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Looking for an inexpensive compact camera

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Anonymous
August 16, 2005 6:22:42 PM

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

I'm sure this has been asked many times, but there are so many blasted
models out there it's hard to keep track. Then they go and invent new
model numbers for different stores and minor features...

I want a small camera. Something that I can always have on me for
shots I would otherwise miss. If I want portraits, tripod shots, etc.,
I'll pull out my main camera. I'm lookng for a second camera.

Criteria roughly in order of importance to me:

#1 - Needs to be small. Will live in my pocket or briefcase.
#2 - Needs to be somewhat rugged. I'll be careful with it, but I don't
want to worry that it always be handled delicately. Self-covering
lens, retracting lens, etc.
#3 - Needs to be cheap. Would like to spend $200 or less. Even if it
means refurb, last years model or even ebay.
#4 - Needs to take decent pictures. I know I won't get gallery pieces,
but I don't want images that look like they came from a camera phone
either.

I'm assuming 3Mpx or so. I'm assuming 3x opt zoom. Don't care about
"movie mode" or digital zoom or other fluff features. I usually prefer
standard batteries. Then I can use my own rechargeables, but in a
pinch I can get alkalines at the gas station. I also prefer standard
memory cards rather than proprietary Betamax disasters. I can deal
with transfering to PC by mem card, USB or firewire.

If you think I'm off base on any of the above, feel free to let me
know.


Here are some cameras I have been looking at. Maybe one of these is
what I want, or maybe I'm all wet. You tell me.
Sony DSC-S40
Kodak EasyShare CX7430
Kodak EasyShare LS743
Canon S410
Canon SD300
Nikon Coolpix 7900
Sony DSC-P41
Samsung Digimax U-CA-5
Samsung Digimax A7
Canon Powershot A95

I'm sure there are 100s more.

What do you think???

TIA!
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 10:04:06 PM

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

"Scott Smith" <jscottsmith@chartermi.net> wrote in message
news:1124227362.882497.326620@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> I'm sure this has been asked many times, but there are so many blasted
> models out there it's hard to keep track. Then they go and invent new
> model numbers for different stores and minor features...
>
> I want a small camera. Something that I can always have on me for
> shots I would otherwise miss. If I want portraits, tripod shots, etc.,
> I'll pull out my main camera. I'm lookng for a second camera.
>
> Criteria roughly in order of importance to me:
>
> #1 - Needs to be small. Will live in my pocket or briefcase.
> #2 - Needs to be somewhat rugged. I'll be careful with it, but I don't
> want to worry that it always be handled delicately. Self-covering
> lens, retracting lens, etc.
> #3 - Needs to be cheap. Would like to spend $200 or less. Even if it
> means refurb, last years model or even ebay.
> #4 - Needs to take decent pictures. I know I won't get gallery pieces,
> but I don't want images that look like they came from a camera phone
> either.
>
> I'm assuming 3Mpx or so. I'm assuming 3x opt zoom. Don't care about
> "movie mode" or digital zoom or other fluff features. I usually prefer
> standard batteries. Then I can use my own rechargeables, but in a
> pinch I can get alkalines at the gas station. I also prefer standard
> memory cards rather than proprietary Betamax disasters. I can deal
> with transfering to PC by mem card, USB or firewire.

Here ya go:
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=110418...*3264*

Or a TinyUrl version if that breaks:
http://tinyurl.com/7vre3

Here's the review on DPreview.com:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canona510/

A real bargain, and nice little camera.
-Mark
Related resources
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 2:39:39 AM

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

Scott Smith wrote:
> I want a small camera....always have on me...second camera.
> Criteria roughly in order of importance to me: <snip>
> Here are some cameras I have been looking at. <snip>



Yes, there are so many that one is easily confused. Each of the cameras on
your list has strengths and weaknesses. Which one is suitable depends on
many things, chief of which is how you would use it. This programme may
help:
http://www.myproductadvisor.com/mpa/camera/inputSummary...

Do read the reviews of the short-listed ones, and look at the sample photos.

Good luck.

--
Lin Chung
[Replace "the Water Margin" with "ntlworld" for e-mail].
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 12:10:36 PM

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

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have a look at those.

