 
Smart choice there, Joel. That camera has outperformed my Rebel XT so far! Although I am getting better with it, a point and shoot is much simpler to pull out and take a quick snap without messing around with aperture and metering settings. As far as quality goes, it really doesn't matter I am quickly finding out. When comparing the quality of my Kodak CX7525 with my new Rebel, I actually would lean more toward the Kodak. It is a great 5 MP camera. The only time it makes a difference is if you want to print out a large picture, which I haven't done yet. The A620 is perfect for you.
 
Smart choice there, Joel. That camera has outperformed my Rebel XT so far! Although I am getting better with it, a point and shoot is much simpler to pull out and take a quick snap without messing around with aperture and metering settings. As far as quality goes, it really doesn't matter I am quickly finding out. When comparing the quality of my Kodak CX7525 with my new Rebel, I actually would lean more toward the Kodak. It is a great 5 MP camera. The only time it makes a difference is if you want to print out a large picture, which I haven't done yet. The A620 is perfect for you.
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Heya -- I'd just like to point out that, properly used, a digital SLR will nearly always outperform it's P&S cousin. A rebel XT will easily outperform a P&S, at least on paper. You do have to fiddle sometimes with aperature & shutter, but then that's the art of photography. :) That said, my guess is that the high-end P&S cameras come with a not-half-bad lens built into them. The Rebel XT kit lens is garbage. Slap a $800 L lens on it and it will take pictures that will blow you away!
 
Oh yeah, I'm sure of it! I am still relatively new in the SLR world, so I know they will only get better. With that said, I opted to buy a kit that did not include the standard kit lens. Instead it came with a Sigma 28-70, which isn't a huge step up but is better than the original kit lens. Some prices of lenses out there just completely blow me away. Alot are actually MORE than the camera cost itself. I just started shooting in FULL manual, and the pictures have been gradually getting better. But, like I said, there is nothing wrong with P&S cameras either. I have seen some incredibly high quality pics produced from them before.
 
It's actually better to invest the $$$ in the lenses. They retain value much better. For instance, I purchased a D30 in 2001 fro $2k. It's now worth maybe $300. At the same time I purchased some used L glass. I ended up selling them for MORE than what I paid for.

Aaron
 
Wow, that is very interesting. Maybe with next years income tax return check I can head out and pick one up. It's kind of tricky to have numerous hobbies while trying to save up for a home :(
 
I'd recomend a Nikon D50. However, if you could spring for it go for a D70. You have more control over exposure. If your more into snap and shoot then the D50 would be just fine yet still allowing you to experiment with exposure.
 
A GREAT lens that works with both Nikon, Sigma, Canon and Pentax Mounts, is the Sigma 10-20mm HSM UWA Lens...I am getting it a week or two myself! This lens should be great for storm chasing, being such an ultra wide angle.
 
Andrew, I'd be interested in how your lens turns out. I just bought a Canon Digital Rebel XT myself, and being that I'll be learning as I go, I'd be interested to hear what what others have to say about the different lenses they use on their DSLRs.

Joe
 
Andrew, I'd be interested in how your lens turns out. I just bought a Canon Digital Rebel XT myself, and being that I'll be learning as I go, I'd be interested to hear what what others have to say about the different lenses they use on their DSLRs.

Joe
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I actually posted a review on this already a little further down the threads in this forum -- basically, it's probably a great lens if you get a good copy, but there are some pervasive quality control issues with this lens and apparently more than a few bad copies floating around. Make sure you check the sharpness on BOTH edges if you get this lens; mine was very soft on the right side and pretty sharp on the left, meaning that the lens was manufactured incorrectly. There are several people posting about this exact problem if you Google around, meaning it's not an isolated issue.
 
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