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DazzlingSkye
07-26-2004, 09:06 AM
I'm currently looking to purchase a new digital camera. My last camera was a FinePix2600Z and I was very disapointed with the zoom. Also the fact that after 2 years of owning it suddenly 'died' on me never to return.

I'd like to buy a nicer camera for photography class at school. I want the best zoom I can get for under $500. I take pictures mostly of travel and friends. I'd like a camera that has black and white options and can take good portrits. Any advice on what to get would be very appreciated!

Skye

D70FAN
07-26-2004, 10:04 AM
I'd like to buy a nicer camera for photography class at school. I want the best zoom I can get for under $500. I take pictures mostly of travel and friends. I'd like a camera that has black and white options and can take good portrits. Any advice on what to get would be very appreciated!

Skye

In the $500 area you will find some very nice DC's with long-zoom and Image Stabilization (IS) to make those long shots stable.

Normally I would recommend the Canon S1 IS or the Panasonic FZ10, in the sub-$500 catagory, but there is a new crop of cameras from Panasonic (FZ3, FZ15, and FZ20), and a new Minolta (Z3) all with 12X zoom and IS. The main difference is sensor size (3, 4, & 5 MegaPixels).

For 99% of your shooting 3-4 MegaPixels (MP) would probably suffice. If you plan to print your pictures larger than 11 x 17 then 5 MegaPixels might be useful (but may be beyond your budget).

The S1 IS and FZ10 can be purchased for less than $500. I'm not sure about the next gen cameras. Notes: The S1 IS is 3MP and 10X Zoom. The FZ10 is 4MP and 12X zoom. The S1 IS is a little more compact.

If you are in a hurry (need before September/October) then the FZ10 would be my personal choice for an Ultra-Zoom.

As always I suggest a trip to the camera store to try these, and others, and see which camera meets your needs and budget.

I recommend that you convert your shots to B&W, and Sepia, in post processing, using Photoshop Elements or even the software included with most cameras. That way you can have a color master and do whatever you want with it later. That said, the cameras above do have in-camera B&W setting.

speaklightly
07-26-2004, 12:01 PM
George has already made some excellent suggestions. You might add the Olympus C-765 (the smallest ultra zoom digital camera) to that list. Jeff has done a review on that digital camera right on this site.

Sarah Joyce

DazzlingSkye
07-26-2004, 07:43 PM
Thanks a lot! I was actually looking at the Canon S1. I'll look into 'cons' with it unless you know any problems people have had with it?

D70FAN
07-26-2004, 10:30 PM
Thanks a lot! I was actually looking at the Canon S1. I'll look into 'cons' with it unless you know any problems people have had with it?

Nope. It's a good all around ultra-zoom, in a nice medium compact package. Should serve you for years to come.

speaklightly
07-26-2004, 10:40 PM
This digital camera would not be my first and personal choice. It has generally received good, but soft reviews. Who am I to say that?

Well, I do digital camera reviews for PC World, Pricegrabber.com and Techbargains.com. I speak professionally to over 11,200 people each year as a highly ranked digital camera lecturer for many cruise lines. And I am a professional photographer who has been selling her work for just about 50 years.

Those are most probably only rather minor credentials, after all, I am only a "junior" participant here on www.dcresouce.com. However, the choice is yours. If you like the Canon S-1, hon, then go for it.

Sarah Joyce

DazzlingSkye
07-29-2004, 09:31 PM
Thank you both for your opinions! Its really helpful! Does anyone know how the Canon's PowerShot A80 is?

And Speaklightly I'm curious what an 'digital camera lecturer for many cruise lines' does? That sounds like a really interesting job. Especially since I'm a girl who used to want to be a marine biologist (so I love the ocean (and cruises)) loves photography (clearly) and spends most of her time acting (which for a career will translate into some sort of public speaking)

Thanks
Skye

D70FAN
07-29-2004, 11:20 PM
Sarah, thanks for your insight.

I would be interested to hear which camera you would recommend in the S1 IS stead. Seriously. I am not being a wise guy, I would just like to know what someone with your credentials would buy.

Most of the seniors here are only senior because we have been here a while.

D70FAN
07-30-2004, 02:52 PM
Thank you both for your opinions! Its really helpful! Does anyone know how the Canon's PowerShot A80 is?

Thanks
Skye

The A80 is also a good camera, but for a non-ultra-zoom, and price/performance, I still like the A75. At $299 MSRP it's a good all-around digital camera. Every time I go into a camera store I find myself playing with the A75. The last time I actually reached for my Visa, but my wife reminded me that I promised the D70 would be my last digital camera (my fingers were crossed).

A camera that I am hoping stays true-to-form is the new Panasonic FZ3. At $399 this would actually be a good alternative (cost/performance) choice to the Canon S1 IS. Since it is not out yet, and I have not personally used it, I can't really recommend it (but the older FZ10 is a blast, and another Visa card magnet).

So if you are patient, there are several new low cost, but nice, cameras comming out by the end of summer.

Panasonic FZ3/FZ15/FZ20.
Fuji E500 and E501
Minolta Z3

We will see how these do in the reviews/testing, and I am looking forward to some hands on time with them as well (I have to leave the Visa at home).

If patience is not one of your virtues, then:

The S1 IS for a compact ultra zoom (with Image Stabilization),

The Panasonic FZ10 in the not-so-compact ultra-zoom (with IS) catagory

And the A75 for a low cost, fun, portable all around.

Final note: Try before you buy, and your preferences may not follow mine. I am just trying to suggest a good starting point.