Have you thought of film? Film is a great way to do long exposures. There are any number of 35mm SLRs available with lenses for very little money these days and they are perfect for long exposures (no increase in noise no matter how long the exposure)..
The best are the all-mechanical types that don't rely on an electrical current to hold the shuter open like the Olympus OM1, Pentax MX, etc. It may not be what you think you are looking for, but definitely worth a look!..
I'd personally recommend the Canon A720 IS which is selling in Australia for around $275. It's a 6x zoom 8MP with lens-shift image stabilisation, and takes wide angle and telephoto converter lenses as your skills and budget improve down the track. It can be used as a P&S on AUTO, or fully manual, as required..
Image quality is faultless (considering it's budget price point), and compares favourably with the more expensive Canon A650 IS, or even the $650 Canon G9, at a pinch, for small prints..
There's an excellent review of the camera here:.
Hope this helps ..
We can't all start with a DSLR as the first camera. Sometimes, we don't want to..
For Aussie rule of thumb models and prices tryhttp://www.camerastore.com.au/...gital+Cameras_Digital+Compact_cheapest_1.htm.
That's a sortable list.Of course, you can hunt for better prices....
Canon A series - A540, 550, 580, 590 - below AUD 170.
Has PASM and they take WCON and TCON - although that would slowly get you to spend more money.
Canon A720 is AUD 260.
Kodak ZD710 has 10x zoom and PASM at AUD 240.
Why long exposures? Most electronic cameras, even DSLR has a finite limit to exposures shot via "B" mode - if you want astro photography, then yes, a fully mechanical no electronic shutter film SLR (second hand maybe) would hold the shutter open for a longer time..
Have ypu looked into used DSLRs? You might be able to find a deal if you look around for something without the latest megapixel count..
Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..
All very good suggestions above. Another versatile camera for a tight budget is the Fuji S700..
How long is 'long exposure'?.
DSLRs may go down to 30 sec. or 60 sec. Some allow Bulb, i.e. (almost) unlimited long exposure..
Only a few P&S digicams have 15sec. long exposure. Most stop at 2sec. or 4sec..
I second this. Cheap filmcamera and 2nd hand scanner (e.g. Nikon Coolscan)..
(The newer digital Ricohs do up to 180 seconds exposures. Mind the highlights get blown very fast after 15sec at night.Check the Ricoh forum.).
Http://www.flickr.com/photos/alessandro_isnotaurelio/equipment: disposable cameras and available light..
I'll second the A720IS and also note the Canon SX100IS..
As for the Nikon, they make great DSLR's, but are not really competitive with Canon on P&S. That said, the P80 has great specs, as do some Panasonics...
Thankyou everyone for the replies. you have all been very helpful. as tempting as a film camera would be, very oldschool. I still need a camera for convenience too. not completely for artistic purposes..
The canon A720 IS is looking really good at the moment. but I may have to sacrifice my dreams of fantastic looking star trails and foggy looking coastlines for now until I can afford a good quality camera and time to really get out and take great pictures..
But thanks again!..
Well I thought I had narrowed my search to the canon A720 is. However, I am now thinking the canon Sx100 IS..
Now, on this site and others, the A720 is more highly recommended then the sx100. but I dont understand why..
Yes the sx100 is missing a view finder and does have a pop-up flash. but I set out looking for a classier looking black camera just like the sx100 plus it has 10x optical zoom compared to A720's 6x..
So which do you think is better. and is it worth some 'quality' of the A720 to have a nicer looking black camera? plus I like the pop-up flash (but I think it is only manual).
I'd go for the A720 mainly because it has a viewfinder = longer battery life. Color should not be relevant; it's not more "professional" to have a black camera...
IMHO the optical viewfinder and easy to find AA batteries are the deciding factors for the 720. None of the optical viewfinders on the compacts are great but they do a) offer a steadier shooting position than arms outstretched peering at a LCD, b) work in harsh sunlight unlike a LCD, c) reduce battery consumption if you turn the LCD off..
If you get the 720 you will want two good sets of rechargeable AA batteries and a charger. I suggest the low self-discharge type of AA's for most people. Sanyo Eneloop is one brand, there are others..
If you get the SX you will still probably want two batteries. One to use, one charging. Two batteries are especially critical during vacation or travel..
Two name brand memory cards and a camera bag/waist pouch/belt pouch of your choice to carry the camera and accessories are also advisable..
Personally I prefer the A6xx series compacts for the use of 4 AA's, but AA's and an optical viewfinder are not negotiable for me...
The differences are mainly design issues, not quality issues. The A720 is a more "user friendly" design. If you prefer the SX100, then go for it. Heck of a value at the price they are now selling it for..