Looking for Digital Camera Recommendation

I’m looking to get a digital camera for my wife’s birthday. Now, neither one of us is a professional photographer (or have aspirations as such)- the primary purpose of the camera would be to take pictures of our cute baby girl with the occasional family/vacation shot. Shutter speed is very important- that’s the chief reason my wife wants a new camera since our current digital (approximately 4 years old) is too slow to catch those “perfect” baby moments.

Anyone got any recommendations? I don’t really want to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars.

If you have a Sony memory stick that you want to reuse you need to buy a Sony camera because only Sony cameras use Sony memory sticks, and vice versa.

Um, that’s my only advice right now. I have a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S600 that was fairly cheap and pretty good, but it’s not like I have any extensive experience with digital cameras. And I got a Sony model because I wanted to reuse the 1 GB memory stick from my PSP which I had sold…

I have a Canon S230, which I love, and which helps you not at all because they don’t make it any more.

My advice is to go here and skim some reviews. It’s a great resource that I used to pick out my current camera. Their reviews are almost painfully detailed–probably more detail than you’ll ever need, but at least they are thorough.

I lurked on Slickdeals for a month until the Canon EOS Digital Rebel was at a very low price. I love it, it’s got a plenty fast shutter for anything short of photographing bullets.

I second the recommendations for www.dpreview.com and for lurking on Slickdeals until you can get a Digital Rebel XT for cheap (from Dell, invariably).

One of the reasons we upgraded to a Digital Rebel XT was that the time from power off to power on is basically instant. With our old camera, we missed a lot of shots because the camera was warming up. Since you mentioned speed, you might want to look at this variable, too.

And I highly recommend the Digital Rebel XT. It’s easy to use and takes great pictures. (Although it’s not super portable, but that’s what a camera phone is for, right? :)

Digital Rebel seems to be getting the most recommendations. It’s a bit more expensive than I had hoped but I think we’ll try and hold out for a sale.

Thanks for the help!

Get it and you won’t regret it. Also, I’ve seen the Nikon D50 for just a hair less than the Rebel XT on sale. ($500ish vs. $600ish w/lens.) They’re both great cameras.

Slickdeals has a sweet price on the Canon 30D right now, but I doubt you want to spend $1200, even for a $1400 camera.

Cannon.

You might wanna check out the powershot lines.


I think an SLR is appropriate if he wants a high shutter speed.

The correct term to describe the period of time between pressing the shutter-release and the start of the exposure is shutter lag. So when you are talking to a salesperson, let them know you are concerned about shutter lag. If you ask them about shutter speed, they are going to misunderstand your intention.

The term shutter speed refers to something else. Your shutter speed (measured in seconds), along with your lens aperture (measured in F-stops) make up your exposure:

“What was your exposure on that shot?”
“It was f/8 at 1/60th of a second.”

High shutter speeds stop action. For example, 1/8000th of a second is probably fast enough to make an F1-indy racer look frozen in time, whereas 1/60th of a second will probably render the car a motion-blurred blob. Which is fine too; sometimes you want people to know that the indycar is in motion.

A Digital Rebel has a shutter lag of about 120ms. I can still get headshots in Counterstrike with 120ms latency, so it’s probably responsive enough for baby photos. :-)

Shutter lag comparisons:
http://www.camerahacker.com/Different_Shutter_Lags_for_Different_Cameras/index.shtml

Also, be aware that shutter lag calculations do NOT take the autofocus time into account.

It takes time for the camera to perform the autofocus calculation, and also for the leetle motors to physically move the lens assemblies back and forth to get to the calculated focus plane.

You are only guaranteed the shutter lag speed if you pre-focus. That is, if you depress the shutter-release button halfway to “lock-in” the focus distance, and then depress it fully to take the picture.

