Berkeley Parents Network
Google Custom Search
Home Members Post a Msg Reviews Advice Subscribe Help/FAQ What's New

Cameras

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > What/Where to Buy > Appliances & Electronics > Cameras



Digital Camera in $300 range

Feb 2005

Hello, I'm seeking suggestions for a digital camera, at least 4 mg pixels, prefer large LCD (about $300 +/-), most interested in Canon and Nikkon, but open to other suggestions. Please advise as to where you purchsed it, as well. Also, considering a Dell or HP notebook. I was very interested in Dell, until I read the consumer reviews on-line. So many compaints about ordering issues, and a friend just got a 5160 and has had technical problems. Anyone know about the Inspironn 5160 or 6000? thanks so much, ~lisa


I bought a Nikon coolpix for my mother because it seemed easy to use - there are at least two models - I got the 3.2 megapixel which was @$200 at Ritz camera. You could probably get it cheaper at another store but Ritz gives you free classes and some other free stuff when you buy there. My mother, a digital camera novice, attended one of the classes and loved it - she is planning on attending more. She also seems to love the camera. coolpix
I don't have a specific camera to recommend, but friend of mine bought her digital camera at Costco, didn't like the quality, took it back and got another, didn't like that one, etc. She went through several before she got one she liked. She recommends shopping where you can take as many cameras back as you want, after you've tried them out. Jenny

Choosing a digital camera

Jan 2004

I am looking for a digital camera--any recommendations? How did you decide among all the choices out there? I have a 10 month old daughter, and of course, most of the pictures will be of her! I heard Pentax Optio is a good one, but I also heard Canon makes good ones. I looked at the previous recos, but cameras have changed since then. Help!? Thanks!


Have you checked out CNET (www.cnet.com)? I'm an editor here, and it's our job to recommend computer and consumer electronics products. We've got hundreds of reviews of digital cameras, as well as a holiday gift guide and a buyers guide to help inform your decision. Hope it helps! Lindsey
Digital cameras are similar to computers in the sense that it is a very dynamically developing area of technology, mostly confined to electronics. A cutting edge camera which sells for $1000 today is likely to be considered a piece of electronic junk in three-four years. This is very different from SLR film cameras which tend to keep their value over a long period of time. Therefore, in my opinion, a good strategy is to look for cameras which used to be state-of-the-art some 6-12 months ago, and now are pushed to the bottom of the offered variety of models (and corrrespondingly dropped in price). I think one can get a decent 4 megapixel camera for under $300, whereas the newest 5-6 megapixel cameras can easily cost over $600. The difference between them, however, is not as significant as to justify a double price, unless you want the best regardless of the cost.

I think that for small point-and-shoot digital cameras the primary criterion should be the price, combined with decent user reviews, say, on Amazon.com. And I would loook primarily into the brand names which established themselves in the photography market, such as Canon, Nikon, Kodak, Olympus, etc. Andrei Istratov


Just went through this. My husband got me the Canon Power Shot A80 for my birthday last month. He is a great shopper and surfed a whole bunch of internet sites that rate cameras. (He even has opinions about which sites are more reliable than others.) He said for him it came down to the Canon and the Nikon 4300, which were consistently rated the best among users, Nikon having the slightest edge due to a high-quality lens. Well, we got the Nikon and on day two it stopped working. So we went back and got the Canon. We've had it for one week and it's been great so far! Oh, the camera is a 4.0 megapixel. Good luck! k12
I can recommend the Canon PowerShot series. I have an A70; another friend has (I think) an A60. It's a great camera, affordable with lots of features and capabilities. It takes regular rechargeable batteries (some will only take the batteries made by them), which is a big plus for us. It takes great short videos too. The one major caveat is that some of its photo settings have a ridiculously low shutter-speed (slow shutter-speed is common with a digital camera unless you're willing to shell out the extra cash on a more professional one). There have been times when we've lost that ''moment'' because of that . . . then again, depending on how quickly our little one moved, it could have happened with any camera! A web site I checked out in prep for my camera purchase: www.dpreview.com To check for the best prices: www.BizRate.com and www.cnet.com Good luck in your search! -Ginna
There was a very good article about digital cameras in the November 20 New York Times ''circuits'' section. I was able to access the article for free by going to http://www.nytimes.com/pages/technology/index.html and then clicking on ''columns,'' looking for ''State of the Art'' and then finally ''More Megapixels for the Money.''

There's no single camera that the author (David Pogue) recommends about all others:

''In short, there's a terrific camera in here somewhere for just about every sort of shutterbug, including the technophobe (the Kodak), the style maven (the Minolta), the outdoorsy types (Pentax), the quality diva (Canon) and the bargain hunter (Casio and Samsung).

