SFR Digital Cameras

Discussion in 'Photography / Video' started by jessejames, Nov 27, 2004.

  1. I already gave Jesse my $.02 offline. So this question is for the rest of you guys. I broke down this spring and bough an Olympus Stylus 400 Digitial right about the time the 410 came out. Up until that point my primary camera was a Nikon F100 (Film SLR).

    So far I've been happy with the Olympus. And the small size means I take it with me when I wouldn't have taken the F100. But I have noticed that this camera does not handle low light situations well. I seem to find that my low light exposure is off and the focus always seems a little soft (w/ or without flash). Anybody have similar experiences? Just curious if this is an actual problem or just my perception. I think it may be that I'm missing the control that I have with my SLR. :confused:
  2. I'm in the same boat. I shot with a Canon EOS5 for a long time. When I entered the digital realm, I did so with a Canon Powershot S400. It's a great camera but I constantly find myself frustrated with the fact that it's really just a zoom point and shoot. I think we get used to having total control on everything when we shoot SLR and then you step down and it's frightening. I broke down and bought a EOS 10d (DSLR) and haven't looked back - except when I take out the little guy in its waterproof case when I'm on the water!
  3. I started this thread a little while ago and thought I would let you all know I appreciate your input. The website Kent recommended Steves camera's (check Kents first post to this thread if interested in a link) was the most helpful to me. After reading all the posts and the research on the web, I went to the store and handled all the the cameras that I was interested in. My goal was to stay at around $300. for the complete outfit. There are a lot of good options out there. I narrowed it down to the Canon A75 and the Nikon coolpix 3200. I ended up buying the Nikon because of its more compact size and it's ability to focus down to 1.8" (I thought this would help when shooting flies)without any additional lense purchases, the
    Canon had some good features but the lenses and adapters would have put me over my budget. I got the camera, 4 rechargable batteries, a 4 battery charger, a nice small case and a 256 mb media card for $300. and change. It is under the tree waiting for Christmas I can't wait to try it out. Thanks everyone for the help..
    jesse clark
  4. one thing you shouldn't forget about is a polorized lens. I've found this can turn bad photo into a good one, and a good one into a great one.
  5. Lots of good information being posted in response to your original question. Let me provide my answer to your concerns and then address some of the other concerns that were raised in this thread. [Sorry, its a bit long :( ]

    My responses are based on several years of using a Canon S110 and a Canon G3. (After using it for over two years, and taking about 10,000 pictures, I dunked my S110 and it died. I am very leery about taking the G3 on the water - but it is also a much bulkier camera - making it harder to carry around and still fish.)

    Get at least 3.2 megapixels?
    Yes. For what you seem to want to do, paying more $$$'s for more megapixels would not be economical.

    Optical zoom is better than digital is 3x enough?
    Yes. I get digital zoom up to 14X and find that I only use the lower end of it. The higher end pictures tend to be grainy and out of focus. When you get over 7 or 8X you'll probably need a tripod.

    Ease of charging batteries (dock, internal charger etc)
    I liked the separate battery and separate charger of the S110 better than the internal charger of the G3. For the S110, I carried a second charged battery and if one died I could quickly insert the second and then find a place to plug in my charger and get the first one charged. When the battery dies in the G3 I have to quit taking pictures and plug the camera in to be charged. The two-battery set up came in handy when I was off in the woods for a few days. Some good planning on your part can get you around a dead battery.. (BTW - I found the battery life to be very, very good in both cameras - despite my constant use of the viewing sceen.]

    Size, good for packing in my waders or chest pack.
    The SD110 is probably the smallest - the front face of it is only the size of a credit card. I felt that was a big plus as it fit neatly into a shirt pocket and could be readily accessiible. Sometimes I put it on a lanyard that I hung around my neck. My G3 is multiple times bigger and requires a separate case if I carry it around with me.

    Price of media, Sony seems to be the most expensive?
    Haven't checked this for awhile but Sam's and Costco have very big size memory cards for about $50.

