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Fasttrack
04-26-2009, 04:56 PM
Hey Guys, I know this comes up pretty often but I thought I'd see what the "pro's" had to say about buying a digital camera. I went caving on Friday and despite double bagging my camera and packing a towel (inside a third bag) around it, it did not survive. Somewhere between the belly crawl through water and the "meat grinder" the bags filled with water and the screen was crushed.

It was a Kodak camera - essentially the exact same as the C913, only it was an older version with 6.2 megapixels. It worked great for me and I wouldn't mind replacing it with the C913. I only used it for taking pictures of machinery, to be honest. It was small, lightweight and handled drops and grease/grime pretty well. The only bad thing is the battery life.

Officemax has a Kodak Easy Share 1073 on sale, and it comes with two rechareable battery packs. It's the same price as the C913 but has higher resolution, only I haven't decided if I like the rechargeable battery bit. I hate going through double A's all the time, but at least you can get them anywhere. It sucks if you forget your charger or you forget to keep a charged battery pack handy.

There is also a Nikon CoolPix P60 on sale. It looks a little bulkier but it has 5x optical zoom and an iso setting up to 2000. I rarely use high iso, but sometimes it's nice in a dark shed or etc. The C913 only has an iso setting of 1000 and an optical zoom of 3x, but it has a higher resolution by about one megapixel.

Anyhow, I was curious what you all would recommend. I'm not looking for anything too fancy. My old camera was just about right. I used all the settings at one point or another, I was happy with the picture quality, and it was affordable. I don't want to spend much over 100 bucks on a camera.

Thanks!

Doc Nickel
04-26-2009, 05:09 PM
I tend to recommend the Canon line, but that's simply because those are what I'm most familiar with. Doesn't mean they're "better", just means I don't know as much about the others.

Now, don't worry about batteries. The Canon Powershot A590, for example (a friend has one) shoots literally several hundred shots on a charge. You can also make the batteries last about 30% longer still, if you use the viewfinder and not the rear LCD for taking the photo.

Also don't worry about pixel counts- anything over 4MP is plenty if you're just taking snapshots (as in, you're not planning to print 8x10s or posters) and with the small lenses and sensors in the little cameras, more MP doesn't necessarily mean 'sharper pictures'.

Almost everything in Canon's A-series line is under $200, and from everything I hear, very good cameras. Might give those a look.

One thing I will recommend, though, is stay away from anything not by a name-brand camera maker; Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Dell, etc. Some of these are good (Sony's SLR line is ex-Minolta) but most are cheap crap.

Doc.

gnm109
04-26-2009, 05:20 PM
Hey Guys, I know this comes up pretty often but I thought I'd see what the "pro's" had to say about buying a digital camera. I went caving on Friday and despite double bagging my camera and packing a towel (inside a third bag) around it, it did not survive. Somewhere between the belly crawl through water and the "meat grinder" the bags filled with water and the screen was crushed.

It was a Kodak camera - essentially the exact same as the C913, only it was an older version with 6.2 megapixels. It worked great for me and I wouldn't mind replacing it with the C913. I only used it for taking pictures of machinery, to be honest. It was small, lightweight and handled drops and grease/grime pretty well. The only bad thing is the battery life.

Officemax has a Kodak Easy Share 1073 on sale, and it comes with two rechareable battery packs. It's the same price as the C913 but has higher resolution, only I haven't decided if I like the rechargeable battery bit. I hate going through double A's all the time, but at least you can get them anywhere. It sucks if you forget your charger or you forget to keep a charged battery pack handy.

There is also a Nikon CoolPix P60 on sale. It looks a little bulkier but it has 5x optical zoom and an iso setting up to 2000. I rarely use high iso, but sometimes it's nice in a dark shed or etc. The C913 only has an iso setting of 1000 and an optical zoom of 3x, but it has a higher resolution by about one megapixel.

Anyhow, I was curious what you all would recommend. I'm not looking for anything too fancy. My old camera was just about right. I used all the settings at one point or another, I was happy with the picture quality, and it was affordable. I don't want to spend much over 100 bucks on a camera.

Thanks!

You could take more than 1000 pictures with two rechargeable batteries in my Kodak Easyshare 712. The higher resoution shots are a pain since they have to be reduced to send them to anyone. The Kodak has a screen where you can cut down the resolution to a smaller size.

I have a Nikon 990 that has a dead flash. I use it for copy work with flood lamps. It stll works although Nikon won't even look at it for less than $200 plus parts and any labor other than examining it. That's my last Nikon. If ever a company was trading on their name, it's Nikon.

Ryobiguy
04-26-2009, 05:39 PM
Yes, to second Doc's statement about don't worry about megapixels, instead look for the size of the sensor. There are only so many photons, and dividing the sensor into more pixels is just going to increase the noise and fill up your storage faster.

I too may be in the market for a new camera - I've had a Canon Powershot S410 for the last 4 years, and I have trouble finding fresh batteries - the last few I bought seemed like old stock, and the lithium ion batteries don't seem to last more than a year or so of light usage.