''In any case, your dollar goes much farther than it did two years ago. In fact, only one thing should stop you from jumping on these superb offerings: contemplating how much better and cheaper they'll be in 2005.'' Ken Ribet


A really good resource, which will educate you about digital cameras, and help you narrow your choices depending on what you want your camera to do and your price range, is dcresource.com. Includes detailed reviews, sample photos, and links to consumer posts, to give you an idea of how the people who actually own each camera feel about it. raissa
I do not have a recommendation for a specific camera, but I do have a suggestion. Find one with a decent zoom. The one we purchased had none really and it has been frustrating for us. Try them out in the store before you purchase. They are wonderful to have. Enjoy! Patty
We have been very happy with our Olympus Camedia C-50 Zoom. We selected it after reading the Consumer Reports review and found it to be a good value given all the features. No complaints and we use it a lot. Rebecca

2-megapixel Digital Camera

December 2002

I am looking for a 2-megapixel digital camera to give to my spouse as a gift, and would like to hear from people who own one regarding which brand/model to buy, what's a good value, where's a good place to buy it, etc. I'd like to use a local business rather than a huge chain store. Thank you.


My father just threw away his Olympus digital camera (I don't know the model #) It needed repairs twice at $150 ea. in two years. (He didn't get it repaired the second time). While our family loved Olympus cameras, their electronics seem to be shoddy. He hasn't had the replacement long enough to recommend or not recommend yet! (And I don't remember the brand). For a few months, I had loan of a friend's Sony camera (again I forget the model - matvica or something like that) that used a regular computer disc. It took beautiful, clear pics for sending email and was really easy. A few times people asked what camera I used bedause the emails looked so good). However, my printouts with my home color printer were never that great, and I never tried other sources for printing (I think it was my printer). I do know that for both cameras the cheapest prices were via the internet. -Sharon F
Having a digital camera has been an incredible influence on me to take more and better pictures. I did a lot of research and ended up all excited about getting a Canon Powershot s330 Digital ELPH. It is out of sight fantastic. It is small enough for me to wear it on my belt no hassle, I can (and do) whip it out when those ''golden moments'' happen on the road while bicycling or walking around the neighbrohood. It connects to my windows98 and w2k machines by USB port. (It will not connect to windowsNT or win95.) I take the compactflash memory card to Ritz on Telegraph. They make 3*5 prints for 49 cents each. That's better for me than buying a printer, supplying it with paper, etc. The software that comes with the camera is enough to make minor changes, crop, rotate, red-eye, etc. What sets this camera apart is it's ability to take bright pictures and faithfully reproduce color. Even in extremely low light conditions, shots come out great without needing to monkey around in editing. It also starts up extremely fast. I can power it up and take a shot in 4 seconds or less, depending on the lighting. This year is especially good for buying one because it now costs $400, just over half of last year's model, plus you get a speaker, and improved light control. I could go on and on about the 3x optical zoom, user interface etc. Instead, check out a review of it alongside competing models at Steve's digicams. http://www.steves-digicams.com/cameras_dig2.html Ilan Eyman
I'd recommend Canon Powershot Digital Elph S110. It is ultra compact and beautifully designed. The camera case for some reason does not come with it, and need to be ordered seperately. Costs around $350. Cris
I'm very happy with my Olympus C-2040. I selected it after reading many reviews of 2-meg cameras. I purchased it online from a NY discount outlet, but this is a common model and should be available through most retailers. Patrick
Digital Photography Review http://www.dpreview.com/ provides its own independent analysis of digital cameras. The Canon PowerShot S40 is highly recommended and is available from Costco for $600. The Powershot S330 is also highly recommended and can be found at Costco for $400. The Olympus digital cameras in these price ranges exhibited significant chromatic aberration (purple fringing around bright elements in the picture).

See: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons40/page16.asp http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canondigitalixus330/page14.asp

You can also view sample images from these cameras. Hans in Pleasanton


Aim and Shoot 35mm camera

December 2002

My beloved Canon point and shoot camera has been dropped once too often and I've learned it is better to replace it than to fix it. Can anyone recommend a good, sturdy 35mm zoom camera that anyone in the family can use? I want simple, reliable, versatile and unbreakable. The bigger the zoom the better. This will go on the family vacations, camping and so on, so it will get some good use and will likely get dropped and dirty.

