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Selecting a Digital Camera - p2

Point-and-Shoot

Now that we've looked at digital camera generalities, let's take a look at some specific cameras and how they can handle certain needs. Some of the more popular point-and-shoot digital models have become very reasonably priced. Most of these cameras are in the $175 to $250 price range and offer most of the features that the majority of picture takers will ever need. There are a lot of drawbacks to these cameras so you shouldn't think that you will be taking too many 'art shots' with these cameras. Some very good examples of these cameras are:

Manufacturer 3.1 or 3.2 MP 2.0 MP
Canon Powershot A70 Powershot A60
Nikon Coolpix 3200 Coolpix 2200
Kodak Easyshare CX6330 Easyshare CX6230
Hewlett-Packard Photosmart 735 Photosmart 635
All cameras have 3X optical Zooms
The features of all of these are very comparable in their 3MP or 2MP categories. As we've stated, the digital zoom is less important than the optical zoom, so we're not really discussing that. The 3X optical zoom provides the equivalent of 35-105mm photos, when comparing to a point-and-shoot film camera.

Middle of the Road

This next price category for digital camera is for the consumer that would like to have a few more features that will allow some creative control over the photos taken as well as a little more flexibility in camera features. These cameras are more for users that want to 'take photographs' rather than 'take pictures' (there's a major difference here). This category of camera also gets into the confusing areas of digital camera purchasing.

When we talk about creative control over photos, we are talking about the ability to adjust things like aperture (the size of the opening in the shutter), shutter speed, etc. Most cameras in this category don't allow you to directly focus the lens (some allow you to digitally set a distance without allowing you to see if the image is actually focused). 3 years ago (2001), I purchased a Nikon Coolpix 995, which for a consumer was [IMHO] the best digital camera on the market for a consumer -- this is now considered a middle of the road camera, and an underpowered one at that. Some very good examples of these cameras are:

Camera Megapixels Zoom Photo Controls
Kodak DX7630 6.1 3X Manual + 17 modes
Kodak DX6490 4.0 3X Manual + 6 modes
Nikon Coolpix 5400 5.1 4X Manual + 15 modes
Nikon Coolpix 8700 8.0 8X Manual + 12 modes
Canon Powershot S1 3.0 10X Manual + 6 modes
Canon Pro 1 8.0 7X Manual + 9 modes
Zoom=Optical Only
Many consumers jump into this category of camera in order to get their feet wet in digital photography -- many already take great photos using film cameras. The best advice for this class of camera is, don't try to save $50 and skimp on features. Big pixel ratings and big optical zoom ratings with lots of control is a really good thing. These cameras used to be in the $1000 to $1500 price range but now can be purchased in the $350 to $600 price range (although some are priced a little higher).

High-end sophistication

Now we're talking. This class of camera used to cost up to $25,000 to get something that a pro-am photographer would want to use. This category of camera is the digital SLR world. [SLR = Single Lens Reflex camera]. These are the digital brethren of the film based cameras that allow you to swap out lenses and set everything on the camera to take 'photographs', again, these are not typically for picture takers.

Holiday sales were sparked in this category of camera by Canon's introduction of the Digital Rebel camera, with an introductory price of 'under $1,000'. These cameras were flying out of the stores. Nikon answered by introducing the D70 digital camera. These cameras began rolling out in the spring of '04. The camera (without lens) is also in the sub-$1,000 price range. Going beyond these 2 cameras for this site is not really feasible, most consumers of the really high end cameras are professionals that have been watching this world very closely. Below are links to a couple of review sites reviews of these 2 cameras.

DP Review Nikon D70 ...reviews/nikond70/
DP Review Canon EOS 300D ...reviews/canoneos300d/
Steves Digicam D70 ...2004_reviews/nikon_d70.html
Steves Digicam EOS 300D ...2003_reviews/300d.html
Let's review your needs - click here.




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