Beginner's Choice of Digital Camera

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Years ago I bought a cheapo Digital Concepts camera for $15 - 10 rebate. Didn't even have a flash. Still works, but it's more a toy than a cam.
I'm strapped for cash, but I've got $150 in Sears gift cards. Figger I'll buy myself a real beginners digcam for Xmas.
What's good? What's bad? I once asked an Office Max sales guy about their display of maybe 20 cams and got blank, blank stares.
It's just me and my crazy dawg here. Do any beginners cams (bc's) have something more sophisticated than 2 and 10 second shutter delays?
I assume they all have software that'll allow USB 2.0 downloads to .jpg files and the like ...
The only bc's I've seen with as much as 1 yr warranty are Canon.
Sears has Canon PowerShot A560 7mp for $150. Anybody know anything about that make/model? Know of anything better for comparable $?
Thx, Peetie
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You're asking for a huge amount of information, and it's unlikely anyone is going to write a book for you when there's already so much information on the web.
Start here: http://www.pcmag.com/category2/0,2705,5,00.asp
Take a look at some of the Olympus Stylus models. Some are inexpensive, and there's also a way to get a great deal on them, as well as other Olympus models: Buy a refurbished unit FROM OLYMPUS, via eBay.
Example: http://cgi.ebay.com/OLYMPUS-Stylus-710-Digital-7-1-MP-3x-All-Weather-Camera_W0QQitemZ250194060241QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item250194060241
This is the seller's profile: http://myworld.ebay.com/olympusauctions
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wrote:

Is indeed helpful.

I took a peek. Refurb with 3 mo. warranty. I'd rather plunk down a few more $ ...
Thanks, Peetie
"Well, there's two trains runnin'. Ain't neither one goin' my way. One run at midnight, the other run just before day." - from "Still A Fool", Muddy Waters, maybe 1949
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wrote:

Yeah, that's an important factor to weigh. I decided to take my chances, and I saved a lot of money. Took 3 weeks to actually win an auction, though. There were lots of morons bidding the prices up to a level higher than the best legitimate deals on NEW cameras. I finally got mine on Halloween. I think the dumb bidders were in a candy coma. Nice quiet night on eBay.
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Gmail Dot Com wrote:

Here are some good recommendations covering the spectrum from $130 to $8000:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm
Rockwell is kind of opinionated but this is a pretty sensible (although not exhaustive) list of good buys. He'll wisely steer you away from ebay and other scam rich sources.
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Pudding Dot Man

Buying a refurb from the original manufacturer isn't a scam.
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I didn't say it was. However, I do maintain that ebay is a scam rich source. And even opening an ebay account exposes one to some of that nonsense. I can safely discard all of the email that refers to my ebay account for the simple reason that I don't have one. If I actually had an account there I'd have to sort out the genuine from all of the scams. And I get many of them each and every day!
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On Thu, 06 Dec 2007 22:55:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

No offence, but "The Internet" is a scam rich source.
No reputable business will ask for sensitive personal info in Email. Delete anthing that does ask.
Ebay is <everything>, from some great deals to some 100% blatant rip-offs. Caveat emptor. Ebay and Craigslist are the only practical sources I know for used/outdated stuff.
Peetie
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wrote:

Digital Camea Review or www.dpreview.com rates cameras. Actualy they just tested the new Fuji. If you want a deal I think is the best Hammacher Schlemmer offers lifetime warranty on what they sell and they sell Fuji. I dont know the model but Fuji often rates better than the competion, they have the best sensor I feel, and good optics. I think they have a fuji for 150 at HS. I only recomend HS because digicams break easily and the extra warrantys you buy are a rip off, I just ruined my camera lcd screen and its not worth the money to fix it. Call HS find out the model and go to dpreview to see its full review, you wont go wrong, I am likely getting a fuji from HS when I get a new camera.
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I'll check it out. Thanks.
Peetie

"Well, there's two trains runnin'. Ain't neither one goin' my way. One run at midnight, the other run just before day." - from "Still A Fool", Muddy Waters, maybe 1949
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"Peetie Wheatstraw" wrote

