View Full Version : What to buy? what to buy?

07-03-2004, 10:51 AM
Help! Our daughter is headed off to college in the fall. We'd like to buy her a decent digi cam. She has taken several classes at school, spent a winter taking pics professionally, and has used our Sony and Casio. She doesn't need a top of the line camera but something that is durable and takes decent pics- and doesn't cost an arm and a leg! She won't be printing anything above at the most an 8x10 but more likely 3x5s and the occasionaly 5x7. She would like something smaller and has an aversion to plastic bodied cams. (she can be a klutz) We've done our research but there are just too darn many to choose from! Can anyone here recommend something?


07-03-2004, 10:58 AM
I'd be more then glad to help. If I may at first ask, how much is an arm an a leg? :)

What is your price limit for the whole purchase; memory card, filter, bag, warranty, etc? I do believe I have a few things in mind for you.

07-03-2004, 05:34 PM
Thanks! We were hoping to spend between $200-300 on the camera. The bag and extra memory will be up to her to purchase! Does that sound like a reasonable price range for what we are looking for?

Thanks for your help!

07-03-2004, 06:12 PM
Thank you for the reply... Otherwise I know not what to look for...

You mentioned she used a camera professionally, that would mean she's familiar with full manual, etc. For the 300 dollar price range, nothing, and I mean nothing will outclass the Powershot A80. It's a four megapixel, F2.8 - F4.9, 38-114mm ' almost ' compact camera. As requested, the body is all metal, swivel LCD ( although a bit small ) and it has full manual controls, about impossible to find for this price. Pop em in batteries, focus...all is quite fine, I used one of these for a day and instantly liked it, and I own a dSLR so my bar is sort of raised high. If I had to pick something to drag around everywhere, this would be it. I think she'd like it :)

Another camera perhaps to look into is the Sony W-1, which is priced at $400 retail.

You can find the A80 here:

clicky (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=getItemDetail&Q=&sku=300529&is=REG&si=feat#goto_itemInfo)

Jeff also wrote a very nice review on it :)

07-04-2004, 08:35 AM
Looking for at least a 5X zoom, auto focus assist lamp, at least a 2" LCD, and very fast shutter speed. Would have bought the Sony w-1 except for the lack of zoom and would prefer a bit larger camera.
Any ideas out there?


07-04-2004, 08:48 AM
It might be a strange offer, and the camera isn't new, but I swear by it being the best 5 megapixel. It also has 5x zoom, f/2.0-2.4, and an almost 2.0, a 1.8in LCD, and hologram AF focus, which is excellent. It's also not expensive anymore :)

I have over 25,000 shots on mine, it's still going very strong.

Sony F717 (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/sony/dsc_f717-review/index.html)

07-04-2004, 08:57 AM
Have thought of the Sony 717--actually made sure to hold it and use it but wasn't 100% sold on the somewhat cumbersome design., Would probably get accustomed to it if I owned one.
Then again--Jeff knows what's coming up and whether or not we will see our mythically perfect camera in the next month or so...

07-04-2004, 11:23 AM
Thanks Nick! I checked out the A80 and was really enthused until I got to the part that it only takes pics in jpeg- not RAW or TIFF. Our daughter is proficient in PhotoShop and loves to play with her pics there. Jpeg would limit there suitability for that purpose.

However- its' still in the running. Any comparable cam's that take in RAW or TIFF? What do you think about the Elph series?

Thanks again,

07-04-2004, 11:51 AM
I may be wrong - but I think anything that is capable of shooting in RAW/TIFF and NOT locking up the camera while it writes to the card, a larger buffer, whatever else required for that, etc, is going to cost you more.

Elph series are small and cute - in fact, they kind of look like the expensive designer camears, with a very fine build and small, all metal body. However, they lack the manual controls the the A80 provides, and they cost more, for the 4MP S410, $400, and for the 5MP S500, $500, a little more or a little less for both, depending where you look. Despite being point and shoot, they do take great photographs, though. No RAW or TIFF, however.

