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mjacks
10-31-2005, 04:32 PM
I couldn't find a good camera thread here in the hardware section. Does anyone have any recommendations or warnings? I am thinking about getting a Canon SD550 ultra compact camera for use while on the bike. My huge Olympus E-10 just isn't very good for lugging out when ever I want to snap a quick pic.

ki-speed
10-31-2005, 05:03 PM
Just bought the (ultra compact) Canon SD400 about 2 months ago. Did not even get to read the manual before taking it on a 6000 mile ride. I just set it on auto. The 600 pictures I took came out great. Love the small size. The battery life was also very good.

I would recommended it. Just get a good case for it.

Later,

Mark

10-95
10-31-2005, 05:32 PM
I ended up getting a Kodak Easy Share CX6330. It came with a docking/printing station. Can't remember how much $$ it was, but I'm a notoriously cheap ***. It has impressed me with the pictures it takes, except for really low light pics. Takes pretty good video too. Plus, it's palm sized, at least in my palms......

Mark G
10-31-2005, 06:39 PM
I couldn't find a good camera thread here in the hardware section. Does anyone have any recommendations or warnings? I am thinking about getting a Canon SD550 ultra compact camera for use while on the bike. My huge Olympus E-10 just isn't very good for lugging out when ever I want to snap a quick pic.

That's the one, Mike. I've got a full-pimp digital SLR, have been taking photos for more than 40 years, give seminars occasionally, yadda yadda. I bought the predecessor SD500 earlier this year, just leave it set on Auto. The big advantage is the big megapixel chip allows you to shoot in the general direction of what you want a photo of, then you have enough definition to crop even a very small portion and still end up with a great photo.

I used to recommend Photoshop Elements as a great amateur digital darkroom, for about a hundred bucks, but have converted to Google's Picasa. Download it for free, spend 15 minutes learning how to use it, it catalogs all the photos on your hard drive, and you can crop and enhance like a pro without a single lesson. The "I'm feeling lucky" button will fix almost any photo to your satisfaction.

Dell had the SD550 for cheap a day or so ago. Get a gigabyte card elsewhere, do a google.

Sony, Nikon, Minolta, Olympus...all of them...make fabulous itty cameras with 7 megapixels and up. You can't go wrong. Just get the one that feels best. My huge digital SLR, a pro level camera, is a great paperweight.

Jack Giesecke
10-31-2005, 06:53 PM
That's the one, Mike. I've got a full-pimp digital SLR, have been taking photos for more than 40 years, give seminars occasionally, yadda yadda. I bought the predecessor SD500 earlier this year, just leave it set on Auto. The big advantage is the big megapixel chip allows you to shoot in the general direction of what you want a photo of, then you have enough definition to crop even a very small portion and still end up with a great photo.

I used to recommend Photoshop Elements as a great amateur digital darkroom, for about a hundred bucks, but have converted to Google's Picasa. Download it for free, spend 15 minutes learning how to use it, it catalogs all the photos on your hard drive, and you can crop and enhance like a pro without a single lesson. The "I'm feeling lucky" button will fix almost any photo to your satisfaction.

Dell had the SD550 for cheap a day or so ago. Get a gigabyte card elsewhere, do a google.

Sony, Nikon, Minolta, Olympus...all of them...make fabulous itty cameras with 7 megapixels and up. You can't go wrong. Just get the one that feels best. My huge digital SLR, a pro level camera, is a great paperweight.

I went through this a few months ago, wanting a new camera. My old digital is a pathetic 1.3 mpix and my old SLR, well, it's old and uses film. I have an Olympus Stylus point and shoot 35mm that's good, too, but I wanted digital. So, I shopped, figured I wanted minimum 3.0 mpix. Settled on a Vivitar 5.0 mpix and it shoots GREAT shots and decent video clips. It's small, too. It was sitting right next to an IDENTICAL camera except for the model and brand name. That one was a Pentax and I guess you pay 30 bucks more for the name cause there wasn't a thing different from the Vivitar, same camera. I paid something like $170 for it at Wallyworld and got a 512mb card with it for thirty something. It's a little hard on batteries, but only takes two double As. Seems to do pretty well except that shooting video eats 'em up pretty quick. But, I don't have to buy and develop film for really decent quality shots and the photos are instant. I can carry it out of the way on my belt and don't have a friggin' huge camera bag choking me. I also like the fact that this digital actually shoots decent action pix. My other one was way too slow for that and didn't have an optical zoom.