I understand what you're saying about batteries. Makes sense too.
Looks like proprietary batteries provide more shots than even
rechargable AAs.

Given my size preference, what would you suggest if I were to overcome
my preference for standard batteries?
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 2:02:20 PM

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

I'd say for a cheapie, the Kodaks on sale for <$80 at RiteAid and other
drug stores (fixed lens), the $99 FujiFilm 4MP or so with 3x zoom on the
low-end, etc. No worries, cheap, and they'll last long enough until you
break them in a year or two (otherwise, if you're careful, they'll go a
long time).

At twice the price, the sony s40 is also a 'nice' model to keep around,
but I'd look on Ebay for the smaller Sony U40/50 for something that's
'petite', portable, and runs off regular batteries. These may simply be
what you're after at the size and lower-end price range.

---

If you use a cell phone, consider upgrading your primary phone to a 2MP+
cell phone (eg. latest Sony, Nokia, Samsung models out this month).
This may indeed be the 'ultimate' solution for you -- and reduce that
'yet another thing to carry around' clutter.
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 2:47:04 PM

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

"Scott Smith" <jscottsmith@chartermi.net> wrote in message
news:1124227362.882497.326620@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> I'm sure this has been asked many times, but there are so many blasted
> models out there it's hard to keep track. Then they go and invent new
> model numbers for different stores and minor features...
>
> I want a small camera. Something that I can always have on me for
> shots I would otherwise miss. If I want portraits, tripod shots, etc.,
> I'll pull out my main camera. I'm lookng for a second camera.
>
> Criteria roughly in order of importance to me:
>
> #1 - Needs to be small. Will live in my pocket or briefcase.
> #2 - Needs to be somewhat rugged. I'll be careful with it, but I don't
> want to worry that it always be handled delicately. Self-covering
> lens, retracting lens, etc.
> #3 - Needs to be cheap. Would like to spend $200 or less. Even if it
> means refurb, last years model or even ebay.
> #4 - Needs to take decent pictures. I know I won't get gallery pieces,
> but I don't want images that look like they came from a camera phone
> either.
>
> I'm assuming 3Mpx or so. I'm assuming 3x opt zoom. Don't care about
> "movie mode" or digital zoom or other fluff features. I usually prefer
> standard batteries. Then I can use my own rechargeables, but in a
> pinch I can get alkalines at the gas station. I also prefer standard
> memory cards rather than proprietary Betamax disasters. I can deal
> with transfering to PC by mem card, USB or firewire.
>
> If you think I'm off base on any of the above, feel free to let me
> know.

Your preference for standard batteries will tend to conflict with your need
for small size, but there are a few two-cell cameras that should do you very
well. Of those you've listed below, I have the Canon A95 and the Nikon 5900
(the latter not on your list, but essentially the same as the 7900 except
for resolution, which is larger than your requirement in either case). Both
are great, but both are above your $200 price point, at least new. The A95
takes four AA cells and is somewhat larger than what I would consider an
easily pocketable camera; the 5900/7900 is slim, light and easily pocketable
but takes a Li-ion rechargeable battery.

One camera that would seem to fit your bill perfectly is the Nikon Coolpix
4600. It's small and pocketable; has a retracting and self-capping lens; is
under $200 including shipping from several good online sellers; should take
very good pictures (the 4100 does, and the 4600 is the newer version of the
same camera); is 4 megapixel; has a 3x zoom (35-105mm equivalent); takes two
AA cells, either NiMH or alkaline, or a 3V lithium battery; and uses SD
cards, which are pretty much the standard already and will undoubtedly
become even more so.

It's point-and-shoot as most ultracompact cameras are, but has several
interesting scene modes, some of which give (limited) indirect control over
aperture and shutter speed. Also has a couple of exclusive Nikon features
(Best Shot Selector and a unique five-shot burst mode) which may seem
gimmicky at first but which are actually very useful in low-light and action
situations respectively.

N.


