Digital Cameras (Sean Sefranek please read!)

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Sam Posten, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1997
    Messages:
    21,077
    Likes Received:
    1,939
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
    Real Name:
    Sam Posten
    Sean was showing off his beauty of a new camera at Scooterpalooza, and I think it's pushed me over the edge to grab one to complement my Nikon 8008s. I've been reading up for the last few days, on the web, looking over a few models and I'd like to get the HTF's picks on current models. I also dont want to start a film versus digital freak out =) I appreciate the qualities of both and both have their place.

    I think at this point my top picks are the Canon G4 (I think that was the one Shawn had) and the Nikon Coolpix 4300, but I could be swayed by good reviews and feedback. PC magazine did a nice multi-camera review this month so I've already seen that. Other web sites and online reviews are appreciated.

    Goals for this camera:

    - Mostly for online use. Dont expect to need many paper transfers.

    - Max image resolution doesnt need to be huge. 1600x1200 is about the largest I'd ever consider using, and rarely.

    - Internal memory isnt a consideration, I anticipate purchasing multiple SDRAM cards.

    - Color accuracy is high importance, fill flash modes are a bonus but not critical.

    - Manual focus & override of F stops a bonus but not critical

    - Autofocus reliability is a moderate concern

    - External LCD quality/size bonus but not critical.

    - Build quality is high priority. I am used to the quality of Nikon...

    - Pocket size/fit isnt huge but would be nice. I can live with the size of the Coolpix for example but shirt pocket storable is a bonus.

    - Price is a moderate concern. I'd obviously rather spend $200 than $400, and cant possibly see spending over $500.

    EDIT: Add

    - Battery reliability and rechargability moderate to high concern. This is one thing that I have seen bad reviews levied at the Nikon Family.

    - Video capture is NOT a factor at all. Will be exclusively for stills.

    - Bundled software is not a concern.

    Anyway, comments good or bad on any current model are appreciated.

    Sam
     
  2. Eric_E

    Eric_E Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2002
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    0
  3. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2001
    Messages:
    3,425
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    The Island, Canada
    Real Name:
    Rich Travale
    The first thing that hit me was the fact that you don't want a higher rez than 1600x1200. The G4 would be way overkill if that's a fact. You might want to look for a Canon G3 or even a G2. I would also look at the Canon digital Elph models. Possibly the S230 or S330. I have the Canon S200 which I think is pretty awesome.
    I second what Eric wrote, DPreview is an awesome resource.
     
  4. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    Messages:
    280
    Likes Received:
    0
    Since you're asking, here's my take.
    If all you want to do is post and E-mail your shots, save yourself the cash by going with something with lesser CCD output.
    Get all the contenders into your hands. Some will "feel" right, others won't.
    Make sure to opt for one that offers decent optical zoom from quality optics,....and move LCD quality way up on your list of priorities!
    Digicams offer an enormous number of features/settings in any number of menus best viewed on the LCD display. The vast majority are next to useless in outdoor conditions. Get the contenders outside.
    Smaller screens can have a hard time giving you any idea of what you just captured, or seeing what menu you are in, even indoors. What looked properly exposed and crisp in the field is often wastebasket material when viewed on your computer's screen. Effective, accurate auto-focus and auto-exposure abilities are far more important than you'll initially believe.
    If I could narrow it down to only one suggestion? Judge them by their "point and shoot" capability. Shoot from the hip just as you would with a generic point and shoot film camera and see which ones get the job done. You'll be surprised how many aren't up to the task.
     
  5. HienN

    HienN Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is no Canon G4 camera. There is a G3 and a G5, but no G4 (4 is considered an unlucky number in many Asian countries including Japan, so Canon skipped it in their number scheme).

    Either one would be too large to be a true pocket size camera. The next smaller size would be an A60 or A70, and they are arguably pocket size. Ultra compact are cameras in the ELPH series like the S400.
     
  6. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1997
    Messages:
    21,077
    Likes Received:
    1,939
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
    Real Name:
    Sam Posten
    Thanks all for the excellent tips.

    Sam
     
  7. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 1998
    Messages:
    3,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    You basically described the Canon A60 which along with the 3MP A70 get rave reviews. I own the A60 and am extremely happy with it. Its got all the manual modes to play with and you can purchase addional lenses and other neat things for it that most similar digial camera's don't offer (wide angle and telephoto are two I'm interested in). Battery life is very good as is color rendition.
     
  8. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 1998
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a fellow Nikon 8008s user and just got a digital camera as a gift. A 4MP Kodak LS443. I wasn't really looking for a digital camera, but since I got one, I'll play with it!

    Just started with it so still exploring what the camera can do. I'll try to go through your points.

    Resolution is big, bigger than what you're looking for, the one sample pic which I will post a URL to is 1632 x 2448 pixels. The resolution can be reduced to fit more pics on the memory card.

    Takes MMC or SD cards, pretty wide variety of those available, not that terribly expensive.

    Color accuracy seems to be very good. Here's a pic I took the other day. Flash overpowers the center a bit, but it gives you a good idea of the colors it captures as well as the resolution / granularity of the image. This is full resolution, not reduced or cropped or anything.
    Still Life (700k pic for low bandwitch peeps)

    No manual focus or F stop override. It does have 'multi zone AF' or 'center spot AF'. One pic I took was a bit out of focus because the multi zone AF is the default. I'm more used to the center spot AF just like with our Nikon's.

