Looking for a pocket camera under $350

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by JC Dill, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. JC Dill

    JC Dill Guest

    I'm helping a family member buy a new digital camera for work. She
    does trail work and needs a camera for taking photos out on the trail.

    Criteria:

    1) Fits easily in a pocket.

    2) Optical zoom, lens cover physically a part of camera.

    3) Capable of taking good, not blurry, pics in low light, no flash,
    while hand held (pics of trails in the woods in the daytime).

    4) Macro or closeup setting for taking photos of wildflowers.

    5) Has place to attach a leash.

    6) Under $350 US

    Suggestions?

    Thanks!

    jc
     
    JC Dill, Apr 25, 2007
    #1
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  2. JC Dill

    ASAAR Guest

    As many trails can get quite dark even in the daytime, I'd rule
    out only considering a small camera that has IS. Instead, I'd
    suggest a good, small pocketable camera and either a small,
    lightweight tripod, or a hiking stick adapted to function as a
    monopod, no matter what type of camera is selected. The tripod
    could be much smaller and lighter and more stable than a monopod,
    and would also be a great help for taking closeups of wildflowers.
    There are some extremely small lightweight tripods that could also
    fit in pockets, but I think that they'd be more useful on a tabletop
    than out on a trail.

    As for personal knowledge, my Canon A620 easily fits in *my*
    pockets, but that depends on the pocket, and I'm not thinking "shirt
    pocket". It has a D-ring for the included wrist strap (leash?<g>)
    and an integrated, automatic lens cover. Also an optical zoom and
    an optical viewfinder. I actually prefer EVFs, but if most of the
    shots will be taken outdoors an optical viewfinder is probably
    better since EVFs can sometimes be hard to use when bright light is
    coming from the wrong direction. Depending on the flower and its
    location, an articulated LCD (which the A620 has) could be very
    useful for framing and insuring good focusing of close objects.

    The A620 produces high quality images that don't have the
    noticeable color fringing and flare problems often seen in smaller
    cameras. Another nice feature is its ability to take over 1,500
    shots per charge, or nearly 1,000 shots from ordinary, cheap
    alkaline AA batteries, so it can go for days on the trail without
    needing to bring along buckets of batteries. I got mine new for
    about $200 as it was being discontinued, but there should be many
    other good alternatives between $200 and $350 US.
     
    ASAAR, Apr 26, 2007
    #2
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  3. JC Dill

    JC Dill Guest

    Neither of those will work for her work flow.

    She's going to be WORKING on the trails. She's mapping out new
    trails. Her workflow involves taking measurements, writing them down,
    and taking photos, and moving on. She doesn't use a walking stick,
    and won't take a tripod (even a small "pocket" tripod). She's not
    even using a camera case - the camera is going in a vest pocket.
    Using the camera needs to be as fast and easy as possible. These are
    documentation photos, not art photos.
    Thanks for this recommendation. In the end I suggested she choose
    between the Canon A630 and the A570 IS. She chose the 630, in part
    because the flip screen lets her close the screen against the camera
    to protect it from scratches.

    I considered a Nikon model, but then rejected it when neither the
    salesman nor myself could easily figure out how to change the ISO.
    This is the one thing she will need to be able to easily do (and
    remember how to do it, and TO do it) so that she can get good photos
    in the low light of the shaded forest, and then change back to a lower
    ISO when out in the sun. Other recommended models were rejected
    because they wouldn't stand up to the enviroment (dirt/dust) - e.g.
    models where one slides a panel to the side to "turn on" the camera -
    we both thought that would get full of grit in a hurry out on the
    trail.

    Thanks to everyone who posted and emailed their suggestions. All
    suggestions were VERY helpful in coming to a decision.

    jc
     
    JC Dill, May 3, 2007
    #3
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