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Which Digital Camera Do You Recommend?

Cliff posted more than 14 years ago | from the choosing-the-best-toy dept.

Hardware 368

Digital Cameras are becoming the rage these days. It seems that now people are opting for the ease of the CCD and the COMPACTflash card over the trusty 35mm film camera, and why not? Gone are the days of paying to have your film developed at the nearby PhotoHourMart. With a digital camera, a laptop, and a decent printer, you are your own photographer, photolab and even publisher. So what digital camera does the Slashdot Readership recommend? Which one offers the best bang for the buck or has the best features? I'd be interested in hearing your opinions.

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Offtopic??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1117140)

Hi. Nobody is saying that digital is ready to replace 35mm. Yet. In the mean time, what part of "Which DIGITAL camera do you recommend?" is giving you the most difficulty? Dang.... and you got a THREE?????? Just goes to show how deep the moderators have to dig to find something to actually score UP these days.

My experience (3)

bmetz (523) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117157)

First and foremost: USB, USB, USB. You will regret
it if you go for a camera that uses a serial link
to connect to your computer. Your only hope then
is usually a CompactFlash card reader that you can
hook up to your PC/laptop.

Speaking of CompactFlash, the camera you're looking at uses it, right? Unless you enjoy proprietary ripoff memory you want to stick to
CF memory. Besides, if you ever feel the urge,
IBM's MicroDrive is CompactFlash..how does a
340 meg hard drive sound in your camera?

Another big issue is Linux compatibility. Your
first stop is to www.gphoto.org to check their
list of supported camera models. Their list is
NOT the definitive list, however! If you can put
up with closed-source software, JCam (www.jcam.com) has a huge list of supported cameras.

And one last note..the Kodak guys have been VERY
nice to me and from the sound of it most other
vendors have been pretty secretive about their
specs/transfer protocols. If you want to support companies that treat you right, keep the linux-friendly-support factor in mind.

Re:When digicams can do 16000x12000, film will die (3)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117161)

Thos grainy photos are just a bad picture... Either because you underexposed or you used bad film. (Like high-speed Kodak Max. Compare Kodak Max 800 to Fuji's 800, the difference is amazing. And if you really care about grains, use ISO 100 or less film.)

Properly exposed good film has a resolution of well over 2000 dots (I think over 3000, even) for 35mm film.

Then you have medium/large format, where you have film that measures on the order of 4x5 inches at a resolution of over 2000 dpi. (I don't recall the specs, but 2000 is being VERY conservative)

For the average home user, a digicam is a good bet. But for a serious (or semi-serious) photographer, a $600 SLR (Like my old Pentax PZ-70, nowadays I could get an even better camera for less) will obliterate a $600 digicam. (Like the Olympus C-2020. It's sweet as far as digicams go, and my mom is giving my dad one for his birthday, but our old Pentax blows it away if you want to do anything more than a basic picture.)

Olympus, Nikon or Canon (1)

jonr (1130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117164)

These 3 always come on top in all reviews regarding image quality and features. The yesteryear cameras are wery good, and now wery cheap (Olympus C2000Z, Nikon CP950, Canon A50, I own A50) They all have decent resolution (1280x960) crystal clear and sharp images (more important than pixel count, IMHO) and good colors. You really should check out sites like Phil Askey's dpreview.com [dpreview.com] or Steve's Digicams [steves-digicams.com] for all the information you want.
J.

Yes there is (1)

jonr (1130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117165)

I'm not sure if you want a camere for underwater job (Olympus has a case for the C2000/3000 range) but Fuji makes one, the DS-260HD "Big Job", it is supposed to be water (splash?) proof and sand proof.
J.

Websites on the matter... (1)

Kabby (1265) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117166)

There are quite a few good websites analyzing and comparing various digital cameras. I wouldn't say one camera is hands-down the winner (although it would seem the great majority of digicam owners have a Nikon Coolpix 900, 950 and soon 990) but one should look at what he or she wants in a digital camera and choose the one that best fits their needs.

I personally find the Canon Powershot series to be quite attractive, and plan on buying one of the two models (s10 or s20) before the end of this year. People interested in controlling the camera's aperture size and the like won't enjoy this camera, however I like its simplicity and image quality. I'll just be taking pictures of my computer and LAN parties anyway (hehe).

Some people say that digital cameras can't replace film cameras. That is true, however for the average user it is truly more convenient, albeit more expensive at first but not necessarily in the longrun (remember, you never have to buy film and rechargeable NiMH batteries last a long time).

The sites you can check are:
Digital Photography Review [dpreview.com] (maintained by Phil Askey), and Steve's Digicams [steves-digicams.com] (maintained by Steve Sanders).

Re:Deja Vu (3)

Matts (1628) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117171)

I think it's going to be a little more fine grained than that - sort of like how noone now records their home movies onto film - the magnetic storage methods are cheaper and simpler... However, there is always a class of people (i.e. professionals) who will always need _real_ film.

I think the same will happen with digital cameras. The old fashioned point and shoot cameras will simply all but disappear, and we'll be left with a choice of digital cameras or high end SLR cameras that professionals (or hobbyists) use. I think there will also be an option to have your digital COMPACTflash card processed at the chemists into glossies.

OK, back on topic... I think there's something still to be said for the Sony Mavica. While floppy's don't hold all that many high quality pictures, there's something to be said if you're on holiday and you fill up your disk - you can just buy a new pack of ten floppys!

Casio QV-3000 3.3Mpix, holds 236 pics list $1k (1)

bobalu (1921) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117174)

I just read some ads for this new Casio with an IBM hard-drive in it, sounded pretty good. 3.3M pixels gives a 2048x1536 (or close) picture resolution, and they said it had an IBM micro-drive that would hold 236 pics (maybe not at high-res). USB, etc. And it looks like a real camera too. Digital cameras have a ways to go before they can really beat std cameras on quality, but this is one I'm tempted to get.

Nikon Coolpix 800 (1)

planet_hoth (3049) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117182)

I recently purchased a Nikon Coolpix 800, and it is an amazing little device. It's specs are: 2.11 Megapixel, 2X optical zoom (software zoom is completely useless, IMO, you can do the same thing in Gimp/Photoshop, and it'll look less pixely,) 1.8 inch LCD, and a threaded lens adapter so you can use telephoto/fisheye lens or filters with it. And it's from Nikon, a camera company with a good reputation.

The image quality is awesome, its about as good as you're going to get for any camera under $1500, I would say. The color tone is comparable to the Kodak cameras, which are the best out there.

The LCD screen is incredibly sharp and bright, even in daylight. It is the best LCD screen I have seen on a digital camera.

It has an automatic mode for point-and-shoot types, and a manual mode with several bells and whistles for people a little more interested in photography. With an up to 8 sec. exposue time, this camera is great for low light conditions (assuming you have a tripod.) It has a really cool feature that will take a bunch off pictures in quick succession and pick the least blurry one to be saved to disk. I use this more than I thought I would.

The camera itself is pretty small and light. It fits confortably in my hands. It looks pretty cool, for what that's worth.

Here's its only drawbacks: The camera only comes with a 8Mb memory card: plan on buying a bigger one if you are going to use this camera much. No USB support (serial is too slow if you're transfering say 32Mb worth of images to your HD.) Some people complain that the flash is too weak. I think the flash is fine for a small camera, but there's no adapter for a larger external flash so be forewarned.

I picked mine up at under $500. It's cheap compared to other digital cameras with the same features. Even the guys at the local camera store said it was a good model! Plus it works great with gphoto (better, in fact than it worked with the windows software that shipped with it!)

Nikon Coolpix 990 (2)

bert (4321) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117186)

The new Coolpix 990 is great (but not cheap at about $900), judging from this in-depth review [dpreview.com] by Phil Askey of dpreview.com.

My experience with digital cameras (1)

mkgray (4935) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117190)

I purchased my first digital camera (a Agfa ephoto307) 3 years ago, and just purchased my second. The Agfa was very nice (36 640x480 pix, long battery life, no LCD) but is a bit outdated by todays standards. When it came out, I had to write my own Linux drivers, but now gphoto supports most cameras.

I just purchased a Kodak DC280, which is an outstanding camera. 2 megapixel images, 2x optical zoom, supports CompactFlash cards, and has stunning image quality. The USB support under linux is even good, making the download times reasonable (~1 second per image) instead of the wait that serial causes (10-40 seconds per image). The "smaller" resolution (896x592) is very good as well.

One common problem with digital cameras is how quickly you can take consecutive shots. On my Agfa, it is several seconds (and it's gotten worse since it was dropped) which can be very annoying. On my Kodak, it still takes a long time to write to the compactflash card, but it has some built in RAM, which allows it to buffer this. So, your "steady state" picture taking rate is still only one every 4-8 seconds, but you can shoot of 2 or 3 in rapid succession before the temporary buffer is full. This is a key feature.

