PDA

View Full Version : Digital camera woes



carlsson
December 9th, 2005, 11:20 PM
I've considered getting a digital camera for almost a year, but still haven't bought one. Partly because I'm twice as stingy as my grandfather used to be, but also because I'm waiting for the entry models to drop in price. It seems manufacturers step up in capacity rather than lowering the prices though, so I've recently investigated what my current options are.

Different stores have special offers every week, so once I find the right offer, I should take it immediately. Right now, these six cameras are the ones I can choose between:

Camex CDC-318C, 3.2 MP, 16 MB, 1.5". An anonymous Taiwanese (?) camera, only available in one store, probably re-branded. 690 SEK ($87)

Samsung A402, 4 MP, 16 MB, 1.8". User reviews mention that one needs to use the flash even outside? Risk of lens scratching? 890-990 SEK ($111-124)

Kodak EasyShare E330, 4 MP, 16 MB, 1.5", 4x optical zoom. Seems a bit complex to use, and I'm not sure if optical zoom is the killer feature. Reported a bit slow processing, but all these cameras are. 990 SEK.

Olympus unknown model, 4 MP, no zoom. No more info. 990 SEK.

HP E317, 5 MP, 16 MB, 1.5". From what I've heard, HP gives rather poor pictures or at least colour representation. Lots of megapixels, but only USB and memory card interfaces. 990 SEK - I read that WalMart in the USA sold this one for $79 at Thanksgiving.

Yakumo Mega-Image XL, 5 MP, 32 MB, 2.5". An unknown German/Asian brand that has received very positive comments by its owners. Monster sized LCD, a lot of internal memory and megapixels, rechargeable batteries and carrying bag. Was on sale for 890 SEK earlier this week, but the store sold out and now offers the Samsung for this price. Possibly they will sell it for 990 SEK next week, but it might also be an one time offer.

Right now, I'm probably waiting some more. The Kodak one looks like a good deal, but I was a bit disappointed by its appearance when I checked it out. If I would bother with mail order, there are a few more options, but not really any better prices. I've even considered getting one of those VGA cameras for less than $40, but those don't support memory cards, have no internal display and I'm not really that stingy if I can get a real camera for twice or thrice the money.

CP/M User
December 10th, 2005, 12:28 PM
Okay, usually I think the thing with Digital Cameras is what sort of photos do you intend to take with one. For instance my camera is semi-SLR, semi because it's a fixed lense, but like an SLR the lens can be programmed down to the finest points (but this camera also makes it easier for the beginner like myself).
Unfortunately I don't think it's in your price range, but considerning it's under $500 now, comes with 5 Megapixels & 10xOptical Zoom, it's a real bargin I think if you want to get into a little photography.

My folks have an Olympus - at the time they picked theirs up for around $250 - but have come down to around $170 Aussie! (Might be even cheaper in your part of the world). The thing with it which suprised me was the Super Macro - which allows you to take some farily small stuff real close. The rest is pretty standard - 3.2Megapixels, 3x Optical Zoom.

Also if you want to make movies (like myself) try & get a camera which supports Sound - which makes it particularly great if you into nature walks & want the sound of everything! ;-)
Also too with this, if your like me & want to take some long movies with Sound, try looking into a camera which supports a large memory card. My camera only has cards upto 512Mb & allows 14 minutes of recording in 320x200 or just 7.4 minutes or something if your using 640x400. Some other cards do upto 1Gb though! (Problem with these things is the cost).

Try & get a camera with Optical Zoom - Digital Zoom I hear isn't all that great (more restrictive I think).

But yeah, decide what you think you might do with a digital camera & get the best most affordable one (or simply put some money aside each week if you can & you maybe you'll get a slightly better one).

CP/M User.

carlsson
December 10th, 2005, 01:19 PM
I usually take pictures once every second year, when I go on vacation with the orchestra. If I get myself a digital camera, I suppose I might take pictures more often, because it is easier to transfer images than process a whole roll of film. In any case, I'm not planning to spend more than 1000 SEK plus maybe a bit for rechargeable batteries and memory card. I'm not enough of a photographer to appreciate a more expensive camera, although I definitely have the money to get a 5000 SEK camera if I wanted/need to.

I remember the Olympus camera uses xD memory card instead of the SD cards all the others use. I have a smart card reader in my computer, but it doesn't support xD (which also is a bit more expensive than SD).

Digital zoom is not really zoom, more a way to use the highest resolution to take a smaller picture. Some compare to the resize tool in Photoshop, but I suppose it is a little more useful than that. Still, I'm not even convinced that I have a lot of use of an optical zoom. My old 135mm camera (Kodak) has optical zoom, and while it is fun to use it, I can't recall an occassion where it was crucial to get a good picture.

