Best camera used or new < $200?

Discussion in 'Digital and Video Cameras' started by Fenixgoon, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Fenixgoon

    Fenixgoon Lifer

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    Greetings AT cameras!

    I just moved out to a very scenic section of California for 3 months and lack a camera save for a shitty cellphone camera (tm). I really want to hit some of the national parks in the area and it'd be criminal not to take pictures. I was wondering what type of camera would be best for <$200, preferably closer to $100-$150, but it's not like $200 is gonna break the bank or anything.

    Thanks!

    Fenixgoon
     
  2. slashbinslashbash

    slashbinslashbash Golden Member

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    The Canon Elph 110HS is regularly on sale at standard retailers, e.g. Target, Office Depot for under $150. It is hard to beat in terms of the combination of size, image quality, versatility, and price.
     
  3. Fenixgoon

    Fenixgoon Lifer

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    Thanks for the recommendation!

    A little searching has led me to the Olympus SP-810 and Kodak EasyShare Z990. How do these compare to the Canon Elph 110HS?

    I know next to nothing about what goes into a quality camera, aside from "more megapixels is not necessarily better" since a good sensor is critical to getting a high-quality image, not just a physically large one.
     
  4. fralexandr

    fralexandr Golden Member

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    I would suggest looking at travel zooms, since they're pocketable and have decent zoom ranges. Also take a look at "the ones that got away tab" for more camera options
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q311travelzoomgrouptest/17
    too bad it's been a while since dpreview's done a travel zoom comparison, but things are more or less the same now I believe other than some improvements in newer versions.

    the canon sx230,240, or 260
    http://www.adorama.com/ICASX230RD.ht...ource=dealtime

    If you're ok with used, you might be interested in looking at the panasonic zs15
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_Camera.html

    you can even pick up a used nikon s9100 for $120
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_Camera.html

    my main problem with the SP-810 and Z990 are that they're bulky and use the same size sensor as the more portable travel zooms. They'll probably have pretty good image quality given their price, but they're bulky. Too bad the SX30IS/40IS are out of budget (starting at around $250).
    If i was picking between the SP-810 and z990 i'd probably go with the z990 so I could easily pick up lithium batteries (or heck even alkaline if i just need a few dozen shots) or use rechargeables, like eneloops. the Z990 also has an electronic viewfinder.

    there's a ton of mirrorless cameras with kit zooms like the pentax q and olympus pen epl1 for around $250 too, but they're just out of your budget
     
    #4 fralexandr, Jan 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  5. slashbinslashbash

    slashbinslashbash Golden Member

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    Ugh. Do Not Buy A Kodak. AFAIK, all of their cameras are designed and manufactured by Chinese OEM's and the Kodak name is slapped on them. Here is a quote from a review of the Z990:

    That is simply... stay far, far away. The photos may come out ok, but why waste your time with a camera whose firmware was obviously glitchy as hell? Digicams are a mature market now, and nobody should have to deal with crap like that any more. The photos may be fantastic, but if your camera falls down on basic functionality like the buttons not responding to your inputs, you're going to miss shots, and eventually you're going to get frustrated enough not to even try. A taken shot with a crappy camera is always better than a missed shot with a great camera. That being said, I would expect this basic competence from most digicam makers nowadays, especially the bigger brands. (NOT Kodak.)

    The Olympus, mehhhh. I have one of their underwater P&S's, and the image quality definitely takes a backseat to the Canons that I've owned.

    Both of those cameras are considered Ultrazooms, i.e. they have a zoom of 30x or more. So they will zoom WAAAAY in on far-off objects. Cool if you're shooting animals or birds or something, but I would not recommend one for a first/everyday camera, and these cameras will definitely not fit in your jeans pocket.

    I've had (actually still have all of these; some of them have been damaged by dropping, but they all still work) a Canon SD600 (wife's), SD780IS (wife's), ELPH 500HS (mine), and (new for the wife after the 780IS was beaten to its deathbed) an ELPH 110HS. All of these are in the same market segment, i.e. Value Compact Point & Shoots -- which I define as being small (generally about the same size as a standard 3.5" screen smartphone, but probably thicker; but generally 1" or less in thickness); having a moderate zoom (usually 4x or 5x nowadays) from a reasonably wide angle (28mm or, better, 24mm) to short telephoto (100mm or 120mm range); and coming in at the $120-$200 price range ($120 or less starts to hit the "budget" range, where useful features are taken out to meet the price point).

