Digital cameras

  Southernboy 15:46 21 Jun 04

I have had some correspondence on the above, but had decided to remain with a film SLR, because I was used to it, it suited my style and because, to get similar quality on a digital would be 2/3 times the price. As I use slides, I have no real need of the facility to manipulate shots on a PC.

However, I have just returned from a short break in Gibraltar. That place must be the best kept secret of all time - it is great!. Same climate as Spain or Italy, but much more than a boring beach holiday. The people are friendly, the first language in English and the currency is Sterling. There is no Excise Duty or VAT, which means goods are incredibly inexpensive. For exanple, £5.25 for a litre bottle of Gin or Whisky!

However, the point of this thread. In Main Street, there are a whole multiplicity of camera shops, with many digital cameras at rock-bottom prices, from Leicas down to the very basic models. If only I knew what I should be looking for in a digital, I think I might well have been tempted to buy one. So, now comes the question. What SHOULD the minimum requirement be? Looking at websites, all contain bags of technical data, but most of it goes over my head.

I know PCA does a monthly review but I suspect this is confined to cameras submitted and there may be better cameras around that PCA have not seen.

So, what is the minimum specification for an intermediate camera? Please don't specify actual cameras because none of us have seen enough models to be able to make an informed choice, but what a digital equivalent of a high quality film camera should contain.

Thank you.

  pj123 16:12 21 Jun 04

Having said "don't specify actual cameras" for anything close to a film SLR in the digital world you are looking at £2000 upwards. If you want a really good digital camera that looks, works and feels like an SLR you can't go far wrong with the Minolta Z1. I am a professional photographer and that is the digital (as opposed to film) camera that I have. There is now a Z2 in the range. click here for the Z1 or here click here for the Z2

Obviously, my preferred film camera is my Hasselblad.

  phenyl5 16:34 21 Jun 04

If you are not a pro. and the cameras are that cheap just go for it and enjoy the new experience. About 4 to 5 M Pixels with +3 Optical and +3 digital zoom is ok. Glass lenses only! I've always found whilst dithering on specs. I'm missing the enjoyment of actually doing anything. When I buy? In a few weeks I'm out of date!

  hssutton 17:08 21 Jun 04

£2000 is way over the top. The Canon and Nikons retailing for £700 - £800. 6Mp DSLRs will give you quality as good, if not better than film. If you already have lenses that are compatible with either of these cameras, then that would seem the obvious way to go.

If you want to stay with slides then the outlay would be much more as you would require a digital slide projector which would cost as much as a camera.

However if you want a more modest camera the list is almost endless, I certainly wouldn't go for the Minolta Z1 due to its problem with CA, but the Z2 is a major improvement.

You cannot go far wrong with any of the major players, but due to the many quirky designs and physical size of digitals you really need to go to a store and try them.

Also do not be influenced by digital zoom as this is a total waste of time. As phenyl says a good starting point would be 3Mps + 3X zoom, but as you are an experienced photographer, I'm sure you will find this spec to be a little limiting

  Bagsey 17:25 21 Jun 04

I have found that you can always find something bigger . better?? and more expensive if you go looking for it. But you need to decide what you want to use it for. If it is for holiday photos etc then you do not need the very high end specification . I use an Olympus C720uz and find that it does a great job. My advice would be go for a good sized Optical zoom , I have 10x, and ignore digital zoom as you can get all you need of digital zoom from your computer software.
I dont claim to be an expert but if you check on this site you will see what my £250 camera managed to do.
click here

  jack 17:30 21 Jun 04

We all have our favourites in make a desirable attributes so replies to this string will go on and confuse increasingly.
New models are coming out every week has been states and your choice will be eclipsed before you have finished paying for it.
So Entry models a 3 mega pixel and 5/6 Mp ere now the middle range.
As you are a slide man dont worry about Digit slide projectors
that is an bundle of expense and hang ups.

Surprisingly pictures displayed electronically are quite low rez.
Look for a TV display device. These are palm sized gadgets that plug to a TV and take the usual menory card and have a built in slide show
Makers are AverMedia. Dazzle . Delkin Etc all have web sites.
I also compile pix in a slide show program and burn onto CD. complete with added items such a computer sourced maps ,what have you and sound track.
If you want an SLR that Canon/Nikon do them with
Standard lens compatability.
The Olympus E /4/3rd is good and I have an Olympus E10 which is a fixed Zoom lens true SLR
A bit long in the tooth at only 4Mp but still worth the £500 or less secondhand if you look around.

  jack 17:31 21 Jun 04

Get a copy of What Digital Camera
That is the definitive Revue Maggie

  Stuartli 17:47 21 Jun 04

As you are used to an SLR (film) you may find that you should be looking at the larger sized Canon, Nikon etc SLR styled digital cameras.

So many digital cameras these days are so small that it can be difficult to use the various controls or hold one comfortably whilst taking shots.

Re MP levels. You'll be needing to look at models capable of 11MP upwards (most likely pro models) to at least begin to match film's resolution capabilities.

However, a top brand 6 or 8MP digital model should ensure at least reasonable 10x8s and perhaps a bit more, depending on how much of the image is used.

By the way, Gibralter is no well kept secret....:-))

Biggest bugbear are the Spanish, eager to take it under their own wing and who occasionally resort to dirty tricks, as has been well documented in UK newspapers.

One of them is to keep the British wanting to spend a few hours in Spain waiting for hours for permission to cross the border.

  Southernboy 17:55 21 Jun 04

I am a keen photographer. Like most keen photographers, I am never really saisfied with my work and am always looking to improve my technique. I leave the holiday snaps to my wife, so I am looking for a sophisticated camera that will enable to me to participate in club competitions. I belong to a local club, the majority of members being completely opposed to digital, so no help there. Over the years I have used various Nikons (from the first Nikon F), various Pentaxes (from the first 1960 model available in the UK), various Canons (from the R2000 to an EOS), a Leica M4 and a Rolleiflex 2.8F. Currently, I currently use an elderly Leica so you will see the level of quality I am looking for.

I require pin-sharp definition, especially with macro shots. I use fixed focal length lenses of 28mm, 90mm, 105mm and 200mm. I have never seen the the need for anything longer or shorter, although I do have a 18mm W/A which I use for the occasional architectural shot - it is surprisingly sharp. I have avoided zoom lens up to now as I have always believed they do not compare with fixed focal length lenses.

It puzzles me that, when I go into a camera shop, I am unable to look through the viewfinder because they are "electronic" and do not have a battery in them. Assistants tell me they cannot keep inserting and removing batteries to enable me to look at a selection of models.

I am a slide man because I prefer the sharpness and versitility of reversal film, both B/W and Colour. Moving away from film, surely digital can be used as either?

What (apart from the cost) is the down-side of digital? I am aware that the "name" brands are probably all "good", but I need a specification so I can do some preliminary research before upsetting some indolent assistant who does not want to put himself out for a particular customer.

  Dorsai 18:04 21 Jun 04

I don't know this from my own experiance but a friend of mine wanted a digi-cam and asket a friend of his who was into the subject and was told about what startli sed.

It basically was that to match the same level of detail captured by a normal 35mm film a digital camera needs about 12Mp. I have found that 4Mp produces pics that can be blown up to roughly A4 size and i don't notice any pixelation, but the camera is set at max resolution and min compression, but as this lets me take 60ish photos an a 128mb card i'm happy.

  rawprawn 18:05 21 Jun 04

I have a Kodak EasyshareDX6440 recomended by PCA. For my normal use it is just the job.

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