Jack Giesecke
10-31-2005, 07:08 PM
Just downloaded that Picasa program. I have older programs on my old computer I'm used to, but not compatible with this new Windows XP. NICE! I have just played with it, but I like it already.

mjacks
10-31-2005, 07:31 PM
That's the one, Mike. I've got a full-pimp digital SLR, have been taking photos for more than 40 years, give seminars occasionally, yadda yadda. I bought the predecessor SD500 earlier this year, just leave it set on Auto. The big advantage is the big megapixel chip allows you to shoot in the general direction of what you want a photo of, then you have enough definition to crop even a very small portion and still end up with a great photo.

I used to recommend Photoshop Elements as a great amateur digital darkroom, for about a hundred bucks, but have converted to Google's Picasa. Download it for free, spend 15 minutes learning how to use it, it catalogs all the photos on your hard drive, and you can crop and enhance like a pro without a single lesson. The "I'm feeling lucky" button will fix almost any photo to your satisfaction.

Dell had the SD550 for cheap a day or so ago. Get a gigabyte card elsewhere, do a google.

Sony, Nikon, Minolta, Olympus...all of them...make fabulous itty cameras with 7 megapixels and up. You can't go wrong. Just get the one that feels best. My huge digital SLR, a pro level camera, is a great paperweight.

I have been reading about all the different cameras on cnet.com and on a few camera sites and they all love the SD550. So far I have found the camera for $387 which is a lot less than the local Circuit City and Best Buy.

I already have photoshop elements on my laptop and I have a full version of photoshop CS on my mac which is far more program than I will ever need or know how to use.

fogllama
10-31-2005, 07:42 PM
If you pay attention to the accessories, you can look for a digital that has a fairly inexpensive waterproof housing. There is an issue with size, however. The scuba housing will double the size of the camera. Many of the Canons and Olympuses (Olympii? :angel: ) have housings for around $100 (plus or minus).

mjacks
10-31-2005, 09:37 PM
That is a good idea. I haven't seen any of the waterproof housings in person so I don't know how much bulk it would add to the camera. If it added a bunch of size I would just assume leave the camera in the bag since I want something small enough to be able to slip in and out of my pocket when I want to take a quick shot.

Texason
11-01-2005, 02:34 PM
I will never buy another Kodak again. Granted, they've probably come a long way since I bought my old DX3600. My main issue with it was that I paid big $$$ for more memory, but the rechargeable battery wouldn't even last long enough to fill the basic on-board memory. I sent it back to Kodak for repair and it came back worse than when I sent it in. As far as I can tell, Kodak is an amature in the digital camera business.

sharkey
11-01-2005, 03:26 PM
I had the same problem 2 months ago. Selling my E10 on ebay. Canon 10D I bought to replace it is incredible but still too big for the cycle. What is a cheap guy to do??? Ebay

I ended up w/ a refurbished Olympus D395 for $85. bought it from Olympus USA site and they had a bunch of them. 3MP w/ 3X digital lens. I was put off by the "digital" magnification until I printed the photos. They look great and camera is super small.

fogllama
11-01-2005, 03:29 PM
Note that many of the small cameras can take a little moisture. You might find it adequate to keep the camera in a dry bag (available at camping stores). My experience is that the Kodaks have (not to be rude, but) cheap optics. The Canons, Olympuses, and Nikons have better optics. The quality of the optics varies greatly between a manufacturers product lines, thus the vast differences in price.

Should you care about optics? Depends on the intended use of the camera. For pretty snapshots from motorcycle outings, I would guess you should care.

Beware of being tempted by massive megapixels. The optics matter more. My 5-megapixel canon has to shrink a shot to fit into an 8x10" photo. I have a gorgeous Olympus dye-sublimation printer and the results are stunning. Go for optics quality and the form factor (size) that suits your use.

A tiny camera you use all the time and take everywhere is better than a pro-sumer SLR digi-beast that stays home and never catches light.

Jack Giesecke
11-01-2005, 03:42 PM
The docking port thing is a bit weak anymore IMHO. My new computer has a multi-media front and I just pop the card out of the camera and plug it into the proper port and transfer the jpegs and vids right off it to the burner. It's ultra easy compared to using drivers and downloading from the camera or even to using that docking port thing. Want prints? Just print! I make few prints, though. I burn all my raw shots on CD and work with 'em from there.

We had a Kodak at work when I worked at the plant. Don't know how hard it was on batteries cause we didn't use it continuously or anything. It took good pix, though. It was an older camera, though. This Vivitar I bought is tiny by comparison, truly pocket size. I always bring a few ziplock baggies on the bike for protection if it gets rainy. They fold up a lot more compact than some scuba case or something. I take my old Olympus Stylus film camera when I'm out on the water or duck hunting or something. Still have a use for it cause it is water resistant. You can't dunk it, but a little rain won't hurt it like it will if it gets into a digital's inards.