>
>
> Here are some cameras I have been looking at. Maybe one of these is
> what I want, or maybe I'm all wet. You tell me.
> Sony DSC-S40
> Kodak EasyShare CX7430
> Kodak EasyShare LS743
> Canon S410
> Canon SD300
> Nikon Coolpix 7900
> Sony DSC-P41
> Samsung Digimax U-CA-5
> Samsung Digimax A7
> Canon Powershot A95
>
> I'm sure there are 100s more.
>
> What do you think???
>
> TIA!
>
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 4:36:48 PM

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

"Scott Smith" <jscottsmith@chartermi.net> wrote in message
news:1124291436.916171.17650@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have a look at those.
>
> I understand what you're saying about batteries. Makes sense too.
> Looks like proprietary batteries provide more shots than even
> rechargable AAs.

Yes, based on my own experience that is true, though there's some variation
from model to model as digital cameras in general seem to have improved
battery performance, with either kind of battery.

It does seem to me that Li-ion rechargeables are more trouble-free than NiMH
cells. I have had NiMH rechargeables go bad on me several times, completely
dead, and have never had that problem yet with Lithium-ions. I have several
cameras taking each kind of battery, and both have advantages and
disadvantages. The big advantages of NiMH cells of course are a) if your
batteries run out you can buy alkalines in an emergency almost anywhere, and
b) AA cells are all the same size so they will also fit any later camera you
buy that takes AA batteries. Li-ion batteries on the other hand will drive
you crazy if you have several different cameras using them, as I do.

This is true even if you stay within the same camera brand. For example, I
have three Nikon cameras using Li-ions, the Coolpix 5900, 8700 and 8400.
They *all* take different size batteries! Also I have Pentax Optio S4i and
750Z cameras, which again take different size Li-ion batteries. Add to that
my Minolta, Canon and Panasonic cameras which take Li-ion batteries, *all*
of different sizes from one another and from the previous mentioned brands,
and you can appreciate what a mess I have in the battery department. And of
course each different type of Li-ion battery takes a different charger, too.
It has happened that when I want to use a particular camera, I can find the
camera and its battery all right but can't remember where I left the
charger.

AA batteries eliminate that problem, but then the problem wouldn't exist in
the first place if I weren't so nutty about buying all those cameras. I
doubt very much that many (if any) other users have the same battery mess
that I do.

And even with that mess, all things considered I must say I have come to
prefer Li-ion batteries. They definitely do have more capacity for their
size and weight, even though NiMH batteries over the years have improved
greatly in that respect. Li-ion batteries hold their charge longer too, and
recharge faster and more reliably. And they don't require the regular
deep-cycling that NiMH batteries do to keep up their capacity. It's true
that Li-ion batteries are much more expensive if you buy the camera
manufacturer's brand, but I have bought other-brand replacements like
Maxell, or no-name substitutes on eBay, which are very reasonably priced and
so far have given me just as good performance and reliability as the
camera-brand ones.

Cameras taking Li-ion batteries are generally a bit more expensive, but of
course they include the battery and charger, which is not usually the case
with cameras taking AA-size batteries.


>
> Given my size preference, what would you suggest if I were to overcome
> my preference for standard batteries?

I can only speak from my own experience. My digital ultracompacts are, in
the order I bought them, the Minolta DiMAGE Xt and Xg, the Pentax Optio S4i,
and the Nikon Coolpix 5900. Of those I like the Nikon 5900 best, perhaps
just because it's the newest. But really I like them all; all have given me
excellent results, especially for such little cameras, and none so far have
given me any kind of problem. The 4-megapixel S4i and the 5-megapixel 5900
have more features which make them more flexible than the 3.2-megapixel
Minoltas, so I guess I'd have to put the Minoltas last (regretfully), but
between the S4i and the 5900 it's harder to make the choice. I am a *little*
wary of the S4i's unusual "sliding zoom" lens design from the standpoint of
durability, but Pentax has been using this design with various models for
some time now so it must be all right. The S4i is clearly the most compact
of these particular cameras, I think about as small as you can have a camera
and still be able to get your fingers on the buttons; the 5900 is the
largest of these but still very pocketable. All of these have all-metal
bodies, which I think is worthwhile too.

N.
Anonymous
August 22, 2005 1:52:46 AM

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

Thanks again guys. All good advice.

Any thoughts on the Sony DSC-P93A given my stated preferences? I
found one for $139 (pre tax, shipping, etc., and with no memory stick)
Is it worth considering?

