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need advice on camera < $320
My daughter is getting married in June so I am looking to buy another digital camera soon. All I see on my Minolta A1 looks like a TV on the wrong channel - - static. I assume that the image sensor has failed. The only complaint I ever had about my Minolta was that about one out of every six shots indoors was just completely out of focus. Beyond that, the 7X zoom with IS was awesome, the photos were very good even in low light, and noise was nearly undetectable. It was the first and only digital camera I have owned.



Due to severe finance constraints (been laid off work for 8 months), I am looking for a camera less than $320. My Minolta was over $600 in 2004 but cannot put that kind of money into another one. Due to a severe lack of time, I have not kept up with the latest camera models so I could benefit from some good feedback here. What I have read the last few days is that noise seems to be a bigger issue now that it was in 2004 with the 5-MP cameras. I dont consider 8-MP any better than 5-MP if the additional 3-MP contain noticeable noise. I mention that because I have read several reviews saying the 8 MP sensors are prone to noise.



Minimum requirements:.

7X optical zoom.

Image stabilizationView finder.

Other options I highly regard:RAW file formatexposure bracketingflash hot-shoelower lag time between shotswhite balance override.

I just received an e-mail message from J&R advertising a Panasonic DMC-TZ3 for $220. I have seen the Canon PowerShot Pro Series S5 IS 8.0MP for about $330 which I would stretch for if this is the best camera close to this price range. Both of these cameras have wide zoom ranges which I find very useful..

Evidently, the Feature Search engine in the DP Review Buying Guide is not working properly. It would not list any cameras even when I entered very basic generic specs that should have returned a list of many cameras.Price (street): US$ 400 or lessZoom wide (W): 38 mm or lessImage stabilization: YesWhite balance override: YesBuilt-in Flash: Yes.

Your criteria search produced no results, please go back and try being slightly less specific...

Comments (23)

You're asking for a point-and-shoot with a lot of DSLR features. That will be a very short list. Here is a link to another thread that may help -.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...ms/readflat.asp?forum=1002&message=26739384.

Kelly Cook..

Comment #1

I have an earlier version of the Canon Powershot: S2IS it is not an SLR none of the PowerShots are. My model is 5 Meg and that is plenty for prints up to 8x10. For someone who truly understands exposure "inferior" gear can be stretched to outperform top notch gear in the hands of someone with limited understanding. With the PowerShot You will experience "shutter lag" so if what you are photographing happens quickly go with an SLR. You also mentioned shooting in RAW I don't believe any of the "digital zooms" have this capability...

Comment #2

Panasonic FZ-18. I think if you do some looking you can find it for under $320.00 if, just..

Noise is going to be an issue with all of the new P&S cameras though. The sensors have gotten smaller and the megapixels have gotten larger. I don't think it can be avoided..

Though I wonder why you just don't save the money and use your Nikon?DK One man's art is another man's toilet paper.http://www.dkwhite.info..

Comment #3

Yes, I know. My Minolta A1 had nearly all the features of a DSLR, and it is the only digital camera I have ever owned. Although RAW is very useful and the format I used most often, it is not a deal-breaker for me. Noise does seem to be a problem with a lot of cameras out now though..

Thanks for the link.___________________________________.

KCook wrote:.

You're asking for a point-and-shoot with a lot of DSLR features.That will be a very short list. Here is a link to another threadthat may help -.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...ms/readflat.asp?forum=1002&message=26739384.

Kelly Cook..

Comment #4

I would very much like to have digital photos, and I don't have a way to convert 35-mm to digital. The printers can produce a CD but I don't know how good the quality is. Another problem is that all my Nikor lens are fixed focal length with the longest being a 105. I could put a digital camera in my jacket pocket but my Nikon 35-mm is much too big for that especially with the Vivitar flash..

Is noise primarily a problem for the 8-MP sensors or do the 7.1-MP sensors have the same defect? I noticed that Panasonic has 7.3-MP model Lumix DMC-FZ8K, and I was wondering if noise was better with it..

