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Digital cameras

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:43 pm
by ina
I think this year I will have to take the step and get myself a digital camera... It's so annoying sometimes - there's so many things here worth having a photo of, and no camera!

I don't know anything about them though, so is there somebody out there who could tell me what to look for, what to be aware of, how much I'd have to pay for something halfway decent (as little as possible, of course!) - or has anybody had bad experience with a particular type that they could warn me against? I don't want anything that does everything but make the tea - I just want it to take nice photies...

Cheers! :mrgreen:

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:38 pm
by funkypixie
What do you fancy Ina? A basic point and press, an slr with changeable lenses or something a bit in the middle? The budget going to depend on what you want.

I've got a pretty good Olympus point and press with a bit of a zoom and a Nikon D40 SLR which is a pretty good entry level SLR. For something in the middle, a Fuji Finepix is not bad - a couple of friends use these with good results.


Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:13 pm
by Magpie
Olympus here too, just point and shoot. Easy to use - I actually tend to give it to my 9 YO daughter to use, as she's a better photographer than me!

I have recently dragged out my old manual SLR camera, as I think the quality of picture is better with that, but for everyday shots, I still use the digital. I have found it to be very robust too, I take it everywhere with me, in my backpack, just in a soft case. We take pictures alomst daily, as a record of our children's education, so it's had a real work-out.

One thing to watch for is the delay after you push the button - we have missed many good shots during that delay. I think with newer cameras it's not so bad, but something to ask about.

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:10 pm
by Muddypause
I think things have changed radically in digital cameras lately.

Three or four years ago I pushed the boat out and spent £180 on a Goodmans point and shoot camera. It was utter crap. There was a long delay between pressing the button and a photo being taken, meaning you often missed the picture. Often, it didn't actually take a picture at all. Sometimes the flash would fire, but no photo was taken; sometimes the photo would take without the flash going off. It ate batteries at an extraordinary rate. And the 3.1 megapixels was actually 'interpolated' from 2.7 megapixels. One day it just stopped working altogether, so with some relief I gave it away on Freecycle.

18 months ago, I spent a little less on a Fuji S5500. Of course, as soon as I bought it, it was immediately superceded by a better version (more pixels), but it is still far and away better than the Goodmans thing. It feels like a decent camera, and performs like one too - it's a pleasure to use. If you want professional quality, you probably still need to spend £1k or more, but I suspect the point and shoot end of the market is under £100 for something reasonable by now.

Things to look for:

Pixels - Mine is 4 Megapixels, which is pretty small these days (7 or more seems pretty common). But really, this is plenty for what I want.

Zoom - Optical zoom means that the lens will magnify the scene before you take the picture. Digital zoom is a bit of a cheat - you don't gain any detail, and it doesn't do anyhing that you can't later do by cropping the picture on your computer. Mine has 10 times optical zoom, which is lovely, and more than most. It means that I can get right in close on far away details.

Memory - I expect most cameras now store their pictures on memory cards, rather than just in internal memory. This means you can simply swap cards if you fill one up. However, it also means there is a great temptation to keep taking photos without emptying the card - I can get several hundred on a 256 MB card.

Image Stabilisation - Somehow this will eliminate camera shake, which can be useful at extreme zoom or low light levels, and was too expensive for me, but may have got cheaper since I bought my camera.

BTW, nice to see you back on the forum, Ina.

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:52 am
by ina
Thanks for all that info - I think point and shoot is about the level of technical input I'd like to give...

And thanks for all those details, Stew. I'm sure the next nights will still leave me enough time to surf the net for something suitable.

And yes, I'm glad to be back, too - I missed you all! Miraculously the satellite seems to have changed its mind - the connection has been pretty good lately. Just as well; otherwise it would be rather boring during these long nights at the lambing.

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:55 am
by wulf
I would suggest that the "something professional" price can be revised down to £400 - £500; I've got a Nikon D40 and think it would count, at least to an -ish degree :wink:

However, for easy use, something much cheaper would be fine. Muddy is spot on about ignoring "digital zoom" (and the value of a good "optical zoom").

Also, on the megapixels argument, I don't think it is worth going for something just because it has more MP. As the rating goes up, you get a bigger picture - that does allow you to print it larger at a high resolution but also means a much larger file size (requiring more storage space and also more memory if you try to work on it with your computer). Unless you want to produce your photos as A4 prints, 4 MP or less would generally be more than enough.


Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:14 am
by madasafish
I buy my digital cameras second hand on ebay. As a result I am 5 years behind in technology but costs to change are dirt cheap... keeping up with new technology means spending £200plus every 2 years or so. I prefer £20...

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:14 am
by Millymollymandy
It's worth checking out the digital SLRs, if you already have a normal SLR that you are happy with, because the lenses etc will (well, they should) fit the body of the digital version.

What I'm trying to say, :oops: is that my husband bought the basic body of the digital version of his manual SLR, which was quite reasonable, as all the lenses and bits and bobs from the manual version can be used on the digital one, and those kind of lenses can be very expensive. He says it cost about £200.

Results are quite astonishing and the zoom on the PC screen is fab.

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:34 pm
by ina
wulf wrote:Unless you want to produce your photos as A4 prints
Ergh, no. But I would like a new photo to use as an avatar, as mine seems to have fallen victim to the server change! :wink:

Anyway, that wasn't my own goat, so it had always been just a stop gap. Until I get my own camera... Thanks everybody, I shall persevere in my search.

Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:44 pm
by missy
madasafish wrote:I buy my digital cameras second hand on ebay. As a result I am 5 years behind in technology but costs to change are dirt cheap... keeping up with new technology means spending £200plus every 2 years or so. I prefer £20...
then you'd cringe when i tell you i've spent £600 in two months on new camera equipment... but to be fair, they are the tools of my trade (so to speak).. for me that's alot of money, however being a photographer i have friends who have spent upto 10 times more than me in the last year.

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:09 am
by wulf
ina wrote:Ergh, no. But I would like a new photo to use as an avatar, as mine seems to have fallen victim to the server change! :wink:
For a suitable avatar picture, pretty much any camera will do by the time you have shrunk the picture down a suitable size. One of the "problems" with more recent cameras is that the default settings yield massive pictures, way too big for illustrating a website and enough to make someone's machine struggle if they are on an older computer.

I can't remember the size limits on avatars for this site, but I am fairly sure that you will be hard-pressed to find a camera that takes pictures small enough to not need post-processing to reduce the size!


Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:14 am
by ina
The one I had was just a bit of a larger picture, too...

Anyway, I just saw that Lidl's are going to sell cameras next week. What do any of you boffins think about that one? ... amera.ar11

Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:01 am
by baldowrie
I was going to send that one to you, but forgot :roll: As if it's any good, dunno!

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:16 pm
by mrsflibble
I have a canon eos400D... and I adore it.

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:47 am
by Stonehead
I use an ageing Olympus Camedia C-4040 Zoom (4.1 megapixels). You can use it as a point-and-shoot camera (as the Other Half does) or you can take the time to set it up manually or sem-manually (as I do).

It delivers a good result, but more importantly it's proved to be a very robust camera. It gets used around the croft in all weathers, goes in with the animals, gets thumped about in the Land Rover (albeit in a padded bag or case), gets carried around by the boys and has even got wet a couple of times. It's scratched and scuffed, but still works a treat. The only downsides to its intended domestic and office use are the shutter delay and an aversion to temperatures below -10C.

By way of comparison, I used a Nikon F2T and later a Nikon F3P for years. The Olympus delivers images with about 60% of their image quality, which is more than adequate for web and home use. And it frees me from developing film, which is enjoyable but time consuming.