Cheap Digital Cameras

Discussion in 'Tools of the Trade' started by xyberz, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    Well dad - yours is a new sony mavica - it uses a cd :p he is talking about one that uses a floppy disk :D
    Da Son.....
  2. 46rob

    46rob Member

    Make-do and compromise.....not what you want if you want to document builds, take pictures o details, etc.... Why do you need new? some of the older cameras are entirely adequate. May not have a bunch of mega pixels--but unless you're blowing up to 8 x 10 or such you don't need that kind of clarity. Think used, first or second generation cameras. The major drawbacks are4 usually size, and speed. neither of which is important for what you want to do. What yo need is the ability to focus close (macro) and decent low light capability. Check out ebay, your local 'penny saver' newspapers, bulletin boards etc for bargains. YOu might be surprised at what you can find for under fifty dollars. Even though you can get a little disposable or snaphot camera for less--if i doesn't do what you intend--you've just wasted the money. Spend a bit more, get what you need an it's money well spent.
  3. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    I will second Rob - just check E-bay...
    You can get a used Olympus 1.3Mpix for about $20.
    For 6 years I've been using D-460 taking great photos in the field and at home. They are not really suitable to print at 4x6 but for posting on the net they are more than enough.
    I parted with my trusty Olympus in December because my Mom was finally convinced to the benefits of digital but needed something cheap (free from me), extremely easy to use and taking good photos.
  4. xyberz

    xyberz Member

    No doubt that you can't get used digital cameras for dirt cheap now if they're older models. The only thing is that most likely the person you buy from doesn't care about you or your needs for it. So your purchase involves a level of risk to it. It may work as intended when you first see it and test it from the buyer in person, but you never know if something else could be wrong with it. What happens if it doesn't transfer the pictures through the connection port, acts up sometimes, etc? You just never know. There are many scrupulous people in this world who would do anything to make a quick buck.
    See, at least with purchasing something absolutely new from the store, you know that you'll be getting something that is perfect as the way it was intended. Should something happen, at least you know you can take it back to the store for a refund or exchange.
    Also what if there isn't anything for sale in the papers when you're looking? At least you'll know that you'll have the convince of being able to go down to the store pretty much anytime you want and chances are good that they'll have what you want in stock.

    So with my point being made, I'm doing my project for this type of person that I've described above. The one who would rather know exactly what he's getting and something new and reliable.
  5. Dnlgtr

    Dnlgtr Member

    Off the top of my head, No I don't remember the isuue of SAE with the Piun Hole lens article. I will search for it tomorrow.(going out for most of today)
    I have left a request for help finding it at Scale Auto mag forums, so might not have to search myself.
  6. 46rob

    46rob Member

    Life is full of risks...but buying from Ebay is usually a pretty safe bet. Sellers who misrepresent their merchandise lose their privileges...and that's not something they want. there are also payment forms that help prevent any type of fraud, by holding paymnts in escrow until such time as both parties are satisfied....but for twenty or thirty dollars...a relatively tiny sum--I wouldn't worry about such things. Just make sure that the seller includes necesssay hardware and software that came with the camera. Usually that's all listed in the item description, anyway. A new camera will cost well over a C note to get the features you need....btw--I've only been 'stung' once on bay--and banding together with a few other dissatisfied customers, she was banned from the site permanently. Life is full of risks--if you don't take some--you'll never reach your full potiential.
  7. xyberz

    xyberz Member

    Unfortunately I got burned pretty badly on Ebay once. It wasn't major but still pretty serious to me. I lost out on a cell phone that cost me over $600. The seller even had about 40+ good comments before I bidded and won the item.
    Supposedly it was being investigated by the local police department of the guy that was selling it. I'm not sure as to exactly what happened as the only contact was from a detective asking if I would like to pursue charges. I of course agreed. Afterwards I never heard a single thing about it again. I've even tried contacting the detective numerous times to no avail.
    I know that that guy's account got banned, but I heard something about the guy who was actually doing the crime was using a friends account or something. I tried to keep in contact with some of the other people who also got burned at the same time as me. About 12 or 13 all in total I figured.
    So there is always that threat of someone ripping you off, regardless of the dollar amount.
    Luckily most people aren't like that. Unfortunate fact is that today Ebay has turned into some type of "Wholesale" bargins website with people offering new items at cheaper than retail store prices or stuff you can't normally find in stores.
  8. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    if you pay using paypal, you're covered. right? maybe not. for a 20-30 dollar camera? paypal charges 25 to settle a dispute so you might win, but only get a dollar or two back. it has happened to me...
  9. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    Stuff like that unfortunatelly happens from time to time.
    That's why for the expensive items I always go to a seller with the highest positive ranking I can find, ususally upwards of 1000.
    Person with only 40 positives is still new, unless there is a lot of return bussiness from the same people...
  10. Dnlgtr

