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DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

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Old 03-18-2004, 03:05 PM
  #1  
RCRAINMAN
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Default DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

I want to get a new Digital Camera so I can take pics of my planes while in the air and on the ground. However, I can only spend $300-$350 total. What kind of camera do you guys recommend and how many Megapixels will I be able to get with this kind of price cap?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-18-2004, 03:26 PM
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pettit
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

Try this web site:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/

Lots of good digital info here

Personally I have a Canon Digital Rebel, Canon 75-300 tele, Sigma 28-70 F2.8 and Canon flash.
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Old 03-18-2004, 03:33 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

Best is to ask around the local camera stores, and see what kind of deal you can get... Stay away from the big stoes, like Future Shop et all, as they wil sell you what they have, with little info / knowledge given.

This type of technology, while cutting edge, is changing and advancing constantly. What cost $500 today, will be on sale in about 6 months... for probably close to half that... (OK, that's a bit of an exageration, but holds some truth..)

Ideally, you want toe most resolution possible, the most 'megapixels'. this will yeild the sharpest pictures. Zoom functions are nice too. Compare the features, but I expect most will be a small 'point and shoot' camera.

Also think about memory sticks, as most have a limited amount of memory, and it would be a shame to loose the first 50 pics, becasue you haven't had a chance to download them...

While the camera is a tool to capture the photo, the real fun starts with the photo editing software. Here, you can crop, zoom, shade, sharpen, etc... the shots.. so, that's another thing to think about.. the camera, and the software. (Don't rely on the bundled software to be great. it's usually just to 'show' the pictures..
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Old 03-18-2004, 04:28 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

Thanks for the info! I have been on Best Buy's, CompUSA's, and Office Depot's website and have seen too many models that I can shake a stick at! I've read some newbie FAQ's but they don't really say much, and what they do say is mostly common-sense stuff. I think I will head over to Best Buy tonight and talk with a Rep about this stuff. But PLEASE if anyone else has some good pieces of advice, let me know!
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Old 03-18-2004, 04:33 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

hi i bought a sony dsc 72 or something like that its takes wondeful pics and even video with sound it hsould be about 2 something i hear that the nikon coolpix is atually the best cameras though
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Old 03-18-2004, 04:33 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

If you are really interested in digital and do not mind purchasing out of state, then get a copy of either Popular Photography, Outdoor Photographer, etc. I have used the shops that advertise and can recommend several. Even though I only use film, these advertisers sell digital, and generally at excellent prices. Most important, know the prices before you call.


Lew
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Old 03-18-2004, 04:58 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

I have the Sony DC-52. It has less zoom than the -72. It still takes great pics. I got it at Wal*Mart for less than $300. The 64mb memory stick was another $40. It comes with a 16mb stick. It will take 3.2megpix pics. Most of the time I take them at 1.2MP. It has four MP settings.
It will also take Mp movies. I use the lower setting to save bytes. It is hard to tell the difference between the 1.2 and 3.2 pics. When you blow them up there is a diff but for what I do the lower res works fine.

David
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Old 03-18-2004, 05:19 PM
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shag26272
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

yeah i really dont feel that i need 3 megapixels either the highest i take it at is around 2 here is the sony link i paid like 309 for mine now theyre like 270 here is the sony link

http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTE...QS=DSCP72KITIS
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Old 03-18-2004, 06:03 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

Considder if you want to print some of the images as well. If you don't want to print you can go with a lower megapixels. Sorry I don't know what is normally considdered enough for printing. Off hand I think it's 2Mp but not sure. Maybe somebody here else knows.
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Old 03-18-2004, 06:53 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

I bought a polaroid pdc2300z from e-bay used, claimed to have be used a couple of times. It came with usb adapt. serial adapt. tv- adapt. ac power adapt. carrying case and photo gallery software. its a 2.3 mega pixel. I won the bid at $78.00. this camera is great!!! I also upgraded to a 64mega bit memory card it now holds up to 968 pics at the lowest setting or 64 pics at the highest. Check out the photos page at my web site www.bigbobsrc.com all photos were taken at the lowest setting.
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Old 03-18-2004, 07:38 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

i hear that the nikon coolpix is atually the best cameras though
I bought a Nikon Coolpix 3100 a few months back and it's a decent camera. Comes with the software and interface for the PC and a 16 mB memory, and captures at 3.2 megapixels. I'd highly recommend picking up additional memory for whatever camera you end up with too. (I bought a 128 mB card which gets me over 900 high resolution pics.) This camera will also take videos, but without sound.