I think the next camera I get will be a model of Canon that will work with the CHDK software add-on. That sounds like too much fun.

-Matt

aostling
04-26-2009, 05:44 PM
DPReview is the premier digital camera website. Here is their latest group test of budget cameras: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q408budgetgroup/

The overall winner is the Panasonic Lumix LZ8, available online for $105 http://www.buydig.com/shop/SearchResults.aspx?cti=&scs=true&kwd=lumix+lz8&x=0&y=0.

Seek no further.

Evan
04-26-2009, 05:46 PM
Buy a Canon Powershot and install CHDK on the card and PRESTO: Instant super camera!



Q. What does the CHDK program do?A. CHDK enhances the capabilities of your camera in a non-destructive, non-permanent way.

After loading of CHDK program you will get the following functionality:

Shutter-priority (Tv) exposure - via shutter value override feature
Aperture-priority (Av) exposure - via aperture value override feature
Shooting in RAW, with RAW Average, RAW Sum, and RAW Develop features
Live histogram (RGB, blended, luminance and for each RGB channel)
Zebra mode (a live view of over and under-exposed areas of your picture)
Depth-of-field (DOF)-calculator, Hyperfocal-calculator with instant Hyperfocal and Infinity focus-set, and more
Battery indicator
RAW and Video space-remaining gauges with custom low-limit alerts
USB cable remote shutter release
Motion-detection trigger - automatically fires camera on motion detection. (Fast enough to capture lightning strikes.)
Customizable high-speed continuous (burst) Shutter-based (Tv), aperture-based (Av) and ISO-based exposure bracketing (unlimited shots)
Focus bracketing (unlimited shots)
99 constant bit-rate and 10 constant-quality video compression levels
Elimination of 1 Gig video-size limit
Zoom during video function (for cameras without this feature)
Shutter, Aperture, and ISO Overrides
Ultra-long shutter speeds - up to 64 seconds
Ultra-fast shutter speeds - up to 1/10,000" and higher
High-speed Flash Sync at all speeds up to 1/64,000 second (even faster in some cameras)
Custom user-editable visible Grids for framing, cropping, and alignment
File browser
Text reader
Calendar
Some fun tools and games :)
Fully customizable CHDK display, info placement, user-colors, fonts in menus, etc.
Custom CHDK user menu (for instant recall of up to 10 favorite functions)
Scripts execution - including exposure bracketing, focus bracketing, intervalometer and more)
And other features too numerous to mention here. See the CHDK Firmware and Allbest Firmware usage pages for a more complete overview.
These features work on all camera models supported by CHDK. The camera does not need to have "related" or "inherent" features already present - CHDK will add the required functionality. New features are accessed through CHDK-specific menus, rather than the default camera menus.


http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ

Fasttrack
04-26-2009, 06:00 PM
Thanks guys - That Powershot seemed to come out ok in that online review, also. Not as good as the Panasonic, but still better than the Kodak, which I was happy with. I figure it's a step up and I remember now reading about that CHDK when Evan posted it earlier. I'm kind of curious to try it out ...

RobbieKnobbie
04-26-2009, 06:16 PM
While I'm pretty invested in Canon, myself, I'd say that any camera you get from either Canon or Nikon will be top notch and will enjoy the 'permenance' of a company that's been producing photographic equipment for years. Both companies support their product lines very well.

You might want to look into the camera protectors made by outfits like Sea&Sea. That would help you make it through caving in one piece a little better than plastic bags.

small.planes
04-26-2009, 06:32 PM
My sister has good results with her olympus MJU (cant remember exact model).
Shes a kayaker, so it gets frequent dunkings / sandy beaches sort of abuse.

Dave

madman
04-26-2009, 07:31 PM
I recomend Cannon also they are good cameras.

Fasttrack
04-26-2009, 07:47 PM
Yeah ... I will not be bringing my new camera on any caving expeditions ... :)

aostling
04-26-2009, 08:26 PM
I have two Canon Powershots, the A570IS and the G9. Both have the E18 error, described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E18_error. "The error has become notorious in the Canon user community as it can completely disable the camera, requiring expensive repairs."

I didn't know I had the E18 until I installed the ver.req line at the root of my SD card, needed to check for firmware version number as described here: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=33660&highlight=chdk, Evan's reply #19.

I am unaware of any operational problems with these cameras, but the E18 message is disconcerting.

tattoomike68
04-26-2009, 10:47 PM
Canon makes sweet cameras. The Canon powershot A590is is hard to beat for $129. The hacked card software Evan talk about works perfect and the camera is fine without the hack.

Im looking at the powershot D10 thats waterproof to 33 feet. I want to take it sailing on my Hobicat.

dutchw
04-26-2009, 11:19 PM
I have a Fujifilm s2000Hd, I bought it 6 months ago. 15:1 zoom, 10 megapixel, macro and super macro. I have taken several pictures of the insides of old watches as well as a few lathe pictures. Does a super job!! Nice cam!!

dutch w