Thanks again
Anonymous
August 22, 2005 11:04:18 AM

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

"Scott Smith" <jscottsmith@chartermi.net> wrote in message
news:1124686366.563949.39780@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Thanks again guys. All good advice.
>
> Any thoughts on the Sony DSC-P93A given my stated preferences? I
> found one for $139 (pre tax, shipping, etc., and with no memory stick)
> Is it worth considering?

Since your stated preferences include the line "I also prefer standard
memory cards rather than proprietary Betamax disasters," I would quickly
pass on any camera relying on Memory Stick, which is about as close to the
digital camera equivalent of Betamax as you are likely to find.
Coincidentally, even the originating manufacturer is the same.

Memory Stick (the original version) is limited to 128MB and evidently cannot
go larger, the sticks are relatively expensive because they're seldom on
sale or with rebate (whereas manufacturers are falling over each other
offering great sales and rebates on SD cards), and I suspect that Sony will
phase out that stick if they have not done so already. Outside of a few
Konica models I don't know of any other camera maker that uses Memory Stick,
and those Konicas only use it in the second slot of models that also take
(and mainly rely on) SD cards.

A big thumbs down on Memory Stick, unless you have some overwhelming urge to
buy Sony.

N.
Anonymous
August 22, 2005 6:42:57 PM

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

Nostrobino <not@home.today> wrote:
> Memory Stick (the original version) is limited to 128MB and evidently cannot
> go larger, the sticks are relatively expensive because they're seldom on
> sale or with rebate (whereas manufacturers are falling over each other
> offering great sales and rebates on SD cards), and I suspect that Sony will
> phase out that stick if they have not done so already.

They already have. The new rage is Memory Stick Pro, which is the same form
factor but allows up to 2 or 4 gig sticks, and Memory Stick Pro Duo, which is
roughly the size of an SD card, and uses an adaptor to fit itself into
devices which expect full-size Pro devices.

The Duo is used on the Playstation Portable, for example.
Anonymous
August 23, 2005 12:35:34 AM

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

Ok. I'm back again.

I've done some moroe research, and this time a little more informed I
think. I used the camera picker (again) and got completely different
results. (I've changed my priorities a bit.) I then took the 20
choices it gave me and for each I wrote down about 10 specs that were
important to me. Then I looked up rating (and number of reviews) from
epinions and cnet. Finally, reviewing all the important criteria, I've
narrowed it down to 7 cameras.

They are all SD. I've decided I'd like it to be thin (1.3" or less).
I'd also like it around 6oz or so. They all have LCD screens. They
all have optical viewfinder. (As simple as it sounds, I don't know if
I could use a camera that didn't have one!) They range from 4-7Mpx,
although I realize that won't mean much in this range. They are all
rated highly by epinions and cnet users. Some are metal and some are
plastic. I guess it doesn't matter as long as it is relatively sturdy.
(I mean flopping around in my pocket - not being flung at the wall.)

So here is the list:

Nikon Coolpix 5900
Nikon Coolpix 5200
Konica-Minolta Dimage x50
Minolta Dimage G600
Nikon Coolpix 4600
Pentax Optio 50
Samsung Digimax A7


So..... back to the same old question:
What should I get? What do you think of the above?
I'd still like to shoot for $200 or less. The cameras above list in
the 200-300 range new, but I'm holding out for a bargain, refurb or
ebay. :) 

Whatcha think??
Anonymous
August 23, 2005 4:00:48 PM

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

I'm surprised no one mentioned the Canon A520. I'm also looking for a
P&S digital camera and have been doing a lot of research. The biggest
difference between my requirements and Scott's is that good quality
pictures are my top requirement. Good quality implying accurate color,
among other things. I'm leaning toward the Canon because it's picture
quality is unmatched in this range, according to several sources, and
because of Canon's reputation, features, and other considerations. It's
available for under $200 if you shop for it. Any reasons why the Canon
A520 isn't mentioned?
Also, the page referred to above looked interesting. I guess others
here got it to work so maybe it's something to do with my system here
at work, but I couldn't get it to finish. Everytime I ran it, before I
could get through all the menus, I kept getting a "Session Expired"
message. Will try it on my home computer tonight.