I think I paid in the area of $350, plus another $60 for the memory card, but I'm betting that the camera is closer to $275 by now.

If you're looking in that price range it IS a decent camera and the image quality is really good.

Good luck finding what you want, at a good price!
Dennis-
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Old 03-18-2004, 08:08 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

I've got a Canon A80, but it is listed for $399. It is a 4MP that takes photos up to 2272x1704. It takes videos up to 3 minutes with sound and plays back with sound from the camera. It has a built in mic and speaker. Flip-out LCD screen. I just got mine recently and can't put it down. It will print out a 11x14 with easy and very good quality.





As some one stated before, unless you plan on printing out larger photos, then a Canon A40 or A60 will do you fine. Both will take a photo up to 1600x1200.

A40 photo gallery
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2002_...0_samples.html

A60 photo gallery
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...0_samples.html

A80 photo gallery
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...0_samples.html

My A80 is a great camera, but it is too expensive for me to put in one of my planes. My A80 has a flip out LCD screen and other features that you may not need on your plane. The A40 and A60 both have great photos and I found the A40 for around $130 and found the A60 around $150. My A80 is listed here for $399. You can put the A80 in your plane, but again unless you plane on printing a 11x14 photo then you might not need a A80.

The A80 would be a great camera if you are going to use it outside the plane, then the A80 would be good. Just too much dinero for me to put in a plane.

Good luck and let us see the photos when you get the camera installed.

DTB
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Old 03-18-2004, 09:09 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

This is a good source also

http://www.dpreview.com

I have a Canon S30,
Canon A80, S50 is good IMO

If you buy the S45 or S50 you can buy the extra li-ion batteries from ebay for $10.

but the video is kind of limited IMO

for buying http://bhphotovideo.com/ is good, there are online retailers around, but they sell gray market items, B&H is the Tower hobbies of photography.
Also you can find importedt items at B&H but they are clearly marked.
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Old 03-18-2004, 09:13 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

Try www.dcresource.com also. Very good information on any camera on the market...
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Old 03-19-2004, 01:30 AM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

Computergeeks.com often has great prices on the last product-cycle's cameras. Usually that's the first place I look, and check sites like Steve's Digicams and DPresource for authoritative reviews of the various cameras, then do some more price checking. I don't pay much attention to what users have to say in threads like this, because most people haven't used enough digital cameras to know a good one from a bad one.

Something to keep in mind: you'll have to buy a memory card. The dinky little 16mb and 32mb cards that most cameras come with are just not adequate. You'll want 64mb at a minimum, and would be best off spending a bit more for 128mb. Plenty of people will suggest shooting at a lower MP rating than your camera is capable of, but why? There's absolutely no reason to sacrifice quality like that. You can always scale a photo down, but you can't always make it larger.
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Old 03-19-2004, 10:46 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

Check Adorama and B&H Camera. They are both reputable mail order houses. They have FAQ's on thier web sites to help you. They sell used stuff as well. Thier used equipment comes with a guarentee. They sell at a good price.

Now there are a few things to watch for when buying a new camera. The biggest thing is look for "GREY MARKET" goods. These are name brand camera's imported by someone other than Cannon, Minolta ect. They do NOT have a US warrenty. If they break you would have to send them back to Japan for warrenty repairs. This is a dicy thing. Be sure that you are getting a US version. And lastly look to see if it is refurbished. This has kinda died out recently. But it is still out there.