    How much memory is enough 128, 256, etc?
    The main issue here is the pixel size you save at and how much compression you ask for. My cameras give me three choices of each feature. If you save big pixel pictures and don't compress them, you'll eat up a memory card real fast. At the lowest settings (smaller pixel, lots of compression) I felt the quality of my pictures declined. So guess what? I shoot and save on the middle level of each scale. [BTW - I think the 64mg or 128mg cards worked best for me. When I used a 256mg I found it slowed down my picture taking as the camera had to "go the end of the line" to store each picture I took - had LONG time delays between photos. The 32mg card is just too small for saving mid-pixel size pictures at mid-level compression.]

    The thread got into Digital Photo Software - here's my two cents on it:

    I use digital photo software by a company named JASC. They have two program "levels". The first is Paint Shop which is a more economical, smaller scale, less demanding competitor for Photo Shop. I have version 8, not the Pro version, but I don't get involved enough in altering my pictures to use it much. The other JASC program I have is Photo Album - and I use it ALL the time. It's easy to use, can make simple, effective, straightforward adjustments of pictures and it has great cataloging capabilities. Pretty cheap too. Here's some information on JASC and these three packages:

    Home page -
    Click on "Products"

    Paint Shop™ Photo Album™ 5 - page:
    Paint Shop Photo Album - Deluxe Edition is simply the easiest way to do more with your digital photos. Now you can organize, fix, share, and protect photos with one easy-to-use tool.
    $45 Download and $49 Boxed

    Paint Shop™ Pro® 9 - page:
    Whether it’s a photo, graphic, or digital art, Paint Shop Pro 9 is going to help you get that vision out of your head and onto the screen. Your pocketbook doesn’t have to suffer for your art and you don’t have to settle on the pricey
    standard for quality. What you need is right here.
    $119 Download and $129 Boxed

    Camera Reviews - you said you were interested in the Canon A75 and the Nikon 3200 coolpix - here are links to reviews of them:.
    Canon A75 -
    Nikon 3200 coolpix -

    Take a look at the Canon SD110 too (a newer version of the S110) - and it is currently being sold on at a pretty good price (see their link below)
    Canon SD110 -
    [NOTE: In this review the physical size of an SD110 is contrasted to the A75. The SD110 looks about 20% smaller than the A75.]

    And, yes. buy it online. Here are a couple of good online sites:
    Adorama -
    B&H Photo -

    Finally, if you dunk your digital camera - DO NOT turn it on. Immediately remove the batteries and the memory card and, somehow, try to dry out the inards.If you are unsure whether or not it is dried out, DO NOT fire it up.
  6. Everyone else has basically summed it up.
    I have a Fuji S5000, 3.2 megapixle and 10x optical zoom. Its bulky but takes great photos. And yes it does need a tripod for super zoomed in shots.

    As for puchasing, I bought it at and recieved it within 3 days. And have refered several others to them as well. They have package deals with memory, case and so on for a good deal.
  7. I have an Olympus 410 and a larger Olympus with a better lense. Both are 4 meg, but the 410 is very small, nice lense cover arrangment and water resistant.

    Pretty good bang for the buck.
  8. I bought my Digital Rebel from as well and had it overnight. There was only one place I could find that had a cheaper price (only $30 less), but it was from a place plagued with Better Business Bureau complaints. BuyDig is based in NYC and have the same appearance as some of the lowlife NYC-area camera ripoff outfits, but they're legit. I checked them out with the BBB before buying from them just to make sure.
  9. id go with either a cannon a85 or an s400, both are small ,light, dont eat up too much in batteries, and are 4.0 megapixels, which is fine for 4x6 photos. the s400 comes with everything but a printer the card and a case. the printer can run you alot or very little depending on what you get, you can get cards for cheap and a waterproof case for around 10 dollars, or in a pinch just put it in a ziplock and stick it in your pocket, though i wouldnt recommend doing this for very long. the price of the camera is really reasonable.
  10. If you're looking for something small that is hiking / fishing worthy, I'd recommend the Pentax Optio series. I've got the 4mp version, which is waterPROOF to 25 minutes. I don't worry about it when it's raining, getting soaked hiking, and I don't worry about dropping it while fishing.