Desert Skies
11-01-2005, 04:33 PM
I have a Canon G5 and although it takes great pictures with tons of control options, it's too big. I just bought a Canon SD300 (4mp) and it's just right for the bike. I keep it on a lanyard around my neck and stuffed in my shirt pocket. Easy to whip out and operate with my summer gloves on.

PassTheGravy
11-01-2005, 09:13 PM
I have an older Nikon that has the swivel body - i.e., the body swivels in the middle so you can hold the camera way down low or way up over your head and swivel the screen so you can see what you're shooting. It's hard to appreciate how handy that is until you've used it. Some of the Canons have a swivel screen that flips out. When I upgrade, that's what I'll get.

Think about sitting on the bike, lifting the camera up so it clears the windshield, swiveling the screen down so you can compose the pic and then snapping the shot. Very handy, and allows you to be a little more creative in the angles of pics of bikes, etc.

Rwells
11-01-2005, 09:41 PM
You might want to checkout the Nikon Coolpics seies of cameras. I borrowed my sisters CoolPix 2100 for a recent trip. Fits nicely in the tank bag.

Zugg Zugg
11-02-2005, 05:38 PM
Here is a great place to check out camera reviews:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/

mjacks
11-02-2005, 06:18 PM
Here is a great place to check out camera reviews:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/

Here is another site or two:

http://www.dpreview.com/

http://www.cnet.com/

TheSinistral
11-08-2005, 05:42 PM
Speaking of waterproof cameras, I have been researching them for another hobby, kayak fishing, and I have heard many good reviews on the Pentax Optio WP. It's waterproof to 1.5 meters. A basic camera but it seems quite handy. If I get one I'll post a review.

TheSinistral

Cadaver
11-08-2005, 05:53 PM
I had a bad experience with Vivitar. Don't remember which model, but it ate memory cards. They would not allow you to delete images so it became a one time use card. Sent it back to man. under warranty...came back and worked for one card then started doing the same thing again. Wrote it off to experience.

We use a couple of Nikon Coolpic at work, with swivel bodies. Very good optics and the swivel allows very interesting angles/Point of view shots. eats batteries with the display, though. The absolute best Macro (I frequently do extreme closeups and photomicrography) capabilities on the market.

Steve

Jack Giesecke
11-08-2005, 07:01 PM
Hmm, I've got two vivitars now and no problems. Had the one for quite a while. I love that new one, though. Great camera!

I hardly ever use the camera to erase the whole card. I'll erase errant shots, but I can erase the card in the computer's port. Take the card out of the camera, plug it into "f drive" port on the front of the computer. I explained that already, though. I do it after burning the shots off the card. Saves having to turn the camera on to do it.

Cadaver
11-09-2005, 04:58 PM
No, the camera scewed up the card. I tried several different card readers on different computers. You could open the photos, but with just one or two photos disk read as full. Couldn't delete or add new photos. worked for 1 photo session after warranty work and then exact same problem. Even had someone else (computer and digital camera savvy) look at it, just so it wasn't me being a dufus.
This is just one camera so not statistically relevent to any one but me, but I will not buy another vivitar.

Steve

macktruckturner
11-17-2005, 11:12 AM
I've got a Canon S410, and a 350D (the Digital Rebel XT). The S410 is out here in Iraq with me, and has handled the weather great - from the cold rainy winter, to the 130F sandstorm windstorms of the summer.

Jack Giesecke
11-17-2005, 11:30 AM
I've got a Canon S410, and a 350D (the Digital Rebel XT). The S410 is out here in Iraq with me, and has handled the weather great - from the cold rainy winter, to the 130F sandstorm windstorms of the summer.

130? :shock: Yeah, but it's "a dry heat", right?:rofl:

scratch
11-17-2005, 11:58 AM
:tab I've got the Canon A70, which has been superceded by the A75. It's only a 3mp camera but (in more capable hands) takes very decent shots. It has more features than I know what to do with, yet remains very easy to operate. Also pretty rugged; it's been dropped a few times and seems no worse for the wear, and it even survived my bike crash a while back. Battery life with re-chargeables is excellent. My only serious complaint is the small size of the view screen, which makes scrolling through the control menu almost impossible without putting on my strongest reading glasses. Maybe that's really more a complaint about my failing eyesight! The A75 has a larger viewscreen, so Canon has addressed that shortcoming with their current offering. More megapixels would be nice, but I don't honestly feel that I'm missing that much.