David Chien wrote:
> I'd say for a cheapie, the Kodaks on sale for <$80 at RiteAid and other
> drug stores (fixed lens), the $99 FujiFilm 4MP or so with 3x zoom on the
> low-end, etc. No worries, cheap, and they'll last long enough until you
> break them in a year or two (otherwise, if you're careful, they'll go a
> long time).
>
> At twice the price, the sony s40 is also a 'nice' model to keep around,
> but I'd look on Ebay for the smaller Sony U40/50 for something that's
> 'petite', portable, and runs off regular batteries. These may simply be
> what you're after at the size and lower-end price range.
>
> ---
>
> If you use a cell phone, consider upgrading your primary phone to a 2MP+
> cell phone (eg. latest Sony, Nokia, Samsung models out this month).
> This may indeed be the 'ultimate' solution for you -- and reduce that
> 'yet another thing to carry around' clutter.
Anonymous
August 23, 2005 4:31:50 PM

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

"Scott Smith" <jscottsmith@chartermi.net> wrote in message
news:1124768134.788726.67190@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> Ok. I'm back again.
>
> I've done some moroe research, and this time a little more informed I
> think. I used the camera picker (again) and got completely different
> results. (I've changed my priorities a bit.) I then took the 20
> choices it gave me and for each I wrote down about 10 specs that were
> important to me. Then I looked up rating (and number of reviews) from
> epinions and cnet. Finally, reviewing all the important criteria, I've
> narrowed it down to 7 cameras.
>
> They are all SD. I've decided I'd like it to be thin (1.3" or less).
> I'd also like it around 6oz or so. They all have LCD screens. They
> all have optical viewfinder. (As simple as it sounds, I don't know if
> I could use a camera that didn't have one!)

You could use a camera without optical viewfinder, but in some conditions of
direct sunlight it would drive you crazy. I own and have owned a fairly
large number of digital cameras, and the only one I ever had without an
optical viewfinder was the Minolta X20. I sold it quite a while ago. Nice
little camera, but I'll never again buy one with only the LCD for a
viewfinder, even though that's all I use about 98% of the time. The other 2%
I simply have to have an optical viewfinder. I have read many reviews in
which the reviewer says the LCD is fine in sunlight because it's
anti-reflection coated. Baloney. The X20's LCD was anti-reflection coated,
looked about the same as all my other cameras with anti-reflection LCDs, and
(like the others) was still unusable in certain conditions of sunlight as
far as I was concerned.


> They range from 4-7Mpx,
> although I realize that won't mean much in this range. They are all
> rated highly by epinions and cnet users. Some are metal and some are
> plastic. I guess it doesn't matter as long as it is relatively sturdy.
> (I mean flopping around in my pocket - not being flung at the wall.)
>
> So here is the list:
>
> Nikon Coolpix 5900
> Nikon Coolpix 5200
> Konica-Minolta Dimage x50
> Minolta Dimage G600
> Nikon Coolpix 4600
> Pentax Optio 50
> Samsung Digimax A7
>
>
> So..... back to the same old question:
> What should I get? What do you think of the above?
> I'd still like to shoot for $200 or less. The cameras above list in
> the 200-300 range new, but I'm holding out for a bargain, refurb or
> ebay. :) 
>
> Whatcha think??

I still like the Coolpix 5900 best of those on your list, though I'm not
intimately familiar with all of them. I don't know if the 5900 is available
as a refurb, but looking for a nice used one from a reliable seller on eBay
isn't a bad idea (generally speaking I'd prefer that to a refurb, depending
on the dealer selling the refurb). For under $200 new, I'd definitely choose
the Coolpix 4600.

N.
Anonymous
September 18, 2005 3:50:40 AM

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

salgud wrote:
> I'm surprised no one mentioned the Canon A520. I'm also looking for a
> P&S digital camera and have been doing a lot of research. The biggest
> difference between my requirements and Scott's is that good quality
> pictures are my top requirement. Good quality implying accurate color,


After reading all the reviews on the Canon A520, I bought it. The cons:
high noise at high iso's, slow recycle times when using the flash, has
problems focusing on close ups and dim lighting. The pros: small size,
uses only 2 AA batteries, lots of manual features, 4x optical zoom. It
takes great pictures, I cannot tell the difference in prints between my
bigger 35mm and the A520.

The pros greatly outweigh the cons. This camera is small enough, that
it has a permanent home in my shirt pocket.
!