INexpensive digital camera?

catherinetDecember 12, 2006

Hi,

My daughter has a nice Olympus digital camera, but she doesn't want to take it alot of places, for fear of it getting hurt. So she takes those 1 time use cameras. But she would like a really cheap digital camera that does as good a job as those One-time-use cameras. I saw one at Target for $20. Does anyone know if they're any good? I think the brand was something like Opticon or Opicon. Thanks.

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steve_o

Just about any digital camera that costs less than $500 is essentially disposable, not designed for any reasonable repair. The really cheap ones, though, will take grainy, poorly-colored pictures in anything but "Sunny 16" conditions, making them fairly useless.

IMHO, your daughter's best bet is either to get a cheap "real" digital camera (it's possible to get camera-company-brand cameras for under $100 if you look for sales or hit craigslist and such) or look at trading in her current Olympus for a "ruggedized" camera. If she likes her Olympus, they sell a Stylus 720SW that is waterproof and shockproof (to five feet). It's not particularly cheap, but it's likely cheaper than continually replacing less expensive digital cameras. Other brands also sell ruggedized cameras. A Web search for ruggedized digital camera should yield a fair amount of models.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 9:18AM
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catherinet

Thanks steve.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 6:59AM
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catherinet

P.S. Steve,
I bought her a Polaroid digital at Target. It was on sale for $66 down from $79. It has 3.5 megapixels, flash, zoom, and a screen. Of course, we want decent pictures, but she didn't want anything much better than what she could get from a disposable camera. Does this sound like a reasonable purchase?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 10:11AM
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mike78613

yes, 3 mp is great and polarroid make a good product. Worse then can happen is if you don't like it, take it back for a refund.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 12:42PM
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steve_o

Seeing as how 2 MP can provide a very decent picture for snapshots, 3.5 should more than fill the bill. So long as it's not dropped or sat upon, it should be fine for a couple of years, sure.

BTW, Polaroid as a brand name no longer belongs to the company started by Edwin Land in Massachusetts decades ago. The brand is now owned by Petters, Inc., a liquidation/closeout broker that also owns the right to use the Emerson, Oster, and Sunbeam brand names on products they source in China.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 4:02PM
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catherinet

Thanks Steve.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 2:02PM
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catherinet

Hi all,
I thought I'd follow up with this. I gave my daughter the camera (Polaroid, 3.5mgp's). The pictures weren't good at all. Even with the flash, the pics were very dark, and only the middle of the picture was lit well enough. Also, they were a bit blurry. Also....it didn't have a viewfinder, and when looking through the LCD screen to line up the picture, it was so dark, she couldn't see what she was taking a picture of. So we're taking it back. It was regularly $80 on sale for $66.
I think we'll just have to spend a bit more to get better results.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 9:58PM
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steve_o

catherinet, I'm sorry the Polaroid did not work out. Is it possible to set the ISO ("film speed") on that camera? What you report sounds like the ISO was set too low (number was too small) for the conditions.

You will find more and more point-and-shoot digital cameras disposing with the viewfinder in favor of just the LCD screen. It's difficult to economically produce a bright, usable viewfinder and most digital-camera users I see use the LCD screen anyway (cause and effect?), so many manufacturers are eliminating them entirely. If you do find one with a viewfinder, try it out first if you can.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 9:41AM
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catherinet

Thanks for your help Steve!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 8:41AM
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sbs9

Check the reviews at this site
http://www.dpreview.com/

For a daylight-only camera with minimal features you can get away with spending $150. For a good multipurpose camera with decent features you're looking at $300.

Of course, you can find discontinued models and cut those prices significantly.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 11:47AM
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Pooh Bear

I have one of those $20 cameras from the toy department.
Very low resolution. 76,800 pixels. Not even 100 Kilopixels.
Still, it works great for what I use it for.
But I do wish I had a real digital camera.

You can see some of my pictures taken with the camera
at the link below. And the camera I have.

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful: Pooh Bear's Place

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 11:20PM
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