Good luck with your search!

mjacks
11-17-2005, 12:51 PM
Update:

I just picked up the Canon SD550 yesterday and so far so good. I saw that Circuit City had an online special marking it down to $399 (from $499) so I went ahead and got it. I have seen the camera cheaper on cnet.com ($374) but I opted for the in store pick up to satisfy the instant gratification need instead of waiting for delivery.

The fit and finish is very nice and it has that heavier than it looks feel that adds to the quality feeling of the camera. I am going to have to get accustomed to using such a small camera instead of my monster Olympus E-10 (feels kind of foreign in my big hands).

Top Cat
11-17-2005, 01:51 PM
I have three digitals, a Nikon Coolpix 900 the first Nikon with the swivel body. The swivel connection gave a lot of trouble when it got out of warranty. Doesn't work at all now due to that darned swivel.

Fujifilm 2800, a 3 megapixel camera that is about half size of a 35 mm with a 6x optical zoom. Good camera, but its size is a little too large to carry without a bag. On a motorcycle I find it aggravating to have to dig around in a bag when a photo opportunity arises. This camera is my family portrait/reunion camera when toting it around is no big deal.

I was in Japan twice recently and there is a large store in Tokyo named BIC, like the ball point pen. I have never seen as many digital camera in one place, every manufacturer. At BIC I found a Pentax Optiz 5z with a 2.5 in LCD display, 0.8 inch wide and the size of a credit card, 3x zoom, 5.0 mega pixels and a battery that will take 180 pictures with the flash. This camera will fit easily in your shirt pocket. I bought it with a case that will go on your belt. On your belt its is about the size of a folding knife. It was $400 in Japan, $300 in USA on line. Its the handiest camera I have ever had.

One note about small cameras, without a viewfinder its hard to take pictures in bright daylight. The LCD display washes out. Camera with a view finder tend to be larger, particularly in thickness and the LCD screen is smaller. I wanted small and really wanted the large LCD screen, so I bought the Pentax Optio 5z. I recommend this camera.

macktruckturner
11-17-2005, 02:50 PM
The hottest it got this summer was 138, and I had guard duty that week - spectacular. I'm actually in the "breadbasket" of Iraq - near the Diyala River, so there's palm groves, grass, irrigation canals, etc all over the place. Not such a dry heat. I grew up in Midland - THAT was a dry heat.

Graubart
11-25-2005, 09:28 PM
That's the one, Mike. I've got a full-pimp digital SLR, have been taking photos for more than 40 years, give seminars occasionally, yadda yadda.


What kind of seminars Mark? Maybe we could have a TWT convergence on Austin for a Digital 101 class sometime.

I am a long time film photographer that decided to jump into digital. The learning curve is much steeper than I had imagined. I bought a Nikon D70 several months ago for off-the-bike use and a Sony Cybershot to carry on the bike.

Tx Rider
12-07-2005, 02:06 PM
I will never buy another Kodak again. Granted, they've probably come a long way since I bought my old DX3600. My main issue with it was that I paid big $$$ for more memory, but the rechargeable battery wouldn't even last long enough to fill the basic on-board memory. I sent it back to Kodak for repair and it came back worse than when I sent it in. As far as I can tell, Kodak is an amature in the digital camera business.

I've gone to cameras with AA batteries only, my last proprietary camera the batteries were $40, lasted a year and didn't hold charge as well as a AA. Current one is a little Panasonic that does 20x zoom, video with sound, and can take a 1GB SD memory card.

I use a couple of sets of Radio shack 15 minutes rechargeable AA batteries and carry a little charger with me to charge them up every other night or whenever I need to.

Couple of pics I took with it from North Carolina... http://killer.playnet.com/pics/NC2005/P1010180.JPG

And Colorado...
http://killer.playnet.com/TWTColorado/P1010060.JPG

Tourmeister
12-07-2005, 02:22 PM
:tab My Sony CD-500 uses the Info-Lithium batteries, $60 a pop!! However, when I first bought the camera, I got an extra battery thinking I would need one to get through all the pics I take on trips. I have been extremely happy with these batteries. Since my camera burns on CDR's and CDRW's, it uses a lot of juice to keep the disc spinning. Even using the flash extensively, zooming in and out, turning the camera on/off a lot, and using the backlight display, the battery will generally last a couple of days on one charge. I keep the second battery charged and swap them out occasionally. They recharge pretty fast. The "Info" part of the name refers to the fact that the batteries actually communicate with the camera. It looks at the current level of power draw and calculates the time left. So if I use the flash a lot, the time left may be low. If I stop using the flash, the time left increases. It seems to be quite accurate and I can take the battery down to almost no charge reliably and predictably. Still... $60 for a freaking battery the size of a 9 volt!? Ouch!

