Good 3.2MP compact camera for hiking

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Jay H, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    A friend of mine is really interested in getting a digicam for hiking. She wants to have something compact, runs on AA batteries, has video recording capabilities AND audio and is a good camera.

    I told her the Canon A75 is a nice camera that satisfies all the needs but think I want to tell her a variety that she can pick. I was looking at some of the really small ones such as the

    Nikon Coolpix 3100
    Minolta DiMage X31

    It seems that both of them do not record Audio, the DiMage X31 looks really interesting as it has a funky non-telescoping lens for the 3X optical zoom, has a built in lens cover whic is nice. All run on AA batteries. The Minolta doesn't have a video out, which I tend to use alot when I'm over friends to do a slide show... The A75 is probably the largest of them, and the heaviest of them, bein that it takes 4 AA batteries.

    I haven't had a chance to check out the Fuji, Kodak, Epson, etc offerings, anybody have any good input on cameras? She seems to really want the ability to record audio too but I'm open to all suggestions...

    Jay
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    If budget is a concern, the A75 is around $200 at any retail store, and it not only uses AA batteries, but Compact Flash cards which are dirt cheap nowadays.

    I have an A70, and don't find it heavy at all (then again, I've used to it, and it's light and lean compared to my Canon S1 IS, which is a bit bulkier due to the lens).
     
  3. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Thanks Patrick, I didn't mean "heavy" as absolute, I meant heavy as relatively compared to the 3100 or the X31. Those two use only 2 AA batteries. The A75 is certainly lighter than my Canon G3 which I like a lot but is kind of bulky for hiking even though I do it all the time.

    Jay
     
  4. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Upon further review, it appears that I'm comparing an old model.. Nikon has a 3100 replacement, the Coolpix 3200 which is more comparable to the Canon Powershot A75.

    The differences I see

    Canon has a slightly larger LCD screen, uses 4 AA versus 2.
    Canon has a lenscap and lanyard (pain!) vrs the built in lenscap on the Nikon.

    Compact Flash (canon) vrs internal memory + SD card (nikon).

    Both do video (640x480 either QT or AVI) and sound
    Both seem to have a nice smattering of various modes, panoramic or stitch assist type modes, Night shooting modes.

    The Canon accepts a conversion lens, the Nikon doesn't.

    I'm still leaning towards the Canon having used Canon's software and having a G3. Anybody comment on Nikon's software package or the 3200 itself? Money is an issue and I like the fact that CF cards, having been around a while, are cheap. Speed/bandwidth is not an issue because we're talking nature/landscape photography for the most part.

    Jay
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    If you're going to do video, you're going to want to be able to buy large capacity cards for cheap, and that would make the Compact Flash cards an even better option, moreso that other card memory types where the $/MB is higher.

    As far as 4 AA vs. 2 AA, more battery life is also good if you want to use the video mode as well.
     
  6. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    The Canon S1S is supposed to be good for recording video; that is, as far as still cameras go. It also has a nice 10x optical zoom and an image stabilizer, which might be handy when taking still photos.

    Keep in mind that MiniDV camcorders eat storage space at a rate of roughly 15 Gigabytes per hour, or the equivalent of a 512 MB flash card every 2 minutes.
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    No kidding, don't fool yourself into thinking you'll get a lot of recording time with the storage media for digital cameras vs. a real video camera.
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Very true. I think the video modes in digicams are good for those spur-of-the-moment, maybe candid moment, 15-sec clips. Quality is not the real point of it -- and quality will definitely eat up storage space.

    OTOH, it is a bit of a pain to lug around a separate videocam unless you know you'll use it -- probably for an event or something.

    Me? I've pretty much given up on shooting videos. I just find a small set of good photos often tells the story much better than a video plus it's very hard to make a good video anyway -- and you have much more creative freedom w/ photography too. I certainly never used the video features on my Canon G3 and don't miss it at all w/ my Nikon D70. Maybe I should get a big, cheap CF card for my wife's little Canon S230 so we can use it for spur-of-the-moment video clips.

    _Man_
     
  9. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    That's the idea of having a least the capability of video. When I'm hiking Katahdin, I'm not going to really want to lug a digital video camera and a still photo and my priority would be on the stills than video. The video would be more for the crazy summit celebration and stuff. Of course, this isn't for me but we are kindred spirits and she would feel the same way.

    Jay
     

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