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Digital cameras abroad

Started by Elizabeth Weber, 2003-01-14T13:20:32-06:00 (Tuesday)

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Elizabeth Weber

As some of you may or may not know, I am leaving to study in Argentina this semester.  I am considering buying a digital camera for my trip.  I don't have a lot of money to spend so I'm looking for advice to make the most of it.

Also, if anyone has any special insight as to the things I should consider in getting a camera for abroad purposes (wink wink Peter), it would be greatly appreciated.
~Elizabeth Weber


My suggestion is to go on eBay. My Dad has a HP 315 Digital camera that costs $2??, and I'm bidding on one thats brand new in the box for $50. It's a very excellent camera.

ÂÃ,¡AdiÃÆ'Ã,³s amiga y rastros felices a usted!
(Hoope that was correct. My spanish is not very good.)

Retired webmaster of CAOS.

Gary Mayer

In general, I would suggest
a) at least 2 megapixel,
b) uses common batteries (AA or AA rechargable) - not proprietary that you'll likely never find a replacement for,
c) has removable media - so you can quickly swap instead of running back to a computer to download,
d) get a semi/waterproof case for carrying if the camera is not pocket-sized (or use a plastic baggie)
e) the ability to review and delete on the fly is also a nice option
e) if rechargable, uses NiMH - not NiCD - batteries as NiMH last longer and have no "memory".  Of course, if you use rechargable then comes the expense of the recharger.

What works really depends on how you think you'll be using it - do you need telephoto?, rapid-shot, will you be posting on Web or printing, blowing it up or keeping the image small, etc.  I'd suggest going to www.dpreview.com.  In the left menu, select Buying Guide, then Features Search.  You can include price and get a side-by-side comparison of some of the more common cameras as well as their review and sample photos from their image Gallery.  www.epinions.com also has a broad selection of user feedback on cameras.

Unless it is a good name like Minolta, Olympus, etc. see if you can find info on the type of lens they use and/or people's opinions of the quality of the shots.  I realize you want a cheaper camera but what's the point in spending any money to buy - let alone wasting time to actually take the pictures - if the lenses are so poor that everything comes out cruddy anyway?

I just bought a digital camera so we can talk specifics off-line if you wish.

-- Malekith
-- Malekith

The higher, the fewer, Doctor. The higher it goes, the fewer.

Chris Swingler

Going a little off-topic..

As cool as digital cameras are, and as much as I would personally like one, I don't think the quality of the pictures that they take will ever reach the sharpness of a good 35MM Single-lens reflex (SLR) camera.

Back on topic, my high-school band director (a serious shutterbug) put his Nikon SLR away, and replaced it with--a Nikon Coolpix.  He really enjoys it now, and won't put the damned thing away .

One of my friends from back home had a Vivitar, but the thing (somewhere from the 1MP era) sucked through its 4 AA batteries like candy, was really picky about Compact Flash cards that were more than 32MB, was heavy, and the backlight eventually went dead.

Okay, that's my input.

Christopher Swingler
CAOS Web Administrator

Victor Cardona

How much are you willing to spend?

Get a camera that uses commonly available batteries (i.e AA or AAA). Get a few sets of NIMH batteries and a charger. Also get plenty of storage media unless you will have a computer handy.

Other than that, you might want to find out what voltage they use in Argentina, and get a converter if needed.

Have fun.


Ryan Lintker

I fully agree with the NiMH rechargeables.  After you get past the sticker shock from buying them, they become a good investment.  They do really well in high drain applications.  

2 megapixels is on the low end these days, but also produces fairly nice pictures.  Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, and Sony are usually good performers and offer higher quality components.  Some low end Sony cameras also allow you to take short mpeg video clips (maybe other cameras as well).  Unfortunately they are of low quality and don't capture sound.  That capability may be something to consider too.  Little video clips of Argentinian life may be a nice keepsake as well.

Just more things to consider.

"You can't always get what you want,
 but if you try sometime, you just might find,
you get what you need" - The Rolling Stones

Peter Motyka

Well, since everyone covered all the other details... I have one last thing to add.  If you are going to have access to computer labs, which I am assuming you will, get a camera that does not require drivers to interface to a computer.  Most USB based cameras will install as mass storage devices and be recognized by the computer as a removable drive.  I have a Olympus Camedia camera that is detected by win2k but not by Linux, so consult some forums on which cameras conform to the usb mass storage device standard the closest.