Steve O Chap
12-07-2005, 02:25 PM
Last week I almost broke out of the 35mm age and purchased a Kodak D740. I've read several reviews and even 'test drove' one my uncle has and really liked it. I currently have a Kodak Advantix and it takes decent photos but after reading some of the Kodak comments I'm a bit leary to get it now.

I'm looking to spend around $300 (at the high end) and could really use some help. I want one that will have a fast enough shutter speed to take the occasional trackday pic.

Anyone have any suggestions?

scratch
12-07-2005, 04:04 PM
Steve, for action shots, you may want a camera with a good frames-per-second rating as well as a fast shutter speed. The Canon SD200 and SD300 might be a couple of candidates to look at that fall in your price range.

Steve O Chap
12-07-2005, 04:13 PM
Thanks Paul... I'll take a look at them tonight.

Jack Giesecke
12-07-2005, 05:40 PM
There's a lot of neat little point and shoot digitals out there in the 200-300 dollar range. Happy hunting. :mrgreen:

ebill
12-09-2005, 06:29 AM
Arrrrggh, camera shopping. Doing the same thing here to replace aging and infirm Nikon Coolpix 950. A bit leary of the battery thing, but the subcompact form factor is a must have for me.

In the < 300$ (internet shopping) category through Consumer Reports, Steves Digicam site reviews http://www.steves-digicams.com/default.htm eOpinions and some "test drives" at Frys (I actually found some working models on display - go figure) Ive narrowed the field to these two;

Canon SD450 and Casio EX-Z55. The Canon is a bit more $$ but the Casio seems easier to use (it has Pentax glass), and, the Canon has, and the Casio has, and, and, and.... well, here I am again, cant make up my mind and pull the trigger ..............:shrug:

- ebill

ki-speed
12-09-2005, 08:52 AM
I went with the Canon SD400 over the Casio models because I did NOT want to deal with a cradle (don't have the storage on the moto for extra's like a cradle) . Casio models require a cradle for charging and reviewing pictures on a TV.

The Canon SD400 & 450 allow you to plug the audio/video cable directly into the camera. Canon's battery is charged in a very small charger. You can also get spare batteries for the Canon on ebay (approx. $15 for 2 batteries).

In Sept. I went on a 2 week 6000 mile ride. Took 700 pictures. Only used 3 batteries. Could have used one and just charged it every couple of days.

Get a high speed San Disk 1 gig Ultra SD card. It's worth the $. High speed helps camera take great pictures. Holds approx 400 pictures at highest res.

Also, I did not read Canon manual. Just set on auto. Highly satisfied.

Good luck

ebill
12-09-2005, 08:16 PM
Also, I did not read Canon manual. Just set on auto. Highly satisfied.

Good luck

OK > good call Kai-speed > Yeah, a bit leary on the cradle thing too but it wasnt a deal breaker in shopping. Probably more inclined to Canon glasss (AF1 35mm user) than Casio.

Canon SD450 it is then <push here to shop>

- ebill

Steve O Chap
12-15-2005, 12:13 PM
Well, I think I've finally narrowed it down to the the Canon Powershot A610...

Tourmeister
12-15-2005, 03:15 PM
Why? Just curious.

bluedogok
12-15-2005, 08:32 PM
I went with the Panasonic (4 y.o. 2MP) for the same battery reasons, it can use off the shelf AA's if you use up all of your rechargeables, they don't last very long but it still gives you the ability. It is a small compact camera, but I do want to get a professional level camera for when I decide to go out and shoot "skip quality" pics, or at least attempt to.

One thing that I have looked at is a Canon Optura 600 (http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ModelFeaturesAct&fcategoryid=166&modelid=11733&pageno=3) MiniDV camcorder/4MP camera as a replacement for my Panasonic 2MP camera, it uses MiniDV for video and SD cards for still memory (which is what my Panasonic uses). That way I could shoot video of the ride and then shoot a few still pics in one unit. I found a Samsung that had different lenses, and used MiniDV for video and Memory Sticks for stills, but it does not have a remote camera input.

scratch
12-16-2005, 11:15 AM
Well, I think I've finally narrowed it down to the the Canon Powershot A610...
Excellent choice. That's twice the camera of my A70 for the same price as what I paid less than two years ago.

This thread has got me thinking about upgrading now. :roll:
The A610 and Sony's Cybershot DSCW5 look really nice for the price - anybody interested in a lightly used Canon A70 for $120.00?