View Full Version : digital camera suggestions?

2005-11-23, 00:26
I'm looking for a inexpensive (under $200) digital camera for my family to give me for x-mas. (they would probably by happier the closer it comes to $100)
I want to do pics of scenery, family doings, animals, and my gear.
I don't want it to have special (proprietary) batteries, or anything else that I would need to renew and then have trouble getting (or that the company might stop making next year).

Any suggestions?

2005-11-23, 01:26
My choice would be the camera I have been using for the past three years.
(Most cops I know here have had this one in their car for years, so you know it is easy to use :biggrin: )

Not the most hi-tech, largest pixel deal, but:

Olympus Stylus 300 Digital, ALL WEATHER CAMERA, All metal body, all the features you need. $158 now at Amazon.com (maybe I will order another one...)


I have used this camera in the most challenging weather conditions you can throw at it. A weatherproof camera, I have used this one in Eastern Washington summer desert hunts of 105degrees, Mt St. Helens snowshoe overnight camp trips down to 5degrees, and surffishing photos in my waders in the surf, on our pacific coast. This camera has not fogged up, carried in my chest pocket while hiking, hunting, steelheading, snowshoeing, concert going, even kids birthday parties.This is an awesome little camera. I can report honestly that I have accidentaly stepped my 300lb body on this camera with no damage. Beautiful pictures. Everything I need, and if you are a newby to digital cameras, probably everything you need as well.

Come to think of it, just spoke with the wife, I am going to place my order for a second one right now at amazon, for $158.00 you cannot go wrong.

As for the proprietary batteries, good luck, can't help you there, industry standard is to change batteries every design it seems, in order to purposely mess with you. Our battery has lasted three years so far...

2005-11-23, 02:55
I use the Canon Powershot A75, it's sturdy even though it hasn't got metal casing, it's cheap, it uses standard batteries (4xLR6/AA) and Compact Flash "Type I".
I can shoot around 800 pictures, using the LCD display, on a battery set (2100MaH rechargeable). This has been my companion on countless trips and two major hikes.
Unfortunately it has only got 3.2Mpix, but for me that isn't an issue since we don't print them larger than A4/Letter size.
If I were to buy a new camera now I would once again look towards the price of the FlashRAM to see how I could afford a decent amount of fast quality Ram for a new camera.

Update : Just checked the price on Amazon.com and I'm surprised that it costs more than I paid 2 years ago . . . . :confused:

2005-11-23, 13:58
I have both the Stylus 410 (4.0mp) and the Powershot A95 (5 mp) and can recommend them. They probably are the next generation of the cameras mentioned by KLeth and Iceman, and both, I think a little out of your price range (for now), but would be similar to those they mention.
The Olympus has a metal body and it "weatherproof". It takes multiple little 20 second movies you can send over the internet if you have childern/grandchildren or want to do a tinny3 type video demo. I think it is a little more rugged than the Canon. On the other hand, the Canon runs on AA batteries rather than the proprietary Li battery of the Oly. The Oly battery is much more compact than the AA's and I don't use mine enough to motivate me to buy a spare rechargable, but it has gone dead on me once while out. That's because I didn't recharge it for a few weeks before I grabbed it and took off.
Both have macro capabilities and while 3.2 MB isn't enough to make poster size pictures out of, it's enough for email and snapshots. Also the flashcards hold more pictures at 3.2 than at 4.0 ( if you think you are going to need space for 400 pictures get a 512MB card). Oh, my Oly uses the smaller Xd card that I need to get an other reader for if I want to download directly to the PC without going through the camera. My 32 MB card holds 40 of the medium resolution pictures 11 on high res.

2005-11-23, 20:25
I'm pleased with fujifilm finepix a205.

Has the MACRO feature for close-ups.

Not pricey :)


2005-11-23, 22:43
Another vote for the Canon A75. Great optics.

2005-11-23, 23:54
How about this?

Pretec DC-530 (http://www.pretec.com/product/product/digital_imaging/DC530.htm)

Its a digital camera, a PC camera, a MP3 player, and a digital voice recorder all in one. What more do you need when out in the woods?

2005-11-24, 01:04
Its a digital camera, a PC camera, a MP3 player, and a digital voice recorder all in one. What more do you need when out in the woods?

I want a 5 Mpix SLR camera built into a 12oz underquilt, that doubles
as a hatchet, and can boil a litre of water in 7 minutes on a 1/2 oz. of love.

Sorry, some all-in-one multi-electronics just scare me. What doesn't
have a built in MP3 player these days? or a laser? Not that these things
are all bad, but it seems you have to spend huge $$$ to get something
that multi-functions well, and anything cheaper while may be capable of
several neat functions, does none of them particularly well. And of course
some features they group together on these things just make no
practical sense. Good examples .. cell phones with television, and
laser sighted hammers. :stupid: :confused: Just boggles the mind man.
Sorry for that bizare rant. Just been doing some christmas shopping and
have seen so many completely useless and stupid things at Home Depot
and Circuit City.

Anyways back to cameras. Only multifunction gizmo thingy I have been
completely satisfied with so far is my Sony Ericsson S710a camera phone.
think its still the best camera you can get in a phone these days.
Just a thought if that was an avenue you were thinking of going.
You can get 512meg magicgate memory cards pretty cheap
and a card reader to upload all your pics for FREE will run you
under 50 bucks. The phone itself is in your price range with a long term
monthy plan.