I have a suggestion for you; 35-280mm lense, F2.8-F4, 5MP, RAW/TIFF;and every other possible manual option you could will for; Nikon Coolpix 5700 (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/coolpix5700-review/index.html)

Sold for about 700, but don't let that frighten you away. Nikon is currently offering a $150 dollar mail in rebate, which brings it down to about 550. I know that's kicking your budget in the shin a bit, it seems to be a very fine deal for an excellent camera. You can download the rebate from either of the two places, PDF file. B&H offers it on their site, the rebate, but it took forever to download so I'll host it for you. Here or here:

Nikon CP Rebate ( link one ) (forest-of-october.net/misc/Nikon_CP_Rebate.pdf)
Nikon CP Rebate ( link two ) (nick.x-istence.com/Nikon_CP_Rebate.pdf)

Your thoughts?

07-04-2004, 02:32 PM
Thanks Nick. I hadn't realized that RAW or TIFF would be a problem. I have an older Casio QV-7000sx that has never had a problem with it. Danged pain in the arse to download pics to the computer but not a problem recording at any resolution or file type.

I'll speak with daughter tonight and see what she thinks. However I know that too much over $300 will be out of our range- we still have to pay for college! <G>

Thanks for your help. If you can think of any other cam's that might work -send away!


07-04-2004, 02:49 PM
I'm afraid I'm a bit out of suggestions, I'm sorry.

Perhaps she'll agree to pay for some of it too - whatever you don't cover.That's how I negotiate into buying things with my parents http://www.spammers-paradise.com/forums/html//emoticons/whistle.gif

Glad I could orient you in some direction, though. Maybe someone else has some thoughts? http://www.spammers-paradise.com/forums/html//emoticons/smile.gif

07-04-2004, 07:47 PM
I owned the A80, and it is a fantastic camera, but when I was ready to upgrade, I went with the Olympus 5050. I bought it Refurb'd on EBay for around $350 (that still seems to be the going price). It has a super sharp f1.8 lens, and every manual control you could want housed in a built-like-a-brick metal body. It also takes pictures in raw and tiff. Though I've upgraded again to a DReb, I still keep the 5050 as my backup, and use it often. I highly recommend it.

07-04-2004, 08:36 PM
chris... I have been researching cameras like crazy for months. I was waiting on the canon s60 to come out and check it out. lots of good feedback on it . another thought would be the new kodak dx7440. lots of manual control, 4x optical zoom, only 9.5 ounces and a full retail price of 349. the canon's full retail is 500 but i hear it's on dell much cheaper and no tax. another option is to get the camera you want at like best buy or circuit city with 12 months no interest financing.

07-05-2004, 06:17 AM
You may also want to consider a Minolta s414. 4MP, all metal, manual controls, tiff mode, 4x zoom, and an amazing bargain at <$250 new (do a search on Pricegrabber.com). The only complaint I've heard is that it eats batteries, but a set of 2300mah AA rechargables should take care of that. The 414 was one of the finalists in my search when I bought my A80. The A80 won because I found an amazing (25% off) open package deal at my local Best Buy.

07-05-2004, 06:22 AM
One last suggestion, I promise... A Canon S50. Has all of the features previously mentioned in a fairly compact metal chassis, and has been well reviewed. Go Refurb'd and you can get it for $350. New from around $450. http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=703590/search=canon%2520s50

07-07-2004, 09:58 PM
Thanks to everyone who offered advice and experience. My daughter decided, with some coaching, on the Canon A75. She really really likes the S series (having used them) but once presented with the "which would you really be upset if you lost" argument she decided to give the 75 a try. We're going to pay a bit more and buy it at a brand name store so if she is unhappy with it we can return it. Then we'll look for a refurbed S50!

One thing I found is that Ebay has a TON of dc's on it! Wow.

Thanks again for the help!