    Image quality for these Canons has always been fantastic versus the competition, while still getting better with each generation.... skipping 2-3 generations like I did, I always saw a huge improvement with each move to the next camera. The newest one (110HS) is capable of taking stunning photos in a wide variety of situations. It doesn't have the reach of some of the bigger/more expensive cameras, but for an everyday, "carry it around in your pocket and almost forget it's there" camera, this line has been a consistent winner for Canon for the past 5+ years. Panasonic has come closest IMO to competing with Panasonic in the Value Compact P&S range, and several manufacturers (Sony, Fuji, Nikon, Pentax, etc.) have had strong competitors in other areas of the market (usually 2-3x your budget), but the Canon ELPH (formerly SD) lineup has been untouchable in this market segment. Superzoom, several other brands are competitive. Underwater, absolutely would choose a brand other than Canon. Enthusiast P&S, Canon has some good choices but so do several other brands. But I honestly don't even consider other brands anymore when looking for this kind of camera (which, BTW, is the kind of camera that I usually recommend for most people who don't have a digital camera already; exceptions being that they need a camera for special purposes, such as underwater or wildlife; or that they have a large budget ($400+)).

    All other brands in the Compact P&S arena compromise in one area or another (image quality, usability, versatility, size) relative to the Canon. These cameras practically define the market segment. All others are forced to be cheaper to make up for their shortcomings. I would not pay the full retail price ($230) but it is commonly found on sale for under $150, and at that price it is a great deal. You may be able to find older models (100HS, 300HS) for a good price as well. Sometimes they dip below $100 on clearance.

    I would not go for Canon's cheaper lineup, the A models (e.g. A4000). These usually lack the true optical Image Stabilization which Canon has developed over the years nearly to the point of perfection. I don't think that any other camera company does IS as well as Canon, and it makes a huge difference when shooting in low light situations without a tripod.

    Sorry for the wall of text, I really should start a blog or something.
     
  6. fralexandr

    fralexandr Golden Member

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    Sadly, I wouldn't really favor getting any of the NON canon/nikon/panasonic point and shoots. Olympus may make some nice mirrorless stuff, but the VR320 my parents have has ugly purple/pink noise. Other than that it's a pretty capable camera, though nowhere close to an sx230 in IQ, it is cheaper (~$100 if you're interested). Also kodak is known for some pretty shoddy point and shoot digitals.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R262UIG...R262UIGCELWFQG
    The amazon reviews say there were firmware updates for the z990 that fixed many of the responsiveness bugs fwiw :S. And that responsiveness was improved with faster SD cards. Still not sure what to make of it though, unless you have plenty of time to test it before going out.
     
    #6 fralexandr, Jan 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  7. Fenixgoon

    Fenixgoon Lifer

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    Users canon sx30is for 220 shipped at bhphoto. Is that a good deal or is it completely overkill for what I'm looking to do?
     
  8. slashbinslashbash

    slashbinslashbash Golden Member

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    That is a good deal, and that is a good camera. It is substantially larger than the pocket cameras I was talking about earlier.
     
  9. CuriousMike

    CuriousMike Platinum Member

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    Maybe overkill, but you can find a used Nikon D40 with kit lens for $200 on craigslist.
     
  10. blastingcap

    blastingcap Diamond Member

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    A used Canon S95 for a pocket cam can be had for under $200. It's not that great for videos though so get a S100 instead if you plan on lots of those.

    If you don't mind larger size then a Nikon D40 with kit lens is a big step up even if it lacks modern features like video.
     
  11. Smoove910

    Smoove910 Golden Member

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  12. blastingcap

    blastingcap Diamond Member

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    Yeah the Nikon J1/V1 (V1 doesn't come with built in flash but is otherwise superior) at the fire sale prices last month were hard to beat, but the prices rose again since then. They aren't that far behind what a Nikon D40 gives you, plus you get modern stuff like video recording. So that's another way to go especially if the prices fall again.
     
  13. gus6464

    gus6464 Golden Member

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  14. Rottie

    Rottie Diamond Member

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    I bought mine PowerShot SX30IS last week for less than what you paid for. :cool: I haven't tried out with video yet. The picture quality is OK but I love long zoom range of this camera.
    What part of California do you live? I live in southern California.
     
  15. Fenixgoon

    Fenixgoon Lifer

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    I'm in Ridgecrest.

    After doing some more looking at reviews and picture quality, I think I might go with the Olympus 810UZ. It seems to have a bit less noise than the SX30 IS. The panorama feature is also pretty neat (I think canon does have a stitching feature though)

    The high zooms on both cameras will be useful for when I go racing - depending on the type of racing and the track layout, it's hard to get even remotely close to take decent pictures of people in their cars or on their bikes.
     
  16. Crono

    Crono Lifer

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    I had the SX30IS about 2 years ago for about $300. The zoom was nice, but like you said, it does have a bit of noise. The video quality is so-so, but not bad for a sub $200 camera. I wasn't happy with the low light performance and video, so I ended up getting rid of it, but it was decent enough for long distance outdoor stuff.
     
