Digital Camera buying guide

Started Aug 18, 2005 | Discussions
beefman New Member • Posts: 14
Digital Camera buying guide

Hi,

I've created a digital camera buying guide...

http://www.lumma.org/microwave/#2005.08.09

It's brief and to the point. It's meant for the average
digicam consumer, who doesn't want details, just a
recommendation in each class.

Comments welcome.

The hardest choice was for the last entry -- the
Sony DSC-T7 is thinner, has more responsive controls,
higher build quality, and most importantly, much better
image quality than the Casio EX-S500. But it's more
expensive, accepts only the Memory Stick Pro Duo
(which is again more expensive), doesn't do mpeg4
video, is heavier, and has significantly poorer battery life.

You can read my thoughts on the choice of ultracompact
here...

http://www.lumma.org/microwave/#2005.08.08

You can see that for the buying guide, I broke the
.7 and .8" cameras (Canon SD400 and Fuji Z1) into a
separate class above the .6" cams.

-Carl

Kenneth Margulies Senior Member • Posts: 1,467
Re: Digital Camera buying guide

great site. as a suggestion, i would consider the Kodak P880. the kodaks are straight forward cameras that a solid values. check out kodak.com or amazon.com for the specs.
anyway, great site....

OP beefman New Member • Posts: 14
Re: Digital Camera buying guide

Kenneth Margulies wrote:

great site. as a suggestion, i would consider the Kodak P880. the
kodaks are straight forward cameras that a solid values. check out
kodak.com or amazon.com for the specs.
anyway, great site....

Hi Kenneth,

Thanks for the compliment!

I'm not familiar with the P880... I'll check it out. It isn't listed in
the Kodak page of the Cameras area here, but I found it elsewhere
on the web. In fact I'm not very familiar with the Kodak line... my
only experience: we had a 14n at a magazine I worked for, and I
wasn't very impressed.

-Carl

RoscoT Senior Member • Posts: 2,943
Re: Digital Camera buying guide

So... just what was the basis for your choices? Just saying Hi, I've got this buying guide and you should buy these cameras in each class, without some sort of explanation as to how you arrived at those choices is kind of irrelevant. What are your qualifications for making these suggestions? What is your choice, may not be the right choice for someone else.

That is why Phil, and others exhaust a great deal of time and effort to do exhaustive reviews.

Just my opinion, no offense intended.

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OP beefman New Member • Posts: 14
Re: Digital Camera buying guide

So... just what was the basis for your choices? Just saying Hi,
I've got this buying guide and you should buy these cameras in each
class, without some sort of explanation as to how you arrived at
those choices is kind of irrelevant. What are your qualifications
for making these suggestions? What is your choice, may not be the
right choice for someone else.

That is why Phil, and others exhaust a great deal of time and
effort to do exhaustive reviews.

Just my opinion, no offense intended.

A buying guide offers head-to-head comparisons -- something
that Phil and all other reviewers I've seen don't offer (probably
because of their relationships with the manufacturers that
provide review units -- I speak from experience as a reviewer
of MIDI instruments for an internationally-distributed magazine).
The closest one can come at dpreview is to use the "by rating"
filter in the reviews section... and this reveals a serious bias in the
reviews here towards larger cameras. Buying guides also offer
advice for those who aren't experts on cameras and those who
don't wish to sift through moutains of reviews.

Obviously, buying guides require criteria for creating the classes,
and then for finding a winner in each class. I'm happy to share
the criteria I used, and if they don't match your favorite criteria
I hope you'll contribute your own buying guide to this thread.

The basic idea is to class SLRs by cost and others by thickness.
Thickness is a very good single-dimensional heuristic for carryability,
which I assume is the principle reason for not buying an SLR.

Within each class I use image quality, video quality, weight and
battery life (further measures of carryability), build quality, and
cost, in roughly that order.

For image quality I compare reference shots and comments of
reviewers like Phil. My primary objective heuristic for image quality
is sensor size. I also give heavy weight to the angle of widest
zoom (for non-SLRs), since this is usually what amateurs (shooting
groups of people in close spaces) and landscape photographers
(such as myself) need more of. Occasionally a special feature like
Panasonic's image stabilization or Fuji's high-sensitivity sensor tech
gets consideration.

Video quality assessment usually amounts to a heavy penalty
for not supporting NTSC-level video clips to the capacity of the
camera's storage, a reward for supporting mpeg4, etc.

Weight and battery life are fairly straightforward.

Build quality is usually evident from photographs of the camera
and sometimes from reviewers comments or familiarity with the
camera's manufacturer.

Cost is last because the market is very competitive, and all
cameras in a given class usually fall within a US$100 range.

Responsiveness (timings) used to be way up on the list, but
these days almost all cameras from the major manufacturers will
have good startup and shot-to-shot times.

You can scroll down on my blog to see a discussion of how
the winners in the ultracompact classes were chosen.

Thanks for caring,

-Carl

chocolate Contributing Member • Posts: 890
Kodak P880...

Kenneth Margulies wrote:

great site. as a suggestion, i would consider the Kodak P880. the
kodaks are straight forward cameras that a solid values. check out
kodak.com or amazon.com for the specs.
anyway, great site....

The Kodak P880 hasn't been released yet. No one can buy it, no one knows if it's good or bad.

OP beefman New Member • Posts: 14
Re: Digital Camera buying guide

With the Canon news today, an updated version...

http://www.lumma.org/microwave/#2005.08.22.2

-Carl

Kenneth Margulies Senior Member • Posts: 1,467
Re: Kodak P880...

Hi,

realize the Kodak P880 is not out yet, but i believe the reviewing website will be up for a few more weeks. anyway, the specs are out. the formal review can wait until the camera is released in a few more weeks. my suggestion was sort of a heads up....

chocolate wrote:

Kenneth Margulies wrote:

great site. as a suggestion, i would consider the Kodak P880. the
kodaks are straight forward cameras that a solid values. check out
kodak.com or amazon.com for the specs.
anyway, great site....

The Kodak P880 hasn't been released yet. No one can buy it, no one
knows if it's good or bad.

toughdeep New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Digital Camera buying guide

hi all, i used to see some buying guide here in dp if i remember correctly.

now i want to send that guide link to my sis who is willing to start photography as her hobby and may be course. can some one please let me know the link to some good SLR or compact cam. buying guide.

the guide would be better if it explains if she needs a DSLR or compact at first and later explain about other DSLR features.

i hope to get answers from ones who are in same condition and found something worth to share.

thanks

aardvark7
aardvark7 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,110
Keep it simple.

These days, for a beginner, just about any camera by a well known manufacturer will give good results.

So, the best thing to do is simply to visit a camera shop and try a few by the famous names (Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Panasonic, Pentax, Olympus, etc.) and see which makes the most sense for her budget, or with which she feels most comfortable. Then she could check some of the reviews about the ones she likes the best to see if there are any problems that might be important.

Other than that, all the information about sensor size, noise, RAW images, Jpegs, controls, etc. will probably just confuse. That should all come later when the basics are understood.

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