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Life in Madison, photos

Looking for a new Digital Camera

To be more honest – I’m looking for three new digital cameras but I will buy just one.

I have an Olympus C3030 zoom which I like quite a lot. It is a few years old. It is slow to start up and slow to fire. It does take very nice pictures but the resolution is low (3Meg) compared to today’s cameras. It is a good size for carrying around town or on hikes. But this isn’t the one I want to replace.

I would like to get a really good digital SLR like the Digital Rebel. But this also isn’t the camera I’m looking for right now.

I’m doing a lot of business travel. I would like to find a good small very packable camera. I have a 007 camera from Think Geek. This is very small and quite fun. It takes okay pictures but they are great fun to take.

There are a suite of thin form factor digital cameras. They all have tiny lenses which mean low light gathering capabilities which probably means mediocre pictures. So is there a good camera which is highly packable, travels well and takes good pictures?

I am at the Fuqua Business center at Duke University. The Architecture is gorgeous. The crowd is fun. The woods are pretty. I would like to have a camera with me that I could capture this stuff at reasonable (okay, what do I mean by that?) quality. I will not pack a Digital Rebel for these trips. I don’t even pack my Olympus but I might pack something slightly smaller. If there was a credit card factor camera that takes good pictures, I would just leave it in my laptop bag.

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About jimphelps

Chair, ITANA Enterprise Architect, Sr. IT Architect; UW-Madison

Discussion

7 thoughts on “Looking for a new Digital Camera

  1. Let me know if you find something as I have been in the same frame of mind. I love my Canon Powershot Pro1 I got last spring, but I am finding that it is not as practical as I would like it to be, i.e. putting in a pocket to have for those “must have” shots. Some of the smaller Canon’s look intriguing….

    Posted by ptpdx | January 7, 2006, 4:52 pm
  2. The Rebel is probably not the way to go for pocketable 😉
    Plus switching lenses causes terrible dust problems at times, and you do spend a lot of time post processing. The 20D is a good camera, but it could be better. And often times I don’t have it with me in the car (duh). Anyway.

    The real compacts can be tougher to hold. Taking shots with one hand is out of the question with some because of button placement etc. I have for that reason favored Canon’s A series. One hand shooting no problem. I still have the trusty 3MP A70 (which took well over 10000 images) If I were to get a versatile little one, I ‘ d probably go with the A620 (of the top of my head) for the swivel screen, manual features, AA rechargeable batteries. But that would just be my personal preference for reasons of familiarity, menu structure.

    More compact they have the SD series which reportedly is also really recommendable.

    I’ve seen some other brands & models which I wouldn’t recommend. Menu structure. Features. Handling. …

    By all means I recommend going to the local staples & best buy and handling some of the cameras to see what fits your hand. How intuitive you find the menu. Then perhaps read up at stevesdigicams or dpreview.

    Posted by icerabbit | January 11, 2006, 9:37 pm
  3. PS. My wife picked up a small Casio Exilim EX-Z50 a few months ago. Pretty compact & light. About the size of a 4G iPod (smaller but a bit thicker). 5MP 3x optical zoom. As there are newer models from this series (ZX55 & 57), this model can be picked up on sale at low prices. It was less then $200, for something more pocketable then her advanced Nikon Coolpix 8800. Haven’t used it too much, but it takes decent pictures. Disadvantage is that to charge & download images you have use its dock or eject the SD card and use a card reader.
    This one survived one 4 ft drop with small ding in the bottom of the case. This is her 3rd Casio digital camera. Previous ones were 1MP & 3MP, which had USB connectors, but on the smaller ones they don’t have room left, I think.

    It is reviewed here:
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/ex-z50_pg5.html (multiple pages)

    Actually, that dock probably only works with PC. But I’ve downloaded images via a card reader fine on my system.

    Anyway, a good last year’s model or 5MP might be something to keep in mind perhaps, if you’d like a more economical alternative.

    The T7 is quite a bit thinner. Reviewed here: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/t7_pg5.html

    The thing I’ve always had some dissatisfaction with sony’s (friends gear) are the super sensitive shutter buttons (I can’t push halfway to focus-lock & adjust the framing (which is no problem with Canons)), akward menu, proprietary memory stick types & battery. Though most compacts use proprietary batteries to save space. And most very compacts come with a little brick to charge them. There are still a few average size cameras that accept 2-4 rechargeable AA batteries, which can be an advantage on the road.

    Anyway, just wanted to add that. With so many brands, models and specs it really is a forest out there. So good luck on your camera hunt!

    Posted by icerabbit | January 13, 2006, 9:13 pm
  4. Thanks Icerabbit.

    I’m also interested in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 that was announced at CES. To quote their blurb, “6-Megapixel Digital Camera with MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer, High Sensitivity Mode & 6x Optical Zoom”. It is the same size as my NEW 5G iPod with Video (30gig) though it is 1.77″ thick.

    Watching for a review of this camera. It looks pretty cool. The one draw back has been noise especially at ISOs higher than 200.

    I agree with the AA battery choice. My Olympus uses rechargeable AAs and it is great. My friends Nikon uses a proprietary battery and it drives him nuts when he forgets to charge it before a trip.

    Take care,

    Jim

    Posted by Jim Phelps | January 14, 2006, 10:45 am
  5. I suggest the new Nikon D200. It is a superb upgrade to the highly successful D100. Travels well depending on what lens you will pack: I use a 24-200, Nikon. It is compact. Or sometimes, the 24-120.

    Posted by shashikiran | January 15, 2006, 7:02 am
  6. Here is a possibility. The Canon Digital Elph 550

    and a second Cannon A620

    Posted by Jim Phelps | January 21, 2006, 1:25 pm
  7. Here is another Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX01 – with 10X optical zoom, 5 megapixel.

    http://www.engadget.com/2006/02/14/panasonics-new-dmc-fx01-and-dmc-tz1-digicams/

    Posted by Jim Phelps | February 14, 2006, 9:45 am
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