You want the most megapixels you can afford. Right around 3 should do for most of the needs you have. look for the biggest optical zoom you can. A 3X of 4X is normal in the price range you are looking at. What this means is the bigger the _X is the longer the zoom is. Or you can zoom in closer with the lens. Digital zooms just blow up a section of the picture. This can get a grainy picture in a hurry. So go with the biggest optical you can. I suggest you stick with the name brands, Nikon, Minolta, Cannon, Sony, Fuji, Kodak. These will usually give you the best performance for the bucks. Also look for bundled software. Sometimes a lesser camera will have a lot of good software with it. It can be the final decider between 2 brands. These brands are only brands that I am familiar with. There are other brands that are good too. I do not want to start a war. I personally like Nikon and Cannon. Choose the one that is right for you.

Check out the magazines, Shutterbug and Popular Photography are good sources. They usually have a digital primer or special issue divoted to digitals usually once a year. Many librarys have Popular Photography. You can check back issues for information. One last thing and I will get off my soapbox. Information is the key to get what you want at a good price. You must do the research. What works for one person probably won't work for you. Just read up and purchase wisly. I am only scratching the surface here so read up and good luck.

Mark Shuman

BTW these are just my suggestions. If you have specific questions feel free to pm me here.
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Old 03-19-2004, 11:10 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

I paid arund 100 $ for 3.1 megapixel cam @ walmart.Its a fixed focus no zoom. simple but do make a great shots
Check walmart.com site
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:59 AM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

If you want decent in-flight shots you MUST have two things. A decent zoom and a way to lock the focus at infinity. For the zoom you want a 10x OPTICAL zoom, digital zooms are useless. You can get away with a 6 or 7x optical but a 10X is prefered. If you can't lock the focus you will never get a picture in focus with a non-SLR type digital camera. They all focus too slowly. I have shot thousands of pics for magazine articles and have tried numerous cameras. I now use a Canon D-300 and the 70-300mm lens but this outfit is over $1K. I got great results with the Minolta Dimage 5 but that is now long out of production. I have looked at several cameras for a cheap backup Camera and I would be inclined to go with the Fuji 5100 right now if I had to. It's in the price range you want, it takes good pictures and it has both the zoom and fucus lock you need to get good in flight shots

TFLG
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Old 02-03-2005, 05:13 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

When trying to pick a camera, you may want to try PC Magazines site. They have always had a reputation for telling things like they are (unlike some of our model magazines). If something has a flaw, its noted. If its good they say so. Over the years, they have gotten heavily into everything digital, not just PCs any more. They have current reviews on just about every camera and the software to enhance the pics.

www.pcmag.com.

They also have a shopping comparison where you can get net prices from countless vendors. Read carefully before you buy. Sometimes the prices are for rebuilt units, or imported units without a warranty.
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Old 02-03-2005, 05:19 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

Consumer reports is also good for telling it like it is. www.consumerreports.com

they take NO advertising and purchase every product they review with their own money. Zero influence. They have some stuff on this but I think it requires pay subscription which is understandable considering "no advertising" and that they buy everything!

curious what they put out in front these days.

TFLG - you would not want an infinity focus if you are shooting to get a closeup of a plane in the air with shorter depth of field so the background is blurred. If you do this you can keep the plane in focus as the foreground object of interest and blur any background. If you do infinity focus then I think you are likely to not have as much zoom and background could distract viewer from the object of interest (plane/heli).
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Old 02-04-2005, 12:47 PM
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Hi RCRAINMAN

Here is something to consider. Most of the newer video camcorders also take still photos. The price range is slightly higher than what you would like to spend, but not a lot. You can buy a nice digital camcorder for $500 or less. Most cameras in your price range are going to be limited to 3x zoom, while most digital camcorders have at least 10x zoom. The number of megapixels camcorders use for stills will be less than the standalone camera, but with good software you can increase the resolution and blow them up just fine.

