View Full Version : Digital camera suggestions?

11-28-2004, 07:25 PM
My 89 year old father-in-law wants to give his 86 year old wife a digital camera to replace her simple point-and-shoot 35mm camera.

Requirements: as inexpensive as possible (really... he's a skinflint), simple to operate/download images to computer (Mac OS 10 laptop), largest LCD as possible on back of camera (eyesight not so good anymore). She doesn't need zoom or lots of memory or even spectacular quality images. She'd just like to be able to e-mail 'snapshot' type images to her friends and family.

Ideas for a specific camera? Don't go all jargony on me now, because it will be a waste of your time... at least on me. I know nothing about digital stuff. I even have trouble posting my scanned 35mm photos here!

Thanks much-

[ 11-28-2004, 07:30 PM: Message edited by: rbgarr ]

11-28-2004, 07:28 PM
I don't know which one would fit the requirements but believe it or not Kodak is taking over the digital industry.
I've got one...love it but, it came with a lengthy manual. and is fairly complicated.

Joe (SoCal)
11-28-2004, 07:42 PM
Ome more time with feeling this time {Uhmmmmm clears voice }

This is in my oppinion the greatest digital camera on the market

Leica Digilux 2


But if you want cheep and easy this is the ticket

11-28-2004, 07:47 PM
thats old news joe. sort of like the rest of your posts

Joe (SoCal)
11-28-2004, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by Dutch:
thats old news joe. sort of like the rest of your postsKinda like yer FART

Douche He hate me ;)

Steve Martinson
11-28-2004, 08:11 PM
i have had great success with my Olympus

11-28-2004, 08:18 PM
I've been very pleased with the Sony that we purchased 2 years ago. For what your looking for, I would probable head to Best Buy or Circuit City or any "big box" stores and check out any of the 2 megapixel cameras and see which one best fits the requirements.


Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
11-28-2004, 08:28 PM
5 megapixels is the minimum to consider.
Anything less is not good quality photos.
You might be able to find a good one for around 200 bucks, on sale.

Our local Target store had an add in todays paper for a 5 megapixel Vivitar for $147,marked down from $300. ;)

I'll bet they don't have any left. :D

Peter Malcolm Jardine
11-28-2004, 09:21 PM
Any opinions on brand? I was thinking of getting one as a christmas present for SWMBO. Is there an optimum pricepoint (best bang for the buck)?

Paul Scheuer
11-28-2004, 09:41 PM
I probably don't qualify as an "old phart" (yet). But after forty years of composing snapshots in the viewfinder, I tried a few borrowed LCD-only types. For me it was like going back to the old brownie I used as a kid.

I ended up with a Kodak "Easy Share" LS443, 4 mega-pixel, with a viewfinder and LCD. It's more than I need for most of what I do, and came with a reasonable set of software, docking station, etc.

The main adjustment I had to make was focus-lag. The Kodak has a half-push, pre-focus that seems to help.

11-28-2004, 09:42 PM
Kripes, Joe. Did you read RB's specifications? So why do you continue to recomment that cheap german immitation of a fine japanese camera.

Holy Smokes, Mr. KIA!! Did you read RB's specifications? Five megapixels for emailing snap shots and making modest quality prints. One megapixel will do that nicely though I doubt such is available any more. I have an 11x14 print from a friends 4mp camera that is excellent. My Nikon Coolpix E800 at 1600x1200 pixels makes quite adequate 8x10's a cut or three above just adequate.

I'm sorry I can't suggest a specific brand and model, rbgarr. The large LCD may jack up the price above entry level but perhaps the view finder will be adequate. People look silly in the rediculous pose most take when looking in the display anyway.

Perhaps this web site will give you some unbased options: http://www.dpreview.com/

11-28-2004, 09:52 PM
Take a look at this Canon from Best Buy. (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=1072286920753&skuId=6283773&productCategoryId=cat04002&type=product)

It may be way more camera than you want but you won't find much for under $200 anyway.

