Digital camera under £300 - advice please

  Carafaraday 10:35 19 Jul 03
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Where do I start and what do I look for? Can you get extra memory for all cameras and what does it entail? Do you change it like changing a battery?
What about resolution - is it really the higher the better or does that just mean you can take less pics? What are the minimum requirements I should look for? Do they all come with software or do I need to shell out for Photoshop or similar?

  Tenner 11:20 19 Jul 03

There are a number of good threads on this topic, mostly from the last 3 months ( seem to be having problems at this end listing them all - but will try again later ) Try, for example, click here

Extra storage for most cameras on one type of card or another, most of which have fallen in orice, quite dramatically over the last 6 months. In general , only cheap cameras have no card storage facility and tend to rely on the batteries and built-in chip - change the batteries and you lose your pics.

Again, in general, the higher the resolution ( I presume you man Mp ? ) the more scope/flexibility you'll have - lots of 'medium' quality shots or a few at 'high' quality that can be enlarged, cropped etc.

Most will supply a software package for album storage and simple manipulation, believe me you can so easily get to the stage of loading too many ( offers on mag covers, trials etc.)

As for the 'best' software, time after time the mags will review and compare the popular ones, and the one which tends to receive all the awards is Photoshop Elements -- stand back ! others have their favourites ! Yse, you'll have to 'shell out' for that extra, but quality usually comes at a price, and at least you won't have the expense of processing at the local chemists/corner shop where you have no control over the quality of the end result.

Finally, my advice for what it?s worth at this stage is : a) decide what you want it for and is there a chance that you might want to develop it ( photography ) as a hobby if you get hooked ? B)stake out your budget figure, and don't go over it by more than 10% ii) listen to all the experts in the pub, read all the reports, iii) narrow it down to 2 or 3 models WITH THE HIGHEST Mp possible for the price and from the recognised camera manufacturers ( Canon, Olympus etc etc - they know how to make lenses, rather than electric cookers ) iv ) go and look at them at Jessops - they tend to be smaller than you might think v) when you 've ordered / received it, DON'T look at another photo advert for at least 2 years, cos next week will bring that bargain ..... and you might just be upset vi ) go and use it, and have fun, experiment to your heart's content - instant results can be deleted at no cost, if necessary vii) check out click here - from Links above, usually ! - you'll be amazed what's available and for free !

Finally, everybody and his dog will tell you what they've bought and will try to convince you that 'it's the best camera deal on the market' Whilst some are valid, but others are still trying to convince themselves.

Finally, enjoy the search and then the final result !
Hope this helps

Regards

  Wes Tam ;-) 11:36 19 Jul 03

Carafaraday my camera has 8MB internal memory and you can buy more memory, which is like a mini floppy disc, that you just slide into a slot.

Resolution - mine is 3.2Mp which produces great pictures up to A4 size (I haven't tried larger).
This is on the 'normal' setting which is great for the holiday snaps. I suppose a photo expert would set it to 'high' resolution for detailed pictures.

The higher the resolution setting, the fewer the pictures.

2Mp would suffice, but I'd go for a 3MP just in case you have that special photo to take.

Make sure you have optical zoom (around 3x), but digital zoom isn't a must have.

They come with software, but you will need something like PhotoPlus to manipulate your pictures.

I had the Ricoh Caplio RR30 as a Xmas present and it's surpassed my expectations. It's still in the PCA Beginners Top 5.

  Carafaraday 12:23 19 Jul 03

Great, thanks to you both. Lots to think about here. Any further comments welcomed.

  anchor 12:26 19 Jul 03

Choosing a digital camera is to quite a degree one involving personal choice. Something that feels good in your hands.

However, you asked for a suggestion: Consider the Canon A70 for £236. A similar thread was started by GroupFC who ended up buying this camera. He is very pleased with it. See his post:

click here

You could also send his a message by clicking on the envelope next to his name.

If you have a Jessops camera store near you, go in and have a look at it, (and other models too). Remember Jessops will price match any UK web price, if the item is in stock.

Have a look here: you can quote their prices

click here

click here

Additional memory cards and high power rechargeable batteries can be obtained reasonably from

click here

As regards software for working on the pictures in the PC, your camera will come with something suitable. Irfanview is also available as a free download. My own personal favourite is Paint Shop Pro.

  jbaker65 12:38 19 Jul 03

Hi, I bought a Fuji finepix 2600, 2Mpix, 3x optical zoom as my first camera. It is great, but now I would look for 3 Mpix. Got mine from USA via eBay and saved about £100. I think you could get what you want that way for £150-£200. I would recommend Fuji Finepix 2800 as A VERY good first buy. cheers, John.

  anchor 12:46 19 Jul 03

Yes, the Fuji 2800 is a good camera, but is only a 2Mpixel camera. It has a 6x optical zoom, which is good.

Cost: £185
click here

  palinka 20:23 19 Jul 03

I agree with Tenner about how to choose; and that ultimately it's a personal thing - what seems ideal when you read the mags may turn out to be uncomnfortable/too small & fiddly/too big/etc when you actually handle it. So I would strongly advise you go into a shop and handle any you've shortlisted, even if you eventuially buy on-line.
Memory cards are now very cheap. My camera came with only an 8Mb card but i've now bought a 64Mb because I need to take pics at v.high resolution which means fewer pics. You don't have to buy the camera manufacturers own-brand of card. click here has very good prices. Use what comes with your camera until you've an idea of whether you need extra memory. Only buy extra if you need it. But when you've downloaded the pics into your computer you can delete from the memory card and start filling it up all over again.
All depends what sort of photography you're into and what you're going to do with the pics when you've taken them. The average user taking family/holiday pics to send to friends in email can manage on something cheap & cheerful. Even so,
I regard Optical zoom as essential; digital zoom will come automatically on most cameras that have optical zoom.
If you're planning to do your own printing on photographic paper the performance of your printer will be equally important.
Software will come with the camera - nothing to stop you using other software, but no need to shell-out for anything expensive unless you want to do pro or semi-pro work and I don't get that impression from your query. There's plenty of free stuff around.
I use an Olympus C-220 Zoom. Current price around £180.
As Tenner says, get out and enjoy it - there's no extra printing cost, you never run out of film, and you can see the results instantly. It's great!

  STEVE71163 21:52 19 Jul 03

I bought a fujifilm finepix A204 last week from Dixons and that was £179 which i thought was quite good as they are £199 in argos and that seems to take really crystal clear pictures. It came with a 8mb card but i have since bought the 64mb card.

Good Luck!

  Stuartli 21:58 19 Jul 03

anchor, you beat me to mentioning the Canon.

It's not really advisable to just buy a digital, or any other camera, without having handled it first and taken some shots with it.

Best thing is to go to Jessops or similar outlet and try a number of cameras around the price you are prepared to pay.

Try them, handle them and find out the quality of the shots - then decide on the basis of which model is best for you. Jessops also offer good prices, as do click here and click here among others.

  Stuartli 21:59 19 Jul 03

Should have read ALL the posts more carefully, but the general advice remains...:-)

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