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camera for ski resort pictures

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I want to take some ski pictures in Taos this year, but I don't have a digital camera. Any suggesting for a digital camera under $400 for me. p.s. I really like the pictures on wolfcreekski.com - they rock.


post #2 of 8
I have a Pentax Optio 33WR "water resistant" camera that I really like. It is discontinued, but there is a similarly-named newer model.

I don't remember the price, but I think its in your ballpark.

Things I like about it:

1.It is reasonable small. I can hang it around my neck if I'm taking pictures that run (except in Moguls, where it bangs around too much).
There are smaller cameras out there, but it is small enough (about 3 by 4 by 1, more or less).

2. It uses rechargable AA batteries.

3. It it rugged and (for non-submersion purposes) waterproof.

4. This one is key: it likes cold temperatures. I have seen a lot of
people struggle to warm their camera up enough to get it to turn on.
Mine starts right up.

5. It takes good pictures.

6. It has both optical and LCD viewfinders

7. It has a "Snow and Beach" setting to configure for bright surroundings.

Things I don't like about it: (maybe some are fixed in the follow on
model? dont' know):

a. I cannot see the LCD in sunlight. This wouldn't be a problem if I always left the settings alone, but switching between stills and movies requires memorizing the menus.

b. The movies only look good when zoomed all the way out. Its weird, sort of like it doesn't really zoom out but only enlarges the pixels. The zoom is fine on stills.

(All the pictures I have posted were taken with this camera.)
post #3 of 8
I currently use a Canon SD630 and I've had it for about half a year or so. It is a great camera, takes great photos, and I mean great. I like to think I can take half good photos, but this camera makes them that much better. Canon makes great lenses too, so yeah, I guess I'm a canon guy.

They just came out with the SD700, which is higher megapixel and includes an optical viewfinder, albiet with a smaller LCD. The SD630 has a 3 inch, the 700 has a 2.5 inch. You can check out reviews on www.cnet.com which is a very good all inclusive site for technology reviews.

I took my camera on a ski trip last year and had no problems. My camera currenlty is going for 300 or so, I purchased it when it was up at 450, the SD700 is going for 400 I believe.
post #4 of 8
Assuming you're looking for a compact/automatic...here are some things I've found useful:

1. Being able to select the scene mode physically on the camera is a lot better than having to navigate through menus on the LCD (as mdf mentions in his 7a). It is a PITA to thumb through half a dozen menus with big glove hands, trying to switch from action to movie mode. For instance, the small Nikon Coolpix cameras have a dial that you can rotate to switch between Auto, Movie, Action, Portrait, etc.

2. Cold temperature performance for the battery is important. Keep spares with you, as close to your body as possible. Especially if it's regular AA batteries -- you will need extras.

3. A nice big LCD is nice, but a viewfinder is also crucial - in the bright light, the LCD can be hard to read.

4. Make sure you can use the camera with big glove hands - some cameras require you to push lots of tiny buttons for different settings. Not fun to fumble around with "fat fingers".

5. As I'm sure you know, ignore digital zoom - it's not really very useful at all. Optical zoom is what you want.

6. A movie mode is fun, and most compacts have them. If you do get one with movie mode, it's better to have one that records at 640x480 resolution. In most compacts, the movie zoom is digital zoom only, and not optical - hence the pixelation when zooming in movies as mdf mentions.

7. One thing I tried to investigate when looking at some compacts a while back was, does the camera retain my last used settings when I power it off? As you're standing there with just the right shot in front of you, it can be a pain to have to navigate a dozen menus to turn off the flash and set ISO to 200 every time you power the camera on - very useful to have the camera "remember" if your last settings and use those.
post #5 of 8
All the shots and videos I took at the Let's Go Colorado II gathering last winter were with my Nikon Coolpix 7600 -- pretty good shots for a small camera, although the regular AA batteries run out pretty fast (I usually keep 2 spare pairs on really cold days).
post #6 of 8
listen to faisasy; his pictures on this site rock...
post #7 of 8
I am in the process of looking for a new digital camera right now. One of the things to consider is the shot-to-shot time. I find that I am unhappy with mine, which is several years old, because I have to wait 2-3 seconds after every shot. During a nice action sequence it is very frustrating to have to trust that the one or two shots you manage to take are sufficient.

Cameras also have burst mode that can take several shots in rapid succession. Play with this feature, because some will take 3 and some will take 10, and most have difficulty focusing between the different shots.

There is a good link at http://reviews.cnet.com/4321-6501_7-6544164.html

I also heard the panasonic dmc-fz3 is pretty good. I'm between the panasonic, kodak easyshare zs12, sony dsc t9, and any of the canon digital elphs. I can't decide whether I want smaller with a standard zoom, or a little clunkier with a megazoom.

Things to think about!
post #8 of 8

the megapixel game

Oh, and another thing--I find that salespeople often try to sell you the camera with the most megapixels. The basic reality is that, unless you're going to be creating larger prints (8x10 and up) 4-5 megapixels looks the same as 10 megapixels to the naked on a 5x7 print (provided the lense quality, etc. are the same.) Think about what size photos you're going to be taking, and don't just grab an 8mp camera because it's the latest and greatest.
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