    Not much for zoom, but nobody makes a waterproof digital SLR for me yet. : )
  11. Hey! You get a computer last year and now your getting a digital camera! Finally catching up with the world. Shop the sales and remember that most stores will ad-match. So pick the deal you want and take it to whereever you want. Some come with cases, extra disks, and other assesories(sp?) so find the one that best suits what you want. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the salesman. Most of the are pretty knowledgeable if you go to a store other then wal-mart; Staples, Office depot, etc. Have fun! :) See Ya, gridkid
  12. i need to get a digital camra too i have a 35mm cameral and i cant figure out how to get pictures on the internet, the box says you can do it but i should just save my pennies and pony up.
  13. I'm surprised nobody mentioned the Pentax Optio 33WR or 43WR cameras. Both are water resistant but are not waterproof.

    The 33WR is a 3 megapixel camera and the 43WR is a 4 megapixel camera.
  14. I went through this with a friend who is a semi-pro photographer who just upgraded his SLR to a Nikon D70, and then went looking for a point-and-shoot for his wife. After talking to him and going to numerous sites that compare cameras, I got the Canon Powershot A80 from for $200. I use this camera all the time for my column in NW Brewing News and it comes with basic software. I have one and bought one for my sister for Christmas.

    The biggest advantage to digital is that you can do your own post-processing. I recommens Photoshop Elements, the "lite" version of the Photoshop program which sells for <$100 if you get really into it and need more than the basics that come with the camera (which is pretty inclusive).

    My camera came with a card, but you can get extra cards pretty cheap. I recommend at least a 256, that will keep you from having to edit your images halfway through your vacation. Definitely don't get sucked into buying an older camera on sale that uses proprietary storage technology. What you save on the camera you will lose getting the extra memory. Get a newer camera that uses a Compact Flash card. These are cheaper and most new computers and accessories (printers) can read these directly without software. So you can download directly onto your XP machine and use their software, for example.

    Also, don't go for the reconditioned models because they have shorter warrantees. Basically, these cameras are disposable if anything goes wrong, so you want the longest factory warrantee you can get. I learned this the hard way.

    BTW, you may find that many sites offer the same prices now when you are shopping on line, that's because for a lot of this stuff, many companies are using the Amazon back end for CC charges and fulfillment. You are essentially just searching the Amazon catalog. In a lot of searching, I did not find anything cheaper than NewEgg.
  15. I bought the Pentax Optio 43WR, water resistant for 25 min(whatever that means), 4.0 Megapixels, about 3x3", and 3xOptical Zoom. So far I love it. Also does the 15 sec. movie clips with sound. Haven't tried that yet, but maybe someday.
    I weighed the camera with a waterproof case, but decided that I would rather have a camera that I will carry instead of the one I will leave in the car because it's too big.
    Good luck.
  16. i just ordered a pentax 33wr. Even vrs the non water resisten cameras, it rates higher than many.

  17. If you just want an "instamatic" check out the Concord cameras at CompUSA. They're $99 with battery and charger, case, 3.2 pixel and 3x zoom. Don't pay much attention to the digital zoom. We bought one for our sailing mag because if we loose it overboard or get it soaked we're not out $500. Resolution is fine for most instanaces. I've got a good Nikon at home with lots of goodies but never use them. Always load pics on computer then tweak them. Got my wife the $99 for Christmas to replace her little Pentax film camera that didn't survive an unfriendly camera situation.
  18. I would agree with those that like the Olympus 410. It's small size and water resistant features are what sold me. It takes good shots and is very compact is 4.0 mega pixels and on sale every weekend somewhere for around 249.00 to 300.00. THe only thing it lacks is a stonger zoom, 3X is it. But the size and price made it a good trade off. I have not noticed any soft focus issues as mentioned before, all my pictures are very sharp.
  19. I have the Oylmpus 410 also. I know what SpokaneFisherman is talking about. In low light conditions, the camera automatically adjusts and sets a slower shutter speed. If you don't have the camera on a tripod, the pictures will come out blurry without a flash. If you use a flash, it might be in focus, but the flash will take out a lot of the color. I'm not sure yet what you can do about this. Besides this issue, I think it is a great camera.
  20. One reason the Canon Powershot A80 is so highly recommended is because it offers the most features for any camera that price range. Many different preset and manual modes to correct lighting, etc. I'm still playing with all of it. Yet it still works great as a point and shoot, too.

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