Probably I will wait until spring. The word is that electronics will get more expensive after Christmas (due to worse exchange rates towards USD and other currencies), but I wonder how much it is truth and how much is a way to persuade people to do their Christmas shopping.

DimensionDude
December 10th, 2005, 04:22 PM
In the US, most retailers will have huge after-Christmas sales to reduce their inventories. Good deals on electronics to be found then. Also, when the new models come out you can find the previous models at considerable discounts.

Since you are willing to wait, I'd say the odds are in your favor of finding a good camera at a decent price.

Kent

Terry Yager
December 10th, 2005, 05:43 PM
For many years now, I've been trying to convince everyone I know to do thier shopping the day after Christmas, so as to buy twice as much stuff. I just don't get, what's so special about one day & not the next?

--T

CP/M User
December 11th, 2005, 12:51 AM
"Terry Yager"

> For many years now, I've been trying to convince everyone I know to
> do thier shopping the day "after" Christmas, so as to buy twice as much
> stuff. I just don't get, what's so special about one day & not the next?

...So I should wait & buy my scanner then?

CP/M User.

carlsson
December 11th, 2005, 02:06 AM
Yeah, we have those Christmas day sales too. As you know, in Sweden we hand out gifts on Christmas eve instead of the morning thereafter, so bold stores can be open on Dec 25th (although it is a holiday in the calendar) and start their sale one or two days ahead of more conservative stores.

Although one can't count on that the stores will have a sale on already low priced items. I like to keep count on the prices, and whenever I find a very good deal, I will react even if it is not a big sale.

ribbets
December 12th, 2005, 09:09 AM
Bought my wife a Sony Mavica last year after researching for a long time.
This camera records to a 3.5"CDR-RW and holds between 600 to 800 pictures to a CD or records a 17 minute movie . It's larger than most of the digital cameras . But the blank CD's are cheap about $1.60 here. It has a USB port or you simply use the CD with an adapter disc in the older CD drives or it fits right into my 52X which has a stepped nest for various sizes CDs.

carlsson
December 23rd, 2005, 03:38 AM
Now I have received the advertisments for the Boxing Day sales, and I'm not quite impressed. One store has a 5 MP camera with 3X optical zoom and 2.4" LCD for 990 SEK ($125), but the brand is Advent MP5, something I have barely heard of before. It appears on their web shop for 1490, but it might be an after-construction to make it appear more attractive to the customer.

I'll go Googling for some international sites. It appears to be known as ADE in some UK shops, but I find very few references, so probably it is a mass-produced unit sold under all kinds of names and models around the world, or not at all.

CP/M User
December 23rd, 2005, 12:11 PM
"carlsson" wrote:

> Now I have received the advertisments for the Boxing Day sales, and
> I'm not quite impressed. One store has a 5 MP camera with 3X optical
> zoom and 2.4" LCD for 990 SEK ($125), but the brand is "Advent MP5",
> something I have barely heard of before. It appears on their web shop
> for 1490, but it might be an after-construction to make it appear more
> attractive to the customer.

Yeah, I've never heard of them either. 5MP is quite a lot - I must say
though that while my camera is 4MP - I find it's quite adequite. It's got a
powerful 10xOptical Zoom though - which you probably don't need.

5MP though would make a nice A3 Sized portrit (pehaps A2).

> I'll go Googling for some international sites. It appears to be known as
> ADE in some UK shops, but I find very few references, so probably it is
> a mass-produced unit sold under all kinds of names and models around
> the world, or not at all.

If you know what the company which produces this camera - you maybe
able to find out if this particular camera has another name. Usually
company names don't change - usually it's just the model numbers which
do this I would have thought.

CP/M User.

carlsson
December 23rd, 2005, 02:18 PM
The amount of pixels ain't everything. If the lens is poor, you would need a giant resolution and then downsize in Photoshop afterwards to compensate. Many people say that a good 3MP camera can outperform a poor 5MP camera in that respect, at least if your object is not to get images that are huge in resolution but poor in quality.

I have researched CNet for all the brands they know. Some cameras look a slight bit similar, but the specs are different and it may be more a case of design copy rather than rebranding. For example, this particular camera to a certain extent resembles a Pentax, but unless they share the same factory, I don't think they are related.

I even tried to Google for digital cameras with a certain display size, but it didn't work out. As I wrote, this is advertised with a 2.4" display which is rather big and fairly unique (often it is 2.5" instead) so if the same camera would appear under different names, it should be findable.