John Bell
11-28-2004, 09:52 PM
Sorry MKIA, I beg to differ. I've got two digital cameras now, a 2 megapixel and 3.2 megapixel. Everything I've ever printed on from either camera has been more than enough resolution for 5x7s. Theoretically, the 3.2 Mp can make prints up to 8x10 without looking 'digital', but printing that large is a very rare thing indeed. Since most of my printing is done at 4x6 or less, the 2 Mpixel camera is more than adequate. The advantage of the lower resolution camera is that photos stored at maximum resolution are considerably smaller and take up less space on the camera and on your computer. IMO, there's no reason to shoot at higer resolutions than 3 Mpixels unless you are planning to do a lot of work that you'll print at larger than 8x10 size.

What I'd look for is a 3 Mpixel camera with the best lens. Larger diameter lenses have larger apertures and are able to pull in more light. Also, I would not spend more than about $200 on any digital camera. I was recently talking with a colleague who's from the 'gotta-have-the-best' school of stuff who just did a lot of research on digital cameras and came up with the same conclusion: 3 mpixels, about $200 plus or minus $50. He bought some kind of Nikon with those specs and is very happy with it. I've got a couple of Sonys myself. While I'm sure there's probably something better, I don't know that I'd be able to tell the difference.

John B
11-28-2004, 10:14 PM
I had a 2.1 .. replaced it with a 3.2 when it went with the car ( stolen) :eek: .
canon ixus .good photo managing software with it which makes it extremely easy to downsize for emailing etc.
good little camera.Size of a pack of cigarettes thereabouts( can I still say that?).

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
11-28-2004, 10:33 PM
The Sony DSC-T1 Compact is what I'd buy Pete, I've seen them for about $339. ;) About as big as a deck of cards. :eek: :cool:

I'm sorry guys,I guess I got carried away, truthfully I take photo's with those cheap 35MM disposable cameras and have SWMBO scan and doctor them. :D

My wife and my father are professional photographer's who's standards are higher than most and I've been shopping for them so my view may be lopsided.

I enjoy photography so much and camera's are such a way of life in my family I wouldn't think of buying a cheap one.

I'll agree that some of the cheap cameras are fun but what if...... you get that perfect photo of the perfect wooden boat, with the perfect sunset in the background? You'll want the best camera you can get and we'll all love you for it. ;) :D smile.gif

Oh well it's just a suggestion. smile.gif

11-28-2004, 11:01 PM
We still are missing some of the original specifications--CHEAP. The Fujifilm FinePix 2650 is said to have a street price of $99 in the dpdigital site above though it is a 2 year old model.

Doug Wood
11-28-2004, 11:45 PM
Nikon and Canon make the best dig. cameras IMO. I'm a Nikon guy myself but a camera from either company would be a pretty safe bet. CoolPix (Nikon) and Powershot (Canon) lines have camera's in the $150-250 range that I suspect would fit the bill nicely. The one thing I'd recommend you "splurge on" would be a 256mb memory card.

Just did a quick search and B&H Photo (http://www.bhphotovideo.com) is currently running a special on the Canon Powershot A75 with a 256mb memory card for $210.

[ 11-28-2004, 11:53 PM: Message edited by: Doug Wood ]

11-29-2004, 02:17 AM

Just saw a nice little 2 megapixel camera on sale for $59.00!! Nothing spectacular - the equivelent of a basic decent point and shoot camera. I think it met all the specifics listed below, with the possible exception of being a major brand.

Things to look for:

* more pixels is better, but no real need to go overboard!

* Important!: get a camera that takes either CF, SD or MMC memory cards. AVOID "Memory Stick" ($$ony) or other less used card types. DO NOT buy a camera that does not have a card slot of some kind!

* Get a built-in flash.

* Prefer a camera that can use either (included!) rechargable batteries or regular AAA alkaline cells.

* Strongly prefer a camera that has a drop in docking station in preference to a cable arrangement. Granny will be happier that way. Prefer a USB docking station to any other (probably not a problem: serial or parallel has largely gone the way of the doodoo) and avoid firewire docking - way too non-standard for the 97% of the computers in the world that are not Apples (Joe: tongue.gif )

* Prefer a known brand name, but I personally would avoid Kodak (over priced for what they offer IMO, unless very deeply discounted). Don't be afraid to buy a model close out if it's got a good warranty. Neither the camera or granny are going to last forever! ;)

* Check epinions.com or cnet.com for reviews and user ratings of any camera you're considering, but don't be surprised if it's not rated at either place. At the price point you're interested in, it may not be!

