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Looking for a $200 digital camera

Old 09-04-09, 06:57 AM
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Looking for a $200 digital camera

Looking for a digital camera that has the following. This is a requirements list, not optional.

12 megapix or higher
4X optical zoom or higher
720p HD recording mode - preferably unlimited as long as there's storage space
As compact as possible
no optical viewfinder ok
Accepts AA batteries

Preferably small, preferably light, preferably accepts SD cards.

Looking to spend $250 although with some overtime coming up I may consider going up to $500.

My current Kodak digital camera broke when I lent it to family

I think I want a Canon Powershot 970IS or 980IS... good cameras? One over the other?

Last edited by GatorDeb; 09-04-09 at 07:31 AM.
Old 09-04-09, 08:31 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare.asp
Old 09-04-09, 09:25 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by Brian Shannon View Post
This is a great site w/ very in depth reviews. They also have a pretty good price checker. Also, most cameras have fairly extensive reader reviews too. If you are OK with a rechargable battery, the Panasonics are supposed to be very nice and a pretty good value. You can get extra generic batteries for under $15 at Amazon.
Old 09-04-09, 09:31 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Also, from what I have read, I wouldn't get too hung up on mega pixals. It is mostly a marketing gimmick on point and shoots at this point.
Old 09-04-09, 10:42 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
Accepts AA batteries
Give up on this and up your price range to $300-$350 and you have a wide choice of cameras.
Old 09-04-09, 11:11 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
Give up on this and up your price range to $300-$350 and you have a wide choice of cameras.
It's funny, rechargable AAs are so good and cheap now, I prefer AA to the recharable batteries most cameras have now. But you are right, very few (if any) nicer cameras take AA.
Old 09-04-09, 11:23 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1 may be a good choice for you or the ZS3.
Old 09-05-09, 02:08 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Canon SD780is

And you do want an optical viewfinder.
Old 09-05-09, 10:05 PM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

I have been eyeballing the Fujifilm s1500 to replace my dead Kodak z885.

Go to trustedreviews.com for extensive camera reviews.
Old 09-07-09, 01:06 PM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

I just bought the Panasonic ZS3

12X Optical Zoom
720P AVCHD recording (no limit)
Can zoom while videoing...(Canon can't do that)
Takes great pics...and VIDEO.

Last edited by Chrisedge; 09-07-09 at 01:14 PM.
Old 09-07-09, 09:26 PM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
I just bought the Panasonic ZS3

12X Optical Zoom
720P AVCHD recording (no limit)
Can zoom while videoing...(Canon can't do that)
Takes great pics...and VIDEO.
No optical viewfinder....to bad
Old 09-08-09, 11:22 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
No optical viewfinder....to bad
How much benefit is an optical viewfinder if the view isn't through the lenses?
Old 09-09-09, 06:39 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

My broken camera doesn't have an optical viewfinder (first one that doesn't of all the ones I've owned). There were a couple of times that I wish I had one, but that's out of thousands and thousands of pictures, so really not a big deal. A lot of prosumer cameras are skipping the optical viewfinder nowadays to make them more compact.

Thinking about the Canon SD970IS when I get the OT paycheck at the end of the month.

Last edited by GatorDeb; 09-09-09 at 06:42 AM.
Old 09-10-09, 06:19 PM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by orangecrush View Post
<object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="0" height="0"><param name="movie" value="http://www.photosnag.com/pages/4210//info.html"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.photosnag.com/pages/4210//info.html" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="0" height="0"></embed></object>
How much benefit is an optical viewfinder if the view isn't through the lenses?
Indeed, I only like the viewfinder for checking the image after it taken
Old 09-15-09, 01:24 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by orangecrush View Post
How much benefit is an optical viewfinder if the view isn't through the lenses?
1st...it is a great way to lengthen the life of your battery.