    External LCD seems decent, though by default it is turned off for longer battery life. Easy to turn on for an individual picture (just tap a button), or turn it on always in the setup menu. Outdoor visibility is OK.

    Build quality is good. Solid feeling camera. Not super tiny, about like a 35mm point'n'shoot only not as wide.

    Only weird thing about this camera is charging it. It came with a docking station and a power cable. If plug in the docking station and place the camera on there, it will recharge the battery. If you plug in the power cable directly to the camera, it will not recharge the battery. You can get a charger for the battery, but that's a bit of a pain as you have to pull the battery out. But since the camera was free...

    Camera will do video capture, even though you said you don't care for it.

    Bundled software seems OK, has some basic editing features.

    Other neat feature of this camera - it has a video out to display pics on a TV. This is configurable to be NTSC (US standard) or PAL (european). Neat to be able to display things overseas.

    Hope that helps,
    Andrej
     
  9. Steve Ridges

    Steve Ridges Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2000
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    0
    I second the dpreview.com recommendation. It's a great site.
     
  10. HienN

    HienN Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
  11. Shawn Sefranek

    Shawn Sefranek Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1998
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry for the late reply Sam. I just noticed this thread.
    Maybe I would have seen it sooner if you spelled my name correctly. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The camera I have is the Canon G3 and I love it.
    It makes some major improvements over the G2, but it’s not much different from the G5.
    The major difference is the G5 does 5-Megapixel while mine does 4 Max.
    Like I told you on Saturday that doesn’t matter to me because I don’t use the highest resolution anyway.

    I took 100+ pictures at Scooters and have sent most of them to Ron.
    But don’t judge these too closely because Ron will probably shrink the heck out of them for bandwidth purposes.

    Here’s a great review of the G3:
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong3

    Go here for all the specs from Canon:
    http://www.powershot.com/powershot2/home.html

    And here’s two JPG’s I found of the camera.

    Shawn S


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    8,826
    Likes Received:
    220
    Real Name:
    John
    Shawn, the picture with the flashing STOP Access Denied is pretty cool.
     
  13. Shawn Sefranek

    Shawn Sefranek Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1998
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  14. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1997
    Messages:
    21,077
    Likes Received:
    1,939
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
    Real Name:
    Sam Posten
    Thanks Shawn, sorry about the spelling!

    Sam
     
  15. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1997
    Messages:
    21,077
    Likes Received:
    1,939
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
    Real Name:
    Sam Posten
    First, I just wish there was a website as thorough and as polished as dpreview for every one of my hobbies. I had seen that site about 6 months ago and remember it as being truly outstanding, but looking more seriously at digital cameras this time around it is a WORLD CLASS resource.

    I am excitedly awaiting their review of the A80, the initial information looks intriguing but I want to see the whole spiel... Additionally it didnt seem to include a MSRP on it, I assume it will fall somewhere in between the A70 and the G3.

    So far tho, unless the a80 absolutely knocks their socks off, I am leaning towards the G3. I was very impressed with it in the short time I got to look at Shawns, and doubly so looking at the dpreview write up, it definitly seems worth the $150 premium it got over the A70...

    Thanks again for the excellent info!
    Sam
     
  16. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    11,884
    Likes Received:
    849
    Location:
    Michigan
    I am very happy with my Canon PowerShot G3. I have only owned it a few months, but the camera was given a great workout on our vacation a couple of weeks ago. It's an excellent fully automatic camera, but also provides lots of manual control when you need it. I've printed photos up to 8.5x11 size that look stunning.
     
  17. HienN

    HienN Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  18. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 1997
    Messages:
    19,345
    Likes Received:
    291
    Real Name:
    Cees Alons
    Sidenote: if a picture is blocked by a site, this may enable you to get it anyway:
    (1) right-click on the attempted picture and open 'Properties',
    (2) copy the URL of the picture,
    (3) paste or type it in the address field of your browser, hit ENTER. Probably you can see the picture now.
    (4) Hit BACK to return to the HTF-page. The picture most probably is there now in place. Don't REFRESH.
    BTW, this also explains why the original poster (like Shawn Sefranek in this case) doesn't notice the absence of the picture.

    On topic: I second (or 'third') the reference to dpreview.com. Excellent site, really.

    Cees
     
  19. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1997
    Messages:
    21,077
    Likes Received:
    1,939
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
    Real Name:
    Sam Posten
    Thanks Cees!

    Hmm, if the MSRP of the A80 is $499 its not gonna leave much wiggle room to be cheaper than the G3.

    http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_g...25ae28364e5123

    Shows a lot of vendors (Some I even trust!) with the G3 well under $499

    Size/weight is not a factor. I am used to using the Nikon 8008 with manual telephoto lenses that weigh a ton.

    Sam
     
  20. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    11,884
    Likes Received:
    849
    Location:
    Michigan
    Posten,

    I purchased my G3 from www.beachcamera.com , which has one of the lowest prices in your Pricegrabber search. The transaction was handled to my satisfaction.
     

Share This Page