Another one I seriously considered, somewhat less expensive, is the Olympus D-340R. C|Net has some good reviews.

The major features to look for roughly in order, IMHO, are:

gphoto support (or linux driver availability)
Resolution
Pictures stored (and expandability)
Time between photos
Transfer times
Optical zoom
Battery life
Picture quality
LCD UI/other features

Decide what of these is important to you, and read some reviews. As mentioned above, C|Net is pretty good.

Olympus C2000Z (1)

eGabriel (5707) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117191)

I have one of the CxxxxZ series camera, and they
are truly a joy to use. You get a lot of control
over the picture, and while perhaps still not quite as much as a film camera, you'll find most
of the settings you want are available.

There are some lenses available via an adapter also, so no complaints. First I had an Olympus D320L, which is nice for snapshots, but isn't the
serious camera the C2000Z is.

Olympus C-2000Z (1)

heretic (5829) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117192)

I'm very pleased with this camera having used most of the models out there (and having worked on some of the first digital cameras). It has good optics, great resolution, good features, and a very compact size. Some of the controls are a little difficult to use, and the menus are not the best organized, but if you use it in mostly point and shoot situations, its a very good solution. There's a newer model (C-2500) to which I'm considering trading up.

Whoops, that should be Casio, not Olympus (1)

heretic (5829) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117193)

Sorry -- had a brain fart.

Re:wanted: camera with micro hard drive, ethernet (1)

heretic (5829) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117194)

I highly recommend the microdrive. You can get them at CDW [cdw.com] .

Scratch that, it is Olympus (1)

heretic (5829) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117195)

Double brain seizure.

Kodak DC215? (3)

Booker (6173) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117196)

I've seen the Kodak DC215 [kodak.com] for cheap... like $230 online. This is the first time I've seen a megapixel camera with an LCD display for this cheap. In the past, it seemed like digital cameras never got less expensive... new ones would come out, and the old ones, instead of getting cheaper, just seemed to disappear.

Anyone have experience with the DC215?

Also, GPhoto [gphoto.org] should be pointed out... this is one sweet looking app. Great effort by those guys!

---

features (1)

hangdog (8755) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117203)

I have a HP C30. Bought it last year. It of course is outdated now, but I have been very happy with it so far. Some features to keep in mind while searching for a digital camera:
  • Zoom - digital or optical? $$ for a optical zoom. I have hardly ever used my digital x2 zoom because it sucks.
  • Battery life
  • how quickly can the camera take shots? I miss a lot of shots on my current camera because of the low "snap rate".
  • Transfer technology. The C30 uses the serial port. Slow, but I haven't found this to be too big of a deal.
  • Of course picture quality - don't even consider anything less than 1MP
C-Net [cnet.com] has some good reviews.

wanted: camera with micro hard drive, ethernet (1)

jab (9153) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117205)

I keep hearing about these super tiny hard drives that IBM and company make. They're supposed to be about one square inch, and very thin, yet hold several hundred megabytes. That would be great, since it could hold a bizillion pictures (especially if it used a reasonable compression algorithm, like JPEG2000). Then, I'd love to just plug it into my hub's ethernet port and download the pictures from the camera's built in web server (I'd probably use wget to do the job.) Boy, that would be a great camera -- which neatly sidesteps a lot of ugly software issues.

Digital camera experiences (2)

BPFH (12373) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117213)

I am currently into my 3rd digital camera, a Fuji MX-2900. My first one was Fuji DX-7 with 640x480 pixels, then came Olympus D-1400L with 1280x960 and the current one does 1800x1200.

I found the jump from 1280 to 1800 suprisingly small. Experimenting with the new Fuji tends to yield less improvement over the Olympus that I expected. The main reason for the upgrade, however, was not the resolution, but the manual control offered my the latest cameras (manual focus, exposure and aperture).

The Olympus C-2020Z seems to be a very popular choice these days, and this would have been my 1st option had I not got a lean deal with the Fuji.

All of my cameras were supported under Linux (with gphoto / photopc or fujiplay).

The things to look for IMHO are

  • Linux support
  • Optical viewfinder (the LCD does not quite cut it in daylight)
  • Manual as well as automatic focus
  • Manual as well as automatic exposure

YMMV. I'd get an Olympus if I were out shopping now.

Sony Mavica MVC-FD91 (3)

The Famous Brett Wat (12688) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117215)

My Sony Mavica MVC-FD91 is more than a year old now and wasn't exactly a new new thing when I got it, but it's been nothing but a joy to own. The floppy disk medium is very convenient, and the images are stored as JPEGs with an HTML index file. There's barely a computer known to man that has a floppy disk and can't make immediate use of these.

The FD91 was top of the range at the time it was released, and only intended for moderately serious use with a price tag to match. It has an excellent 14x optical zoom (no nasty expanding pixel tricks) and takes photos at either 640x480 or 1024x768 res with two different JPEG compression settings. There's also an uncompressed BMP mode that I've never used. At the tight end of the zoom you can get a whole lot of detail on a fairly distant object, so it's good for taking candid shots that people aren't aware of. This is helped by the camera's "steady shot" feature, that I rarely if ever turn off.

Purists will also be pleased to note that all its features are manually overridable, so you can focus manually if you like. Exposure is automatic, but you can do shutter or iris priority, and expose to the entire scene or turn on the spot meter for high contrast situations. There are several white balance modes as well.

On top of this, it will also do audio/visual MPEG recordings at 320x200 for 15 sec, or 160x100 for a minute. Probably more useful is the "audio annotation" feature where you take an ordinary still with several seconds worth of audio attached as a separate MPEG file. The audio can be a bit artifacty, and it's a "convenience" feature: you'd never mistake it for a serious audio recorder.

All in all the camera is easy to praise. It's easy to use and produces very nice results in most environments. My only gripes about the camera would be that the widest zoom angle is a bit narrow, and I'd like better low-light performance. Not that its low light performance is bad, but I know that CCDs can be really impressive in low light when they want to be, and getting a flash photo to work well can be a bit of a challenge.

I'd love to post a "photo gallery" link for you all, but my poor old 'net link would not stand the Slashdotting.

Disclosure: I used to be a Sony employee, and I got mine on the cheap as an ex-demo unit. Sony retrenched me, so it's not like I feel I have to say nice things about them, though.

SuperDisk camera??? (2)

crow (16139) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117229)

Sony makes the floppy-based cameras.

What about cameras that use the 120Meg SuperDisk? Then you could choose between high-capacity or cheap media (take pictures of your friends and hand them the disk).

It seems so obvious; why don't I see them in stores?

(Or what about Zip disks or even hard drives?)

I've heard rumors of a camera that uses MiniDisc being marketed only in Japan; is that true?

Floppy Disk cameras (3)

crow (16139) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117230)

I've been interested in one of these, and a friend of mine has one.

One thing that I wanted to try was to use superformat to create floppies that use extra tracks and extra sectors per track--virtually all drives will support this, and DOS is happy with it. Unfortunately, the camera flatly refuses to use any of the specially-formatted disks. (I suspect it would take some firmware hacking to get it to work.)

So much for getting a little extra storage.

Nothing beats film and a good SLR Camera (1)

BrownJ (16244) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117231)

For high quality pictures nothing beats a good roll of film and a nice Single Lens Reflex Camera
I'm a geek, however photography and computers don't mix in my own opinon. Some film cameras nowadays are even too advanced for my tastes.
It's hard to beat the resolution, depth of field, and crispness of a good SLR camera. Digital cameras are good for putting a photo on a website, not for vacation photo's, not for any photos.

This is off topic... (3)

Anonymous Shepherd (17338) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117235)

Not to troll or cause flamage, but it really doesn't help the /. reader trying to buy a digital camera; it's interesting, yes, insightful, yes, but also not very useful when one wants to find out about:

  • Quality of the camera
  • ruggedness
  • CCD/image capture quality
  • battery life
  • ease of use
  • reliability
  • support options
  • OSes supported
  • reliability of software
  • transfer speed

Stuff like that.

For example, I've heard from a store that Kodak cameras aren't very well supported from Kodak; a multitiude of Slashdot readers exclaim the praises of their cameras, however.

Then there's Epson's PhotoPC650, and excellent looking camera. HP isn't a great camera, despite their good printers and scanners. Does Epson stack up? Casio's QV2000+ seems a great idea, packing an IBM microDrive.

At least, it seems those are more what the questions was asking for; referrals, recommendations, etc.

-AS

Re:Kodak DC215? (1)

Slothy (17409) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117236)

Yes, I got a Kodak DC215 Zoom a few weeks ago. I absolutely love it and recommend it to anyone looking to get a digital camera.

