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Digital camera advice needed


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OK... I'm thinking about finally going digital. I've got a nice 35mm camera, but I'm paying a fortune on film and developing and it seems I could just print the pictures I decide to keep and actually save some money.

Any experts out there?

Should I go 5MP or is it like buying a computer and a year from now they'll have 10MP cameras? Is there a max to it or a max to the resolution difference you'll actually notice in a printed picture?

Anyone ever use one of these places where you can print a digital picture for like $ .10-.25? Is the quality very good?

Dell's got a deal right now where I can get the Canon Powershot S500 5MP Digicam for $404. Anyone use this camera?

Thanks in advance to any digital photographers on the board!

If you are serious about photography then you'll probably want a 5MP.

A 3.2 is plenty good enough for me and most other people. When I went to London last December I got some AWESOME pictures on my 3.2 MP and that was after only taking the pictures on the medium clarity setting.

The thing to remember is that the higher the setting th emore that is taken up on your memory card.

Digital is the way to go.

Congratulations on your imminent purchase!
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Dell's got a deal right now where I can get the Canon Powershot S500 5MP Digicam for $404. Anyone use this camera?

Not this one, but I do have a Powershot S50 which I love. I've had it since last October and have taken almost 1,500 pictures with it. I used to have a Sony 3.2 mp but I kept getting blurry pictures with it. I could have it set on a tripod where it was sitting perfectly still and I would still have problem. I also use it to take short video clips with and it gets the job done. Of course it's very from from a miniDV quality on a camcorder but if the kids are doing something funny it's good enough to capture the moment.
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i can give you tons of advice but first i need some info from you.

what are you going to most likely to be shooting with this camera? indoors with the family, outdoors in the yard, or (i hope) outside at night at a sporting event (think high school football or the like).

also what is a reasonable budget for you and how big of prints are you looking at making?
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I also have the Canon. I'm no expert, but that thing rules. I have some amazing pic's that I took from C deck at the shoe, if I remember when I get home I'll post them here so you can get a really good idea of the quality. I would definitely recommend it.
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I've also found that Sam's Club is the cheapest place to get prints made. My wife does a lot of scrapbooking so she just burns the pictures to a cd and drops them off to be printed. The quality is pretty good... I believe they print on Kodak paper.
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i use a sony camcorder and two sony still cameras and they are all pretty nice, even the really really old 1.3 megapixel cam. i love sony cameras honestly. my friend has one of the relatively newer 5 megapixels and the shots are amazing with it. i believe sony currently tops out at 8MP though it doesn't seem that there is a limit to that. i have seen over 10MP already. common consensus is that 5MP is good enough for magazine quality print work.

i use a hp photosmart printer (hp 7660 i think, ballpark $150). it makes fantastic prints up to 8x10. i have some really nice 8x10s from a 3.2 megapixel sony. the 4x6s are pro quality as far as my am eye can tell.

photo software is very important. adobe photoshop is professional strength and well over 500 bucks, but worth the money. i have heard that you can download it for free if you look around the net long enough. i use a bit torrent program for downloading large files such as one photoshop sized (of couse not a commercial file, but free ones). check out some of the bit torrent sites out there for other freeware. i have heard that www.suprnova.org has quite a bit of good stuff there. i have never ran into a virus on bit torrent either unlike kazaa.....

i have been thinking about upgrading to a digital SLR camera for this high school football season, probably the cheapest one of these three links. of these three following links i believe the guy from the ozone uses (perhaps used) one of these, not sure which one though. he gets some amazing shots and i want that from my seats in the stands if at all possible.




a digital SLR will allow you to use interchangeable lenses so you can go for the extreme zoom regardless of the crapiness of your seats. i am also hoping that the camera will snap a pic much quicker. with any other digital still i have used i need to anticipate the shot/action a few seconds early and then it is most likely blurry at best.

hope this helps.
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Thanks for all the replies and good info!

I take mostly pictures of vacations, sporting events and my kids for my wife's scrapbooking addiction and because all our family up in Ohio don't get to see them too often. Mostly outdoor shots. I also enjoy photography in general and occasiaonally take pictures of nature (birds, flowers, sunsets, etc.) when I happen to see the perfect shot... but I'm far from an expert. I thought about the SLR route as I might be able to use my existing lenses (I have a Canon) but it seems to expensive since I don't use most of the features anyway. $400 is a bit of a reach, but I might go that high. Typically I just get 4x6, but I would love to be able to blow up the best pix.... I wouldn't expect to ever need over 8x10.

I was kind of hoping to avoid printing them here... The paper and ink are expensive and (if past history is any indication) I tend to screw things like that up! I thought I would just take them somewhere and pay for the few I actually need printed right away. I may get into the printing later when I have more time to play with settings/edit/etc.

I have had a Sony DV for a while now and love it for video. It only takes 1MP still pix though and if the lighting isn't perfect they look like crap. That's what's scared me off of digital so long.
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those dSLR's haven't dropped in price in quite some time, they seem due to drop soon to me, hence my wait.

just about any camera sucks in low light but you can work miracles in photoshop. my mom took a bunch of pics of her granddaughter at some school play last year and they were just black as could be. you couldn't distinguish anything let alone anyone in them. i shoved them into photoshop and applied the auto levels for everything and her pics all of a sudden were fixed with one click of the mouse and some bad ass software.

you should see how crappy some of my high school football pics look. if the stadium has poor lighting (virtually every high school stadium other than fawcett or massillon paul brown tiger stadium) i can't tell what the hell my pics look like on the lcd screen. when you are that far away from the action the flash is irrevelant. still though i put them in photoshop and i get some useable snaps. i know photoshop is very expensive but it is worth the cash (and you can get a very very large discount if you look around the net enough).

one tip that i always pass along, ignore digital zoom (turn it off in fact if you can then simply blow them up in photoshop or a free program like www.irfanview.com ). optical zoom is the shit though. 3x seems to be pretty standard but it isn't really good for close ups from far away.

here are a few more camera links that are 5 megapixel and hover at or around the $400 - $500 level.






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Ok, I edited my above post. If you're interested in seeing what kind of quality the Canon will take, there are several different types of shots provided in the link. Let me know if anyone has any problems or questions...

And no, I have no idea who the chick is dancing with blow-up Brutus...
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Like many I have a wide range of digital products. We have a Canon Digital camera and a JVC digital camcorder.

I think BIATCH is correct. Most people set their equipment on Auto and snap away without much thought. Once you get them into your computer the software you use is much more important.

I would suggest one other thing. Make sure you have several memory cards. Odds are you will fill one up before you have had a chance to download and deleting pictures on the fly in the field is difficult. Our camera came with a 128MB card which we took out and only use when both of the 512MB cards we bought are full.
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