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Photo Gallery and Contests Discuss Digital Camera Question in the Multimedia - Audio, Video, Photos and more! forums; I am seriously considering getting a digital camera. I love my 35 MM SLR but having to buy film is getting to be a pain in the behind (especially when ...
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    Robinkay6573's Avatar
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    Digital Camera Question

    I am seriously considering getting a digital camera. I love my 35 MM SLR but having to buy film is getting to be a pain in the behind (especially when I take as many photos as I do at WDW). I don't mind paying the processing fees but I don't want to end up with grainy prints. Also I am a bit concerned about how a digital will do in low light situation or for action shots. I think I am setting myself up for a very large purchase (probably a $600 + camera?).

    Thanks!
    Robin

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    disneydame2004's Avatar
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    Prices on digital cameras are dropping almost as fast as logs down splash mountain. I have a 4 megapixel Kodak EasyShare camera that produces fabulous prints, is easy to use, and has a lot of features I love. It's now available for $199. The 5 megapixel version is about $269. You can see a few of my photos in the gallery, although these have all been reduced in size for uploading. At full resolution, I can't tell the difference between my digital prints and my 35 mm prints.

    The one thing I have noticed is that quality varies widely if you get your photos printed at a store or online. For example, my local Eckerd does a good job, though sometimes has too much red. The same photo printed at the local Target is fine. But the Eckerd near my sister-in-law prints blurry. Yahoo! photos did a decent but not crystal job. You have to shop around to find the best place and price.
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    Jiminy Cricket's Avatar
    Jiminy Cricket is offline Ultimate Park "Hopper"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinkay6573
    I am seriously considering getting a digital camera. I love my 35 MM SLR but having to buy film is getting to be a pain in the behind (especially when I take as many photos as I do at WDW). I don't mind paying the processing fees but I don't want to end up with grainy prints. Also I am a bit concerned about how a digital will do in low light situation or for action shots. I think I am setting myself up for a very large purchase (probably a $600 + camera?).

    Thanks!
    Robin
    Looks like 35mm is the thing of the past for even amateur photogs. Personally I have many hundreds of $ invested in 35mm, but I am a realist and got my first digital a year or so ago. I have not looked back.

    For $600 you can get I great digital camera, but you are also able to get an excellent one in the $200-300 range. Almost all digital cameras are very good to excellent today, but some like Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, and Kodak lead the field. When I buy my next camera it will be at least 4-5 megpapixels and have at least 10x optical zoom. Don't pay any attention to digital zoom--it's no good. Good luck with your pics.
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    imtigger2's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Hi Robin...

    You are right to be concerned about night photography. As for grain and motion (sports) photography, I wouldn't be concerned at all. Just stay about 5 MP and you'll be fine.

    I was an avid 35mm (Canon/Nikon) photographer and went through a few digital cameras over the years. I started using digital cameras the moment I could get my hands on one, basically using them to set up shots, or to preview light before 'wasting' film. However, I'm now ALL digital and I love it. I can shoot off 1200 pics in one WDW trip and not even think about film or processing to see my photos. It's great! Jump in!!

    I started with Olympus, which had bad color, had to adjust EVERY photo I took, but still enjoyed it.. unfortunately, I took photos at about 800x600 which were "huge" at the time), then tried Canon which was "ok" but their cameras didn't give me that much control so I went on to a smaller FUJI camera for portability, which took GREAT shots with excellent color... but then it was time to get rid of my SLR. I ended up with a Sony DSC-F707 which I can't say ENOUGH about... really. I love that camera. It has a beautiful Carl Zeiss lens and every option you would want from apature to film speed. Fully automatic, to complete manual control. I especially love the Nightframing capabilities and the holographic laser focus system for night shots. Nightframing allows you to see in the dark to center your subject, then a holograph laser shoots out to focus, then a COLOR photo is taken (not the green nightshot stuff). This is THE camera to have for evening/night photos. The asa goes only to 400, but do you really want to push it to 800? No, then you start seeing some major grain.

    The DSC-F707, which I highly recommend, was re-released as the F717, then completely remodeled into the behemoth they offer now (too big for me, too bulky, haven't used it). You can still find the F717 for an excellent price online.

    If there was anything I could put on my wishlist for this camera, it would be a longer optical zoom, but the 5X Zoom has done me fine over the years for both sports (baseball) and subjects, as well as close-ups. Also, this camera (the F707 only) can only take a 128MB stick, but I use the 128MBx2 sticks and they work great for me. I believe the newer models address these issues.

    Because I like the color and functions so much with this camera, I decided to purchase a more portable version of the same camera... the Sony DSC-V1, which has the same features as the F707, but allows a larger memory card, has 800asa (which I rarely use, even on dark rides) and 640x400(?) video that can be taken up to the size of your memory card. It also has the Nightframing and holo-focus system. I highly recommend it.


    Here's some "basic" pointers I have in choosing a digital camera:


    - Keep in mind that if photography is your passion, you'll probably want to own at least two cameras. One large one for long shots, and one small one for portability. I own 3 cameras that I currently use. Large, med and very small (a Casio that my wife carries in her purse).