First off, the pictures are good quality, and the resolution goes up to 1152x864 (or you can do 640x480). There are settings for the "Quality" as opposed to the resolution, and those are "Good", Better", and "Best". Since it saves a JPG, I assume this is just the amount of compression.

The unfortunate part is that it cames with only a 4 meg card. The 4-meg card holds around 12-16 highest res images, and around 32 good quality 640x480 pics.

I personally got a 32-meg card, which holds like 480 640x480 images, or around 115 highest-quality images.

More importantly, the camera has a 2x optical zoom. This means when you look in the view finder (not the LCD screen), you can zoom in and out and see it. This is important as the LCD screens eat battries on any camera. Additionally, they have a "closeup" mode for taking pictures of things that are around 6 inches away.

I have 3 photos that I took with the camera, all completely unretouched and straight off the camera:
First, just a regular shot off my balcony, 1152x864:
http://www.slothy.com/dc215-001.jpg

Next, I did the 2x optical zoom to zoom in as much as possible:
http://www.slothy.com/dc215-002.jpg

Finally, I took a picture of some tree branch using the "closeup" mode:
http://www.slothy.com/dc215-003.jpg

To finish this off, the camera DOES work in gphoto. I get a lot of timeout problems, but if you leave it be, it does the job well.

The two I've had (3)

rm -rf /etc/* (20237) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117245)


WIthout knowing details on what specific features are needed, here's a brief review on two I've owned, the Olympus D-340 and the Kodak DC280.

Olympus
------
+ great case with integrated sliding lense cover
+ ability to store uncompressed tiffs
+ great color, especially in dark situations
+ adjustable ISO setting
+ excellent battery life
+ very sharp preview screen
- way too hard to use, interface sucks
- pictures didn't look as good as the kodak when printed
- serial only
- screen sticks out so it's impossible not to smudge with your cheek

Kodak
----
+ higher resolution
+ 20 MB memory
+ USB
+ good quality printed pictures
+ easy to use interface
- crappy lens cover that falls off all the time
- somewhat slower on taking pictures, has to be held still
- poor battery life, only about 15 minutes of constant use
- crappy preview screen, can't tell how good the picture is

Overall it's a tough call. I think the really really bad battery life of the kodak combined with the useless LCD screen really ruin it. You're probably better of spending a bit more and getting a camera that has the best of both :)

Decent 'help-you-choose' guide (5)

Balfazar (20314) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117246)

I was just looking at digital camera choices yesterday and came across
[activebuyersguide.com]
this handy 'tell us what is important and we'll help you choose a camera guide' at activebuyersguide.com.

It lets you set your priorities/preferences etc. and asks you a series of 'tie-breaker' questions, then spits out several recommendations with full stats.

I found it a helpful starting place.

-- Balf

Re:Sony, Sony, Sony.... (1)

Longing (23218) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117258)

Sonys are okay, but lack basic controls (aperature, etc.) that are available on the Nikon CoolPix 950/990 and the Olympus C-2000Z and C-2020Z.

It's still a decent camera (I have one), but it takes -a long time- to startup, -a long time- between shots (especially if you're using the flash), the battery only lasts an hour, and the 4MB memory stick is laughable.

Fine for web stuff.

DC240 is pretty nifty too (1)

Greyjack (24290) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117259)

The DC240 is pretty dang smooth as well--got one for my folks for Christmas last year. 1280x960, USB, serial, compact flash, etc.

The Mavicas, while the floppy stuff is kinda handy, are sort of big and clunky to hold. While the floppy storage is kind of neat, a single floppy doesn't really hold *that* much; a 32MB (or larger) compact flash chip holds a shitload of pics.

And, for this sort of device, the fewer moving parts the better, I'm inclined to think; I've seen enough cheap-ass floppy drives go bad in PC's that I get a little cagey about having one in a $600 digital camera. (Yes, I imagine Sony's got some pretty good hardward in there, but still).

Overall, from the admittedly limited experience I've had with 'em, the Kodaks are pretty swanky.

The DC240 product page [kodak.com]
Kodak Digital Cameras product page [kodak.com]
--

Re:Kodak DC280 works great with Linux (1)

sparx (25164) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117263)

I recently bought a DC280 as well. It's my first digital camera so I don't have much to compare it against but I have been amazed with the quality of the photographs it takes. Plus it comes with Adobe Photoshop which is pretty good with touching up photographs. It's 2.1 megapixel and cost me $599.

Fuji MX-1700 (2)

alkali (28338) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117268)

I bought one of these primarily because of the form factor: I've been using a Canon Elph, and I couldn't see dragging around something as big as a Mavica. The resolution is reasonably good (topping out 1280 x 1024 in 24 bit color; e-mail me [mailto] for a sample), and I have a USB SmartMedia card reader (less than $40) to transfer the pictures into my laptop or desktop. (The camera also has a very slow serial link; it comes with cables for PC and Mac.) Expect to buy one or more larger SmartMedia cards, as the 8MB card that comes with the unit takes about 11 pictures at the highest resolution, which IMHO is the only setting you'd really want to use it at. Also includes a 3x zoom (tolerable) and 2" LCD screen so you can inspect your pictures and dump bad ones to free up space on your cards.

To me, the main benefit of a digital camera is that because there's essentially no marginal cost to taking pictures, I take a lot more of them, which makes the digital camera more fun.

Current discounted street prices are around $450. FWIW, here's a buy.com link [buy.com] to the camera. I understand that Fuji has higher res models in this form factor now, but you'll naturally pay more.

Re:Why not? (1)

MochaMan (30021) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117272)

First, they're cheaper, and less fragile.

Traditional cameras are most definitely not cheaper. As someone who does a ton of photography, I should point out that most people don't realise it, but most of the cost of owning a camera is paying for film, development and printing.

Second, traditional cameras, are likely to be just as fragile as a digital camera, except that they have more moving parts (shutter screens, rollers, etc.) that can seize up over time. I certainly wouldn't take this into consideration when buying a camera though -- unless I knew it was going to be handled rough.

That being said, my recommendation would be to head over to www.photo.net [photo.net] , Phil Greenspun's excellent photography resource, and check out the ton of recommendations tips and techniques he and reviewers have posted.

Though I don't own a digital camera, I have done a ton of looking in the past few months because I am thinking of getting one to reduce the cost of photography. The Nikon Coolpix is the best I've seen for the snapshot shooter, while the Nikon D1 is the most fantastic SLR I've had the pleasure of checking out. Nikon is known for their excellent optics, and I have been nothing but pleased with anything I have owned from them. I was also impressed with some of the Kodak cameras I played with, so you might consider checking some of those out.

Before you buy any camera, ask to play around with it a bit first. Most shops will allow you to shoot a roll (or, I guess, a flash card?) if you give them collateral, or know them well. If not, ask to shoot a few in the store. And, last but not least, definitely read the reviews available on the net before you buy.

Re:35mm (like) SLR Digital Camera (1)

MochaMan (30021) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117273)

Uh oh... you're not even gonna get a decent new analog SLR body for under $500...

Nikon's D1 is an excellent digital camera which works with almost all standard Nikon AF lenses, but the price is $5000-ish US. Kodak also makes some digital cameras, but they are converted analog cameras from Canon and Nikon, and they are in the near $10 000 US range.

As I say, even a decent (I expect if you want an SLR, you want decent quality) used SLR body is going to run you $300-ish, so I wouldn't count on any digital SLRs near that price anytime soon.

NoSony, NoSony, NoSony.... (1)

twixel (30362) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117276)

And bad battery life: it works an hour and then it drops dead.
It won't save images without compression.
No CompactFlash (Memorystick is a SONY proprietary format == more expensive and harder to find than CF ,and of course a nice Sony lock-in effect)
Sony isn't well known for releasing specs either. So under Linux, you are limited to serial transfer.


Here [dansdata.com] is a review of the Sony vs an Olympus.

Digital Cameras are far superior in certain cases (1)

marcsiry (38594) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117286)

Sure, digital isn't going to kill film anytime soon- but you didn't throw away your gas-fired oven when you got a microwave, did you?

When the ultimate usage of your images is going to be digital, such as a photo galley posted to a web page, the simplicity of downloading your photos to your computer far exceeds any "convenience" of dropping off your film at a half hour developing stand, then scanning each photo. When you factor in the cost of film and development, especially if you don't intend to make prints of the images, a digital camera becomes a far simpler and cheaper solution.

Additionally, when you don't have to worry about "wasting" film, you're free to take many more photos than you would with a film camera. I shoot over 300 pictures a month on my Fuji MX-1700; my wife still has film in her camera from last Thanksgiving!

Re:Powershot From Canon (1)

Z00100 (41785) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117301)

I own a Powershot S10. It's a VERY good camera. The only problem I find with it are....

