Recommendations wanted: mid-range camera

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Stephen Poley, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. I have a film SLR for quality work, and am looking to supplement it with
    a moderately-priced digital camera for situations where I either want to
    see the results quickly or want to take a lot of photos and select a few
    to keep.

    I've done a fair bit of reading in magazines and online but am still
    finding it difficult to work out which camera would be best. (How many
    times a month do you hear this?)

    Requirements:

    1) RELIABLE. I'm getting pretty fed up with flakey electronic devices
    with intermittent faults. Information on the reliability of different
    digital camera brands doesn't seem easy to find. (I did find one web
    page which said that Kodak and Sony were best for reliability, but
    having had problems with both the Sony devices I've bought in recent
    years (a video-camera and a television), I'll need a lot of convincing
    to buy a Sony camera.)

    2) I reckon 3 Mpixels will be ample, as it's mostly for on-screen
    viewing and occasional 6x4 prints.

    3) Zoom: at least 35-135 (35mm equivalent); more would be nice.

    4) Decently short shutter delay; at least good enough for action shots
    of the kids. Doesn't need to be state-of-the-art, but I understand there
    are still cameras for sale with delays of over half a second, which
    would be completely unacceptable.

    5) I think I want a manual-focus option, both for difficult focusing
    situations and for eliminating AF delay where needed. But I've read that
    viewfinders are rarely good enough to allow accurate manual focusing in
    anything below top-of-the-range models. Thoughts?

    6) Exposure: some sort of manual option; but +2/+1/-1/-2 stop overrides
    of the automatic meter would probably be good enough; full manual not
    essential.

    7) Storage: whatever is widely available, reasonably priced and
    reliable. (Recommendations?)

    8) Batteries: Given the price of replacement proprietary batteries I
    think I want to go for AAs.

    9) Cost: under EUR 500 for a complete kit including spare batteries,
    charger, sensible-sized storage and anything else I'll definitely need
    to have. Could perhaps go a little higher if there is a sufficiently
    strong reason.

    Size/weight is not a major issue; I'm used to carrying a lot of stuff
    around.

    Recommendations?
     
    Stephen Poley, Sep 14, 2004
    #1
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  2. Stephen Poley

    Roger Guest

    On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 17:38:57 +0200, Stephen Poley

    Stephen,

    I use film for the majority of what I do. I just bought a Canon S60
    for travel and because it was one of the first to have a 28mm lens
    equivalent and focus assist for available dark photos.

    It has turned out to be a very feature rich camera and I think it
    meets many of your requirements. It is quite versatile and has many
    configurable settings, including one that I use for street
    photography. I have the custom mode set to manual focus and fixed
    aperture (hyperfocal) and get very short shutter delays.
    I do regular business travel with a large group of people many of whom
    have canon cameras. They have performed flawlessly.
    My requirements are much the same, however I have found that the 6MP
    S60 gives me very generous cropping flexibility and the RAW mode lets
    me occasionally wring all that I can get out of a special opportunity.
    The S60 has a 28-100mm equiv zoom. That my 90% range.
    The startup delay is manageable with the S60 and I've been reasonably
    happy with it otherwise. However, in low light it is still a p&s and
    you need the focus assist. If you want a camera to specialize in low
    light with or without a flash, this is not the one. I do mean low
    light, like a darkened wedding dance/reception. It will not capture
    motion in the dark, remember it's not a SLR. This doesn't mean it's
    not a good camera, it's just easy to think that it excellent daylight
    performance is the rule. It's perfectly OK in normal room light. I
    only mention this because I was seduced by the cameras excellent
    performance under "normal" conditions that I mistakenly tried to rely
    on it in the wrong conditions.
    I've used the manual settings to zone focus my camera and it works
    very well. I haven't used manual focus for critical work and I'm not
    sure I would know how. I don't think mine is the right choice for
    that.
    The S60 has exposure and strobe exposure compensation. Both of which
    can be used independently. It's been very useful for difficult
    lighting situations, like taking pictures of light food being prepared
    on a black in-table bbq grill.
    Most of the Canon and Nikon line uses Compact Flash storage. Mine
    uses CF and one reason I picked canon was that my wife, who owns a
    Nikon, and I could exchange memory if required.
    This camera does take a proprietary batter and it will set you back
    about $40-50 US. It's compact and I have one and I think it's a
    necessity. The charger works in all the countries I've visited in
    North America, Asia and Europe. The charger is multivoltage and you
    can usually find a low-current electric shaver outlet in the hotel
    bathrooms.
    I don't know about the EUR cost.
    My camera fits in a P&S pouch and the battery and extra memory can be
    squeezed in. It travels with me in my airline survival bag with a
    Contax T3 film camera, MP3 player, Palm Pilot, Cell Phone and other
    personal items necessary for overseas flights.

    I'm still waiting for the right digital SLR for me. My other carry
    gear is a F100 or F5 with one or more lenses. The digital is however
    now going to most business and dinner functions with me as a
    replacement for my film gear. The heavy stuff comes out later.

    The nice thing about the p&s footprint is that it's not more than
    another lens and for the kind of work that I do, I can often
    substitute it for taking a strobe when I travel.
    As above,
    Regards,
    Roger
     
    Roger, Sep 14, 2004
    #2
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  3. Stephen Poley

    Ron Baird Guest

    Greetings Stephen,

    Personally, for the features you mention and the amount of money you want to
    spend $500 Euro (not sure what that relates to in US), I would consider the
    DX6490. They are quite popular and will do a lot. The camera has an
    electronic viewfinder, an external flash synch (you can attach a full
    fledged flash to it to extend flash range), a 10X optical zoom, and lots of
    other great features. Check it out on the following page.

    http://www.kodak.com/go/dx6490

    http://www.kodak.com/go/digitalcameras

    After a review of these, and you have some questions, please let me know, I
    am here for you.

    Ron Baird
    Eastman Kodak Company
     
    Ron Baird, Sep 14, 2004
    #3
  4. The Euro is a bit more than one US dollar at present. But given higher
    prices here for electronic equipment, it's probably somewhat under a US
    dollar in terms of this discussion.

    I would consider the
    Thanks. However I note:
    - lack of manual focus,
    - no AA batteries,
    - price close to top of my budget, perhaps over it with spare batteries;
    - more than one reviewer has complained that even the finest
    image-compression setting is too aggressive.

    Taken together, I reckon it's probably not quite what I'm looking for,
    but I've added it to my "long list" (currently 12 models and growing!)
     
    Stephen Poley, Sep 15, 2004
    #4
  5. OK, I'll read up on this one as well. Thanks.
     
    Stephen Poley, Sep 15, 2004
    #5
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