SIUE CS Alumni 2002
Grad Student, Regis University
Senior Engineer, Ping Identity

bill corcoran

i have a fujifilm finepix 30i.  it's pretty nice.  2.0 megapixels, records audio/captions and 20second avi movies.  has a 1.5" LCD.  comes with a 16MB card.  runs on 2 AA NiMH batteries, which are included, along with a 5-hr charger.  alkaline can be used, which is really convenient, but the manual recommends only when necessary.  it's so small and light it fits and your pocket and sometimes feels like a toy.  one added bonus, particularly for travel, is that it plays mp3's  =)

however, there are a few caveats to note.  first is that it uses smartmedia cards.  these are limited to 128MB (far as i know) and utilize some ID encrypting to make it a pain in the ass to store and retrieve mp3's.  you have to use the included software to put music on it, leaving *nix users out in the cold.  you can still put mp3's on it in linux, you just can't listen to them with the camera unless they're encoded right.  on the upside, it is a USB mass storage device, which makes storing and retrieving any other data on and off of it a snap (even in linux).

the audio and movie quality is kind of low - but it's right on par with other cams of its calibre.  not bad for the total package.  there is automatic image sharpening that can't be turned off, and on occaision is too much (but i usually resize images from 1600x1200 to a smaller size anyway).  otherwise, image quality is impressive - great color.  a nice point-and-shoot camera.  however, you can probably beat it's ~$300 price tag - especially if you don't want one that plays mp3's.

-small, light form
-uses AA batteries, and includes NiMH rechargeables with charger
-plays mp3's with included remote/earbuds
-USB mass storage device (practically plug and play on my linux box - just had to mount /dev/sda1, and shows up as a removable drive in windows)
-intuitive controls, can view most jpgs even if not taken by camera, with convenient panning and zoom on the 1.5" lcd

-uses smartmedia cards
-mp3 playback requires Windows or Mac OS
-no zoom
-auto sharpening can't be turned off


Elizabeth Weber

I bought an Olympus C-4000 for about $370.
4.0 MP
3x optical zoom
Aperture: F2.8 â€ââ,¬Å" F11
Shutter: 1/1000 sec. â€ââ,¬Å" 16 sec.  
Dimensions: 4.3â€Ã, x 3.0â€Ã, x 2.8â€Ã,

Relatively high-end specs and a good price.
Probably the biggest downfall was the use of Smart Media, which caps out at 128MB, but hey, 128MB is enough when I can ftp the pictures home everyday.

I then added 2 128MB Smart Media cards, a set of NiMH batteries, charger, AC Adapter, voltage adapter (for Argentina), and carrying case for another ~ $150.

It arrived the DAY before I left.

Thanks for all the advice  :-).
~Elizabeth Weber

Jake Wallard

I agree with Chris on the fact that digital cameras still haven't reached the quality of film, and in your case, I would have recommended picking up a Yashica T4 on ebay. It's compact, weatherproof, and has a lens that produces photographs that are as sharp and as contrasty as most SLR's. It's so good that professional fashion photographers openly use it, and so small that traveling with it is no problem.

But if digital is a must, I would recommend the Panasonic Lumix line of cameras because of their use of Leica lenses.

Most people don't realize that the lens is the most important part of the camera, as far as picture quality goes.

William Grim

Depends how you define quality.  Digital cameras provide a lot of features over analog film, but they have data loss, unlike analog, where you can scale the image to any size without data loss (pixelation).  For most, however, digital cameras are quite capable, especially as prices of 10 and 12 MP cameras come down.
William Grim
IT Associate, Morgan Stanley


Aaaaaannnnndddd there is a topic out of left field from 7 years ago.
President of CAOS
Software Engineer NASA Nspires/Roses Grant

Jake Wallard

@raptor: it's the magic of google in action : )

@William: I have to admit, you've hit the nail on the head as far as why I'm so partial to film. Anytime I shoot a photo that I really love on digital, my initial excitement is diluted by my realization that it can only be blown up to X amount of inches, and not one inch bigger (without pixelization). The archival aspect of film may be important to some.

Justin Camerer

@Jake Wallard

"my initial excitement is diluted by my realization that it can only be blown up to X amount of inches, and not one inch bigger"

thats what she said.
Justin Camerer
Do yo' chain hang low?

Jarod Luebbert

Quote from: Justin Camerer on 2010-02-10T10:29:34-06:00 (Wednesday)
@Jake Wallard

"my initial excitement is diluted by my realization that it can only be blown up to X amount of inches, and not one inch bigger"

thats what she said.

hahahahahaha. I laughed out loud for a solid minute.
Jarod Luebbert
Computer Science Major