September 16, 2004

Buying a digital camera - for the first time.

I am no professionl photographer. As a matter of fact, i have barely handled the old style film loading camera's. However i recently moved to foreign shores with a new wife. Soon it dawned to me traditional camera had several short comings:
  1. developing film rolls was expensive and required a trip to a distant shop.
  2. The cost factor was a major reason why i did not experiment
  3. Since i had to email the pictures home, the developed prints had to be re-scanned into digital form and them emailed.
  4. Over the time as my pictures would grow, so would my photo album which meant storage and extra weight when i would travel home.

Digital camera seemed to be a good solution to the problem, since
  1. Required no film and could be used straight out of the box
  2. The autofocus settings ensured that my photos came out looking great
  3. No developing ! download photos into my laptop and away they go.
  4. In case i did feel like developing a photo or two (especially the good ones, which i wanted framed or make a present of), nowadays most photo outlets have these photo kiosks, the machines that read the photo off your digital camera and produce a print.

So after a bit of searching on the internet, i gathered a list of things i would need

  1. A camera to fit my budget and of reasonably latest technology that would stay recent for reasonable amount of time.
  2. A soft case (for some insane reason, not a lot of cameras that came with a case)
  3. An additional memory card (its a chip which stores the clicked photos)
  4. and some rechargeable batteries for emergencies
  5. Should budget permit, a tripod

I made a few trips to the stores and soon realized that camera's came much cheaper if bought over the internet. So i browsed through a few models until i narrowed down a few (about 20 models ) i visually liked. Then i used to google to find several camera reviews for each model. Whats more, i soon realized that i could also look at photographs taken by ordinary people ike me by a particular camera. Actualy, i soon realized that my ideal camera needed to have the following features

  1. Affordable
  2. An established brand
  3. Reasonably high resolution (measured in megapixels)
  4. Ability to download photos onto a normal computer, a laptop in my case (its called USB Support in techie terms).
  5. Light weight
  6. Accessories and add-ons easily avialable (easiest way was to check ebay or your local auction site)
  7. And last but not the least - good looks

Thats just me - i am sure someone could have done better, or maybe worse ;) I also found out that sites like ebay, amazon and google were invaluable when it came to looking for information. Most of my searches for camera reviews brought me to Steve's Digicams . But i find his reviews a bit frigid. I was able to find some informal ones from non-experts like myself.

Finally, all that done, i settled down to search for the best price for the model of my choice - Fuji Finepix s5000. Here are some links for it

And last but not the least, my photo albums (all snapped by s5000)

And my views about the camera .

I hope this has been useful, please feel free to post any questions about what i have written above.