Cameras : LUSENET : PFRH digital-photo-art : One Thread

Recently i've wanted to buy a camera. Everybody tells me to get a 35mm (i really know nothing about cameras)

But basically i want to get a camera and im willing to spend up to about 800 bucks on it. Can you help me out? I just wanna take good quality pictures.

kc (sub)

-- KC Jackson (, October 21, 1999


Dear KC,

Depends on your wants & needs really. You sound like you want a basic point & shoot with auto-everything, your real decision is between digital and film. Which largely depends on whether you have a particular need to either share your pictures digitally via email or the Web, or conversely need to have physical prints of them all.

I use digital - a Kodak DC200 ($300 or so) at present, which is what I used for all the pictures on my last few Web sites. Biggest benefits: you can see instantly what you've taken with the LCD screen; no running costs (rechargable batteries and reusable smart card to hold the pics); pictures are ready instantly to download into my comp, no developing wait or fees or need for scanning. Disadvantages: lower resolution (ie you can't blow up the pics poster size or they'd look all chunky from the relatively low pixel count); and if you want to make physical prints you need a good quality colour printer (ie, Epson Photo inkjet or a mini dye- sub like the Fargo PhotoFun).

Given your budget I'd personally go for the Kodak DC260 right now which is available around $700 and is the highest-image-quality digital for under $1000. Prices on digitals are steadily dropping as better ones arrive at a rapid rate. Check for detailed reviews, user comments, price and feature comparisons, etc. seem to be selling the Kodak, and many other products, at way below RRP.

If you want a "proper" SLR camera I'd go for one of the modern type that use the new film system (I think it's called Advantix or ACS or something), not 35mm. It gives you a choice of three formats for each picture (regular, wide or panorama), neat thumbnail index cards to keep track of your pics, and the biggest plus over traditional film is that you can remove film carts before they're full & reinsert them later to finish shooting, without damaging your negatives. I think all manufacturers do this type of camera nowadays.

Check for a ton of advice on buying cameras and using them to take better pictures. http:/ / is another stand-out site full of magazine-like content on hobbyist photography.

Really, taking good pictures has little to do with hardware, it's down to your eye for composition & colour and your imagination. It's just as easy to take crap shots with $10,000 worth of pro studio equipment; while a good photographer can take images with a homemade shoebox pinhole or a $20 Polaroid Coolcam that will be timelessly beautiful classics.

Hope this gives you enough pointers... spend some time researching on C|Net &, that should enable you to reach a decision. Once you get your camera, my number one tip for taking better photos is to disable the autoflash.

Best wishes, Paul

-- Paul Hamilton (, October 21, 1999.

> After researching all the cameras i think i'll go all > out and get a Kodak DC260 . . . then a nice printer. > It has tons of memory , the USB interface (im getting > a G4 so this will be vital) and it's gotten the > highest rating over any other digital camera, and it > really isn't that expensive. > > So i'll get that (once i get enough money lol) > > Thanx for pointing it out to me, i'll tell you when i > get it. > > kc (sub)

Dear KC,

Gah, now I'm jealous. That's the camera I really want.

Remember to budget for a few extras: you'll need a set of rechargable batteries & a fast-cycle charger (maybe $15-30 from Best Buy or so); a bigger memory card than comes with it, probably (I'd suggest 16MB or bigger if you can afford); and, real important and less obvious, a neoprene style wrap-case to keep it safe & clean, and a lens cleaner. Double-check on Kodak's site what kind of cleaner they recommend before just letting a camera supply store sell you something that might damage the lens coating; I think the DC range are all supposed to be cleaned using a special Kodak "lens pen" which is about $10.

The other optional extra if you have $60 or so spare is the Sandisk card reader which will download photos from the camera to your computer about 15+ times faster than the serial lead. (Actually the USB version may be fast enough that this isn't worth bothering with...)

Another tip: always use the highest JPEG quality setting, but the highest pixel resolution may be overkill; the second-down one should be perfect for most applications.

Have fun.


-- Paul Hamilton (, October 22, 1999.

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