Best < $350 camera - picture quality

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by SLerner, Dec 18, 2003.

  1. SLerner

    SLerner Guest

    After many years of working with film, I am ready to purchase my first
    digital camera. My budget limits me to about $350.

    My initial thoughts had me looking at the Canon A80 and the Minolta S414 as
    the two finalists (see
    Regretfully, while further investigation showed that the S414 took better
    pictures, both cameras have serious drawbacks (see

    While I would love the best of all worlds, at this point I am willing to
    live with some annoyances in a camera as long as it will take good pictures
    //on a reasonably consistent basis//.

    Can anyone recommend a camera in the low $300's that will take good pictures
    on a reasonably consistent basis (my intention is to print shots at up to
    8x10)? Or is that impossible in my price range?

    If you feel that my goal is unachievable in my price range, is there
    something less expensive than a Sony DSC-F717 (currently ~ $625 after
    rebate) that will meet my goals?

    Thank you very much for your advice and recommendations!

    Simcha-Yitzchak Lerner
    SLerner, Dec 18, 2003
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  2. SLerner

    JK Guest

    For around $350, I recommend the Olympus C4000.
    JK, Dec 18, 2003
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  3. SLerner

    Cambium Guest

    See if you can find an Olympus Ultrazoom 2100 for that price
    on Ebay. You can often find factory refurbished ones that
    are as good as new and come with a warranty. Only 2.1 mp,
    but 10X lens, and a very robust camera. That said, there
    are more coming on the market all the time now with good
    zoom lenses, and at better prices.

    Good luck with it.
    Cambium, Dec 18, 2003
  4. SLerner

    Wendy S Guest

    There are quite a lot of happy Olympus C-2100UZ owners... keep an eye out
    for a used one as they're not made any more.

    As far as reasonably consistent images...
    Most of the images in my gallery (see .sig) were taken with the UZi also.

    However... if you're using a SLR film camera now, I have to think that a
    non-SLR digital is going to feel like a step down.
    Wendy S, Dec 18, 2003
  5. SLerner

    R2D2 Guest

    You really need to spend at least $1000 US to give you close the results of
    a $200 35mm SLR. Remember, digital has an expensive buy-in. The Canon G3/G5
    and Oly C-5050 are OK, but noisy and not as good as a film or dSLR. Believe
    it or not, the A80 is probably one of the best in your price range even
    with all the problems. Save up a little more dough!
    R2D2, Dec 18, 2003
  6. SLerner

    JK Guest

    It does not seem like a good idea to use a 2 megapixel digital camera
    for images to make 8"x10" prints from.
    JK, Dec 20, 2003
  7. SLerner

    JK Guest

    Why the A80? The lens on the A80 is quite slow(f4.8?) on the telephoto
    JK, Dec 20, 2003
  8. SLerner

    Howard Guest

    Been years since I used my CANON AE!'s (film slrs)
    I now have a 4MP kodak dx4900 and like it, use it, and I PERSONALLY feel it
    is as good in most instances as my canon's
    (perhaps not as a portrait camera), but for general does fine

    It takes very good low light maybe able to find one on ebay
    or at a photo place

    I am drooling on/for/at and so for the 38/380 zoom KODAK DX 6490............
    ONLY reason to up-grade my dx 4900

    to see a few assorted photos of Las Vegas: by day and night:
    Las Vegas Casinos
    Howard, Dec 20, 2003
  9. SLerner

    R2D2 Guest

    Yes it is, but he has budget and cannot afford a real camera. Nor did he
    state that he was a low light freak like you.
    R2D2, Dec 21, 2003
  10. SLerner

    R2D2 Guest

    I wouldn't even use a 2 MP camera to make uncropped 4X6 prints. Photo
    quality starts at 300 PPI. 4X6 @ 2 MP is below 300 PPI.
    R2D2, Dec 21, 2003
  11. SLerner

    JK Guest

    Low light freak? Do you have powerful spotlights in all the rooms
    in your house?Can you take photos indoors in your home with
    existing light at 1/60th of a second, f4.8 at ISO 400? Taking
    photos indoors using existing light is not such a rare application.
    JK, Dec 21, 2003
  12. SLerner

    Ian Boag Guest

    I have a 3 MP Coolpix 995 and an Epson 3000 A2 (16x20) printer. I do
    full-frame 16x20's that noone has complained about. I used to do
    perfectly acceptable 5x7's off a 1.3 MP Agfa 1680.

    The final test is done by eye .... I can do the sums too and the 300
    ppoi thing sounds 100% correct. But it ain't.

    Ian Boag, Dec 21, 2003
  13. SLerner

    Mark Herring Guest

    It depends on subject matter, viewing distance, and a whole bunch of
    things. I have a 6x9 print from a 2Mp---looks really good
    Mark Herring, Pasadena, Calif.
    Private e-mail: Just say no to "No".
    Mark Herring, Dec 22, 2003
  14. SLerner

    Steven Wandy Guest

    Years ago I remember a post in a Sony group where someone claimed he had
    made an 8x10 print from one of the early Mavicas (I think 640x480 or
    slightly higher resolution), hung it in his father's office and got many
    compliments about it. Most responses were of the type "what glasses were the
    people wearing".
    Steven Wandy, Dec 22, 2003
  15. SLerner

    Don Stauffer Guest

    I have noticed some creeping inflation in this myth. When people used
    to ask questions about pixel density during printing, the consensus used
    to be 200-300 dpi. Now that higher pixel count cameras are available, I
    see it stated as a definite thing, you MUST have 300 dpi. I still get
    fine printing for many subjects at 200, or 250. I do occasionally limit
    pics to 300 dpi if they have a lot of detail, and that detail is
    important to the subject, but I still have a lot of images that print
    fine at 200.
    Don Stauffer, Dec 22, 2003
  16. SLerner

    gsum Guest

    I have a photomontage on my desk which was
    printed at 1000ppi. It doesn't look any better or
    contain any more detail than the 200ppi print
    next to it, as the maximum resolution of the
    printer (and of most modern printers) is only about
    160 to 180ppi.

    Images will only look as good as the weakest
    link in the chain will allow.

    gsum, Dec 22, 2003
  17. The rule of thumb *used to be* 1.5 times the screen frequency. Lately
    I've been hearing that inflated into 2 times the screen frequency
    (giving the numbers you cite).
    David Dyer-Bennet, Dec 22, 2003
  18. People don't know how or they're too lazy or their news client doesn't
    have a "Start New Thread" capability.
    Too lazy.
    How indeed?
    Stefan Patric, Dec 22, 2003
  19. SLerner

    Mark Herring Guest

    Missing your point here........640x480 is under .5 Mpixel. Hardly
    even useable for 4x6 snaps
    Mark Herring, Pasadena, Calif.
    Private e-mail: Just say no to "No".
    Mark Herring, Dec 23, 2003
  20. SLerner

    Mark Roberts Guest

    Works best? You can't be sure of ppi at all unless you know the
    reproduction size intended!

    I'm continually amazed at how many *editors* don't know any of this.
    When I ask about the size of image I should send I often get a reply
    like "Oh, 300 dpi should be fine". Never mind that they should be using
    "ppi" instead of "dpi", the information is useless unless I know what
    dimensions they intend to reproduce at.
    Mark Roberts, Dec 23, 2003
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