In the case of MP3 players, it is common to see many noname brands as well as some of the better known ones (i.e. Creative) share exactly the same layout and supposedly also software and drivers. We came across a Chinese factory where it would be possible to order a few thousands (or maybe more) of a MP3 player and choose which design and which software features you want. Maybe that factory once had exactly copied Creative's designs, but I'm willing to believe that Creative was one of their clients, in parallel to all the (to us) lesser known brands that once and still flooded the MP3 market. Digital cameras may be more advanced so less options for identical brands.

carlsson
December 23rd, 2005, 02:56 PM
Advent MP5: http://www.anders.sfks.se/pics/advent-mp5.jpg

DXG-528: http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/news/articles/story_4199.html

Concord EasyShot: http://news.thomasnet.com/fullstory/460858/3193

BenQ DC E53: http://digitalcameras.kelkoo.co.uk/b/a/ps_12243260/124901.html

BenQ DC C800: http://www.oyyy.co.uk/product.php?xProd=19141&xSec=36 (although 8MP, but looks a bit similar)

Too bad there is no back side picture of the Advent camera. The specs on the DXG USA camera are very much the same: 2.4" LCD, 5.1MP, 32MB. It has a zoom (or even lens?) from .. Pentax. Co-incidence? As expected, the 528 got slaughtered in a customer review on another site. Reviews of other cameras in their range differs. DXG USA appears to have their main office in Taiwan and manufacture cameras in Shenzhen, China. Not too surprising.

To confuse further, there is a manufacturer of speakers and other home audio equipment called Advent. Their logo is different, and seems to be a completely different entity. The brand one I'm looking for is Dixons' own, which they also sell laptops and other stuff under. In Sweden, Elgiganten (who advertised the camera) seem to purchase their stuff through or in co-operation with Dixons, who also own the PC-World/PC-City stores. As it is a brand unique to Dixons and associates, and it is reported that their laptops are manufactured by several different companies, it may be fruitless to find a matching camera from another brand.

carlsson
December 23rd, 2005, 05:22 PM
Bingo! Pentacon/Praktica Luxmedia 5203 and this Advent MP5 appear to be identical cameras, except for the case colour.

http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/news/articles/story_4087.html
http://www.praktica.de/CMSFiles/526.pdf

On a German site, I found eight user comments about this camera, ranging from one to five stars, average four. The one who gave it the lowest score, did so not due to the camera's qualities, but only because it is made in China, not a genuine German product?! :roll:

Pros: Good pictures for its money, easy to handle.
Cons: Uses a lot of battery (large display), plastic case may easily break.

Of course, I can not be certain the camera software is identical, but I can not find a closer match than this.

carlsson
December 24th, 2005, 01:00 AM
The exact same camera is sold as Rollei da5324. That company claims to have been in business since 1929, but it would not prevent them from branding a generic Chinese camera.

Jenoptik JD5.0Z3 is another camera with slightly different shell, but appears to have the same interior. Not that it matters, since all these cameras only appear in a handful of stores, and very few reviews. I found a detailed review of the Luxmedia one, but it was all in Czech and I'm not really fluent. But the example pictures taken with the camera looked OK.

Vlad
December 24th, 2005, 06:48 AM
I have an Olympus 4 MP camera that I love. Olympus is an Excellent brand for digital cameras, though they are a little on the pricey side it worth it. Also Nikon is a professional camera maker in 35mm and digital. They have made some of the worlds most professional cameras. They are however, the most expensive. (since it is professional) My first camera was an Argus, it was a good starter camera......
I got the Olympus at Wal*Mart. I would recommend it.

-Vlad

carlsson
December 24th, 2005, 02:18 PM
Yes, the Olympus FE-100 has been out there for a while. 4MP and optical zoom, but it uses xD memory cards so I'd have to rely on USB cable connection since my card reader only accepts CF, SD, MS and SM. I believe I've seen it for 1190 SEK (almost $150), but right now it seems to start between and 1238 ($155) and 1390 ($174), the latter including a 150 SEK voucher for paper copies of your best pictures.

Whether it is worth $25 extra to get a real brand but with slightly less resolution and fewer features, I don't know, but my initial and current budget didn't stretch beyond ~$125 plus batteries and memory card, much because I don't take a lot of pictures and would need very good evidence what an extra $25 or even $50 would get me, more than less money left in the wallet.

Vlad
December 25th, 2005, 04:55 PM
The Argus one I had was about the size of a disposable camera, it took 3 UM-4 (AAA) battries and a USB connection was your only option. But if the battries died, or came out, the memory wiped and the pics were lost so I had to be careful.... Maybe something like that would work?


-Vlad

carlsson
December 27th, 2005, 09:33 AM
Now I've bought the Advent. It is smaller than I thought it would be. So far, I have only taken a few test pictures and depending on the settings, I can't complain. I'm using the internal 32MB memory so far, looking for the best price/performance deal on a SD memory card; it appears that Viking High Speed might be among the best.