I think thats the same model I have. It looks just like mine but I can't check as it's in one of the many boxes not yet unpacked after our move back to the states.
I think you will be happy with it. Its a little bit 'fancy' in that it has lots of added features but it also will work in a simpler 'point and click' which the really high end units don't do as easy.
2 drawbacks but as far as i know, all digitals have the same problem and it's a matter of degree.
1- not much memory at all so you really need an addon card. You'll also lose any stored pictures in the camera's own memory when you slide the new card in. This model takes the less expensive cards and sears will have them. You don't need a huge card but I did so it cost me about 75$ I think. You can probably get away witht he smallest one and I think those were 25$ or so? You can store something like 4 pictures at the higher resolutions without the addon card. You can get the card later after trying the camera out. You should be allowed to try it out at sears and see how many pics at the resolution you find useful, will fit. You'll need 2 AA batteries. They might require you provide them to try the camera out <grin>.
2- Eats batteries fast. To attempt to save them, it autoshuts off. I think that can be turned off if it starts to be a problem. Sometimes the batteries die when the lens is extended and you cant retract it til you put in fresh batteries. It seems to slowly leach batteries even when turned off? If you plan to use it alot, you may find it 'cheaper' to get some rechargable batteries and a small recharger. We have a recharger that cost us about 25$ but it does AA, C, and D cells plus the 9V rectangle ones. You might be able to find a simpler unit for just AA cells for 10$. Maybe Craigslist.com and a hunt of your area will turn up a freebie <grin, hey, worth checking!)
Oh, sideline. If you use batteries of any type often, rechargables are much more cost effective. Just be sure you get the rechargable type. They cost a little more but are safe to recharge. The regular non-rechargable ones are not safe to recharge. The rechargable ones last a very long time with an estimate of at least 20 times in my own experience. Above when I mentioned the camera eating batteries, it is not related to recharged ones as I'd have to get new ones when away from home (and the recharger). I noted no difference in recharged ones and regular ones.
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at Gmail Dot Com wrote:

Most of the Canon's and Nikon's are pretty decent. The A560 can be had for less -- Dell have it currently at $124; Buydig.com at $134 with free shipping and probably no tax depending on where you live. Maybe Sears will match?
Lots of good info and reviews available here:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews /
With most cameras you should plan on buying an extra (larger) memory card. With many, you should plan on an extra battery too. A few models have really long battery life but I've normally found it better to work with two batteries -- put a new battery in and charge the old one. Then you always have one fully charged battery on hand.
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On Thu, 06 Dec 2007 19:21:52 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Good idea, I shoulda thought of.
They only match to retail B&M's or B&M's web sites with Sears web site, near as I can tell.
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/nb_10153_12605_NB_CSpricematch?adCell

A 1gb SD card is maybe $10-15. I'll sort out the battery stuff later.
Thanks, Peetie
"Well, there's two trains runnin'. Ain't neither one goin' my way. One run at midnight, the other run just before day." - from "Still A Fool", Muddy Waters, maybe 1949
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Check www.bhphotovideo.com for prices before you make your final purchase. Excellent service, if you ever need it.
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B&H is an excellent source. Their prices are not always the lowest but they're usually pretty close. Their service is pretty much unbeatable. They're totally dependable which is why many (if not most) professional photographers buy gear there.
They also stock a HUGE range of gear including exotic and hard to find stuff.
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wrote:

Just don't get all worked about buying something on a major Jewish holiday. When they say "closed", they mean it. They actually shut down the web site as well as their retail store.
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Or Friday evening to Saturday evening!
OTOH, I placed an order with B&H this morning after this thread started, and my UPS tracking # was received two hours later. Really!
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Peetie Wheatstraw wrote:

On the WinXP and WinVista newsgroups there is universal ragging about the unbelievably crappy software that comes with Hewlitt-Packard cameras (and just about everything else HP sells), principally the incompatibility their software has with the operating system and other functions.
If getting your pictures OUT of your camera and INTO the computer is important, bear in mind that you may have problems attempting to use HP software to do it.
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Not needed. Connect you camera via USB to the PC and WinXP will automagically find it and treat it just like it's another hard drive. Drag the files from the card in the camera to your hard drive. I would never install any crapware that comes free with a camera.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

Agreed. The SD card can be treated as an extra drive and things work quite well. It's when you try to hook up the camera directly to the computer that the camera maker's software comes into play.
Plus, HP (for one) tries to bundle in all sorts of crapware to crop/adjust/color/copy/print/hose down with turtle repellant that the uninitiated may be encouraged to load on the computer (to his detriment).
The consensus is that Canon's software isn't bad at all.
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