In fact, you might want to try this with your current electronic camera to see if it improves the number of “keepers”.
[ol]
[li]Point camera at baby[/li][li]Hold shutter-release halfway down to pre-focus[/li][li]Without changing your distance to the baby, make your partner do funny things to make the baby laugh[/li][li]Depress the shutter-release fully[/li][/ol]

Note: This is also how you avoid taking pictures of out-of-focus people but in-focus backgrounds. Many cameras have their focus sensors in the middle of the frame. If your subjects are to either side, you’re not going to be focusing on them.

So, pre-focus on a person, move the camera a bit to reframe the way you want, then fully depress the shutter-release.

And, alas, I have no specific digital camera recommendations for you because I don’t shoot digital. Yet.

If one of the main purposes of the camera is to take baby pictures, I wouldn’t shell out on a nice digital SLR. They will grab the strap and pull it on their head. They’ll get it when it’s sitting on the table and you turn to do something, and you will then have the fun task of trying to get the drool off the lenses and out of the buttons. Soon, they will turn into toddlers and dissect their pb&j sandwich and throw the open side of the jelly half onto the camera.

I’ve pulled some of my best kid pics out of a dinky Canon Powershot SD110. It’s not fancy but it gets the job done, and you can get nice prints up to 8x10. It’s been dropped on concrete, stuck in the toilet, thrown at other kids heads, and buried in the sand and it still takes ok snapshots of filthy kids. The powershots are worth checking out if you want something kid friendly and don’t mind it not being super fancy.

I also like my Nikon Coolpix S4 and it takes much better pictures, but it does lag a bit.

Nonsense.
I have a Canon EOS 20D and two small kids. I test hardware for a living and my house is always full of electronic gear - right now the 11 month olds favourite “toy” is a Sony AIBO.
Take better care of your stuff.

When that is said, a new Canon Powershot or a Digital Ixus is definately also a great camera and apart from price tha main argument against a digital SLR is their sheer size - you don’t carry it in a pocket for when the kids does something cute outside, in the pool, at friends etc. (that’s why I have my 2 megapixels Sony Ericsson camera phone).

Read Rogers great advice, and go for the Digital Rebel if you have the money. You won’t regret it (another thing its great for is continous shooting: Focus, shoot and click-click-click-click you’ll get a series of photos that’s just more likely to capture that one moment… kids are always trying to sabotage your shots).

I take fine care of my things and have nice cameras, but they aren’t used around the kids often. I got the powershot specifically to be used around them so I wouldn’t have to be extra careful with it the way I am with the nicer ones.

If the purpose of a camera is to take loads of kid pictures, I think it should be able to be put through some torture and you shouldn’t be afraid to take it wherever they go. Accidents happen, kids get into things, and like you said, the size thing is also an issue.

Your brats are just raised wrong (here I need a smiley to express that I’m not that mean, really!)

I use my 20D around the kids all the time - my only problem with it is the size. I don’t protect my stuff in any special way and my kids haven’t broken anything (the 5 year old have her own cheapo digital camera and has just gotten the strength to lift and use daddys SLR… she takes nice pictures of feet) - it is possible without buying a lesser product.

While I don’t disagree with your conclusion, I disagree with the reasoning - I’d say that price and size is the main arguments against the Digital Rebel and a newer Powershot is a great camera for the purpose of shooting kids (with the added bonus of recording quite good video clips, which my SLR and it’s 2 Gigabytes of storage can’t compete with)

http://techbargains.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=8233642/qlty=r

Here’s a refurbished Nikon D50 DSLR for $380, body-only (you’ll need to pick up a lens, which probably will be ~$100ish for something basic; I don’t shoot Nikon). But for $500 you could have a totally nice DSLR.

There’s something to be said for this. If you’re afraid of having the camera broken, you won’t have it at hand, and if it’s not at hand, you won’t get the picture. I really like the Rebel XT, but it IS big, bulky, and fragile (or seems fragile, at least.)

I’d get a kit over just the body, because comparable, individual lenses are really expensive (at least they were when I was looking a year ago).