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Ready to take the plunge............

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  • Ready to take the plunge............

    I'm ready to take the plunge into digital photography, but confused about what camera to purchase. I'm looking at Nikon, Canon, Olympus.

    Any good sites for comparison? Any first hand experience with any of these?

    I'm planning on about 4 megapixels.


  • #2
    I have a Nikon D100 simply because it shares lenses with my 2 Nikon film bodies. I could not afford the Pro version, but find this "Pro-sumer" version to be quite satisfactory. It also shares an SB80DX flash with film bodies. I saved money not having to get separate lenses. It is 6 mega-pixels which may be a little more camera than you're looking for. With a motor drive and flash bracket, it weighs as much as one of the kids. I think prices have dropped dramatically in recent months. I got mine a B&H. I hope this is helpful.


    • #3
      I almost bought an Olympus C-5050 after the glowing reviews it got. But I went film instead
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning


      • #4
        Doug -- I will never go back to film! I owned Minolta and Canon EOS SLRs for years and years before buying an Olympus C4040Z 4Mp camera a year ago. I really like it, and the C5050Z 5Mp owners are very happy with theirs from what I read on the Olympus discussion group.

        Frankly though sjm, it really depends on what you want from a camera. Do you want point n shoot simplicity, or SLR capabilities with changeable lenses? Do you want lots of manual control over your pictures? Are you prepared for printing your own prints, burning them to CDR for storage, not being able to easily flip through paper photos from your local Walmart?

        Are you ready to stop paying $3 for 36-exp film, and $12 to develop and print each roll? I really like that aspect!

        There are so many personal factors involved in your decision. Check out these sites:
        Tech Talk - Discuss PC Hardware, Software, Internet and Other Technology

        All the best digital camera reviews with full specs, photo galleries, test images, shopping links and more!

        ask lots of questions, and then go to your local store to see what the cameras feel like in your hands. Try to play with the menus and see what seems more logical to you.

        Feel free to send me emails offlist if you like -- I'd love to help.

        Here are some pics I took with my Oly Sunday

        -- cropped and Photoshopped, but you get an idea what the camera is capable of. I don't want to push you towards Oly necessarily -- I don't think you will find a bad camera these days if it's name brand -- Sony, Fuji, Canon, Oly, Nikon.

        One more suggestion -- check out

        where you can select photos by camera type. Narrow your choices to a few cameras, then go to this site to see what others are able to to with that particular camera.


        PS -- I'm making plans to go digital SLR in about a year!

        Update May 12 -- after saying "I will never go back to film again" I have decided to pull my EOS out of the closet -- just for experimentation. Digital has taught me so much about photography in the past year...
        Last edited by sdubose99; 05-12-2003, 04:55 PM.


        • #5
          I'm in the same situation as sjm, though I'm looking at 5MP cameras. Current contenders are (from least to most expensive):
          Olympus C-5050
          Sony DSC-F717
          Nikon Coolpix 5700

          I've seen people here mention "almost" buying the Olympus, but for one reason or another not. I think I remember that BigAl has the Sony 707 and seems happy with it. I think a few people have the Nikon.

          I'm planning to use the camera for everyday snapshots, but probably not as a travel camera (battery life is a major issue in the places I travel). I also want to use it for copying textured photos that need to be restored, but don't scan well. Thus, I envision that noise will be an issue and would like a camera that captures small details well (i.e., without too many demosaic artifacts) and with as little noise as possible. (There's enough noise/damage in old photos - I don't want to add to it!)

          Does anyone have any direct experience with these cameras that they could share? Specifically, is there anything that you do not like about them that you wish were different? I've already read tons of reviews and spent hours combing the web for info on these cameras. Just hoping to get some comments about your experience with any of these cameras - esp. if you have used them as a copy camera on old/textured photos.

          Thanks, Jeanie


          • #6
            We'll I don't have much first hand experience with the models you listed Jeanie, but I just picked up a Canon Powershot G3 a few weeks ago and I'm in love with it!

   is a great site to look at especially because they give you "head-to-head" comparisons of different models and their reviews are quite thorough.

            Canon will be coming out with a 5 megapixel version of the G3 very soon (G5 should be the name) and it's bound to get great reviews.

            To me, image quality is the most important, that's why I went with the G3, but you have to look at all aspects of the camera... lens speed, does it have a hot-shoe, how long do the batteries last, CAN YOU TAKE A PICTURE USING ONLY ONE HAND (for parents... this is a must with any camera), etc.

            If you guys have any direct questions regarding the G3, I'll be glad to answer them.


            Eric Polsinelli


            • #7
              Jeanie, I belong to this Yahoo group on the 5050 (I have the 4040) -- I'd suggest posting there and see if anyone has specific feedback for you.