    #16 Crono, Jan 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  17. fralexandr

    fralexandr Golden Member

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    too bad you don't have a frys electronics near you :( so that you could try it out easier.
    they have the pentax x-5 for $200 + $7 shipping

    http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/...563-pentax-x-5-199-99-plus-6-99-shipping.html
    note: that should say 16mp

    you have to add it to cart to get the price.
    it's a new product (Aug 2012), so the high ISO performance is better than on older cameras, and it probably has a better autofocus system.
    it has a nicer LCD (which should help in brighter conditions and for previewing images), Electronic View Finder, and AA battery support.
    It doesn't have a lot of manual control options, though I doubt the olympus is any better there.
     
    #17 fralexandr, Jan 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  18. monstercameron

    monstercameron Diamond Member

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    not a big fan of sony but if I were to buy a small&cheap pns cam it would be a sony exmor r series. it doesnt have the best iq but feature wise its up there. ~$190 gets you a wx150, 10x zoom for some wild life close ups(not much though), 1080p video with optical stabilizer, 180-270 degree panoramas without stitching, decent shot to shot time, >250 shot per charge, easy interface and pocketable.
    http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/st...10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921666424853
     
  19. PC Perv

    PC Perv Member

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    subscribed. I'm in the same boat.


    Posted from Anandtech.com App for Android
     
  20. blastingcap

    blastingcap Diamond Member

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    Have you ever gone backpacking with a big honking camera? It's less than ideal. In daylight a higher-end compact like a used Canon S95 will do almost as well as a low-end DSLR. He's not taking low-light shots. And braced against a rock or something he can even take long-exposure shots of non-moving objects such as landscapes.
     
  21. Kanalua

    Kanalua Diamond Member

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    I have both (T2i and s95). I use both for hiking. If I had to choose between the two I'd take the dslr.

    If you want to stick with a p&s, go with the s100 (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-PowerSho.../dp/B005MTME3U), well worth the $49 over budget.
     
  22. blastingcap

    blastingcap Diamond Member

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    I said for backpacking. For short hikes if you aren't carrying much sure, take a full-frame or even medium format camera, who cares? For long hikes when you're already carrying a lot of gear and backpacking? No thanks.

    I have a RX100, D5100, and have had all sorts of M43 cameras. RX100 is by far the most portable and gives DSLR-level results in decent-or-better light (better than S95 but also more expensive, which is why I didn't recommend it for OP). A S95 is about the lowest you can go and still have very good results in good light. S100 is not really any better for stills, only for video. Just added expense for little gain imho.

    In any case OP seems to already have made a choice, not sure why some guy necro'd this thread.
     
    #23 blastingcap, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  23. Kanalua

    Kanalua Diamond Member

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    Seeing how the s95 is $200 MORE expensive than the s100, I wouldn't classify the s100 as "just added expense for little gain".

    My point is for my I prefer my T2i over my s95. I take my T2i and s95 on both long hikes (40# pack) and day hikes. Calm down. Geez. Calm down.
     
  24. blastingcap

    blastingcap Diamond Member

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    I talked about backpacking because of OP's talking about California landscapes and I assumed he was backpacking or something. Sorry if it wasn't clear but I have no intent about discussing your personal needs--why would I? It's OP's thread; I was expressing my opinion as to OP, not you. Despite my talking about backpacking, you started spouting off on hikes, NOT backpacking. Only after the fact did you say long hikes etc., but who cares? Does this even matter? It's a necro'd thread. You insisted on picking a fight where there was none. I'm not sure what value you added to this thread by talking about your own preferences when OP's may be different... I just noted that OP might want to think about weight if backpacking and understand that you may have a different opinion and sorry if I wasn't clear that I was talking to OP more than you. You can do whatever you want, of course, and I don't really care because I was just here to help OP out, not talk to YOU. Strike 1.

    A used S95 goes for less than a used S100. S95 is way out of production so comparing used prices is ridiculous. That's like saying the price on i7 920s is so high.. yeah so what, it's out of production and unless on clearance those tend to actually be at astronomical values. It's especially disingenuous when you talked about used DSLRs and M43 gear... then suddenly switched to comparing new prices for S95 vs S100. Stop trying to pick a fight and cherrypicking numbers. Used S95s go for less than S100s. That shouldn't even be a point of argument. Strike 2

    Your mistakes add up to "calm down geez calm down"? Take your own advice, dude. Strike 3

    Edit: I was gonna put you on Ignore but because it may not have been clear to you that my backpacking reference was for OP, I won't. But seriously, take your own advice. And let this necro'd thread die.
     
    #25 blastingcap, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013