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Advice request for a digital camera...

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Anonymous
February 21, 2005 5:05:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I've been reading dpreview, dcresource, etc. and am trying to come to a
conclusion on a camera. I've pretty much decided that the minimumn
requirements are a 3.0mp with at least a 3x optical zoom is the
baseline. The camera would be used for general picture taking,
especially "teaching" my kids by being able to zoom in on plants, bugs,
electronics, etc., but I'm not sure if 3x optical is enough or not...

Some of the models I have been looking into include the Coolpix 3700,
the Coolpix 5400, the Panasonic DMC-FZ3 and the Canon A95. I'm
basically bouncing between the 3x and 5x mp, and 3x and up on optical
zoom for less than $300. I'd like to use an already purchased CF card,
but that's not a show stopper. I can get the 3700 online for $125 or
so, which may be too good to pass up, but I would have to purchase
storage. Conversely, I might go for the zoom capability on the FZ3 and
pay the additional difference.

I'd appreciate input on any of the aforementioned models and/or if you
have a personal preference to one or another (or others) within the
price range. Also, I'd be interested in picture samples if you have
some posted.

Thank you,
Dave
Anonymous
February 21, 2005 7:46:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I don't own any of those mentioned, but a couple of comments:

That 3x optical zoom isn't about `zooming in` on bugs and electronics
so much.. for that you want a decent macro (close focus) ability.

Are you ever going to print to 11" x 8"? At that size you will notice
a clear difference between 3 and 5 Mp. If you only want 7x5's or less,
then you will struggle to tell the difference. Personally, I think 3Mp
is a bit borderline nowadays - I would find it frustrating to nail a
nice detailed image, and then discover I can't push it up to decent
enlrargement. Why not a 4Mp, at least?

No matter what zoom you get, there will probably be times when you wish
you could go wider or narrower, so check if the cameras can accept
wide/tele converters. Cameras that have a front filter thread, or an
adapter that gives you one, are useful for more choice in that area.
But for `average` family point and shooting, 3x zoom is probably just
sufficient.

I would add the Minolta S414 to your list - 4Mp, 4x zoom.
Anonymous
February 21, 2005 10:36:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

tom_sawyer70@yahoo.com wrote:
> I've been reading dpreview, dcresource, etc. and am trying to come to a
> conclusion on a camera. I've pretty much decided that the minimumn
> requirements are a 3.0mp with at least a 3x optical zoom is the
> baseline. The camera would be used for general picture taking,
> especially "teaching" my kids by being able to zoom in on plants, bugs,
> electronics, etc., but I'm not sure if 3x optical is enough or not...
>
> Some of the models I have been looking into include the Coolpix 3700,
> the Coolpix 5400, the Panasonic DMC-FZ3 and the Canon A95. I'm
> basically bouncing between the 3x and 5x mp, and 3x and up on optical
> zoom for less than $300. I'd like to use an already purchased CF card,
> but that's not a show stopper. I can get the 3700 online for $125 or
> so, which may be too good to pass up, but I would have to purchase
> storage. Conversely, I might go for the zoom capability on the FZ3 and
> pay the additional difference.
>
> I'd appreciate input on any of the aforementioned models and/or if you
> have a personal preference to one or another (or others) within the
> price range. Also, I'd be interested in picture samples if you have
> some posted.
>
> Thank you,
> Dave
>
My first camera had a 2x zoom, and this was quite inadequate. When I
went shopping for a new camera, I found that 3x zoom was also not quite
enough, and 10x was a bit of overkill (but nice if you do things like
bird-watching). I settled on a 4x zoom, which I consider the minimum
for my purposes. Let your usage, and budget work out a compromise on
this subject, but I wouldn't go below 4x unless you have severe budget
constraints.


--
Ron Hunter rphunter@charter.net
Related resources
Anonymous
February 24, 2005 7:35:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>I've been reading dpreview, dcresource, etc. and am trying to come to a
>conclusion on a camera. I've pretty much decided that the minimumn
>requirements are a 3.0mp with at least a 3x optical zoom is the
>baseline. The camera would be used for general picture taking,
>especially "teaching" my kids by being able to zoom in on plants, bugs,
>electronics, etc., but I'm not sure if 3x optical is enough or not...

There was an excellent article in the NYT a couple of months back -
it's probably at your local library.

You can also check the small but growing databse of user reports at:

http://www.exc.com/Photography

-Joel
Anonymous
February 24, 2005 7:40:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

When you buy the camera, decide what your priorities are. If the
quality of the final pictures is most important to you, then:

1. Make sure you get a good lens.

2. If you're going to make enlargements bigger than 5x7,
you'll need more than 3MP.

If convenience is more important than picture quality, you'll have to
try the cameras yourself, to see what you presonally like.

FWIW, I love the Canon S-line, which was the right combination of
quality and convenience for me.

-Joel

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Anonymous
February 26, 2005 12:32:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

joel@exc.com (Dr. Joel M. Hoffman) writes:

> When you buy the camera, decide what your priorities are. If the
> quality of the final pictures is most important to you, then:
>
> 1. Make sure you get a good lens.
>
> 2. If you're going to make enlargements bigger than 5x7,
> you'll need more than 3MP.

Out of curiousity is this from experience or are you just parroting the old
tired "you need 300 dpi" argument that many people use? I have a 2 megapixel
Olympus C-2100UZ camera, and it prints great 8x10's, and I've done 11x14's that
were good too if you weren't using a loupe to look at the pixels. Granted at
16x20, it does start to break down, so if you were going to routinely print at
those levels, or if your prints hang in an art gallery where people do look at
pictures up close, you need more resolution.

Also, to some extent the C-2100UZ was one of the better 2 megapixel cameras.
The 2 megapixel D-510Z I got before the C-2100UZ does start to break down at
8x10, and I suspect it is a combination of more JPG compression, and not as
good of a lens.

In terms of the original poster, I think the 10/12x image stabalized zoom
cameras (Panasonic FZ3/FZ4/FZ5, Canon S1, or Konica Minolta Z3/Z4) give the
most bang for the buck, since it allows things like zoo trips to catch the
animals up close.

--
Michael Meissner
email: mrmnews@the-meissners.org
http://www.the-meissners.org
!