Good if you like the security of having a phone but want a decent
camera for hiking. NOT good if you are looking more towards a
stand alone camera for more serious photography.

Two Speed
2005-11-25, 09:15
I want a 5 Mpix SLR camera built into a 12oz underquilt, that doubles as a hatchet, and can boil a litre of water in 7 minutes on a 1/2 oz. of love.Dang, where can I get one of them? Do they have one with GPS capability too? What about the 300 Magnum Eargesplitten Loudengeboomer Self Defense option? Sounds just like what I've been looking for.:)

. . .Just boggles the mind man. Sorry for that bizare rant. Just been doing some christmas shopping and have seen so many completely useless and stupid things at Home Depot and Circuit City.I hear you. Enough to send a reasonable man around the bend.

I'll second the motion for the Olympus 300. Probably dated technology by now, but very robust, takes good photos and gets good life out of the battery. I did buy a backup battery, but really haven't needed it that much. The backup might be useful for a AT thru hiker, but not essential for hikes in the one to two week range, just make sure it's got a full charge and you won't miss much. Well, due to the battery, anyway. :biggrin:

Two Speed
2005-11-25, 09:47
One more thought to muddy the waters: may want to consider where and how you plan on carrying your new camera. Having the above mentioned 5 Mpix SLR camera/12oz underquilt/hatchet/stove/GPS enabled, with the 300 Magnum Eargesplitten Loudengeboomer Self Defense option, is great, but not so hot if you don't have a convenient place or method to rack it up on your pack or in a pocket.

I carried a camera almost every time I went hiking, starting in the early '80's. I don't have that many photos until '04. Oddly enough that coincides with the purchase of a camera that I could reach conveniently and not worry about what the weather was doing to it while it was so convenient, if you get my drift. You can outsmart yourself with some of these gizmos. :damnmate:

2005-11-25, 12:25
...Eargesplitten Loudengeboomer...
A Steppenwolf fan there? :biggrin:

2005-11-26, 06:02

Been torturing a small digital camera for a couple of weeks, taking a few thousand pictures in cold and rainy pre-winter weather. The Olympus mju: mini has been a real workhorse although the "designer" outside. The odd shape is the most comfortable i've ever tried on a camera and it's quite rugged. It slips into a pocket or "holster" in seconds, like a cellphone or bar of soap, and with a quick and gentle tug on the strap it's back in action again. The four megapixel resolution is enough for printing later on, but the small flash is slightly underpowered outdoors.

But... I can't recommend it to you for two reasons:

1. I can't find it on the homepage of Olympus America so it's probably not available on your side of the Atlantic.

2. You demanded AA batteries, but this lovely little camera uses quickly rechargeable Li-Ion cells.

To the rest of you I can only say one thing: If you can get your fingers on this blue wondershooter (or one of the other five colours) then try it as soon as you can.

The electronics are very nice and there's a load of photographic options in the deceptively simple menu, but it's the shape of the camera that makes it so nice to use. Your hands will love it, with or without gloves.

(Look what it has done to me! I sound like a really annoying salesman... ;) )

2005-12-01, 23:03
Your new camera will probably use 2 or 4 AA cells. Of course, you will likely buy rechargeable AA cells and a nice charger. Buy twice as many batteries as you need, and store them in a little plastic holder that they sell for about $0.79.

Since these batteries leak... or discharge slowly, even when not used, every month or so, take the batteries down and then up. That is, deep cycle them, discharge them completely and then charge them fully. Some chargers, like the MH-C024F, or newer models, will do this deep cycling automatically. I routinely take new batteries up and down 2-3 times before using them. It's better for them.

Which reminds me ... do the same for your power tool batteries. That task light that you got with that portable electric drill now has a use. Don't drain the batteries with the drill, which wears the motor and shortens the tool's life. Instead, bleed them off with the task light in about 8 hrs. Then recharge them up all the way.

HTH. BTW I use a Canon A-85. (uses 4x AA cells)

2005-12-02, 22:28
Again it doesn't meet your disposable battery rqmt, but :"Tech for less" has this on sale for $126. FWIW.

2005-12-03, 05:11
Really, in my opinion, you don't want anything less than 5MP, and recently I was given a digital camera on special (AU$199.00), the Kodak EasyShare C340. It has a 3x optical zoom, a something chronic digital zoom, and is an all round great camera. Try eBay or Amazon for it, well worth it. Then again, but out of the budget that you specified, a digital SLR can't be beat, especially a 12MP one... I'd be as happy as this dude if I owned one --> :marchmell!


2005-12-03, 16:12
For the past year I have had a Kodak Easyshare CX7430 available at Sam's Club for about $150. I have been very happy with it and it takes great pictures. It has 4MP(there is a similar 5MP version of this camera), 34-102 all glass lens, fairly small and compact, uses two AA batteries. You only get about 25 shots on AA alkalines however, so I would suggest getting a rechargable Li-Ion battery with charger for this camera. The battery company Lenmar makes one designated DLCRV3 that works great. It looks like two regular AA batteries stuck together.

I bought a small black Lowepro case for it at REI for under $20 that fits it perfectly, with space for extra batteries.

The camera is not weather resistant, but surprisingly this has not been much of an issue in the field for me. I just try to keep it dry and in the case when I am not using it.

It's also probably worth mentioning that the well respected testing magazine "Consumer Reports" rates it a "Best Buy."