Another thought I would like to throw out is a comparison. Getting into digital photography is not unlike buying a first 40 sized trainer. All you need is a couple of props, a D cell, and a quart of fuel, right? Well, no. Just as with that trainer, you will find that you need support equipment and have to plan on spending money for cables, computer cards, memory cards, extra batteries, lenses, software, etc. etc. As with the models, the list is neverending for those that get hooked.
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Old 02-04-2005, 01:50 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

If you want a good camera in the 10X zoom range, I would highly recommend the Panasonic Lumix cameras. The one I have is the DMC-FZ15 and it has a 12X optical zoom and 4MP. The Lumix also has image stabilization, which allows you to use the 12X optical zoom without a tripod in good lighting conditions. The only other camera with image stabilization in this price range is the Minolta Diamage Z3. The Minolta Diamage is about $350.00 and the Panasonic Lumix can be found for about $375.00. I handled and used both before making a buying decision, and would say that the Lumix is the better choice. It is bigger in size, and has a good solid feel. The LCD monitor screen on the Lumix is 2" as compared 1.5" on most other cameras. This makes a big difference in being able to compose your picture. Lica, a very reputable lense manufacture, manufactures the lense for this camera. This camera has more features than the average person needs. The FZ15 takes good video, but no sound. To get sound you have to go to the FZ20 for almost $100.00 more. As with all digital cameras you will have to buy additional memory card. You only get a 8MB card with it. I don't see why they even bother putting a card that small in a camera. I picked up a 512MB card for mine.
Good luck on your decision. This may be more camera than you want but I thought I would give you something else to consider.
I almost forgot to add that the macro is very good on this camera. This is a feature you will also need to be good.
Greg
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Old 02-04-2005, 11:28 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

THis is kinda an old thread initially but if you are still interested let me know. I am a proffessional photographer and have not shot with film in close to three years. I've had many cameras and have seen them all. THere are so many things out there to consider it's really quite a challange. Obviously you don't need a $7000 camera like I use in the studio but I'll tell you that Canon Point and shoots are probably the best bet going. Followed very closely by Nikon and sony.

I have a Powershot A70 for milling around and I do all of my RC vids with it. It will run a High 640x800 res movie for up to 4 min on a large card and unlimited time at a lower res. It has sound and is a great cam! I often print 16x20 prints from it.

There is not much reason to go larger then 4 MPX for an average person. I have a 12 MPX Fuji S3pro that I use professionally but that's way overkill for an average person!

Any questions... Just give a shout... G.
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Old 02-05-2005, 12:47 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

For ground-based images I use a Fuji 2800... 6x optical zoom.
Digital cameras have an annoying lag between pushing the shutter button and actually getting the image.
For action pictures, this means the subject might not even be in the image when the camera does its thing.
To get around this, I've epoxied a sighting tube on the upper left of the camera body, which I use to follow the subject while the camera is thinking..
And there's a 4-shot burst mode at maximum resolution which helps get a good image.
Samples..
The takeoff shot, the closeup and the real closeup are all taken while flying the model... all at 6x zoom
The SP2H shows what happens when the pan rate changes .. almost got the whole thing but..
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Old 02-05-2005, 01:00 PM
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Default RE: DIGITAL CAMERA QUESTION

For a few years I used a Canon PowerShot S100 digital ELPH. It is a great little (shirt pocket size) 2.1 mpx camera. I still carry it to the big bird flyins that I go to. The big draw back is that the 2X optical zoom is way insufficient. My primary interest is taking in flight shots.

Last year I did a lot of research into a better camera for my needs that was in my budget range. I settled on the Olympus C-750 Ultra Zoom. I have been very happy with this camera. It is a 4.0 mpx camera with 10X optical and up to a 4X multiplier for digital zoom. By the way I'm not a fan of digital zoom because of the graininess that it introduces. However, at lower multiplication it's not too bad. The camera has a sports action mode which focuses reasonably fast. At times I use infinity focus for some of the flying shots. Works pretty good except when the plane gets a little too close, then the plane gets a little fuzzy. When I want to photo planes flying just over the runway, I focus on the runway in front of me and lock the focus. Then, when the plane comes by, I simply track and shoot.

Here are a few shots made with this camera.

Ken
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