1. Short battery life (get the rechargable pak option)

2. Very small (8mb) bundled CF (Compact Flash) card.

3. Minimal Zoom.

4. CF trap door feels chintzy for such an expensive camera.

Other than those 4 gripes, it's an excellent camera and takes superb quality pictures. It is truly a nice camera.

It's small, light, and takes snaps real easily without much fuss. It has a USB interface, so transferring pics is a joy. For those who have no USB, it also comes with a serial connection. It really is a full featured camera. The LCD also refreshes quite fast, and is very bright, and the colors on the LCD are indicative of the actual pic.

All in all, I say it's a good buy for the first time digi-cam user.

Re:Floppy disk sucks (1)

Z00100 (41785) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117302)

I agree. My friend has a mavica, and I really don't think it's that good.

For web uses or for e-mailing, it's fine, but it's rez is so low, that printing a pic is relatively out of the question. A superdisk mavica on the other hand would be VERY good!!

Uncompromised Quality (1)

megabeck42 (45659) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117304)

The Nikon D1.

It is beautiful. Its a professional quality Digital Camera, takes Nikon's F-Mount Autofocus lenses. This isn't a camera with a cheap, small CCD. Its not a full 35mm size ccd, but, its still a really really good. And, Only $6,000. Btw, you'd have to spend a good $2000 on lenses, too, like the 17-35f2.8, 50f1.8, and 80-200f2.8 AFS.
Nikon Website's Propaganda [nikonusa.com]
Or, You could get a Kodak DCS 620, which has a full-frame 35mm ccd. Its ungodly sharp and crisp. Only, what, $20,000? (This too, uses Nikon Lenses.)
Nikon lenses are quality. Yeah, They're not Zeiss lenses, but, They're not shabby either, better than that Tamron/Canon/Fuji crap.
The reason I point out these two cameras, is because often times I see people buying just by the numbers. They want to maximize the amount of pixels, and minimize the cost. Now, In my humble estimation, 1024x768 sharp color-balanced pixels is better than 16000x12000 pixels that have been software-interpolated from some crappy ccd.. I really want a D1, and may purchase on this summer. It'll use all of my nikon lenses, and is a really really nice camera. Though, I'm really tempted to wait until they come out with a Digital camera which has the same frame size as a my film cameras. So, until then, I shall stay with the best digital photography solution: Nikon film camera, Fujichrome (velvia, provia, astia, whatever.), and a film-scanner. The Fujichrome has a lot more resolution than a ccd. However, The CCD's they put in slide-scanners take minutes to go over the whole slide, thus, they do a much better job than the CCD's in a regular digital camera.

Moral: Check out Nikon Cameras.

Floppy disk sucks (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117308)

My Canon S20 makes pictures of 1,5 Mo average... so floppy disks pretty sucks. They are only good for very low-resolution cameras (which sucks)

Canon Powershot S20 (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117309)

Here's why :
- smallest size ever (which is important, since when pics don't cost anything you usually want to take a lot of them everywhere)
- 3,3 megapixels (2048x1536 pictures). (CCD) Size does matter - it is probably the #1 criteria
- 2x zoom (not very powerfull but usefull anyway)
- USB port (serial too for linux), because 1,5 MB/picture is slow to transfer
- Compactflash type II (accept the IBM mini hard-drive)
- special "panoramic" mode (unique feature of it)
- looks cool too (alimunium case)

I had a Coolpix 950 from Nikon before which was great too - for different reasons. Stay away from Sony digicams, the floppy disk sucks (quality digital imaging on a 1,44 (very slow) disk ? they must be kidding).

Re:Deja Vu (2)

Betcour (50623) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117312)

I quite don't agree :
- Last year digicams were already over 5% of all cameras sold ! Must be ever higher today. So it IS taking over regular camera, slowly but surely
- 3,3 megapixels digicam are available and make great pictures, once we get to 5 or 6 megapixel (in 2 or 3 years probably) it will be hard to sell 35 mm.
- Many digicam manufacturer use "analog" camera bodies and lenses too. Also having everything digitall makes some functions more easy to do on digicam rather than on 35mm, and many standard digital camera have functions you can only find on very expensive regular cameras
- digicam are so convenient that it has really the power to kill analog cameras. It is not just digital, it makes the way we take pictures really different and better. No need to wait to see the results, no need to pay for your pics (which means you can make more pictures and just keep the good ones instead of having one or two shots and pay thru the nose for pictures that are bad).

To me it is only a matter of 5 to 10 years to kill the analog cameras. There's no way back !

Sony Digital Mavica (1)

MooseMunch (53493) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117315)

Reasons... 1) Flopy disk media means that you never have to have a computer nearby to download pictures to. Making it great for vacations. 2) flopy disk media will work in any computer (almost) So weather you are a linux guy, mac, or windows...the same disk works for you. 3) Lots of models. Sony offers 5 or 6 different models, all with different features. 4) They're just cool :)

35mm (like) SLR Digital Camera (2)

mhatle (54607) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117316)

What I would like is an (affordable) digital camera that is SLR, and can use "standard" 35mm lens. I own a digital camera, but I would really love the ability to change the lens, set the focus, etc manually. Most digital cameras just focus into the middle of the shot. (Unfortunatly, a lot of the time, thats not where you want it focused...)

So can anyone recommend a Megapixel digital camera, that uses "standard" off the shelf 35mm SLR type lens, AND is affordable.. (I'll qualify that as $500 w/o lens...)

--Mark

Re:Still too expensive (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117318)

Ah, I don't factor in the cost of the Printer, ink, paper, etc because I just display my photos on my computer.

Are you going to list the Computer as a cost? A digital camera is pretty much useless without one.

Later
Erik Z

Re:When digicams can do 16000x12000, film will die (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117319)

I believe there is more to this than the numbers.
I have some grainy photos for you to look at, taken with film. How can this be if film is so 'High res'?
I also have my prom pictures. Yes the top of my head is sheared off. This was taken by my mother and it would of been perfect if we had a Digicam. She would of looked at it and said 'Hey, this didn't turn out right.'

What's your obession with turning the Amazon rain forest into paper products? How about an LCD screen for showing photos and only printing out the ones that you want to give to other people?
If they have email you can send them all a copy, for free.

Later
Erik Z

Re:And smartmedia cards with floppy adapter rule! (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117320)


That's odd. I just use the PCMIA slot on my laptop. Buy an adapter for the Compact flash and plug it in. Copies over the pictures as fast as the hard drive can handle it.

But if you MUST have universial acceptance, I would go for the Sony line that uses floppies.

Later
Erik Z

That's easy (2)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117321)

How much money do you got?

Hmm, still need more info?
Actually, I was going over all the digicams a while back. It seems that they are still working out the bugs in these new cameras.

Decide what you MUST have.

rec.photo.digital is a good place to ask if anyone has had problems with X camera.
http://www.pcphotoreview.com/
for those without access to newsgroups.

Then go to professional sites that review digicams like
http://photo.askey.net/

I ended up buying an Epson 750Z due to:
Fast updates on the LCD.
Only camera that had a 'Sun assist' on the LCD.
Not a single hardware/software complaint.
Came with Card, NIMh batteries and charger.
Optical sight and LCD sight.
Good reviews.
Good price. Got it on sale on Buy.com

I'm STILL happy with the camera even though it's 'only'

Later
Erik Z

Level of Control... (1)

Night Stalker (60662) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117327)

HAS been duplicated in the digital world. Go check out some of the stuff Nikon has released. With the more advanced coolpix series, you can control ALL of those things INCLUDING lenses. There are also digital cameras that are shaped and look almost identical to SLR 35mm's that you are talking about in your post. In all of those you can change the lenses and adjust aperture, focus, exposure time etc. And with the camera I have (Nikon Coolpix 950) I have a 48 mb compact flash card that holds up to 120 VERY high quality pictures. Now I to am a photography buff (have 3 35mm SLR cameras myself) and for many years I have loved my 35mm SLR cameras. If you're going to use pictures for production reasons, film is DEFINATLY the way to go. But if you're going to have them for family reasons etc. I feel digital is the way to go. You can simply take your pictures, transfer them either through floppy, cable (USB, Serial), etc., then send them to your entire family via email. For those that want hard copies that won't last nearly as long, there are photo printers, sure they cost an arm and a leg, but the quality is very good, I should know my friend is a professional photographer for many large companies in DC (TRW, Raytheon, Washington Metro Transit Services, etc) and THEY use digital cameras. Digital photography technology is only getting better, and I can see it some day going beyond the film world.

