Which camera?

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  #1  
Old 08-23-07, 04:56 PM
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Which camera?

My wife and her mother are going on a cruise this winter and she wants a point and shoot camera to take with her. She'd like a small camera with at least 6 MP, 4X or more optical zoom, good image stabilization(ease of focusing)is extremely important, and a wide angle lens(28mm).
Can anyone suggest a camera with these features, or perhaps better? Are these the more important things to look for? The emphases is on the point and shoot. Thanks for the help.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-23-07, 07:24 PM
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If you don't have any camera features in mind buying one can be pretty confusing.
There are a few things that might be good to look for.

The first and not always obvious is that it has an optical view finder.
There are an increasing number of cameras out there that only allow you to view the lcd screen when taking a picture which is difficult to do under certain lighting conditions.
Pressing the camera against your face also helps steady it.

AA batteries are an important feature so that you are not tied to a charger for proprietary batteries.

This is just my personal preference but I find the small compact cameras too small to comfortably hold, even though my hands are not overly large.
If they easily slip into a pocket they are too small.

Don't be afraid to get a camera that has many adjustable controls on the body.
Every digital camera has "P" mode which is an automatic setting where you just point and shoot.
You may at some point want to be able to take it out of automatic and experiment with the settings.

Image stabilization is a good feature but I wouldn't dismiss a camera that doesn't have it.
Fuzzy pictures come more from bad exposure than camera shake.
When you are taking a picture in reasonable light or with as small as a 4x zoom basic care when holding the camera will take care of shakey pictures.
It would be more important to know how auto focus works so that you know exactly what the camera will focus on.

I have a personal preference for the A series Canon digital in a point and shoot style.
It is a smaller sized camera but big enough to get a decent grip.
They have a focus assist light for darker scenes and has many adjustable settings if you want to mess around at some point.
The better models have a movable lcd screen that is quite handy if you are in an awkward position, like shooting over heads in a crowd.

I'm sure others will have favorites as well.
 
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Old 08-23-07, 08:55 PM
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Thanks for the reply GregH, you brought up some good points. At what x zoom(optical)do you usually have to use a tripod in order to keep the picture focused? Do you think the wide angle lens(28mm)makes sense? What would you say should be minimum megapixels? I give the Canon site a look tonight.
 

Last edited by cornking; 08-23-07 at 08:58 PM. Reason: grammer
  #4  
Old 08-24-07, 04:06 AM
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A 4x zoom is the equivelant of a 200mm lenses. I have no problems with camera shake when using my dinosaur 35mm with the 70-210 zoom lenses at max (210) and a digital can be somewhat easier to stabilize. Beyond about 5-6x you may have problems hand-holding, but can often alleviate it by artificial support, i.e. leaning on a solid object/surface. A 28mm for wide angle is fairly wide (it's the size I carry for 35mm camera wide-angle shooting); unless you will be going for some panoramic landscape shots (which is somewhat likely on a cruise), 35mm of wide angle is generally sufficient for everyday shots.

My $.02 worth.
 
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Old 08-24-07, 04:22 AM
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Much beyond 4x a tripod or image stabilization would help but this is not the only thing that will reduce the effect of motion.

A lot of motion problems have to do with the amount of light when taking the picture.
If it is bright the camera will have the shutter speed set fairly high which causes the image to be captured very quickly with little or no blur effect.

Image stabilization can be a good thing but don't eliminate a camera you may like that doesn't have it.
Panasonic make pretty decent cameras that has image stabilization on most of their point and shoot models.
What they have done though is eliminate the optical viewfinder!
So, they give you stabilization which has the potential to reduce camera shake but they force you to hold the camera at arms length to take the picture........What could be less steady than that.

It is hard now to find a digital camera with less then five mp which is enough to be able to print a pretty decent 8 x 10.
A 5 mp camera will be able to store just under 400 images taken at the best quality on a 1 gb card.


The actual focal length of a digital camera is different from 35mm film camera and has a different effect on the picture.
Make sure the number you are looking at says "35 mm equivalent".
The standard wide angle setting on most digitals has an equivalent focal length of 35mm.
You would have to search out this feature if you wanted wider than standard.

I would suggest that you go shopping and don't buy anything the first time out.
If you are unsure when you start looking a salesperson could easily sway you into a feature that may not be important to you.
If you look at several different cameras you like and write down the model numbers and price you can go back to the internet and study the features and reviews.

Here is a link to a good site that gives pretty thorough and independent reviews:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/hardware_reviews.html
 
  #6  
Old 08-24-07, 04:55 AM
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Thanks for the replies tow guy and GregH. I think the 28mm is a good idea, and thanks for the advice on the zoom. 'Steves-digicams' is one of the sites we've been looking at, its quite good. We're starting to get a better idea of what to look for.
 
  #7  
Old 08-24-07, 04:44 PM
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FWIW I checked the Comsumer Reports page and the two models they recommend in what you're looking for are both Canon's: Powershot A630 and Powershot A710lS. They are 8 & 7.1 mp, respectively and have 35mm equivelant zooms of 35-140 & 35-210. This might give you a starting point.
 
  #8  
Old 08-25-07, 04:47 AM
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Thanks for the heads-up tow guy.
 
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Old 08-29-07, 12:33 PM
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I just got a new camera this week, a Cannon Powershot SD750, because I lost my camera about a month ago. I didn't really have the money to get another one...but I am really trying to get into photography (as a new hobby)...it only ended up costing alittle over $250...I think I am really going to like it (and I got it at Office Depot bc I really like their return policy - in case anything should happen or I decide I don't like it)...You should look into this camera as well (I have only heard good things about Cannon)...My co-workers actually told about this contest that they think I should enter where you send a photo you took and a brief description of your inspiration behind it and 1800flowers.com could model their next bouquet around it...among other prizes...sounds pretty cool - so we shall see...never really done anything like that before...wish me luck!
 
  #10  
Old 08-30-07, 04:41 PM
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I am a personal fan of Canons. I recommend them to all my friends and family and so far the only person I have met who is unhappy with their digital camera is... the non-Canon owner.

Batteries can go fast, and I find the proprietary rechargeables work best. Sure you have to have the charger or the cord, but you can always recharge if you have access to an outlet. I've seen a non-Canon eat up 4 AAs in hours, even if the camera is not heavily used. Our Canons can go for days of moderate use on a single charge. If you won't be near an outlet for a few days, get an extra battery and keep it charged and on-hand.
 
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