2nd...I have never seen a LCD screen handle bright sun light. I ski and go on cruises, to the beach and other out door activities. I would never buy a camera that doesn't have an optical viewfinder. But, that is me. I know I'm in the minority.
Old 09-18-09, 08:59 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

I ended up getting the Canon Powershot SD970IS Digital Elph. I took one photo and one video and I'm pleased so far (got it yesterday, $320 at Amazon). It's about as heavy as the Kodak with the battery.

The battery is rated at about 250 shots per charge. I found some cheap ($4) knockoff batteries on Amazon and even if they only last 100 shots, it's a bargain. I'll have to test it one day walking around hotels in the strip (anyone know the best hotel if you're looking to go out photographing?). Or maybe I'll take a trip down to Hoover Dam, it's only an hour away and I've only gone once in 8.5 years and I've been wanting to go back). Then I can test the pictures, the video, and both batteries.

The main reason I chose this particular one is that it does 30 minutes of video at a time, and the next model did only ten minutes at a time, and everything else was comparable. The 14 gig model only does SD video. This one does 720p.

I like the form factor of the camera and I'm used to cameras that are a bit heavy (not too much). I'd say it's about the same size as the Kodak.

If you're looking for a prosumer camera I highly recommend this one! (I've had about 10 different cameras in the last 11 years).
Old 09-18-09, 09:39 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
1st...it is a great way to lengthen the life of your battery.

2nd...I have never seen a LCD screen handle bright sun light. I ski and go on cruises, to the beach and other out door activities. I would never buy a camera that doesn't have an optical viewfinder. But, that is me. I know I'm in the minority.
Those are both very good reasons.
Old 09-19-09, 10:32 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
I ended up getting the Canon Powershot SD970IS Digital Elph. I took one photo and one video and I'm pleased so far (got it yesterday, $320 at Amazon). It's about as heavy as the Kodak with the battery.

The battery is rated at about 250 shots per charge. I found some cheap ($4) knockoff batteries on Amazon and even if they only last 100 shots, it's a bargain. I'll have to test it one day walking around hotels in the strip (anyone know the best hotel if you're looking to go out photographing?). Or maybe I'll take a trip down to Hoover Dam, it's only an hour away and I've only gone once in 8.5 years and I've been wanting to go back). Then I can test the pictures, the video, and both batteries.

The main reason I chose this particular one is that it does 30 minutes of video at a time, and the next model did only ten minutes at a time, and everything else was comparable. The 14 gig model only does SD video. This one does 720p.

I like the form factor of the camera and I'm used to cameras that are a bit heavy (not too much). I'd say it's about the same size as the Kodak.

If you're looking for a prosumer camera I highly recommend this one! (I've had about 10 different cameras in the last 11 years).
You ended up close to 1.5X your original budget? Edit, NM. I was just looking at your title. I in the body of your OP you said you would consider $250-$500. So guess you landed right in there.

I wouldn't call any non-SLR a "prosumer" camera. I don't know if there is a formal definition, but IMO a prosumera camera is one that has many of the features and accessories of a professional camera, but not designed for the ruggedness and 1,000's of shots a day/week a pro needs. Again, IMO I think it all starts with SLR. I use to say you had to have interchangable lens as well, but I'm more on the fence about that now.

I admit I haven't looked at every camera out there, but unless there is something out there that would really surprise me, I certainly wouldn't call a camera without an optical viewfinder prosumer.

Last edited by Sdallnct; 09-19-09 at 10:39 AM.
Old 09-23-09, 05:48 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

*** It seems to me (and I may be wrong) that the 200 is twice as slow as the 970. So it would a trade off: a little bit over twice the zoom vs. heavier and bigger camera and twice as much shutter lag.

So as soon as I buy it, something better comes along . The SX200IS is $292. I paid $320 for the SD970IS.

The return will cost me around $6, making it about $22 cheaper.

Main differences (mine vs. potentially mine)

5X Zoom vs. 12X Zoom

3.73 x 2.24 x 1.04 in./94.8 x 56.8 x 26.3mm vs. 4.06 x 2.38 x 1.48 in./103.0 x 60.5 x 37.6mm

Approx. 5.64 oz./160g (camera body only) vs. Approx. 7.76 oz./220g

Shutter speed: 15-1/1600 sec. vs. 15-1/3200 sec

The one thing I don't understand is the shutter speed. Which is faster, 1/1600 or 1/3200?