I did read of some strange peculiarities for the FZ-18 such as the auto mode limits ISO to 100-200 range, and shots "High Sensitivity" mode cannot be saved in RAW format, and the AWB is not very sophisticated. I must say that the AWB did not work very well on my Minolta either. I usually set it manually for the available light..

I noticed that Panasonic, Sony, Kodak, and Fuji all have similar cameras with wide zooms. Just trying to determine which one is best for me..

_________________________________________.

Dkwhite wrote:.

Panasonic FZ-18. I think if you do some looking you can find it forunder $320.00 if, just..

Noise is going to be an issue with all of the new P&S cameras though.The sensors have gotten smaller and the megapixels have gottenlarger. I don't think it can be avoided..

Though I wonder why you just don't save the money and use your Nikon?DK One man's art is another man's toilet paper.http://www.dkwhite.info..

Comment #5

Agree that point-and-shoot cameras with very high Mp sensors are suspect. However, I'm not aware of any set Mp size that is a hard go-no-go threshold. Just in browsing the camera seach sites it seemed that there was plenty to choose from with 9Mp or less. So I ignore the higher Mp models. But that is simply my own casual convenience, not any recognized rule..

The great majority of P&S cameras have a 1/2.5" (really hate that way of measuring) sensor. So one good trick is to look for bigger sensors. But that leaves a pretty short list..

In fact I ended up with a 6Mp Canon. Auto WB is fine by me. ISO 100 is my idea of low noise. I have to pixlepeep to see the greater noise at ISO 200. Noise is more evident at ISO 400, though still not enough to stop me from using that ISO. All of these cameras show obvious noise at ISO 800, just gets worse above that.

Try one yourself and see if the noise is really as awful as reported..

Kelly..

Comment #6

I currently use one and it has very, very usable ISO 1600 for me, great for amateur weddings, and great for action! You can manually set WB, or shoot raw and fix it up in PP..

I got it earlier in the year for $390 Used with 3 batteries, a 24-80 lens, and some other extras. It can be had cheaper for just a body only. Then buy a 50mm f/1.8 for a cheap, sharp, low light lens!.

A price reference: (this is not exact, treat it as a ball park number).

1. I recently saw a D1H on adorama on ebay for $249 body only.2. 50mm F/1.8 around $70 used.

3. Sb-28 (or any other flash system of your choice) - optional for less than a hundred.

>it is not exactly $320, but within that general area..

If you are really patient, you can snag a deal of ebay or your local craigslist..

Don't be fooled by it's age, it is still a very, very, capable camera. Plus, you said you have some older manual focus lenses you can use! (I am assuming they are at least AI/AI-s).

Hope this helps!.

Respects,.

Doni.

...in matters of grave importance, style not sincerity is the vital thing - Oscar Wilde..

Comment #7

Funny you asked about a used DSLR. I have started looking today at some D40 and D40X bodies. I have found the D40 with 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Autofocus Lens for less than $600. Of course, this blows away the price range I was intending but it will probably last me a lot longer..

The big feature that sold me on my Minolta A1 was anti-shake. It worked by moving the senor on actuators and performed flawlessly. I believe they have an exclusive patent on that technology so most brands are putting anti-shake in the lens instead of leasing patent rights. Anyway, I can I tell which Nikor lenses have anti-shake? I was looking at this lens because I want to avoid changing lenses as much as possible..

As for my old lenses, then fit on my old F2A and N2000 cameras. I dont remember what mount that is. I do know that the portraits made from my 105-mm (f2.5 ?) were just incredible. I have never been able to get those kind of photos from the Minolta A1 or any of the point & shoot cameras..

___________________________________________.

Doni wrote:.

I currently use one and it has very, very usable ISO 1600 for me,great for amateur weddings, and great for action! You can manuallyset WB, or shoot raw and fix it up in PP..