* Don't be roped into an "extended warranty" - they are usually not worth the paper they're printed on!

* Don't be shy about shopping for cameras online - you can save a large bundle over bricks and mortor stores! Ask here if you want pointers to decent internet dealers. www.jr.com (http://www.jr.com) is a good place to look for starters.

Wild Wassa
11-29-2004, 02:43 AM
just afew extra thoughts.

I have a small Canon Powershot that was reasonably well priced as it had been superseded by a newer model ... the lens is not 35mm quality but neither was the price. There are 586 possible combinations of aperture vrs shutter speed vrs the light metre wanting to over ride the photographer, not simple. The thwarting of the over rides needs memorising and with good eyesight.

The lens is a disappointment as it has a bit of vignetting in one top corner (I'll use this for shooting into the light). The camera is overly complex and does not allow a quick change of controls like a conventional 35 can. The format is 3.2 meg, that is an adequate mag for here, which finally gets to my point ... what will the camera be used for? Family? My camera will not cover baseball, although it tries.

Look for really simple operations on the camera and look for bigger buttons if they are available. I thought the little Canon that I bought was simple until I got it home. I only wanted a cheep macro didgee, which it is and spot-on.


11-29-2004, 03:37 AM
All the pictures I've posted, like this one...


...were taken with an Oly mpus D-510 (http://www.megapixel.net/cgi-bin/fs_loader.pl?p=http%3A//www.megapixel.net/reviews/oly-d510z/ol510z-review.html) with 2.1 megapixels.


It's a few years old, and I'm sure it's been replaced with a newer model. The camera even survived a dunking when I dropped into the bottom of a Lund which had a few inches of fresh/saltwater in the 'bilge'. I scooped it up quick, but for the first day it was not working. After it dried out, it started taking pictures again, with no problems.

With Windows XP professional, I simply plugged the camera into the compuker, and it recognized it as a seperate drive with no problems.

Anyhow, just wanted to add to the arguement that after a certain point, the number of mega-pixels is more a selling point than a matter of quality for the average user. That picture above is half the original size, and the original looks great.

km gresham
11-29-2004, 07:58 AM
OK, I know NOTHING about this, but the computer geek in my office told me that megapixels aren't the big deal everyone thinks they are. From the looks of that picture Brian, I agree that 2.1 is plenty adequate for beautiful pictures. smile.gif

11-29-2004, 09:02 AM
Originally posted by km gresham:
OK, I know NOTHING about this, but the computer geek in my office told me that megapixels aren't the big deal everyone thinks they are. From the looks of that picture Brian, I agree that 2.1 is plenty adequate for beautiful pictures. smile.gif Ezakally! If we were to judge the quality of the suggested cameras based on how the pictures display on my computer screen, and surely others, Joe's Lica would rate very low while Brianw's rates high.

The difference between an amature and a professional photographer is not in the quality of the pictures they take but in the quality of the pictures they show.

11-29-2004, 09:46 AM
Take $300 dollars ... (some of it will be for extra memory card, carrying case, etc.) go to:

Best Buy
Circuit City
Ultimate Electronics

Or wherever else you like.

Meerkat gave good, comprehensive advice (although I am partial to the SONY models ...)

Anyway, find one that you think feels good in your hands ... and one that's 2.0 mp or higher ... then pay for it and leave.

These digis are a dime a dozen anymore ... MANY good, quality brands at that price point.

Olympus, Sony, Canon, Polaroid, etc.

11-29-2004, 11:09 AM
For the 640x480 email size images needed by the user, 2-3 megapixels is overkill. Heck, the cell phone cameras will probably make decent images that size. More important is the software that comes with the camera. Can Granny quickly & easily make 640x480 resized copies of her originals to send out as email attachments? The full size original images from a 2-3 megapixel camera will easily make display prints at 4"x6" up to 8"x10". I print very nice 11"x17" photographs from 3.2 maegapixel originals.

In my limited experience, an extra battery and memory card are very handy.

For prints, the printer is more important than the camera, assuming decent glass in the camera. For photo printing, EPSON rules!