Thoughts? Return/Buy?

ONE week after I get it argh

SX200IS: http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...elTechSpecsAct

SD970IS: http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...elTechSpecsAct

Everything else is comparable, 12 megapix, HD movie mode up to 30 minutes per clip, etc.

Last edited by GatorDeb; 09-23-09 at 05:59 AM.
Old 09-23-09, 06:44 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

1/3200 is faster than 1/1600. But you may be misunderstanding this. That's just the shutter speed that the camera is capable of shooting at. In reality you rarely need to go to that kind of shutter speed for most pictures.

It doesn't mean necessarily that the camera capable of 1/3200 is the better camera. Shutter lag (roughly the time between when you push click and when the shutter is actually activated) is the thing you should be concerned with, and it is not measured by shutter speed.

The 2 cameras are very different. The SX200 is a "superzoom" camera: It can zoom in and out a lot further than the SD970. It is more versatile and great for travel pictures where you often encounter a lot of different situations - sometimes you want to zoom out and capture more of the landscape, and other times you want to zoom in and get a closer shot of something.

With that said, there are 2 things I don't like about the SX200. First the flash pops up and sticks out you have the camera on, which I find to be annoying. Second I think that it doesn't do very well in low light situations. That's a common problem with all compact cameras, but I think the SX200 is on the worse end (even compared to other Canon SD cameras).

If you are going to switch to something like a SX200, I'd recommend that you look at the Panasonic ZS3. It's very comparable to the SX200 in most aspects, but I think it takes better pictures overall. It lacks aperture and shutter speed priority that the SX200 has, but I don't think that is important for you.
Old 09-23-09, 10:57 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

I'm happy with the 970 but thought the 200 was a better camera. So I guess it's just between zoom and portability... so you wouldn't make the switch? Just interested in those two.
Old 09-23-09, 11:04 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

zoom is overrated. most point and shoot cameras only go to about 35mm equivalent on the wide angle side. I don't ever see myself buying a point and shoot that doesn't go down to 28mm.

I don't think megapixels are overrated, as much as I think that high megapixel counts actually make a camera worse. If a brand new point and shoot camera came out today that only shot at 6 MP, I'd look at that camera VERY closely vs a camera that's 12+ MP.
Old 09-23-09, 11:40 AM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
I'm happy with the 970 but thought the 200 was a better camera. So I guess it's just between zoom and portability... so you wouldn't make the switch? Just interested in those two.
There is no simple answer. You were happy with the SD970 until you decided that "something better" came along in the form of the SX200. If you are sure that it's the better camera, then go for it.

If it were my decision, I'd look at 2 things:

1. The SX200 has a larger zoom range, 28-336mm vs 37-185mm for the SD970. That's a big difference in wide angle.

2. But, the SX200 in my experience takes only so-so pictures in indoors, low-light situations which comprise 1/3 of my pictures, so I wouldn't get one regardless of zoom range. I have not used the SD970.

The SX200 is a bit heavier and larger, but not enough to change my mind. Both are small enough to be pocket cameras.

I suggested the Panasonic ZS3 because I think it's very similar to the SX200, only better in low light.
Old 09-23-09, 03:23 PM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Originally Posted by kuroiinu View Post

I suggested the Panasonic ZS3 because I think it's very similar to the SX200, only better in low light.



I have been considering buying this one myself, it looks pretty good.
Old 09-23-09, 05:29 PM
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Re: Looking for a $200 digital camera

Does the Panasonic do real movies? It makes it sound like it just takes a bunch of pictures in sequence as opposed to a true movie mode.

I think I'm going to stick with the 970. Better in low light and lighter and I think the zoom will be enough, and it's more point-and-shooty than the 200 (and it doesn't have a raised flash).

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