Another question: We are also considering a digital camera at some point, but since we tend to send multiple photos to our various family, film *seems* to make sense for us at this point. But we could be swayed. Given that, any thoughts on whether to invest in a better film camera or put the money into digital at this point? Thank you. Cindy


I would strongly recommend the Kodak Advantix. I'm not sure it's as rough-and-tumble as you're looking for, but I have dropped it plenty of times without any problems. It's easy, and the picture quality is excellent. Plus, it gives you options for panoramic pictures, which you really can't beat. It's very simple to use, and the Advantix might also allow you to put off the digital camera purchase a little while longer. Just order a CD-ROM when you get the film processed, and you'll have all your pictures in digital form as well as prints. It's a lot less expensive than a digital camera. The main drawback is you won't have your digital photos instantly; you'll have to wait until the roll is processed. Gwynne
Fujifilm DL SUPER Mini ZOOM It has an all metal body, not one of those cheapo plastic drop once and break it types. Yes I have dropped it and it has survived. The zoom range is not that large, like 28mm to 56mm or something like that, but the lens is FAR superior to those 38mm to 180mm zooms - those are just bad. It has a REALLY good lens. You can get a nice wide angle with the base 28mm, most point and shoots start at 38mm (tight, scooch in, ouch!). It has drop-in loading, and then it takes all the film out and puts it back in the can as you take them (incase you accidentally open the camera, all is saved) you can also swap rolls mid way for diff film speeds. The camera looks really cool, like an APS it's sooo small, but who wants APS when you can shoot 35mm? It has a boatload of advanced functions, it's the photographers pocket point and shoot. It has a cult following. It's discontinued, but if you search around you can still get new ones. Its about $125. ours got stolen out of the stroller once and we promptly bought another because we love it so much. If the QUALITY of the actual image is important to you, buy this camera. If you want to take a picture of your kid at the other end of the soccer field when you are in the stands, buy another camera. Don't let the name Fugifilm fool you, this is a super high quality camera, with the best avaliable lens before you get into the $1000 Leica's. And you thought they only made great film! anon
For point-and-shoot 35mm cameras that are sturdily built, the current front-runner would be the Pentaz IQZoom 95WR Date. This camera is Class V water-resistant which means it will survive a dunking better than the Olympus Stylus Epics (which are Class IV). It also floats. The zoom, unfortunately, goes only to 95mm. You can read more info at: http://www.pentax.com/products/cameras/camera_overview.cfm?productID=10519 I own, and very much prefer, its predecessor which is the 90WR Date. It can be found on eBay for about $80. This model is a bit larger but had a few more features built-in (including its remote control). For really long lenses, Pentax makes a 200mm point-and-shoot but it is not weather resistant: http://www.pentax.com/products/cameras/camera_overview.cfm?productID=10244 If you can exercise some degree of care on your travel, I would recommend the Pentax IQZoom 120SW which has a zoom of 28mm to 120mm. The extra-wide angle would be great for scenics: http://www.pentax.com/products/cameras/camera_overview.cfm?productID=10539 As for digital, I'm waiting for Foveon's technology to go mass-market and for the prices to drop further. For more research, try:
http://www.consumersearch.com/www/photo_and_video/35mm_cameras/index.html
http://www.photo.net/learn/point-and-shoot-tips
http://www.photo.net/equipment/point-and-shoot/intro
http://www.foveon.com/
Hans in Pleasanton I don't know if I included this link in my last message. If you DO want to assess some of the digital cameras out there, this site in Europe has in-depth reviews and sample photos. This link will take you to their ratings page: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/default.asp?view=rating Hans in Pleasanton
we had a great Olympus 35 mm automatic flash camera for 3 years, and we LOVED it. always in focus, no flash issues... we thought it had a problem and bought a newer olympus with more flash options, but it turned out to be a film developing problem, and the camera was (& is) fine! we bought our new one a target, and at the time they also had similar streamlined cameras like our favorite--it fit in big pockets, was durable, and closed automatically. we also have a digital camera, but i tend to use the olympus more because of family too--we send too many prints out to family members... good luck! jessica
As far as purchasing a new point and shoot camera, Consumer Reports has always been pretty solid in their analysis. Watch out for issues of red-eye from the flash being too close to the lens.

Digital cameras are definitely another kettle of fish. Having played with Sony, Canon, Olympus, Kodak, Nikon and a few others it has become quite clear that the software that renders the picture is crucial and that Kodak and Nikon appear to be the most balanced.

You have to consider how much of an Optical Zoom you need. 2X is equal to a 38 to 80, and 3X is about 38 to 105 equivalent. Less will leave you struggling to fill your lense with what you want to shoot.

