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Sub $250 Camera
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Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sub $250 Camera on 01/10/2010 21:37:34 MST Print View

After dropping my camera in the water (several times) and nearly melting it while drying it out, I probably ought to replace it with something a little better. :) The picture quality actually went downhill long before the first splash, just from humidity.

I have been using a Nikon Coolpix L11
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0702/07022002_nikonl10l11.asp

I'm not sure what I'm looking for, well I do, but the price tags limit the choices. I really only have 3 criteria; under 10 oz, hipbelt pocket size, image stabilization, , and good enough image quality to not be ashamed. I know, vague, but if you only had $250 to spend on a camera would what you get?

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sub $250 Camera on 01/10/2010 21:42:14 MST Print View

Just as a starting point, I was looking at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Panasonic/panasonic_dmczs3.asp

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sub $250 Camera on 01/11/2010 09:21:25 MST Print View

Any recommendations from anyone? I know this is like asking what would be the best sleeping bag to get if one was only going to spend $80. I mean I'd like to have a Canon S90, but...

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
SD960 IS on 01/11/2010 18:43:12 MST Print View

Canon SD960 IS has worked well for me.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Sub $250 Camera on 01/11/2010 18:47:40 MST Print View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
a720is on 01/11/2010 18:54:20 MST Print View

If it was still being made, I'd get a Canon a720is in a heartbeat. What's crazy is that these used cameras sell for more on ebay than they did when they were new.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sub $250 Camera on 01/12/2010 06:10:21 MST Print View

I'll look into the Canon a720is. I'm guessing they had good processors and optics for their price?

How about a Lumix LX1? I've seen some deals on them, but are they too ancient to consider?

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Sub $250 Camera on 01/12/2010 09:50:12 MST Print View

The a720is was great for people that wanted AA batteries, an optical viewfinder and full manual controls. With a firmware crack it gained some amazing abilities that I can hardly describe, but I know it can optically zoom and refocus, which is rare or nonexistent among factory spec cameras. It had amazing battery life on Eneloops too. I got over 700 pics on a set with some flash and the battery indicator barely showed a dent in battery life. This camera doesn't look nearly as pretty as most new cameras, but it was a better choice than any PS camera on the market right now.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sub $250 Camera on 01/19/2010 16:58:30 MST Print View

I'm now the proud owner of a brand spanking new Canon A720 IS! The camera display couldn't have been over 4 ft. wide, with a dozen cheap models, but you never know what old stock might be lurking in the storeroom of a small town Wally World!

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Sub $250 Camera on 01/20/2010 09:42:52 MST Print View

You lucky sonnva!! Good going. I guess that's what I should've been (should be?) doing. The closest thing I can find to it is the Canon SX120is, which has longer zoom, but is bigger, heavier and sucks more juice if only because you can't shoot without the screen (no OVF).

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Sub $250 Camera on 01/20/2010 12:29:20 MST Print View

Oh yeah, if you want to expand its capabilities, I bet you'll be interested in this hack:

http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

If nothing else, it'll make playing in the menus much more fun. Just be aware that it does void your warranty. I've never heard of any problems, and my brother has the hack on his a720is, but you should know the risk.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sub $250 Camera on 01/20/2010 13:52:35 MST Print View

Eugene, my local Wally was out of the lackluster replacement of the A720, the A2000, so I nearly bought an SX120, but thought I would check out another store in a tiny little town, where I found a few older Powershot models.

I actually had read about that hack and did install it, just don't know what the heck it all means yet. I don't think I have software for RAW files either. I'll be looking into the add on lens next. Do you know much about them?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
A720 on 01/20/2010 14:00:19 MST Print View

Most compact cameras like this have one built-in lens, and that is all. It has some modest zoom capability to go wide or go long. If that isn't wide enough or long enough, then there are adapter lenses that can "bolt on" the front of the lens. One will let you go wider, and a different one will let you go longer. They are not as optically perfect as if you had a "real" zoom lens to go all the way from wide to long, however, it is one way to go.
--B.G.--

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Sub $250 Camera on 01/20/2010 15:19:03 MST Print View

I haven't tried it, but I think the a720is may allow the ring around the base of the lens to be removed. This was how it was on the s5is. To this, you'd attach a tube that extends to the furthest extension point of the lens. I suppose you could attach a telephoto or macro lens, but I'd start off with a uv filter first to keep dust out. The nice thing about the tube is that it protects the lens from damage. The bad thing is it makes the camera the same big size all the time, and adds a bit of weight to it. Check out Lensmate to see how it works. Unfortunately they don't have a tube for your camera.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
sub $250 WATERPROOF camera on 04/11/2010 12:55:24 MDT Print View

The A7210is may be history after taking a dunking in the local trout stream. It powers on, the controls work, can review pictures with screen, but the shutter may not be opening, won't show an image on the LCD screen and the pitures it takes are black. Even if it does get to working again, there are waterspots on the inside of the lens.

Will be looking at waterproof cameras now! Suggestions?

Edited by Coldspring on 04/11/2010 13:08:06 MDT.

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
wow on 04/11/2010 22:12:18 MDT Print View

Are you being serious? That was awfully fast. Stop dropping your cameras! :)

Seriously, look at the Olympus Tough series.