I got it earlier in the year for $390 Used with 3 batteries, a 24-80lens, and some other extras. It can be had cheaper for just a bodyonly. Then buy a 50mm f/1.8 for a cheap, sharp, low light lens!.

A price reference: (this is not exact, treat it as a ball park number).

1. I recently saw a D1H on adorama on ebay for $249 body only.2. 50mm F/1.8 around $70 used3. Sb-28 (or any other flash system of your choice) - optional forless than a hundred.

>it is not exactly $320, but within that general area..

If you are really patient, you can snag a deal of ebay or your localcraigslist..

Don't be fooled by it's age, it is still a very, very, capable camera.Plus, you said you have some older manual focus lenses you can use!(I am assuming they are at least AI/AI-s).

Hope this helps!.

Respects,.

Doni...in matters of grave importance, style not sincerity is the vitalthing - Oscar Wilde..

Comment #8

$600 USD for a d40 is too much imho. If you look at my profile, I used to own a D40 too. I sold it early January for $400 USD with kit lens, SD card, Hoya filter, and a bag..

Look at ebay and craigslist. It sells for around $400-500. The cheapest I saw was a 395 with a kit lens..

As for "anti shake," Nikon lenses has "VR" or vibration reduction on some of it's newer lenses. THe cheapest ones I have seen are the consumer 18-55 VR and 55-200mm for less then $200 each. The non-VR are much cheaper..

IF you go the D40 route, you will not be disappointed. It is one heck of a camera!.

Respects,.

Doni.

...in matters of grave importance, style not sincerity is the vital thing - Oscar Wilde..

Comment #9

The $600 price was for a new D40 with 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Autofocus Lens. Adorama has this lens by itself for $330..

I read in another thread that the D50 has more lens options than the D50. What the heck could that mean? I thought all these Nikon DSLR's used the same lens. Am I missing something?.

Thanks for the info on the VR lens. I wish they had incorporated the movement dampening in the body rather than the lens but that decision was made for us. Anyway, looks like the 18-135 is not made in a VR model. Darn, that seems like such a good multi-purpose lens for me. I did find an 18-200 VR but that was about $680. I also found the same lens on ebay shipping from Hong Kong for about $240 including shipping but it does not have USA warranty.

Sort of like prescription drugs..

I am leaning toward the D40 because I will need a lens and flash. On my Nikon film camera, I used a Vivitar 283 which all manual. I don't want to fool with manual flash again..

_____________________________________.

Doni wrote:.

$600 USD for a d40 is too much imho. If you look at my profile, iused to own a D40 too. I sold it early January for $400 USD with kitlens, SD card, Hoya filter, and a bag..

Look at ebay and craigslist. It sells for around $400-500. Thecheapest I saw was a 395 with a kit lens..

As for "anti shake," Nikon lenses has "VR" or vibration reduction onsome of it's newer lenses. THe cheapest ones I have seen are theconsumer 18-55 VR and 55-200mm for less then $200 each. The non-VRare much cheaper..

IF you go the D40 route, you will not be disappointed. It is one heckof a camera!.

Respects,.

Doni...in matters of grave importance, style not sincerity is the vitalthing - Oscar Wilde..

Comment #10

They say this because the D40 has no AF motor on the body, which basically means that it will autofocus only on AF-S lenses which has the "motor" in the lens. This is not an issue if you do not have older Nikon lenses as almost ALL new Nikon lenses are AF-s. Look at this, it will answer most lens compatibility questions:.

Http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/slr-lens.html.

Imo, the d40 and the d50 have almost the same price range, but the d40 packs more bang for the buck. (despite no AF motor on body).

If you really want VR, I will skip the 18-200mm (too pricey for me at more than $650) and get the 18-55mmVR (less than $200 on ebay) and 55-200mmVR (also less than $200 on ebay) with the money you save, get a SB-400 (less than $100) or sb-600 for around a hundred more..

