Lookin for Good camera on a budget

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Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby bronzzhorse » Dec 11, 2009 10:04 pm

I am looking to get a Dedicated CAVE USE ONLY camera sometime in the near future, but I (like most) am on a budget.....I can probably spend up to 200, MAYBE 250 TOPS!!.........Any suggestions?? I would like to get one with AT LEAST 10.o Mpx, and I know I want a Manual adjust ISO, and if possible (which I doubt) a manual focus...Any suggestions???? am I DREAMING to think I can get a decent camera for 250???
CHEERS!!!
Josh
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby NZcaver » Dec 12, 2009 5:02 pm

Does it have to be new, or is used OK?
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby Steve S » Dec 12, 2009 7:31 pm

Hi Josh, I don't know if this helps, but I bought a JAZZ hdv178 camera from walmart and it works great. Its tiny and takes high definition video and great still shots. It also has a macro setting for up close shots. And it cost me less than $100. The down side is that its not water proof. So I carry it in a small zip lock bag and take it out when I need it. Check out the pics and video on my page at http://nsscavers.ning.com/profile/SteveS
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby Stich » Dec 13, 2009 6:46 pm

I have seen Olympus Stylus 850s at pawn shops for $80. That and I think the 770 are the water-shock-crush proof cameras, so buying them used would be a good bet. You can't really destroy them very easily. Do some pawn shop trolling and see what you can find.
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby Amocholes » Dec 14, 2009 5:46 am

I have a Fujifilm F20 that I bought a few years back just for caving for about $150. I also invested in a Pelican box that just fits the camera. It takes great pictures and has held up well.
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby pub » Dec 14, 2009 8:26 am

Hey der Josh, check out the Canon SX120IS. It has all you’re looking for: 10mp, manual ISO, and manual focus for under $200 ($199 no tax w/free shipping from bhphotovideo.com).

The pluses are it has manual control of aperture and shutter speed (up to 15 sec.) and powered by 2 AA batteries.

The only negative is its zoom starts at 36mm (28mm or less would be nice) but reaches 360mm (10X).

…and BTW, there is a $20 Mail-in rebate good until 31 Dec 09, so HURRY! :xmas tree: :happybirthday:

No, I haven’t tried this camera but its specs and reviews look pretty good.

…and No, I am in no way connected to or with Canon or B&H Photo Video! :tonguecheek:
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby cavefox » Dec 17, 2009 5:04 pm

If you are going to use it as a cave camera, I would suggest one that is dust proof, shock proof, water proof and drop proof. These kinds of point-n-shoot cameras are perfect for the cave environment.

Your main concern should be the lens on the camera. Does the lens move in and out when you turn the camera on and off? If it does, do not expect much life out of the camera. It will get clogged with dust, mud, condensation and moisture. These things will kill your camera. It will cost more to fix the camera than it is worth.

With all of this in mind, to date there are only 3 cameras on the market that have the above prerequisites:

Canon PowerShot D10
$300
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/contr ... lDetailAct

Olympus Stylus Tough 8000
$300
http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_secti ... oduct=1448

Pentax Optio W80
$250
http://www.pentaximaging.com/digital-ca ... dinal_Red/


If you do not have the $$ for such cameras, I'm sure you can find an older model (like the Pentax Optio W30, W40, etc., and the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000).

Good luck!!
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby pub » Dec 18, 2009 5:49 pm

cavefox wrote: I would suggest one … Canon PowerShot D10 $300, Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 $300, Pentax Optio W80 $250 … Olympus Stylus Tough 6000
Along with some of the camera cavefox mentioned, dpreview.com added Fuji FinePix Z33WP, Pentax Optio W60, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 in their test of the current waterproof cameras: Waterproof Camera Group Test

The only ones in that test group within a $250 budget are the Fuji FinePix Z33WP and Pentax Optio W60. The Fuji got low scores and the Pentax W60 was the Test Runner Up.

Josh, it’s kindda hard making suggestions without knowing more about what kind of photos you want to take.

In the topic “Perfect camera for caving???
NZcaver wrote:Also consider what you're trying to achieve with your cave photography. Some people are quite happy with quick and dirty shots, even if it means images dominated by water drops, dust, fog, overexposed/underexposed images, etc. Others go all the way and drag expensive DSLR cameras into caves in huge waterproof cases with multiple lenses, flashguns and a tripod. But most caver photo-takers seem to fall somewhere inbetween (like me).
I too am somewhere in-between because I bring tripod(s) & slaved flash(es), spend considerable time for shots, and answer YES to the other considerations below. I haven’t gone “all the way” because I don’t use a DSLR, which is well beyond my budget, and have only dry-bags.