    - As a rule of thumb, the larger the lens glass, the better the photos it will take. A larger lens will allow more light in and give you MUCH sharper photos, especially in the evening and at night. Our Casino has a lens the size of a dime (or smaller) and it takes the crappiest pics at night.. ha! I use my F707 or DSC-V1 for eve/night photos.


    - try to avoid cameras that use rechargeable "AA"s. I can hear people telling me right now, "but if you run out of battery charge, you can always pick up a pair of AA's from any store". True, but they won't last long AT ALL. Even the fully charged, 2100mAh batteries don't last all that long. My Sonys' use a smart lithium battery that lasts me ALL DAY. With flash, with viewscreen, etc... I can run them dry and it takes me all day to do it. I do carry a spare just in case however. They are small, easy to use and carry AND one of the cool benefits (at least with the Sony cameras) is they tell you EXACTLY how much time/power you have left in them. How many times have you seen that you have 1/2 power in your AA's, only to have it go 'red' a few shots later? Doesn't happen to me.

    - figure out what you can afford with a digital camera, then add $100-150 to that for warranty and accessories. Definately get the extended warranty. JUST DO IT!! All it takes is a little water, a dropped camera or whatever, and you're bumming. In fact, especially at WDW... just going from my cool hotel room, to 90deg humidity outside caused moisture to form on one of my lenses, which caused a spot... the warranty covered it (I now keep my cameras in a bag and wait for them to slowly warm up before I use them outside).

    Just a couple pointers to consider...

    Wow!! I think I'll stop now.. ha! Too much info. If you want more info, I highly recommend Steve's Digicams site: www.stevesdigicams.com great info on all cameras.

    Hope some of this helps!


    Dan B
    imtigger2

    Last edited by imtigger2; 12-01-2004 at 02:27 PM.

  5. #5
    ru42's Avatar
    ru42 is offline Disneyland/Photo Moderator - DWT West Coast Division
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    Dan - great info!

    Let me drop in my couple cents on this one.

    1. Spend as much as you can. You will neevr be sad that you bought more but could be upset if you didn't have the capability you wanted. Camera's can range from $100 to $4500. Most likely you will find an excellent camera between $400 and $800.

    2. Do not consider digital zoom in your decision. If the camera has it, great, but optical zoom is critical.

    3. Find a camera that feels good in your hands. There is always a trade off between size and functionality.

    4. Do a little research. I know people that love Olympus. I have worked for Sony (non digital) and liked their products on a whole. My video cam is Sony. For digital photography I stick to Canon. Partly because I worked with that division at Canon but also like their G series. (I also stll have and use my Canon 35mm that was purchased in 76 - and still does a great job.) I can let the camera do my thinking or I can take complete control and go with my own settings.

    Research the features available out there and then rank what features are critical, nice, and of no use to you. Then find the camera that matches your wants best. I will say stick with the big boys. There are camera's that sound nice by no name companies - you are asking for problems.

    Dan had many great points as well. I whole heartedly agree with the battery statement. I would also recommend 2 batts. My Canon battery will last the entire day. I can have one charging in my hotel room and one with me. Also, having 2 batts lets me completely drain a battery. Batteries like begin taken to full charge and full drain. You don't need to do that everytime but I try to do ti at least once every 3 charge ups. The newest batteries are resistent to 'memory' but not free from 'memory' - despite what any box says.

    Other things to consider - lenses (the ability to add or change), external flash, the camera memory type (flash, stick, etc)

    If you get any questions feel free to ask away!

    RU


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    imtigger2's Avatar
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    Thanks RU!

    Just to clarify something, I used Olympus back in the "old" digital camera days. I have digital photos dating back to '93-'94 and they look horrible (my current photo count on my PC is at 27,468 photos!). As for Canon, never had one problem with color or saturation, etc... just controls, but it was a personal thing. Sony has done VERY well for me both in the durability of the memory sticks, and the quality of the equipment and most important, the quality of the photos. I never have to adjust color on my photos (unless I want to get creative of course). Saturation is a tad stronger than most, but I think it looks great.

    Also... you'll always want to have that extra $100-150 that I mentioned. You'll want an extra battery charger for sure (so you don't have to plug your camera into the wall), 1-2 extra batteries, memory sticks (or other media) and maybe a camera case and lens cover in addition to the warranty.

    Oh, one more thing.... COVER that lens and protect it at all costs! All your photos come from there. Keep it clean and scratch free. I highly recommend the Lenspen (www.lenspen.com) for all digital cameras. I always have one on hand to brush and clean my lens, and it pays off in beautiful photos. Get the small one for those portable, smaller than a quarter-size lenses and the large one for your video cameras and larger lenses. They're easy to toss into a hip pack and when a little rain happens (or water ride) and you get a spot on your lens, or a finger accidently touches the lens, you take it out and clean it up quickly with the lenspen. DON'T use your shirt!

    Thanks RU, and good luck finding a camera to suit you Robin.

    Dan B
    imtigger
    Last edited by imtigger2; 12-03-2004 at 01:58 AM.

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