Monday, July 20, 2009

Camera Suggestions?

Our (8 year old) digital camera is dying... Any suggestions? Give me the pros and cons of your suggestion, too please!


Rachel said...

do you want a super fancy SLR or so you want a point and shoot?
I LOVE my Sony the downside is it needs special memory cards.
Its pretty durable and its small enough to fit in my pocket and it take pretty good pictures.

Scott S said...

I've been eyeing budget cameras lately, while researching digital camcorders. I've been eyeing these in particular:

* Canon PowerShot SD780
* Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS85
* CASIO Exilim EX-Z29

Things to consider:
* Memory card types and internal memory for "emergencies"... we have a few xD, SD, and microSD chips around for various purposes, and a couple of Sony memory sticks, so we're generally covered. But SDHC is the cheapest for cost/capacity, in the States. And those go up to 16Gb now, which is two DVDs worth of storage.
* Bigger sensor = better quality data for images (2.33" CCD is most common right now). Although software and image processing can make a huge difference, the physical part can't really be updated, so that'll be one of the main factors.
* Optical zoom vs. digital zoom. Higher optical zoom (5x or greater) means that much more light gets to the sensor, which is again hardware vs. software. Digital zoom is nice, but basically cuts down on whatever detail you're going to get to the sensor.
* Movie quality. Nearly all cameras nowadays have some movie options. The first one in that list has "HD" quality, 720p, basically a step up from DVD (720 pixels tall), but not quite Blu-ray (1080p). Tube-based TVs can output at 480i, which is DVD quality, more or less. Still, dimensions of the movies (and images!) can be misleading... higher is better, but doesn't always lead to better image quality.
* Image/Movie formats. Common formats are nice, raw CCD data format as an option is very nice, if you want to do your own post-processing. JPG is lossy, TIFF isn't, but TIFFs eat up more storage. RAW is a lot more storage. AVI, MOV are fine for movies, though there's some new format, AVHD or AVCD, that's being used for HD camcorders.
* Speed! One of the biggest complaints we've had and heard is that on some cameras it takes a few seconds between the time you press the button and the picture gets taken. Although the memory card has something to do with this sometimes, cameras with some internal memory tend to to better. Ones that take multiple shots if you hold down the button are great, I think, so you have a better chance of getting a good picture. Continuous shot or continuous drive, with some fps rating (frames per second) or write speed (kbps, mbps for bits per second), will help figure that out.
* Durability. I tend to have big loose pockets when I carry the camera around, so it's not a huge issue, but I figure with kids around it's going to be a bigger concern (for us, soon). Don't have much to say on this one yet, though...

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