Digital camera

I'm thinking of investing in a digital camera, and I'd love one small enough to take on long walks. I know nothing about digital cameras: do any of you good peeps have any advicea about what I should be looking out for? Many thanks.

Comments

  • Buy a Canon.
  • Thanks, Higs...any particular model?? I know they're a great analogue brand.
  • I cant make any serious suggestions until you give me an idea of budget. Its always a key determining factor in this sort of purchase

  • Hi Meerkat, how are you?

    Long answer: I bought a title="see the camera here" target="_blank">Canon Powershot A300 on the web from cameras2u not long ago and it's excellent.

    It was delivered to me at work within two working days of my ordering it, and it was far less expensive than going to a "real" shop like Jessops for example.

    I've carried it around with me on both the Abingdon and Dublin Marathons - the case has a kind of flap in it which you can thread a belt through and though it bounced a little it wasn't so uncomfortable that I need to find an alternative means of carrying it. The results are on my web site

    I very quickly (ie before the marathons!) discovered that you need to use re-chargable batteries with it - it drains your average Duracells far too quickly.

    And apart from a tendency to nudge the switch over to movie mode from still mode because I've left my reading glasses off I've been very pleased with it.



    Short answer: wot Higs said!!

    Good luck, and whatever you choose to get, enjoy it . . and if neither of us are in FLM perhaps we can set ourselves up at Mudchute to catch the Forum as it floats by!!



  • Sorry, that first link ought to do this


  • Thanks, Korsaking and RichK...will check out those links. Budget is around £200.
    Richk - I will deffo be at Mudchute for FLM!! Last year I used work's camera which weighed a ton and did an imperfect job in sunlight. See you there!!
  • Looks like you look for a Canon PowerShot.
  • Will do, URR.
  • I've got the PowerShot A70 and think it's great with one significant fault - the low battery warning goes off with about 10sec or less left. Always carry spares.
  • I bought a Canon A70 my 1st digital cant fault it got mine from Amazon
  • Meerkat,

    The Olympus MJU 300. Looks to die for and its weatherproof as well.

    I'm buying one next Monday.

    Dont forget you'll need to be budget for extra memory as well whichever camera you choose.
  • Extra memory, Chimp???
  • I'm also thinking about buying a digital camera. In the original post, Meerkat asked "What should I look out for?"
    I'm not being picky here but no-one has mentioned what to look for. I presume Meerkat meant things like number of pixels, memory size etc rather than Canon, Olympus etc. I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but these are things that I want to know as I know nothing about DC's. Can anyone help?
  • Fat Face, you're right, advice on that would be good too! I'm okay with 35mm film but this digi stuff is tough for an analogue creature.
    RR - thanks for the link.
  • Meerkat,

    Most cameras come with internal memory but the vast majority of these are no larger than 16MB. Memory is like film in an old-style camera. 16mb isnt bad but will only allow you to take about 14-16 shots. Like I say not bad given that you delete any shots you dont want. However, for the sake of spending a few quid you can increase memory to 32, 64, 128 MB and even beyond. Just gives you the luxury of taken loads of piccies before you have to download. Could be useful if you go away for a few days or, say, if you were taking photos at a race, you could take shots of all your favourites forumites as they go by then e-mail them the results.

    Another thing you'll need (good at spending your money aren't I?) is a case. Hardly any cameras automatically come with a case but you can buy "bundles" that include a case and in most cases a bit of extra memory as well. Bundles are more common if you decide to buy online.

    If you get chance, look at the Pentax Opio S. Much too small for a galumph like me but it truly is a thing of beauty.
  • "taking" load of pictures I meant
  • <<meerkat hands Chimpy her purse>> Thanks, Chimp. I understand. I want the camera for exactly that kind of purpose, so 64MB sounds good. Will also bear in mind the bundle advice.
  • I'm used to an SLR camera with variable shutter speeds and have read that digital cameras have yet to resolve the problem of "shutter lag" - you press the button and there is a delay before the picture is taken. Is this true across the entire range? The cameras we have here at work are rather slow and I'd like to buy one that has solved this problem....

    Any ideas?
  • Get your camera memory off E-bay I paid a third of the price for my 256cf card got it from a dealer in Hong Kong saving about £70
  • I recently bought the Canon Ixus 400 which is a superb compact digital camera. It's small, though not quite as feather-light as I'd like for running with. 4 million pixels, beautifully designed, takes great pics. When they cam eout last year they were about £500 but are now down to about £260-£280 on the web.

    But this is the place to go for everything you ever wanted to know about digital cameras: www.dpreview.com

    Top site for very in-depth reviews, knowledgeable forums and beginners guides.

    Happy snapping.

    Andy
  • Things to look for:

    Megapixels:
    If you only ever want to see your pictures on-screen or make small (6"x4") prints then 2 or maybe 3mp is fine.
    If you will ewant to make larger prints, say 10"x8" or something like that, than you'll need more like 4 or 5mp.
    Note that, all other things being equal, the image quality from a 4mp sensor will almost certainly be a little better than a 5mp sensor (it's to do with signal-to-noise ratio in the individial photo-sites... more pixels = smaller photosites = lower SNR).
    In practical terms, the differences may be small, but you should be aware that "more is better" is not necessarily the truth.

    Lens:
    If you're looking for a zoom lens, pay attention to optical zoom only. Digital zoom is a con - all it does is magnify the central portion of the image. It is simply chopping off the edges of the picture, so if you have a 4mp camera and use 2x digital zoom you end up with a 1mp image from the middle of the sensor. You lose quality and cannot enlarge the resulting image without being able to see the individual pixels.

    Beyond that, the rest is pretty much up to you. If you want lots of user-selectable settings or a simple point and shoot, that's just a case of choosing the camera with the features you want.

    Many pocket-size digital cameras have oodles of 'real photographer' options, but they can be of limited use (I've got one, and use it almost exclusively on Auto because the amount of creative control - controlling say, depth of field - you really have is very limited thanks to the laws of physics)

    Forget talk of brands - no brand is intrinsically better than another in the middle ground. There are some poor makes at the very cheap end, but once you're in the mainstream there is no 'brand' difference between Canon, Minolta, Pentax, Olympus, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Konica etc... They do have differences, but they tend to be in style, control layout etc. So choose what looks and feels right for you.

    There are some good sites for information - http://www.dpreview.com and http://www.steves-digicams.com are two of the best. You should be aware that these guys exist to make minute differentiation between cameras. If the say one camera is a dog then it is. If they say camera a is a little better than camera b, then the difference will be too small to notice in real life. Look at the broad results of the reviews and not the minute detail.

    I hope that helps? :-}

    Cheers,

    Dave.
  • Excellent info - thanks Inspector.
  • I like the Sony range of digital cameras. Recently I used the Sony DSCP71 at a Table Tennis event and it took crisp and focussed pictures with very little shutter lag (a real problem with some digital cameras).
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