Nikon Coolpix (3)

Night Stalker (60662) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117328)

I bought the Nikon Coolpix 950 several months ago and I love it! I used to use a couple of SLR 35mm Camera's but now I don't think I will EVER give up my digital. If you've ever used an all manual SLR 35mm camera, the Nikon Coolpix 950 gives you the ability to adjust everything on it, from manual focus, shutter speed, aperture, style of autofocus, flash types, and the list is practically endless. Some of my favorite features are the "Best Shot Selection" where it takes 10 pictures of the same thing then chooses which one is of higher quality. It uses the compact flash cards and there are tons of adapters, serial, usb, laptop. You can also buy seperate lenses for Telephoto, Wideangle, and Fisheye. Has support for external flashes also. If you're willing to shell out some heavy money on a high quality camera...this is it!

WebCam Go (1)

centron (61482) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117330)

Although I'm pretty sure this camera doesn't work in Linux (yet!), it is a great deal for the cash. It costs about US $150 and takes 92 640x480 pics. Simple as can be. But wait, theres more! Plug the usb cable in the back and not only can you transfer the pics back to your Win98 box, it can be used as a Video Camera while plugged in! If you just want to take quick shots for e-mail or the web and do video conferencing and such, the Creative Webcam Go is the camera to have.

Sony, Sony, Sony.... (3)

Colm@TCD (61960) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117331)

The Sony Cybershot cameras are unquestionably the best I've ever encountered. The DSC-F505 CEE has a 2.1Mpixel CCD (1600x1200), a superb lens, great optical zoom, and good upload capabilities. It's pricey, but worth every penny. Some information is here [sony.com] .

Kodak DC280 works great with Linux (3)

jammcq (62101) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117332)

I recently picked up the Kodak DC280. It lists for $699, but I got it from Buy.com for $499. It has Compact Flash, Serial and USB. If you install the USB patches for the 2.2.14 kernel, it works with Linux. gPhoto supports it really well, and you can take the compact flash card, put it in a pcmcia adapter and pop it into your notebook to get the pictures that way. The resolution is something like 1700x1100 and the pictures look great.

Re:Kodak DC280 works great with Linux (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117334)

As someone else said, the Kodak DC210+ (which I bought a year ago) is a great camera. Megapixel, optical and digital zoom, CompactFlash... it's replaced my brother's $2000 super-automated Japanese camera with no one noticing. His girlfried and her two year old live with us, and I'm the designated photographer for all events; the pictures I take go on a fairly simple website that the rest of the family loves. No one has cared that we no longer have physical prints of these shots - my parents bought a color printer for that.

Where can I get good info on hooking this thing up to my laptop? I'm running RH6.0. I also bought the Sandisk CompactFlash unit, which makes download time much faster than over the serial cable. Any links would be appreciated.

Cameras (1)

greysoul (62792) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117335)

Ok, before i start I have two URLs for anyone intrested, first is Philip Greenspun's photo.net guide to digitals [photo.net] , albeit a bit outdated, has sound advise.
Second is the Altamira software [altamira-group.com] . I have played with this, and it has a 20 use free demo. What it lets you do is use a fractal algorithm thingy to upsample lower resolution images to a high enough res to print, this is GREAT, it works well, and the results, while not as sharp as if you had started with hi-res, are decent enough for snapshots to show friends. And no, I dont work for them, but I wish I did :)
Now, on to my 2
Well, being a photographer I have to throw in my 2 (yes, a real photographer, I make money selling pictures)...
The world of digital is, intresting, to say the least. It's my feelings that digital has a _LONG_ way to go before it takes over film. In the pro photo market 35mm is only one type of film. Digital cameras today can take on 35mm for under $5000 and with a decent printer, and some software, yes, you too can be a digital photographer.
However my personal aditude towards it is that digiutal cameras are _GREAT_ for only one thing, websites. I currently own a Kodak DC215 and an Olympus D630 and both of them shoot high enough res to be used to print a fairly sharp 5x7 but nothing more. With the bigger cameras, the kodak modeks based on the Canon EOS system, and the nikon D1 you can get a decent 8x10 and those are in the $5000 range.
Most consumers will never have need for a snapshot biugger than 8x10, so I feel that these cameras "do the job" but I think they're best for just putting images on the web, and doing a photo archive of your life.
For the print/advertising world however, who often times deals with putting images on billboards, buses, and even buildings, a cheap digital camera doesn't cut it. Megavision and Lightwave Inc. both make high quality backs for medium and large format camneras that start around $20k and go up to a bit over $100k and these are getting to the point where they can be used for billboards and such, but most firms still prefer film. So...from this photographer, I say film is the way to go for at least another 10 years, and as an artform, I dont think film will go away in my life time. That's my 2 anjoy :)

Kodak DC290 (4)

signe (64498) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117339)

The Kodak DC290 is one of the better digital cameras I've seen. Great picture quality, decent zoom, great controls. And the scripting language (Digita) really tops it off. With that you can load apps on your camera to help you take pictures. Like things to assist with panoramic shots, or exposure settings. I've had mine for a few weeks now, and I've taken plenty of pictures. Combined with Paint Shop Pro to clean up pictures that were too dark (because of distance), the pictures are better than anything I've taken with a film camera. And the USB cable makes it pretty quick to get the pictures onto the computer.

I ended up buying mine at Accompany (now MobShop [mobshop.com] ). They regularly have them for $680 to $650. And I happened on a NYTimes promo code for them, and got 20% off that. So it ended up being slightly more than $500. For a $900 camera, that's not too bad.

If you'd like to see some pictures from my camera, check out the Photos section of my web site [technical.net] . It's still under construction, but the pictures taken of the Explorer, as well as the pictures from the wedding and the pictures of Akamai's servers, are all from my DC290. The only ones that I cleaned up in PSP were the wedding pictures (since they were in a dark room).

-Todd

---

Kodak DC-290 (1)

Xaroth (67516) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117342)

I'd say this one is the best, but only because you can play MAME on it when you're not taking photos. If only more devices were pac-man compliant...

Re:Why not? (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117345)

There are places that you can "drop off" digital images and have them make the prints for you.

Quality on the latest megapixel digital cameras is acceptable, and I predict will soon be equivalent to "analog" film - for most practicle purposes. Yes, if you're talking about blowing up pictures to 8x10 size on a regular basis then you're not the typical comsumer and a low-priced digital will probably not suffice.

There are professional digital cameras that cost $25,000 that would probably aleviate any concerns you have.

Traditional cameras will always have their place. But, I think digital cameras are going to replace them for the vast majority of users who only want/need 4x6 or 5x7 prints.

Floppies (3)

fwr (69372) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117346)

Nah. I think the Mavica sucks, and instead bought a Kodak DC290 for around $740 (and I'm grateful that the price hasn't dropped drastically since I made the purchase).
Think of this:

Most people who are on Slashdot are computer people (i.e., their profession involves computers in one way or the other).

Most computer professionals are equiped with a laptop by their employer.

CompactFlash can be put in an adapter that fits in a standard PCMCIA slot.

Most computer professionals take their laptop on vacation with them.

If you have your laptop and the PCMCIA adapter (which comes with the Kodak camera) there's no need to puchase more digital film when you run out. Simply hook it up to your laptop and save the pictures you want on your hard drive.

If your laptop is short on space, it's relatively easy to backup large applications that you WON'T need on vacation to your Linux server at home before you head out, and restore them when you get back.

Re:Nikon Coolpix 990 (2)

Kizeh (71312) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117349)

One of the things the Coolpix finally brings to consumer digital cameras is the histogram display. It's a good example of the things that you can do with a digital camera that you can't with a traditional one.

For serious work you still have to look at the Nikon D1 [nikonusa.com] , Kodak DCS560 [kodak.com] and the like for good external flash support, interchangeable lenses such as telephoto, macro, fish-eye, decent filtering, anti moire, low noise and other features most consumer and prosumer camera vendors keep the buyer totally unaware of. Having a gazillion pixels does you little good if the optics smudge the image and the CCD is noisy, slow and has a poor dynamic range. If you want a good and cheap digital camera, you still have to buy two different ones.

y'all forget ...Ink fades !!! (1)

iKev (73931) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117351)

If you want an easy way to share photos with friends/family over the net, then digital is the obvious choice. Check photo.net [photo.net] . Phil has done a great job with that site. Cameras like the Canon Powershot S10/S20 are really good for that purpose.

However, if you intend on taking photos to print out, I would say get a film camera. I don't know if it is any cheaper, but unless you are using top-of the line archival quality ink, the photos printed from *any* inkjet printer will fade rapidly...and even then, film is still probably better (for now). expect a film print to stand up much more than an inkjet print..

Re:Kodak DC280 works great with Linux (2)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117352)

I have a Kodak DC210+ zoom. It's the last camera in the DC200 series to use the serial port. It works wonderfully with linux as well.

Re: Coolpix 990 -> Coolpix 800 not bad eith (1)

greck (79578) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117356)

I'll second this... I've had my 800 for a couple of months now and have been VERY happy with its performance, battery life, everything. However, as soon as I have the cash I'm upgrading to the 990... the extra resolution is nice, but I want aperture-priority and shutter-priority options.