Hope this helps,.

Respects,.

DOni.

...in matters of grave importance, style not sincerity is the vital thing - Oscar Wilde..

Comment #11

My old Nikon lens are fully manual so the AF motor would not be a big deal there. I assume they would still work on the D-series as manual lenses. Good to know about the "S" designation so I don't get a lens that doesn't work for it..

I agree about the two lens. The 18-200 would be a great single lens but very expensive now. I have two more questions..

I am a big fan of anti-shake compensation for long focal lengths but is it very useful at 55mm?.

I bought all of my lens used (before the Internet) at local camera shop but they are all manual and just do not wear out. Do you see any problems with getting a D40 and lens used?.

Thanks so much for the help..

________________________________.

Doni wrote:.

They say this because the D40 has no AF motor on the body, whichbasically means that it will autofocus only on AF-S lenses which hasthe "motor" in the lens. This is not an issue if you do not haveolder Nikon lenses as almost ALL new Nikon lenses are AF-s. Look atthis, it will answer most lens compatibility questions:.

Http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/slr-lens.html.

Imo, the d40 and the d50 have almost the same price range, but thed40 packs more bang for the buck. (despite no AF motor on body).

If you really want VR, I will skip the 18-200mm (too pricey for me atmore than $650) and get the 18-55mmVR (less than $200 on ebay) and55-200mmVR (also less than $200 on ebay) with the money you save, geta SB-400 (less than $100) or sb-600 for around a hundred more..

Hope this helps,.

Respects,.

DOni...in matters of grave importance, style not sincerity is the vitalthing - Oscar Wilde..

Comment #12

Syseng wrote:.

My old Nikon lens are fully manual so the AF motor would not be a bigdeal there. I assume they would still work on the D-series as manuallenses. Good to know about the "S" designation so I don't get a lensthat doesn't work for it..

Manual focus lenses will not meter on anything lower than a D200. You can, of course, guess, shoot, check histogram, correct, and shoot again..

I agree about the two lens. The 18-200 would be a great single lensbut very expensive now. I have two more questions..

The two lenses are also optically superior..

I am a big fan of anti-shake compensation for long focal lengths butis it very useful at 55mm?.

Not so much for people, but definitely for inanimate objects. Why? Remember the old inverse-of-focal-length rule? 55mm is equivalent to 80mm meaning you should be able to handhold at 1/80 or above. VR would get you down 3 stops to 1/10 or so, but people move too quickly for 1/10 exposures..

I bought all of my lens used (before the Internet) at local camerashop but they are all manual and just do not wear out. Do you seeany problems with getting a D40 and lens used?.

Thanks so much for the help...

Comment #13

I agree with the poster above. VR works wonders at every focal length. It is, however, more useful at the tele end. Also, as stated by the previous poster, VR is great for things that are not moving. It does not stop action, etc. (although some argue that it helps).

As for used lenses, I bought a couple used already. I got a Nikon 50mmF/1.8, Sigma 70-300mm APO Macro, and am looking at a 35-70f/2.8 of ebay or craigslist. It is always better if you can look at the lens prior to buying, but some online retailers have a return policy. The best bet is to buy used from a reputable online store (B&H, Adorama, KEH, ebay sellers with more than 90% +1k feedback) and ask questions!.

Hope this helps!.

...in matters of grave importance, style not sincerity is the vital thing - Oscar Wilde..

Comment #14

I must have missed something. I thought lens were identified by their 35mm equivalent; so why is a 55mm equivalent to a 80mm?.

___________________________________________.

Greg Nut wrote:.

I am a big fan of anti-shake compensation for long focal lengths butis it very useful at 55mm?.

Not so much for people, but definitely for inanimate objects. Why?Remember the old inverse-of-focal-length rule? 55mm is equivalent to80mm meaning you should be able to handhold at 1/80 or above. VRwould get you down 3 stops to 1/10 or so, but people move too quicklyfor 1/10 exposures...