Other considerations I thought of (there may be more):

  • Do you want a new camera? (previously asked by NZcaver)
  • Do you want to use a tripod and external flash?
  • Do you want manual control of aperture and shutter speed?
  • Do you want to take big chamber shots?
  • Do you want to take close-up (macro) shots of small critters and formations?
Give us more info so more appropriate suggestions can be given.

:off topic: ...but HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all cavechaters and to all a HAPPY NEW YEAR! :banana: :banana_yay: :banana:
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby bronzzhorse » Dec 19, 2009 12:53 am

Pub,
I get where you are coming from....a little info huh?
Here goes...
First off, My answer to ALL the above questions is YES YES YES>....
I know most of the basics of lighting, setup, shutter/iso settings and so on. I want something as close to D/SLR as I can get on my budget.
I know I wont even get CLOSE, and honestly i dont know that I want to lug a LOT lot of gear just for photography, but im not opposed to a small tri-pod, and a medium pelican case.
I would like something along the lines of a Nikon COOLPIX (but not one of them)..... it has the look and FEEL of an SLR... but its not SLR....I used one that a friend owns, and I really like the feel of them.
More or less, I want to get Real good results on a wide range of photgraphic variables.
Hope this gives ya a better idea of what I'm looking for.
CHEERS, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL!!!!
Josh
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby pub » Dec 19, 2009 4:42 pm

There you go Josh, I still suggest the Canon from my first post and would add a slaved flash:

Vivitar SF3000 $28.18
Vivitar SF4000 $38.98

You would still be within your budget with either flash. No, I haven’t personally tried either one but I’m using a 28yo Vivitar that’s still doing good!
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby NZcaver » Dec 20, 2009 1:44 am

pub wrote:There you go Josh, I still suggest the Canon from my first post and would add a slaved flash:

Vivitar SF3000 $28.18

Good suggestions about that Canon and the slave flashes. :goodjob:

Any forum members own/use the Vivitar SF 3000? It looks like a nice cheap flash to partner with a digital point-and-shoot for improving quick and dirty caving shots. Quantaray used to make a similar model called the QMS-D1, but it seems to have been discontinued.
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby liketotallyrandom » Dec 20, 2009 1:54 am

What are the guide numbers of those Vivitar flash units? I also wonder why they are not listed on the Vivitar website? There doesn't seem to be much technical information about these units.
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby NZcaver » Dec 20, 2009 2:08 am

I'm guessing the guide number might be about 50, with a decent headlamp and a tail wind... :wink:

No idea why it's not on Vivitar's website. They only list 5 flashguns (they're all under "professional equipment") but I'm sure they make more than that. Strange. :shrug:
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby pub » Jan 1, 2010 10:56 pm

NZcaver wrote:I'm guessing the guide number might be about 50, with a decent headlamp and a tail wind...

I’d hate to see how it does with a head wind…

I would go with the SF4000; for another 11-12 bucks more you get a titling zoom head, higher GN and slots for a bounce deflector.

B&H has them for $39.95:
Image

I did find another Vivitar Bounce Zoom Slave Flash without the Vivitar brand name and model but I suspect it is the SF4000. At least the Ebay listing describes many of its features and you can see the back of the unit but still no hard specs.

…and basically the same unit under the Digital Concept brand:

liketotallyrandom wrote:I also wonder why they are not listed on the Vivitar website?

NZcaver wrote:I'm sure they make more than that. Strange.


I think Vivitar doesn’t list these on their website because they didn’t manufactured them; looks like these are manufactured by a third party and re-branded as either Vivitar or Digital Concepts.

I still would be interested to hear how they perform in caves (hopefully someone got one for Xmas)!
Balincaguin comes from the Zambal phrase, "Bali lan caguing" meaning "house of bats."
This was the former name of the Municipality of Mabini, Pangasinan, when it was part of the Province of Zambales (of Mt. Pinatubo Volcano fame).
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Re: Lookin for Good camera on a budget

Postby NZcaver » Jan 1, 2010 11:45 pm

pub wrote:I would go with the SF4000; for another 11-12 bucks more you get a titling zoom head, higher GN and slots for a bounce deflector.

B&H has them for $39.95:

Another good suggestion! I like the look of that flashgun, reasonably priced at $40 although maybe too large for the point and shoot caver who wants a basic 'little' flashgun to improve his/her photos. I wonder how good the sensitivity is on the slave?
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