Speaking of options, the coolest accessory I've picked up is this tiny tripod [rei.com] from REI... in its folded state it looks like a fat tent stake, and you can use the velcro wrap to attach it to anything cylindrical--4x4 post, stair railing, stop sign.

Why not? (3)

payn (81160) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117361)

Well, there are still reasons for traditional cameras.

First, they're cheaper, and less fragile. Do you want to bring your $600 toy into the pit at an Atari Teenage Riot show, or would you rather carry a disposable camera?

Second, if your ultimate goal is to have prints to keep around, it's cheaper to develop a roll of film than the print out a digital image on a photo printer (with photo paper and ink). Plus, while it takes about the same amount of time, sometimes it's more convenient to just drop off the film, get lunch, and come back 23 minutes later than to spend that 23 minutes over your computer.

Third, there's quality. I'm not going to go into the old argument of the theoretical quality of analog vs. digital (records vs. CDs, for example), because they're mostly biased BS. But anyone can look at a picture taken with a consumer digital camera and a picture taken with an equivalent-priced analog camera and see the difference. And when you factor in interpolated digital zoom vs. optical zoom (since most digital cameras only do a small amount of optical zoom, whereas for the same price you could buy a good traditional camera and any zoom lens you want), it's even more dramatic.

I'm not saying that digital cameras don't have their place. But for the time being, traditional cameras have their place, too.

Powershot From Canon (1)

mclearn (86140) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117367)

I have been looking for a DC for quite some time, however, the technology seems to be changing just as fast as computers do. The question is do you really need a zillion mega-pixel resolution, when half of that will suffice? I was stuck in the mode where I "wanted the best", but of course, for the price of the "best" you can buy a small farm of Linux machines...

I really did have my eye on the Powershot S10 from Canon. It had a 2.1 MP resolution, with a wide array of features that I think I would use...However, I am still waiting for the S20 to drive the price of the S10 down a bit... ARGH.

In any case, I found Megapixel [megapixel.net] to be an invaluable resource when doing comparisons. They seem to have it together.

Advice I can offer (that I was offered during my search):

  • Find one that has the LCD screen positioned such that your nose doesn't smear it too much
  • Ensure that there is an optical lens!! You don't want to have to hold your camera at arms length!
  • If you can find a camera that will do some processing on-board, then go for it. It'll eat power, but if you are doing, say B/W exposures, then Photshop after-the-fact may be time-consuming.
  • Can the camera accept different lenses on the front? Filters? A tripod? If you want these things, they are sometimes lacking...
  • Does it work with Linux? :-) (Actually, I don't know the answer to this question -- are there drivers for many brands of cameras? or do they just need to be TWAIN compliant? or what?

I could go on, but you're likely to find a lot of useful advice from more experienced photographers; or those with a recent purchase.

-- Greg

Wanted: Camera+Wireless modem+Email (1)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117370)

These cameras are great, but having to use another computer as the "middle-hardware" to distribute the pictures has proven to be a needless step.

Being able to instantly emailing the picture to another person has huuuuge advantages for a lot of users.

Does such a thing exist?
___

Re:Floppy==conectivity (1)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117371)

You bring up an interesting point about the IMac. There are many older Macs that can't read the peecee floppies either, so there are exceptions.

When we made the purchasing decision to get these camera, we counted the number of computers in our office that needed to view and/or distribute the pictures to customers. Then we counted the number of computers *at our customers facility* that would be able to read the images and the choice became clear.

Also, being able to choose the distribution method has proven to be a huge plus. Got email? fine, I'll attach them. Got a fax machine? the fax gateway can get the, somewhat crappy, image to you. Network problems? at a trade show? No email? fine, I'll FedEx the disks.


___

Floppy==conectivity (3)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117372)

Our company has a digital camera with a 1.4M, 3.5 inch floppy drive that stores ~60k jpg images at 640x480. There's something to be said for a floppies ability to conect with *any* computer, any where, any time.

Couple that with the fact that floppies are *almost* free, and you've got an open and affordable format to make sure every computer can view the image. In recent years, the ability to read the jpg format has been increased since almost every computer has at least a web browser.

With every camera manufacturer offering their own proprietary storage media, remember that your images, like undeveloped film, are just bits untill a computer can read them.
___

Re:Deja Vu (2)

BMIComp (87596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117376)

I somewhat agree with you.

For the average consumer, who just wants a simple camera, that works well and doesn't take much to use it, but still wants to be guaranteed good photos, get a normal "film camera".

Although, if your willing to invest time and money in a digital camera, that's high enough quality, then i'd say go for it. You'd need a high quality printer and paper too though, which may cost you a lot also.

Most people say the benefit of having a digital camera is not having to go to the store to have your pictures processed. Altough, with all the work you have to do, the one hour photo might be easier. Its all a matter of opinoin.

It All Depends On You... (1)

DaveLatham (88263) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117377)

I recently shopped for one, and purchased one after doing a ton of reading and comparing online.
But, there are so many out there with different trade offs, it all depends on what's important to you.
I would really recommend starting by going to a site like Active Buyer's Guide [activebuyersguide.com]
which will allow you to give it preferences, and it will suggest cameras and allow you to compare several ones side by side.

Then, start reading around about it. For some good expert evaluations, try:
Megapixel [megapixel.net]
Imaging Resource [imaging-resource.com]
Steve's Digicams [steves-digicams.com]

For some generally useful user reviews, check out:
PC Photo Review [pcphotoreview.com]

Good Luck!

FujiFilm MX-2900 (1)

pugman (88928) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117378)

I have been using the MX-2900 for about 6 months and can not complain. Resolution and clarity is among the best that I have seen from Mega Pixel cameras. The Slow serial interface sucks but ensures compatibility for Linux, it is supported in GPhoto, and Windows NT 4.0. If you insist on USB, digital film readers are fairly inexpensive and allows you to share media with family and friends. God luck to you

any waterproof digital cameras? (1)

eap (91469) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117385)

I'm thinking of getting a digital camera, but I want one that duplicates the functionality and durability of my Canon Sure Shot A1. This camera is waterPROOF, and can actually take underwater photos. It is great for things like canoe trips and such, where sand and water would kill a regular camera.

If I could find a similar waterproof digital P&S, I might consider buying it. Does anyone know if these exist (for a reasonable price)?

Re:Deja Vu (2)

tedtimmons (97599) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117390)

You've got some good points. Of course, I'm willing to bet that Polaroid cameras are more than 5% of the cameras sold, and nobody expects them to take over anytime soon :-)

You do have some good points aout paying for the pics, getting the new digital functions, and more.

Deja Vu (4)

tedtimmons (97599) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117391)

It's been said for the last 3 years that digital cameras are replacing "film" cameras. I don't think that's happening.

Digitals are great for snapshots, web-related stuff, and the like, but most individuals that have a serious interest in photography will own a digital, plus one or more "film" cameras.

It seems that the digital camera is an add-on- you don't replace a good camera with a digital, you simply use both.

It's amazing how good the quality of old-fashioned film cameras is. The level of control over your subject through aperture, focus, lenses, exposure time, film usage, and more hasn't been duplicated in the digital world. The quality of 35mm has not been matched in the digital space yet, not to mention medium format!

Sony videocams (1)

bartyboy (99076) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117397)


The newer digital Handycams have a jack in the camera that connects to your parallel or serial port. You can then transfer the images from the camera to your computer without any special capture board.

There are two settings for the picture quality (High and Low) so you can take pictures with slightly higher resolution than the video captures. I'm not sure of the [resolution] numbers, but I'm betting that you won't get the quality you can expect from the higher-end digital cameras.

The other advantage I can think of is storage space - a standard 8mm tape fits an hour of digital information (each picture takes approximately seven seconds on tape; there's also a rewritable memory chip that you can store the pictures on for fast retreival).

And, if you get bored with taking pictures, you can always go film stuff.

Just something to ponder.

Cheers,
Bart

Nikon CoolPix 990 (1)

kbahey (102895) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117405)

Well, I happen to be researching the same subject these days.

I was about to buy the Nikon CoolPix 950, but the 990 came out, and it is far better (more resolution, USB connection and more).

That said, the 950 is a bargain these days with 100$US rebate (for those in the USA, here in Saudi Arabia, it just hit the shelf for 4,700 SR ~ 1,250$US for the older 950!).

The Sony DSC-F505 is also a super camera, with perhaps the best lens (Carl Zeiss) you can get for a ~ 1,000$ price range.

You can read extensive reviews of all the above at Phil Askey's wonderful Digital Photography Review [dpreview.com] web site. You will find a photo gallery of sample pictures for each camera.

Another way of doing it, if you also want a camcorder, is to get one of the new Digital Video camcorder (or Sony's Digital8 format) and a FireWire/IEEE1364 card. The quality is lower than the Nikon above, but still acceptable for most web publishing.

