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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Help on buying camera under $400
Showing posts 1 - 18 of 18, (reverse)
11/15/2004 01:45:07 PM · #1
I have to buy a camera for official use that can produce good quality pictures with a print size of up to 16 x 20. Being a non-profit, we have a budget of $400 tops. Most of the pictures will be shot indoors so I will need a good flash...and I don't really care about having a great zoom. I have been researching online, but it would be helpful to get some tips from the experts in the area. Any recommendations?

11/15/2004 01:55:30 PM · #2
Read this review.
11/15/2004 02:07:10 PM · #3
Decide first on whether $400 is what you can afford to spend on the camera alone, or on the camera and all accessories. For instance, how much storage do you need? Most cameras come with a very small CF card (or whatever). Do you need to budged 30-50$ for additional storage? Extra batteries are considered a must for most camera owners. For whatever purchase you make, you should budget at least one additional battery.

If accessories/necessities like this are coming out of the $400, you may now be down to a $300 camera

DPReview has hundreds of reviews listed, and you can search by many factors, including price. Start your research there and read the reviews. When you have selected 2 or 3 candidate cameras, come back here and solicit opinions from owners.
11/15/2004 04:33:11 PM · #4
Note that I am not billing myself as an expert, but I do have some experience.

A friend at work, Ken, upgraded from an older Sony digital to the Sony DSC-W1. I'm a devoted Nikon man (my first was the Nikon F), but I really like his camera and it takes great pictures. The 2.5" LCD is much bigger than most cameras' 1.5" and is very bright. The camera does not have a hot-shoe for an external flash, but Ken says the flash pictures are "acceptable." The spec says its range is to 12.5 ft which is a little better than the flash on most point-and-shoot cameras. The price keeps dropping and you can find one for $350 USD or less.
11/15/2004 05:29:32 PM · #5
You might also check these recent threads:



Message edited by author 2004-11-15 17:30:33.
11/15/2004 07:25:47 PM · #6
After asking people on DPC and doing research, my sister got the Pentax Optio s4i and she LOVES it. It's so tiny and great quality!!!
11/15/2004 08:39:33 PM · #7
I would suggest the Kodak DX7630 because it is a true 6.1mp camera with a maximum resolution of 2872x2160 and an aspect ratio of 1.33 [like most cameras].

No disrespect to the Fujifilm FinePix S5100 because Fuji takes great pictures. But I do not like having to rely on maximum resolution being ‘Interpolated’ taking a true 4.0mp to 6.0mp. So 2.0mp of it's 6.0mp are 'interpolated'. All ‘interpolated’ does is fill in areas between pixels. If you need to do this you can just resize your image in PS and most think you get a better result.

Kodak - DX-7630 $349.99 at Wolf Camera

Message edited by author 2004-11-15 20:42:34.
11/15/2004 09:08:24 PM · #8
Does it HAVE to be new.. I always shout out from the rooftops of the world


you will always get a much better camera pound for pound for your money.

The list of good cams in that price range are never ending in the secondhand market. I realise also that buying secondhand you can buy into trouble so I would avoid places like E-bay unless the guy/girl selling the cam has a good history. Here in Japan you can buy from places like The Goods Exchange (called HARD OFF here "no joke") where they will let you examine the camera and even try it out too.

My vote - Go secondhand recycle.
11/15/2004 09:23:34 PM · #9
I did some searching for a nice camera under $400 for some friends. My top pick after the research was the Canon Powershot SI with IS (Image Stabilization) for around $350. Seems to be a great all-around camera. It even does movie clips. Check it out on dpreview.com .

11/15/2004 10:50:20 PM · #10
Is it really possible to print 16x20 ‘good quality’ prints with a camera that has less than 6.0 mega pixels taking in account for the aspect ratio [converting from 1.33:1 to 1.25:1]? I’m just asking because I have a 5.0mp and the DPC will only let me go up to 8x10 at 150dpi. I know you can resize but that takes away from quality.
11/16/2004 08:32:33 PM · #11
Originally posted by SDW65:

Is it really possible to print 16x20 ‘good quality’ prints with a camera that has less than 6.0 mega pixels taking in account for the aspect ratio [converting from 1.33:1 to 1.25:1]? I’m just asking because I have a 5.0mp and the DPC will only let me go up to 8x10 at 150dpi. I know you can resize but that takes away from quality.

I would think you should be able to get that size from a 5 megapixel camera. My 10D is 6.3 and is 17x11something out of camera. Equivalent to 12x8. My Nikon is a 2.1 megapixel camera and I've had 8x10's made with it. They, of course, aren't top quality but I would consider them 'good' to 'okay'. Change the resolution to 300 and resize the image. I would think it would produce very good quality images for you. I could be wrong though...
11/16/2004 08:46:55 PM · #12
i think with the $ in mind that u couldn't do better than the fujifinepix line there CCD will allow u to make good prints at the sizes u mentioned and it is only around $300 leaving money for a card & reader and what ever elce u would want or need.

it is also simple to use and uses nikon lense tec. (ie-fuji and nokon teamed up and fuji cams use nikon lenses) so u have the best of all worlds with the requirements u laid out.

thats what i would go with.-i work at wolf camera and so i got to use lots of cameras and non compair to it in the price rang.


-GL :)
11/16/2004 09:02:49 PM · #13
the 5100 is a great camera! For most things, the s3100 actually works well. It lacks in low light, indoor shots (the s5100 has a little light that helps it focus in low light situations). The s3100 also doesn't have aperture or shutter priority modes whereas the 5100 does. Also, the 3100 is 6x zoom and the 5100 is 10x.

Those are the main differences (having owned both) -- returning the 3100 after having it for 3 days after reading the reviews on the 5100 hehe. But on a budget, the 3100 is great.
11/16/2004 09:39:06 PM · #14
I have a Minolta Dimage 7hi for sale with tel/wide angle converter. A 5 megapixel with a wonderful lens and a remote shutter. 400.00 takes the whole package with advance charger. 99 percent of my digital images in my port was taken with this camera. I bought it Sep 15th of 2003.

Message edited by author 2004-11-16 21:51:56.
11/16/2004 09:40:21 PM · #15
coolpix 5000 refurbished on Nikon USA's outlet store @ $399.

find it here...

A review can be found here.

Also it is one of the only cameras in your range that can caputer in RAW mode.
11/16/2004 09:46:39 PM · #16
Originally posted by graphicfunk:

...A 5 megapixel with a wonderful lens and a remote shitter....

11/16/2004 09:52:45 PM · #17
Thank you Deapee for correction. I am still laughing.
11/19/2004 07:08:00 AM · #18
sony cyershot dsc p10 for $420 will work for u . It has 5 mpx super had ccd. if u can increase budget u can have 8 mpx cybershot f828.
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