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Been thinking it's time to get a digital camera. I know nothing about them. I am pretty good at figuring things out though. So, what's a good, easy to use, affordable (300-500$), camera. What should I be looking for and where is a good place to buy, online or not?
 

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I love love love the Canon Digital Elph line of cameras. Very small, rugged, fully featured, and takes great pictures with smooth tones. I'm a firm believer that the smaller the camera is, the more it will get used, by virtue of the fact that you will be willing to stick it in your pocket and take it with you more frequently.

I bought the Canon PowerShot S100 (the first Digital Elph) years ago when they first came out. Since then, they've introduced many iterations of the line, and each one has gotten better, while the price has remained about $400. I'm still using my original (getting my money's worth!), I've taken literally thousands and thousands of photos with it. All my friends & relatives have bought the various successors to mine, and all have been very happy. I think I've personally sold something like 6 or 7 of these cameras.

Definitely see DPReview for the best possible camera comparison and research website.
 

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I agree with jester. Anything that canon makes you will be happy with. They produce superior optics and overall feel and design are very nice too. They are usually compact and durable. I have 4 canon cameras, of various types (digital, film, video, etc) I am happy with each. I also enjoyed my older Olympus, but am not too sure what they are producing lately.
With your price range you should be able to get something with 3x OPTICAL!! zoom (dont fall for that digital BS) and 4 or 5 megapixels.

enjoy
 

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There are many good ones out there. Look for price and megapixels. Mine is a Canon with 1.3 megapixels. When I bought it a few years ago I thought I did alright. Now you can get 2.4 megapixels on up for less than I paid for mine. Still, it suits my needs perfectly. I wouldn't be more happy with it if I'd paid 3 times as much and it had 5 times the megapixels. Look for good deals through Best Buy, Comp USA, etc. Check the Sunday paper for some good deals locally.

I wouldn't pay too much for one. They all have more lights, bells, and whistles than you will ever care to use. If you want a fancy one with lots of features, you can get a fair one for the price range you quoted. You can also get a darned good one that suits most needs for around $200. Kodak usually has a good value, but Canon, Olympus, etc., make good cameras too. I don't think I've ever heard anything bad about any of them. Of course, everyone thinks the one they have is the absolute best brand to buy!
 

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you should be able to get at least 4.0 megapixals in your price range. i have a minolta dimage S404. 4.0 megapixels .about 450.00. i love it. randy :)
 

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I personally went with Sony because of their battery pack. I had a fuji before (for 2 days) and I was unhappy because I was swapping out the AA batteries every 30-40 pictures (indoor christmas pictures using the flash.) My Sony gives me about 140 pictures between charges and there is a car adapter to charge the battery while I'm on a trip with the family. The camera I bought writes the pictures to a mini cd-r or cd-rw. I paid 425 for it. I likes it lots!

My dad has a 5 megapixel Sony and he loves it, too. The interesting thing is that he says he rarely takes photos at that resolution because he gets excellent print quality at the lower resolutions.

Well, theres my input on this matter, I hope its helpful...

BTW, I hated all Sony products until I used a Sony digital camera. Now I hate all of them except the cameras...
 

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I only needed one good enough to get pics online, so I bought a Fugi Finepix 1400 Zoom 1.3 mega pixels from overstock.com. It is a refurb that has performed flawlessly. One important consideration for me was to have manual(optical?) zoom. My camera has digital zoom, also. You may also want to research storage media and battery type. If short films are important to you, look for that. I think I only paid $120 for mine and it is perfect for ehay pics.

Search Yahoo for sites that have reviews of cameras. The good ones have sample pictures. I know there is 1 or 2 really good sites out there, but I can't remember the addys.
 

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I've had a few dig camera's and recently picked up a Sony 3.2 and love it. Liked it so much bought one as gift recently. Another plus is price has dropped since I purchased mine to about $320.00, just simple easy to use,small and plenty happy with qauity of pic's. I do have anth=er Sony thats the bigger mini disk version thats like 5 mega pixals but haven't touched it since bought the new one as too big and bulking in comparission.

Just my 02
Mark
 

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Go to www.dpreview.com. If they recommend or highly recommend the camera, it is a good camera. These guys really scrutinize cameras and they are pretty respected in the digital camera arena.
 

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Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Sony, Fuji, all make cameras that will take good digipics - Here are things to look for :

Rechargeable batteries - digicams eat 'em. Recharge from car is a plus.

Commonly available memory - Smart Media or Compact Flash - and get a card reader that works with your PC.


And the BIG ONE - Make sure it's easy for YOU to use. The best camera on earth is worthless if it's so hard to use that you don't use it.
 

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I just retired my digital camera and I don't expect to ever use it again.

Instead, I bought a Canon Optura200 Mini DV camcorder. It's about the same size as my old digital camera, takes awesome digital stills (records to either a chip or a MiniDV Tape), takes little mini-movies im MPG format, and of course takes movies in full digital with stereo sound. It also has 10X optical zoom, image stabilization, and more digital zoom than the law will allow.