Comment #15

18-55mm actual focal length is equivalent to 27-82.5mm on a 1.5 crop ratio camera like a Nikon DX. I was using a little rounding and a little shorthand. I apologize if it was confusing. Of course, I mean equivalent to 35mm..

They are generally identified by their actual focal length on DSLR's and their 35mm equivalent on compacts..

Syseng wrote:.

I must have missed something. I thought lens were identified bytheir 35mm equivalent; so why is a 55mm equivalent to a 80mm?.

___________________________________________.

Greg Nut wrote:.

I am a big fan of anti-shake compensation for long focal lengths butis it very useful at 55mm?.

Not so much for people, but definitely for inanimate objects. Why?Remember the old inverse-of-focal-length rule? 55mm is equivalent to80mm meaning you should be able to handhold at 1/80 or above. VRwould get you down 3 stops to 1/10 or so, but people move too quicklyfor 1/10 exposures...

Comment #16

Thanks. I did not know that. I thought all were called by their 35mm equivalents. So a 50mm on a Nikon may not be equivalent to a 50mm on a Pentax or Canon..

Greg Nut wrote:.

They are generally identified by their actual focal length on DSLR'sand their 35mm equivalent on compacts..

Syseng wrote:.

I must have missed something. I thought lens were identified bytheir 35mm equivalent; so why is a 55mm equivalent to a 80mm?..

Comment #17

Syseng wrote:.

Thanks. I did not know that. I thought all were called by their35mm equivalents. So a 50mm on a Nikon may not be equivalent to a50mm on a Pentax or Canon..

Most Nikon, Pentax, and Sony cameras have a 1.5 crop factor. Nikon also makes a 1.0 camera, the D3.Most Canon's are 1.6. Some higher models are 1.3 or 1.0.Olympus is 2.0..

1.5 and 1.6 are close enough not to matter. So, the equivalent focal lengths are essentially all the same except for high-end Nikon, high-end Canon, and Olympus...

Comment #18

Thanks. I read yesterday that someone was down on the D40 because of it's sensor type. According to the reviews, it doesn't seem to make a big difference whether it is CCD or CMOS...

Comment #19

Perhaps a Panasonic Lumix FZ30 might fill the bill:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

8MP, 12X Leica lens (35-420mm), flip out LCD, electronic viewfinder..

Ritz/Wolf Camera has these on clearance for $322.95 (stock number 54-239-0687)..

They are not available on their website so you will have to have the store order one from their warehouse..

Read about the FZ30 here: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz30/.

I have the new model, the FZ50, and it is about as close to a DSLR as you can get without actually buying one!.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

From my FZ50:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #20

Thanks for the advice. I like those super zooms. I know the images are not as good but the convenience is awesome. I have read that these cameras have a lot of noise compared to my Minolta A1 and that they are should not be used above ISO 200. What has been your experience with this?..

Comment #21

Most cameras listed below are Panasonic unless other wise noted..

I had an FZ8 for about 10 days. Don't get me wrong it is a nice camera and can take some great shots BUT the sensor size is 1/2.5 and it did not give me the shots I wanted overall. It did not take me too long to lock it down to the lowest ISO for the rest of my test shots..

Some test shots of geese flying overhead came out ok BUT when put up against an Olyp C740 3.2MP they did not look as good. OK there were taken different days but all the same I am thinking of trying an FZ5 just to see the difference..

I saw a FZ50 and am looking into maybe an FZ30..

In the big picture digital cameras and there prices have come far in the last 5 years. I really look forward to the next 5 years..

Good luck with your search and keep us posted...

Comment #22

Just thought I'd let you know that I contacted my friend at Ritz/Wolf and had him check to see if there were any FZ30's left.and they are all gone..

I was thinking of ordering one myself for a backup in case anything ever happens to my FZ50..

Oh well.I snoozed and lost out..

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #23

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