View Full Version : Need digicam suggestion
05-02-2005, 05:12 PM
Although I just picked up my Canon Powershot A95 not even 6 months ago, I already am looking for something a little more advanced (but not quite ready to shell out the $1000 for a D-SLR just yet).
I've taken a look at a few reviews, and the Nikon Coolpix 8400 sounds like a nice deal. Here's what I'm looking for:
1) Low noise. My Canon Powershot A95 is fairly noisy even at lower ISO settings like ISO 100. From what I could tell, the 8400 does a pretty good job in this regard.
2) Budget around $600 US ($800 Canadian or so). Once again, the Coolpix falls right in this area, so that's a good thing.
3) Compactflash support (I have a 1GB Sandisk Extreme CF card, and would like to keep using it.
4) Something not quite as big as the mega-zoom cameras. This falls directly with the first point, since IIRC, a smaller camera with a higher resolution will tend to have more image noise. I don't mind something bigger than the A95, but I don't want a huge camera like my old Olympus C-740UZ.
5) More exposure options than my A95. I don't know if the Nikon has exposure bracketing, but that is DEFINATELY one feature I miss from my old camera. Having the hot-shoe for an additional flash is another thing that the Coolpix offers which would be beneficial down the road for me.
Make no mistake, I still recommend the Powershot A95 for someone just starting to get into more creative options with their digital cameras, but after coming from the Olympus C-740UZ, the A95 was more of a downgrade than I expected (resolution aside).
If you know of any other cameras which would be a good recommendation in this price range, I'd be glad to hear it.
05-02-2005, 05:59 PM
The one I have is a Konika Minolta Dimage A200- everyone has seen some of my pics with it. Here is one review: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/konicaminoltaa200/
It is one of the smaller longer-zoom (28 to 200mm equivelent) cameras and even though it will not fit into a pocket it does fit a fanny pack which is how I carry it. Tons of settings or auto for whatever level of photography you want. Uses compact flash and the same battery as Nikon. Look at the other reviews on cameras and also the forums on www.dpreview.com if you haven't already.
05-02-2005, 07:51 PM
Somehow I just knew your camera would get mentioned. :)
I know it's a bit out of my budget right now, but I might still take a look at it while I'm at the camera shop in a week or so (when I'm ready to buy the new digicam). I definately won't fault the image quality from it though -- your pics are outstanding!
One thing I'm curious about: How well does the anti-shake work for night-time shots? I've often been in situations where I've wanted to shoot in low-light conditions, but didn't have a tripod handy.
05-02-2005, 10:18 PM
The anti-shake is good for about one to two f-stops. Another problem with low light is difficulty for the camera to focus. This is true for almost all digital cameras, unless they have some sort of assist light. I usually switch it to manual focus at infinity for that. I carry a table-top tripod that is only about eight inches tall and can fit in my back pocket or fanny pack. Or look for something to set the camera on or hold it against. I picked mine up through a Dell deal around Christmas (something like 15% off plus a $40 coupon or something like that- list is $799 US). For more suggestions and reveiws, this is another good place: http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html
05-02-2005, 10:30 PM
you can get the original digital rebel (and use the wasia upgrade hack) for a little over $600.
05-04-2005, 07:59 PM
Well I dropped down to my local camera shop today, and looked at 5 cameras:
- Olympus C-7070
- Nikon Coolpix 8400
- Konica/Minolta Dimage A200
- Canon Digital Rebel XT
- Olympus E-Volt (I don't know the model #)
While the two D-SLR's were definately out of my budget, I still did try them out to see what I thought -- and see if I should just save up for one of them. Unfortunately, since I'm needing something that can take decent macro shots, plus have the ability to do good wide-angle, the costs of additional lenses would have made this choice pointless to me at the moment. (I know the old Rebel is still an option, but once again, the additional lenses would add up).
The Olympus seemed fairly solid, but did seem a little too "boxy" for my tastes. To its advantage though, it DID have a zoom lever that was where I'm used to seeing it (by the shutter-release). The Nikon uses a rocker-style button on the back for zooming (and it's definately not where my fingers expected it to be when I held the camera). Of course, the Mnolta has them both beat by using an SLR-style zoom method (rotate the lens barrel). This one felt very natural to use, even though I've never owned a film SLR before.
The Nikon fit my hand the best (zoom buttons aside), and had a nice firm hand grip. I also know Nikon's cameras fare extremely well in macro photography. It's definately smaller than the Olympus or Minolta -- which was another good selling point for me.
I was pretty much sold on the Nikon, until I actually picked up the Minolta A200 and hit the power button to try it out. Even the sales rep could tell I was impressed with this camera the most. Fairly logical button placement, a clear EVF (not sure about how it fares in low-light though), and as mentioned, a very intuitive zoom function. Considering I've also seen the quality of pics taken with this camera, it's clear to me that this will be my best choice.
Thanks for the recommendations guys. I'll be sure to post up some sample pics of my own when I get the camera (in about 2 weeks -- after my brother buys my A95 off me).
05-04-2005, 10:25 PM
You just have to find one that fits your needs and budget. It is great that you got to actually lay your hands on the ones you wanted to look at. I had troubles finding a lot of them around here. I think you will be happy with any of those on your list. Good luck! I have always liked Nikon but liked the range of the zoom on the Minolta more. If they had the same zoom, I probably would have gone Nikon. The Minolta looked smaller (never got to see them both together) which was another factor I liked. You may want a spare battery too. I carry an extra in case I forget to charge the one in the camera before I head out. The battery does last a long time unless you are using the LCD alot. One caution is that I sometimes hit the power button when I intended to hit the shutter button because they are kind of close, but you get used to that. Look forwards to seeing some pictures!
05-17-2005, 05:11 AM
Well, I did end up picking up the A200, and so far I REALLY like it. I'm still getting used to some of the menus and such, but so far it seems very intuitive to adjust things like exposure / flash compensation, white balance, and such. It definately fits the hand very well, and feels like a sold camera.
I don't have any good sample pics yet, but that's because I haven't really gone out anywhere (pics of my laptop don't count).
Thanks again for the recommendation zippyjuan -- I feel this definately was the best choice for me. Now I just want to get my 49mm circular polarizer, and I'll be all set to take outdoor pics (from what I was told at the camera store, the A200 can take 49mm filters directly -- no adapters needed).
05-17-2005, 01:19 PM
The pictures at factory settings can be a little flat looking- the camera does not do much processing of the image like other cameras do. I adjusted the color to "vivid" and upped the contrast a little. I also found mine had a tendency to overexpose a bil so I adjusted that too. Experiment with yours to see what works best. I used Auto a lot when I first got it just to become more familiar with the basic camera. Some people like the "P" setting. I find now I use the aperature priority more. After five months I still haven't tried the video function yet- but it has two resolution settings for that. I bought a 1gb memory card and another as a backup but so far have only needed one. The battery lasts a long time (unless you use the LCD a lot) but sometimes I forget to recharge so a spare battery has been useful too. You will enjoy the camera- I certainly do! One reason I chose this over some of the other long zoom cameras was I liked the wider angle end and was willing to trade a little longer distance for it. I also use Photoshop Elements 3.0 to edit my pictures. I still have not tried Raw either.
Filters: Get a larger one and a step-up ring for it. I bought a polarizer to fit and it causes vingetting (sp?) on the longer ranges of the zoom.
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