Ignore Digital Zoom as you lose detail by using it, it's a gimmick really, it's like blowing up something with a copy machine, resolution drops off fast.

I have found that the Kodak's are the easiest to use, have the best lenses, best color, good durability (mine get banged around at the racetrack.)

But there is a caveat, the older Kodaks 210, 215, 260, 290 series have glass lenses up front AND on the inside. Newer Kodaks have plastic lenses except for the front one. And while they have significantly more megapixels (higher resolution for greater detail at a cost of space on your chips (more req per picture), and slower cycle time between shot to handle the greater amounts of information.)

But here's the rub, the pictures with the newer Kodaks (thousand series) are NOT as good as the older (hundred series cameras !) Why ? More megapixels with lower cost lense does not yield as good a result as fewer megapixels with a more costly lenses....

I just got a Kodak 260 ''new old stock'', on Ebay, $219 shipped, one yr Kodak Warranty. It's not as small, nor as slick as the newer models, but it is a workhorse and the Nikon equivalent is about $100 more. Printers, photo quality paper and software are issues I'm still playing with. Maybe someone else can address those ! Be Well, Jon Rosner


I have both a 35mm camera and digital camera with a digital photo printer. My digital camera (a Canon G2 with 4 mega- pixels) takes amazing pictures and the Sony digital photo printer makes the prints look professional. BUT I've found that it is too time consuming to try to print each shot, let alone make copies for all the relatives, and the photo paper isn't cheap. I LOVE my point and shoot 35 mm camera (a recent birthday gift)... it is an Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 170. It is easy to use and the pictures look great! I recommend it highly. I use it much more than my digital camera because it is easier to shoot a roll & drop it off for developing than to hassle with the digital pictures. Jennifer
I can't recommend a particular model, but I would like to add my vote for a digital camera. If you are sharing pictures with a number of people, digital is best! Just post your pictures on a site like shutterfly or ofoto. Then you can either send copies directly from the site to your friends and family, or send them an email inviting them to come and view the pictures and order the ones they like. The sites let you keep an address book so sending the pictures or emails only takes a few clicks. It is much easier than having to go to the photo shop and make copies and then go to the post office to mail them. I also like taking pictures of kids with a digital camera because you can just keep taking the picture until you get it right, and then delete the ones you don't like (instead of printing a whole roll to get one or two good pictures). I think there were recent posts recommending brands of digital cameras; otherwise you might want to try a site like cnet.com. Enjoy! Stephanie
I would strongly recommend the Kodak Advantix. I'm not sure it's as rough-and-tumble as you're looking for, but I have dropped it plenty of times without any problems. It's easy, and the picture quality is excellent. Plus, it gives you options for panoramic pictures, which you really can't beat. It's very simple to use, and the Advantix might also allow you to put off the digital camera purchase a little while longer. Just order a CD-ROM when you get the film processed, and you'll have all your pictures in digital form as well as prints. It's a lot less expensive than a digital camera. The main drawback is you won't have your digital photos instantly; you'll have to wait until the roll is processed. Gwynne
Fujifilm DL SUPER Mini ZOOM It has an all metal body, not one of those cheapo plastic drop once and break it types. Yes I have dropped it and it has survived. The zoom range is not that large, like 28mm to 56mm or something like that, but the lens is FAR superior to those 38mm to 180mm zooms - those are just bad. It has a REALLY good lens. You can get a nice wide angle with the base 28mm, most point and shoots start at 38mm (tight, scooch in, ouch!). It has drop-in loading, and then it takes all the film out and puts it back in the can as you take them (incase you accidentally open the camera, all is saved) you can also swap rolls mid way for diff film speeds. The camera looks really cool, like an APS it's sooo small, but who wants APS when you can shoot 35mm? It has a boatload of advanced functions, it's the photographers pocket point and shoot. It has a cult following. It's discontinued, but if you search around you can still get new ones. Its about $125. ours got stolen out of the stroller once and we promptly bought another because we love it so much. If the QUALITY of the actual image is important to you, buy this camera. If you want to take a picture of your kid at the other end of the soccer field when you are in the stands, buy another camera. Don't let the name Fugifilm fool you, this is a super high quality camera, with the best avaliable lens before you get into the $1000 Leica's. And you thought they only made great film! anon
Home   |   Post a Message  |   Subscribe  |   Help   |   Search  |   Contact Us    

this page was last updated: Mar 3, 2005


BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website! Read more, and see how you can help: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org

The opinions and statements expressed on this website are those of parents who subscribe to the Berkeley Parents Network.
Please see Disclaimer & Usage for information about using content on this website.    Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network