    Dnlgtr Member

    Can anyone help with this??
    It has been almost 2 months since the offer of help in "Unlocking the 'One-Time-Use' camera I bought.
    As I need to add hard-drive space, Memory, Updated video & audio cardss to my PC, I can say that for the forseeable future, I will Never have a digital camera.(No pictures of build-ups for here)
  11. DrBill

    DrBill Member

    Try a Google search on "single-use digital camera" for a good selection of ideas. The one at looks good if you're willing to solder a couple of leads to attach a USB cable for downloads and install some free software to handle the process. There was a link on the Make Magazine website to an article covering 3 different ways to hack a single-use digicam (, but it looks like the link went cold. Good luck!
  12. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    300kb cameras dont cut the mustard and anything with a keychain attached to it is more than likely to take horrible pictures unless your shots are outside with incredible amounts of lighting. My phone camera is a 1.2meg camera and takes pretty good shots with a lot of lighting but when your lighting is weak the shots become very poor.
  13. blueeyedbear

    blueeyedbear Member

    I always get a chuckle out of people who argue about the quality of the images from a 1.2 megapixel camera compared to those from a 9 mp camera.

    The number of megapixels is basically (compared to film cameras) a quality of the film and has very little to do with the image quality unless you want to make a huge enlargement. The lens makes the image and stores it in pixels in a digital camera. Thinking back to the old days, no matter what kind of film you used, the pictures from a Leica were sharper than those from a Kodak Brownie! (I started with a Brownie and ended up with an Olympus --- guess which produced the best images.) Of course, fine grained film stored a crisper copy of a poor image than that stored in coarser grained film.

    If you want quality images, buy a camera from a company that has a reputation for making good cameras with good lenses. You wouldn't buy milk from Toyota, would you? Or a car from Borden? Scientist spend megabucks for microscopes with good lenses, rather than buy the cheap toy microscopes from WalMart.

    The only camera I would buy from a refrigerator company or a TV manufacturer would be a cheap one to store in the glove compartment for evidence pictures of a wreck or for that once in a lifetime sunset.

    The lens is in front, so think of it first, then worry about storage.

    (For what little it is worth, I was serious about photography before I got serious about plastic models before I got semi-serious about paper models.)

  14. k5083

    k5083 Member

    Bob makes some good points, but where the manufacturers are concerned, bear in mind that Sony, one of those TV manufacturers, acquired the camera business of Konica Minolta, so they know how to make quite a good camera. Many of Sony's cameras also carry Zeiss lenses, which in optical quality are easily the equal of the best equivalent Nikons and Canons. So Sony, at least, is a manufacturer you shouldn't shy away from.

    You should also consider that except for the lens, a digital camera is just as much a computer peripheral as a camera, and many aspects of it might be built better by an experienced electronics maker than by a well-known camera maker. The truth, anyway, is that all of the major manufacturers are now diversified Japanese industrial companies that have plenty of experience with both optics and electronics. For this reason I would not even shy away from a Panasonic if it has the features you want.

    As far as megapixels, images from a 1-megapixel camera start to suffer at enlargement sizes considerably smaller than "huge" -- anything bigger than the standard 4x6", really -- but such enlargements are still more detailed than an image on a computer screen. For sharing pics on the web, Bob is right, anything more than 1 megapixel is unnecessary unless you are going to be doing some severe cropping of the image.

  15. Dnlgtr

    Dnlgtr Member

    I already have the cable made. And my friend with a PC repair shop tryed to 'unlock' the camera fro me. & I have some of the links burned to CD.

    I just Can't do the work Myself!! I don't know enough to do so!!

    Someone here promised to work on the camera for me & even sent me his Address so I could mail the camera to him.(xyberz)
    But the next day he said wait, He was moving. That was 2 months ago & I was wondering, Did he fall off the face of the Earth??
    Now I am asking if there is any one else here that can do the software work for me. Or do I just take the camera out into the street & step on it til Crushed??
    As I said With all I have to do to my PC, I will likely NEVER get a decent Digital camera,(Unless I win one, Or someone GIVEs me one)
    Remeber this too, Without one you can NEVER ask to see any of my built models. AND I will Never enter any of the contests.

    I AM UNEMPLOYED!!!! I have NO money coming in!! I live with my Mother & Sister who Both receive Social Security!!.

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