The times are different now! (1)

kbahey (102895) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117406)

Sorry, but the newer pro-sumer digital cameras (e.g. Nikon CoolPix 990 and Sony DSC-F505) are very advanced and flexible in terms of exposure control, and all the things you talk about.

Also the web is much more prevalent these days than 3 years ago.

I used to own high end 35mm SLRs, and enjoyed it (I used to own a "pro" Nikon F2A, then a Minolta Maxxum), and I am thinking of doing only digital now. There are no processing cost, no time to wait, can retouche and manipulate as much as I like, can e-mail/publish on web, ...etc.

Maybe they will not totally replace file now, but they will eventually (soon!)

Re:Sony Digital Mavica (2)

Higher Ground (112266) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117423)

I've been travelling for about the last year and bought a mavica to document my trip. It's done everything I could ask for.

Are the pictures as good as some other digicams? No, but the floppy disk format more than makes up for this shortcoming, at least in my circumstances. I can't lug a laptop everywhere I so, so storing the 1.5 m files created by 'better' cameras is just impractical. The other advantage has already been touched on by someone else. The floppy disks work with just about any computer, so no matter what the cyber cafe in Podunk, Ireland or where ever is running, I can get pictures to people who would want to see them.

If you're the kind who wants to take professional quality pictures, you'd probably do well to look elsewhere, but for my 'on the road' usage, I don't think the mavica can be beaten.

Re:Floppy==conectivity (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117426)

There's something to be said for a floppies ability to conect with *any* computer, any where, any time

Well, that is unless you use an IMac... the designers must have been on crack not to add a floppy drive...

-- Dr. Eldarion --
It's not what it is, it's something else.

The best (1)

nordicfrost (118437) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117427)

I work at a large newspaper, and can remember that 10 years ago, the testing with digital photograhpy started. It is still not acceptable for every day use. And have _the_ best cameras.

The cameras are modified Canon EOS 1's. I think the type is Canon EOS 1 D-P (Digital, press edition.) They are fitted with a SCSI interface and a HDD. And they are expensive. Really expensive. The paper bought some for approx. 150 000 NOK, about 18 750 USD. But the reuslt is very impressive, although for enlargements, the 35 mm is superior (Even to APS and Advantix) and will remain so for quite a time.

Still too expensive (1)

gammatron (120978) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117432)

Film is still the way to go for even the moderately serious photographer. Even if you only take 1 roll of photos per week, you'll end up paying more for digital when you factor in the cost of the camera, printer, ink, paper, etc... Plus the resolution is not even close. Buy a good 35mm SLR and a film scanner if you want both quality prints and a digital archive. Buy a cheap-o digital if you're only publishing on the web. And if you are only publishing on the web, you don't need those 3 mega-pixel cameras - no one wants to download a .jpg bigger than 640x480 except in the most extreme circumstances.

Just because the technology is newer doesn't mean its better :)
--

Re: Coolpix 990 -> Coolpix 800 not bad either! (1)

iefpe (121836) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117434)

I've been using the Nikon Coolpix 800 (the 950's smaller brother) for a few months now, and I'm very pleased with the results. The Coolpix 800 does not have the 950's rotating lens, but it's nearly equivalent for the rest: 2.1 megapixel, matrix measuring, opical (2x) zoom, good LCD screen on the back, and built-in flash.

The camera has good automatic modes, and a manual mode allows you to change all the settings (aperture, shutter speed ...), albeit through a rather clumsy menu-interface. It works best with bright light, obviously, but the grain in low-light pictures is viable, and in any case, the built-in flash is quite powerful. The quality of the optics is what you would expect from Nikon: very good!

Pictures are stored on a CompactFlash card, in 1600x1200 pixels. In "normal" compression mode, you can fit about 16 on the standard 8 Mb card. You can take pictures in burst mode, at up to 30 frames per second (but images are 320x240 then).

The camera works on 4 AA batteries, and for best results, it is very much advisable to use rechargeable NiMh batteries. The camera has energy-saving features, so battery life is rather good.

The biggest drawbacks in my opinion are the high price, but especially the lack of USB connectivity. The download speed using standard serial ports is not exactly fast. One way around this, especially useful for laptop users, is to get a PCMCIA adapter for the CompactFlash card, that way you can transfer pictures to your computer as easily as copying files from a floppy.

Nikon's product page for the Coolpix 800 can be found here [nikonusa.com] .

iefpe

One of the most important things about a digicam (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117436)

is that it should support your platform. Most cameras don't support one or more of the following: BeOS, Mac OS Classic, Mac OS 10, FreeBSD, NetBSD, GNU/Linux, and Solaris. If you're on a Unix-like system, check the gPhoto compatibility list [gphoto.org] before you buy.

stick or floppy? (1)

jeroenb (125404) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117437)

I always thought the memorystick was the ideal memory for these cameras and although I'm very happy with it, I have to say that the ones with an FDD can be very handy also, especially if you make a lot of pictures with a computer nearby.

I wouldn't travel the world with 5 ten-packs of 3.5" disks though :) But it's good if you have a laptop with you.

Re:Deja Vu (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117438)

This maybe true if you are speaking about photocameras, however if we compared analog video cameras to digital video cameras then you wouldn't be able to say the same thing. Digital Video Cameras have progressed way beyond the capabilities of analog camrecorders. They can do hundreds of scan lines more than analog and their output looks much better (especially on digital HDTV.)

I think that digital photo-cameras have gone the wrong direction. Instead of trying to use CCD's directly (like some sort of a digital telescope) they should have some analog receiver to produce a negative from which a good scan could be made. My flatbed scanner makes amazing scans. Directly using CCD requires very very small digital receivers and they produce either square or hexagonal pixels. Instead they should use some sort of a polaroid film inside the camera that can be reused for new pictures, so once you take a shot, this analog film captures the light, and a scan is performed instantly. Then the film is reset with some electric charge. (I just came up with this, so if you find something wrong with this approach, don't scream too much.)

Re:Kodak DC280 and Kodak DC290 (1)

trakwebster (132050) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117442)

I needed to photograph some musical instruments for a website, and occasional snaps of folks while travelling, as well as some close-up how-to photos -- all for the web. ZDNet had an article showing pix made by different cameras, and of all the pix there, I thought the Kodak DC280 looked crisp and good color tone. (Admittedly, this may relate a lot to the flash and other factors, but it's all I had to go on.) So I bought one for $599, and along with some lights and experimentation, it's done fine for the web. It does *not* even compare in total quality to my old Minolta 35mm, and I'd like the DC280 better if it gave me more control over aperature/speed, and a spot-focus -- but it is adequate for the task. Kodak has come out with a slightly more expensive DC290 which appears to have more features, but whether it takes better pix, I don't know.

Sony Mavica (1)

kwsNI (133721) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117443)

Personally, I'm using a Sony Mavica camera. They are a little pricey (the mid-range cameras run from $550 to $900) but they have done a pretty good job for me. They work very well in low-light, they have some built in special effects (I like the option to take black and white photos on the camera) and they have a 2.5" LCD screen on the back of the camera (Fairly standard except on the really cheap cameras). It can also take up to a minute of MPG movies in the lowest resolution mode.

The best thing about them though is that they store pictures on 3.5" floppy disks (it has a 4x drive so it's pretty fast).

kwsNI

Re:any waterproof digital cameras? (2)

kwsNI (133721) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117444)

It really depends on how much you consider a reasonable price and how waterproof you want it.

As a serious scuba diver, I can tell you that there are NO fully waterproof digital cameras on the market right now. By waterproof, I'm talking something waterproof to at least 100 ft (30m). Your best bet if you're wanting a waterproof camera for this depth is to go with a Nikonos camera from Nikon [nikon.com] or a digital camera with a waterproof case from Ikelite [ikelite.com] . Just be warned, a new Nikonos camera will run you $500+ (It's a 35mm, not digital - I know...) and a decent digital camera with a U/W housing will run about $500-$1000 for the camera and another $750 for the housing.

Finally, sand-proof and waterproof do not go together very well. In order to make them waterproof, cameras use O-rings to keep the water out. Sand is very hard on the O-rings and can cause them to leak if you get sand on them. If you're going to have your waterproof camera in the sand, make sure you clean all of the seals to remove any pieces of sand from the seals...

Well, I'm sure I've probably given you too much info because it sounds like you're only using it in shallow water. As I said, I haven't heard of any watertight digital cameras, but keep your eyes out in the future...

kwsNI

Olympus D340-R (2)

Leomania (137289) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117449)

I own an Olympus D340-R, and I chose it for the following reasons:

  • Form factor -- about the same size/shape as a point 'n' shoot from a couple of years ago
  • Good low light performance
  • Reasonably fast (don't have to hold camera perfectly still)
  • Good battery life

I take lots of pictures of my daughter with it, and it's fantastic getting them up on our family website right away.

