March 15, 2005

Which digital camera?

I know that many of you out there are very knowledgeable about cameras and so I am coming to you, putting my faith in you, and asking for advice.

I want a digital camera. I have been taking photos with a long lens SLR for a while now which I do enjoy, but I can't take it out with me and its a little on the large size for things like walking trips or cycling.

So, the small digital camera it is. I have about £160 to spend and I want at least 4m pixel resolution (would prefer 5 or more), optical and digital zoom and all the basics. Wouldn't mind options to manual control, but am not so bothered. the pixels are the important issue.

I spoke to someone at London Camera Exchange a while back but he was just trying to get as much money out of me as possible and I would prefer to get the best for as cheap as possible (doesn't everyone?)

So, what do you recommend?

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  1. Steve Rumsby

    What do you take photographs of? That might make a difference to the sort of camera recommended. The fact that you currently own a long lens SLR (how long?) suggests you do more than just take snaps.

    15 Mar 2005, 15:49

  2. Think the digital would be mostly for just snaps. I'd want it for holidays and nights out but also for nice scenic pictures.
    When I want specialist photos I'd probably still use the long lens

    15 Mar 2005, 15:59

  3. Steve Rumsby

    It should certainly be possible to get something decent within your budget. The first place to look is Digital Photography Review. In particular, do a "feature search" in their buying guide, and see what comes out. There will probably be quite a lot. Some will have detailed reviews, some will have opinions submitted by people who own the cameras. Read these for any you like the look of. Then go to somewhere like Amazon or Ebuyer

    to get an idea of prices.

    I've never looked very hard at compact digital cameras, so I can't recommend anything specific. One thing I will say is don't get too hung up on the number of pixels. I recently bought my first digital camera, after years of holding back waiting for something I thought would be good enough. I was eventually persuaded to compromise, specifically in the area of resolution, and I now wish I'd taken the plunge earlier with a lower spec camera! I've been very surprised at how well my pictures have printed even at large sizes. They're better than I expected given that I was holding out for more resolution. Certainly get a camera with as many pixels as you can, but don't put that requirement so far above others. If you want other facilities, be prepared to sacrifice a little resolution to get them.

    18 Mar 2005, 10:11

  4. random

    with 4 megapixels, you could print at about A4 before the number of pixels became an issue. A4 is pretty big, and if its just for snaps of nights out etc, Steve is right, the pixel count isn't all that important.

    The amount of (optical) zoom, features (such as manual control of the apeture and shutter speed), and lens quality are more likely to be the limiting factors of the camera. Shop assistants and magazines are unlikely to tell you that of course, as they're difficult factors to quantify and its so much easier for them to tell you "you should buy this one, its got more pixels".

    As well as pixel resolution, there is a resolution set by noise on a digital camera. This has a similar effect as the grains on a film, which I'm sure you'll be familar with if you use your SLR for any black and white photography. This often means the digital zoom function on most cameras is fairly useless, no matter what the pixel count.

    21 Mar 2005, 04:48

  5. I managed to get a Sony CyberShot DSC-P100 a couple of months back from eBuyer for a low price, think it was about £170. 5.1MP, Carl Zeiss optics, comes with a 32MB Memory Stick, but I picked up a 256MB MS Pro from ebay for about £30. It's an extremely good camera, I'm very impressed. Doesn't have the same degree of manual control as my previous Canon PowerShot A40, but then, I never used half the features of that one anyway!

    24 May 2005, 13:21

  6. thein

    You should get the Fuji FinePix F455 because of the 5.2 million pixels that can record fine detail so that when you blow it up to A4 size it still look like a photo taken from a conventional film camera. It also has 3.4x optical zoom, extra large 2-inch LCD - a good point-and-shoot solution. Small for the pocket or handbag.


    24 Aug 2005, 19:09

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