The downside is it isn't in your price range...but it's out there for less than $800 if you look around. Oh...and the digital stills and movie quality are superior to both my old digital cameral (A Konica) and my old camcorder (A Sony 8mm hi-fi).

If you think you may want a camcorder someday anyway...it's something to consider. If you want to just get a digital camera, the one feature that would really be nice would be at least 3x optical zoom. Digital zoom is a wasted feature...if you want to zoom in on something...you need optical zoom.

http://home.earthlink.net/~1_65pony/face.jpg

Phil

p.s. Oh...I just saw you wanted something "easy to use". This thing might not fall into that category. It took me an hour or more to figure it out.
 

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I have a sony that is 3.1 Megapixels, it takes great pics, and uses memory sticks. I bought a stick reader for $20. It takes great pics of all sizes. I think it was $459.
 

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I have a Canon S110 digital elph. Runs about $300-$400 depending on features. 2 or 3 megapixels is about all you'll ever need unless you are trying to take poster-size photos. Canons are simple, easy-to-use and are a good bargain. The small size of the elph really does make it easy to take anywhere. Definately buy a 2nd battery so you'll never be without one. I've taken thousands of pix and it is very reliable. You won't regret it.

Enjoy!
 

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I just went through the process of deciding on a new digital camera and placed my order 3 days ago. There are lots of different camera lines out there at all price ranges and features. For the kind of $$$$ in your budget, you have many excellect choices.
I suggest you give some thought to the type of use the camera will get to help narrow your focus on features that are necessary. Next, go to a local retailer to actually pick up, hold, and touch them to see what fits you comfortably. Once you've narrowed the field down somewhat, go to this site and check out the reviews and comparisons:

http://www.consumersearch.com/www/photo_and_video/digital_cameras/reviews.html

As far as chosing the actual vendor, you've got many choices, from major retailers (like Circuit City and Best Buy) to [censored] auction to East coast mail order places. In my estimation, the mail order places often have the best value if you find one that is reputable (not always an easy task!!).
No matter where you decide to shop, make sure you ask these questions:
Is the camera a brand new or refurbished?
Is it a USA retail camera or gray market (no factory warranty with gray market)?
What type of batteries does it use (rechargeable or generic AA)?
What type of media card does it use (technology and price being the differences)? You will need to buy additional memory card(s) as the standard size is just not enough.
What is the OPTICAL Zoom (ignore digital zoom for this question)?
How many megapixels (ability to blow picture up to 8x10 or larger requires at least 3.0 megapixels)?
How much is shipping and handling (if any)? You'll be amazed about the rip offs out there!!
If you choose a mail order outfit, be aware that many of them are corporate siblings that offer different prices on the same camera!!! For example, I chose Beach Camera in New Jersey and it turns out that BuyDig is a sibling and both are subsidiaries of Worldwide!!!
In any event, I chose the Canon G2 for its features and performance, expandability, and, due to the fact that it has been on the market for 2 years, newer models have pushed its price down quite a bit. Last Friday's price was $384.00 plus $12.95 shipping and handling. Within 2 hours of ordering, I received a confirmation with Fed Ex tracking number that my camera had shipped. Should be here by the 20th.
It took me about 2 weeks of research to get to the point where I felt I knew enough to make an intelligent purchasing decision. Good luck.
 

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I just spent about 3 weeks doing research on this. I ended up with a Canon A60. It had it all.

3x optical zoom
superior pic clearity
AA rechargables (not $$ custom)
compact flash memory (fast and cheap)
rolling pic numbers so you dont overwrite pics
pics sorted into folders by date shot
works with WinXP (a lot don't)
video output
will connect to any WinXP without software (good for family reunions)
super macro (TWO inches)
easy to turn flash on and off (one button, no going through 10 menus)
good low light pics

I got it at Walmart after trying to buy it on ehay for a week but got tired of all the non-usa versions and referbs. I did buy a 256mb card of ehay though. try http://www.pcphotoreview.com they have great user reviews and actual pics to compare.

FYI, be sure to read the fine print, MANY of the 2+ mega pixel cameras are really just 2m with software multiplying. look for the CMOS number (2.1 CMOS) that will be the real value.

James
 

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Too many replies to sift through, so I'll toss in my 2 cents. I bought a Canon Digital Elph S200 (2.0 megapixels) and upgraded from teh stock 8mb memory card to the 256mb memory card. The larger memory card was the best $60 I've spent. The battery will last for about 150 pictures or so, the card holds around 300. USB makes fro easy downloading and the battery takes maybe an hour or so to recharge.

TK
 

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My Canon A40 takes great pictures. After all the research I did, everybody gave it high marks as an allaround everyday camera. For the price I think it's a great buy. I think you can get it now for around $200.

2 megapixel
Compact flash
USB
DC input

Chris
 
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