              But before you do, you should read this page that one of the groups moderators created for the 5050:

              and his section specifically on image noise:

              good luck,


              • #8
                I've researched a lot and I'm 99% sold on the SONY DSC-V1.

                it supposedly does everyting the 717 will do but in a much smaller package.

                It should be released later this month.

                the carl zeiss lens, low light focusing, long battery life and less shutter lag seem to be very positive features.

                it also has a hot shoe for an external flash .


                • #9
                  A couple of miscellaneous comments.

                  Earlier, Doug said that he went film after considering digital, and there were several pro-digital counter arguments made - all of which were true.

                  There still is one significant advantage to film - exposure latitude. I have not yet seen a digital camera that matches a good low speed film for color depth and exposure latitude. Ideally, a good film camera and a top quality film scanner would give you the "best" results.

                  On the other hand, that is a lot of messing around with large file sizes and multi step pipelines if your primary medium for displaying your stuff is on-line.

                  As for choice of digital cameras: I like Canon digital cameras because I agree with their philosophy on sharpening - that less is more. Some say Canon's photos have a soft focus, but Canon also lacks the nasty sharpening artifacts that plague many digital cameras. I can always sharpen afterwards if I feel an image needs it, but it is a lot harder to get rid of unwanted artifacts.

                  RAW mode is also a good thing - even though I don't use it (complicates my workflow too much).



                  • #10
                    Definitely agree with your comment on film's latitude. Inability to handle high contrast is one of my chief gripes about digital. However, there are techniques to combine two digital images to maximize dynamic range -- one exposed for highlight, one exposed for shadows. Here, for example:

                    Another gripe is chromatic aberration in high contrast situations.

                    Having said that, the convenience and immediacy of digital is very interesting to me.



                    • #11
                      Thanks for the links on the Olympus Scott. Interesting reading.

                      That said, I went to a local store in town that had all three cameras on display so that I could actually get a feel for holding and using them. Since my mother is purchasing this camera with me, she came along as well. We both came to the conclusion that we liked the Sony the best. Neither of us felt that we could use an optical viewfinder (the Olympus) after having used a TTL 35mm film camera for so many years. The Nikon wasn't nearly as easy to figure out as the Sony (with no manual at hand) - and I didn't like the Nikon's EVF nearly as much as the Sony.

                      So, if I can achieve the same quality of photos that I've seen online as examples from this camera, I think I'll be very happy.

                      The DSC-V1 certainly looks interesting and it would be nice to have a slightly smaller camera, but I'm needing the camera sooner than that - and the 717 is certainly smaller than the Canon EOS I've been carrying around for years and thinking nothing of it.

                      Regarding digital vs. film... I have no intention of putting my Canon away! I'm just not ready to make that leap yet. There's always the chance I'll change my mind once I get the digital camera, but it's hard to imagine right now.



                      • #12
                        Thanks Don. I ordered the Sony 717 this morning, so I'm glad to see you think it's a good choice. I am well aware that the camera is missing RAW format, but from what I could figure out in my research, the software conversion for the RAW format in the prosumer cameras is not particularly great, so I decided I wasn't missing much. (And given how I'm planning to use the camera, I can't see that this is even an issue for me, even if the conversion software was perfect.)

                        As far as limited memory capacity, as far as I can tell the camera supports the new Memory Stick Pro format (up to 1GB) - should I want to spend the money.

                        My main concern was image quality, so I'm glad that my little outing to the store yesterday to actually see/play with the cameras resulted in the Sony being first choice. I'd hate to be stuck with a decision between image quality and (perceived) ease-of-use/handling.



                        • #13

                          Please let us know how you like the 717!

                          I'm probably gonna hold out for the should be available aroung the 23rd.

                          I can't wait to shed my Canon EOS 650 with the large swivel flash. I've been lugging that monstrosity around since '88. No complaint about the pictures it takes, just the weight of the silly thing.

                          Of course I'll keep it on hand, but I'm looking forward to the convience of the tiny sony. I've not found any major complaints from the sony digies!


                          • #14
                            sjm - have no fear! I can't imagine that I'm going to keep my new toy all to myself!



                            • #15
                              My new camera arrived today!

                              Here's a photo I took after looking at no more than "how to charge the battery" and "how to turn on the camera" in the instruction booklet. Everything taken in full-auto mode. I had to crop the photo and reduce the size 50% in order to get under the 100KB size limit, but I think you can still get a feel for the quality of the camera. I took most of my practice shots inside today as the weather was cold and cloudy outside. So, this is one of my cats. (They both were really good sports about being my subjects today! )

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