The only downside found so far is that the camera doesn't pass the drop test. It hit our hardwood floor last week and was broken both mechanically and electrically. But Olympus fixes the camera for a flat $106 rate, so I'm pretty pleased about that.

For $299 retail and a bit less than that from camera stores in NY, it's a great film camera replacement. Pictures printed onto real film at Eframes [eframes.com] looked excellent up to 4x6. I only use the 1280x960 mode, so even 5x7 looks pretty good

- Leomania

Kodak - forget Sony (2)

fleener (140714) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117452)

I had been an early adopter of the Sony Mavica, sold on floppy disk storage... but after you've tried bulk storage, you never go back.

I'm a fan of the Kodak DC290 [kodak.com] , which uses compact flash cards for image storage (which I can also swap into my handheld PC). I own a DC265 [kodak.com] , which is 1.5 years old, takes 1536 x 1024 images, and its output has been fine for print publications (except glossy stuff). The camera came with a 16MB card, which takes about 40 photos at max quality. I bought a 40 meg card and get about 100 photos, which gives me all the storage I need, with no need to carry around 140 floppy disks! (Plus, the average user doesn't need max quality, for web or screen output. I could easily take hundreds of photos at lower quality.)

Kodak owners should join the digita mailing list [egroups.com] which is excellent for peer technical support. The DC220, 260, 265, and 290 cameras run the Digita operating system, which allows you to write custom configuration scripts (for example, quickly set your camera for certain lighting conditions you encounter frequently). The only major drawback with the Kodak (and most digitial cameras) is that it cannot go fully manual like the Mavica and has only the standard 3X zoom. But, I gladly trade that for Kodak's many other merits (and I'll buy a zoom lens if it ever becomes really important). Its auto settings and white balancing make it really easy for me to hand this camera to my mom or other helpless person and still get nice photos. The DC290 is currently selling in the $680 range at shopper.com [cnet.com] . (dang, my DC265 originally cost $800!)

What do you want it for??? (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117453)

If you just want pics for a non-professional website, you don't need much resolution since a display is about 72dpi.

Now, if you want more, go for the optics.

I have an Olympus DL-500. I liked the zoom, but I picked te 500 instead of the 600 because of the price difference (back in 97) and that the 500 had a faster ASA (film speed) since with real film I usually use ASA 400 film.

Most of the pics, done in 1996) on my website were done with an Epson Photo PC. I didn't like the the fact that you needed a computer to 'reload' the 'film'. The Mavica using floppy does make it universal, but I like the size and power use (non-use) of the smart-media cards).

Olympus D-360L (3)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117465)

This cammera is the C|Net editor's choice and for a good reason. It also has a 99% approval rating on their site. Anybody wanting some great resources for picking a digital camera should go here: http://cnet.com/shopping/0-1427343-7-1436443.html? tag=st.cn.1.sptlt.1427343-7-1436443.

Thanks to them, I got the Olympus D-360L for about $250 and I am incredibly happy with the purchase. It has everything I want and although I have not tested it their site says it has full Linux support. I strongly recomend this.

Dig Cam (1)

AphexZero (157311) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117466)

I just picked up an Olympus D-460. It's just like the 450, which was getting rave reviews, but it's got a better menuing system, and some other small improvements. I'm really happy with it, but I will admit that although I got it for a little over 500, which I could afford, I was immediately unhappy with the serial support that it came with, and bought a flashpath floppy adapter for the flash card, which cost another 100. If I'm done spending, I'm happy. If not, I guess I'm a bit weirded out

Fuji Finepix S1 Pro (1)

farnham (160656) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117467)

Hows about 6.1 million pixels?
Here's an SLR with Nikon lens compatibility, octagonal shaped pixels in a honeycomb pattern, takes both CompactFlash and SmartMedia cards, And comes with a 2 inch LCD.

This camera is the Sh17. And only $4k before buying lenses.

Obviously this camera is not for everyone. It is a specialized professional tool. However it is also a very useful tool for many people.
More and more pros are moving to digital because they don't have to mess with developing and can get to press faster. With these resolutions, digital is quickly approaching the usability of 35mm for enlargement. Art photographers find the convenience of going straight into photoshop or gimp very useful

http://www.fujifilm.com/tcm.html?x-tempest-op=ge neric&ContentId=2245&UserTypeId=4&page type=FocusLevelTwo

Re:When digicams can do 16000x12000, film will die (1)

tyrann98 (161653) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117468)

It's not just resolution. I think most photographers will be satisfied with a 3-5 megapixel camera. Very few individuals get prints larger than 6x4", and with a resolution of 200 dpi for a print even a 1-2 megapixel camera should be satisfactory. But the equivalent film speed is a limitation (typically ISO 100-200). More expensive digital cameras do not have such a limited film speed. You'll probably get better night shots and not require a flash in more situations.

I've seen lots of bad digital photos at dimly lit night and wedding settings. 400 speed film with a decent flash is so much better.

2-3 years before digital cameras get really big (40-50 % of cameras) with simple printers and good storage.

Olymous C2020 Zoom (1)

jathos (170499) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117474)

I bought an Olympus C2020 last month and have been extremely happy with it. It takes pics at 1600x1200, has a 3x Optical Zoom, and has all the settings (aperture control, white balance, manual focus) that a real shutterbug (not a poser like me) would want in a camera.

It uses SmartMedia, which is a tiny plastic card with a smart chip on it. The camera only comes with an 8MB card, but I bought an additional 32MB card for less than $50. I also bought a USB SanDisk SmartMedia reader for $25.

All in all, you can't go wrong with this camera. It's small and light, and my Renewal rechargable batteries last for 100s of pictures. The price may be a bit high for some people, but I easily found some coupons for Accompany.com that gave me 20% off, lowering the price to under $500. A friend just recently bought the same camera from mobshop.com with a 20% off coupon. It also was under $500.

Olympus C2020 Zoom Page [olympusamerica.com]
C Net Review [cnet.com]

Re:SuperDisk camera??? (1)

Mwongozi (176765) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117485)

Panasonic [panasonic.com] make a SuperDi sk digital camera [panasonic.com] , which also takes regular floppy discs and can also be connected to your PC via USB.

Here's the good bit: when connected to your PC it becomes a SuperDisk drive!

Sony Mavica (2)

tsangc (177574) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117486)

I'm very happy with our Sony Mavicas as well, but it really depends on what you do and who will use the camera-every camera will tradeoff certain features so the best fit depends for every use:

We bought Mavicas because want wanted students to use them for projects: A CF or SmartMedia camera would be impossible to implement. Floppies are great because every student has them.

They're also large, unattractive and have really long lasting batteries which fit perfectly for institutional use. On the downside, they cost three times more than most 1Kx7 cameras and the image quality isn't as great as other comparable models.

But it's a perfect fit for us. So before you go off talking about what's the best camera recommendation, ask what camera fits for your application...

Re:Deja Vu (1)

rhinojo (177579) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117487)

I agree with the idea that the traditional camera is not dead, however due to the convenience of the digital camera, its end may be near.

Its true enough that some artists and professional photographers will still stick to traditional media, therefore the traditional film camera may still have its place. However, with conventional photographers becoming more and more depended on manipulating their images they might as well go digital.

Although, you may not get the urge to take your nice $400 Mavica into the mosh pit; there is no way in hell I'm gonna take a $700 Olympus w/ its wide-angle lens. So disposable cameras may still be around to pollute whatever little of the environment we have left.

Is it the medium? It matters whether you shell out a couple of bucks for a memory stick / compact HD, or a couple cents for a floppy. If you buy a good camera you're gonna get some decent pictures, regardless if you're not Mr. Adams...

Even now with those big budget filmmakers who can afford to go all digital for the next film, traditional skills will still be needed. As digital cameras get more and more sophisticated we all assume we'll remember the point and shoot method.

I'm not sure if film will ever die out. It may end up being like tape cassettes, BETA tapes. It may even resurrect itself to a collector's item like Atari, or may just become something old and archaic that only art hobbyist will enjoy and marvel at...

There is more to this, i'm sure...

Recommend KODAK DC-290 (1)

deuteronomy (177588) | more than 14 years ago | (#1117488)

I picked up a Kodak DC-290 after whittling it down to the Olympus C-2020, Nikon 950 and the Kodak. The resaon was that they all took real clear, color correct pictures. The Nikon has some interesting features like ebing able to capture a 360 panorama in (2) shots with a fisheye lense, and the Olympus feels like a 'real' SLR type camera, but lacks USB. I finally grabbed the Kodak since it produced great shots, nd it is fully scriptable with a scripting language called Digita allowing you full access to all camera parameters and settings, very very cool...
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