For what it's worth, I routinely print 27"x22" B&W images on my old HP 755 plotter from 2048x1536 originals. When viewed at the correct distance, they are fine.

In the Swamp. :D

11-29-2004, 12:40 PM
I prefer HP color printers for photo printing! ;)

Realistically, they're both about the same quality with one maker's model having an edge over a competing model, but it's reversed when comparing differnet models.

One thing to consider is a printer that takes 4x6" photograph sized paper and prints out a photo that's fairly hard to distinguish from what you get back from the drugstore with real film. Alas, it costs about the same - about $.25/print I've read. Upside is you only print the ones you want and it's trivial to print up several, one for each of the kids and/or grandkids... smile.gif

For granny, I'd get one that takes the camera's card and has a small LCD display to pick the pic to print. Don't even need a computer! Slip in the card, make your choices, load the paper, push a button and a few minutes later you're done.

km gresham
11-29-2004, 12:52 PM
For me as well as Granny! :rolleyes: smile.gif

11-29-2004, 02:37 PM
Originally posted by km gresham:
For me as well as Granny! :rolleyes: smile.gif From your keyboard to Charlie's eyes... ;)

11-29-2004, 02:51 PM
I have an hp deskjet 9300 on my desk at work and an Epson PHOTO 1280 at home. Anyway, just for grins I've printed the same image on both printers with the same paper. I really like the Epson-to my eye and taste-better. Also, my Epson takes rolls of paper which, as far as I know, the hp does not. Maybe it can with attachments, but it didn't right out of the box.

As for the card plug in and print...hmmmmm...I suppose there are folks who would use that. Just not me. I like to see what I'm printing first. Fix the DREADED RED EYE! GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!

One would think that for $1,000 and WAY UP you could buy a camera with a decent offset to the flash tube and a field of view beyond 28mm. GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!! I won't be ditching my film hardware anytime soon! 17mm to 24mm angle of view is way cool. :cool:

In the Swamp. :D

[ 11-30-2004, 10:08 PM: Message edited by: Venchka ]

km gresham
11-29-2004, 02:57 PM
Nope, Meer. That little item is so far down on the list it doesn't even show up! I'll keep my little 35mm PHD - it's a good one. smile.gif

11-29-2004, 03:14 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. The whole printmaking/printer question is moot as far as my mother-in-law is concerned. She doesn't want prints.

Paul H
11-29-2004, 03:43 PM
I've been very pleased with the Sony Coolpix 2100 I got for my birthday this year. http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=2&productNr=25510

I think it was $160 at Costco, which was the best price. It's 2.1 megapixel. I did get a larger memory card, as the factory one only fits about 16 high res photos. I do need to get a re-chargable batter, as I've gone through several of the lithium batteries, and at ~$10 a pop, that adds up.

It is more then good enough for e-mailing photos, and is very user friendly. For my pc, all I had to do was install the software that came with the camera, and hook up the included cable. As soon as you hook up the cable and turn on the camera, the computer recognizes it, and asks you if you want to download the photos.

11-29-2004, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by Paul H:
I do need to get a re-chargable batter, as I've gone through several of the lithium batteries, and at ~$10 a pop, that adds up.
No few pro baseball teams would like a rechargable batter, not to mention countless women... ;)

11-29-2004, 08:28 PM

The lady using the camera may have no need of color prints. I bet her kids and grandkids might like copies of the full size originals for printing. Hence, quality and size does matter. Image size, that is. :D

A camera with rechargeable batteries should warm the "skinflints" heart too!

In the Swamp. :D

imported_Steven Bauer
11-29-2004, 11:45 PM
Doesn't Epson have a proprietery ink technology that no one else has? Waterproof ink?

I've actually ordered prints from Imagestation. You load the pics there just like you would to post them here, then you can order prints for 19 cents each and have them shipped directly to Grandma's house. Score points with SHMBO at the same time! :D


11-30-2004, 10:13 PM
Originally posted by Steven Bauer:
Doesn't Epson have a proprietery ink technology that no one else has? Waterproof ink?

StevenIt is proprietary. Not sure about waterproof. They claim a 200 year life span. They use 6 colors instead of four. I think I saw an add recently (CANON maybe?) claiming 8 color printing.

In the Swamp. :D