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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for something for about $300 with 3.0 megapixels.
The Olympus OLM D550 is what I'm considering now since it appears to be about what I'm looking for. Anyone familiar with this model? This is a new thing to me and it will be my first digital cam. Reliability, regardless of warranty, is a big consideration. User friendliness would be a good thing too. Any suggestions on what to get or any comments ,good or bad, about Olympus in general would help.
Thanks.
Js :D
 

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From looking at the specs, it looks like a good camera. If I were you I would make sure that it can handle larger capacity Smart Media cards than the 16MB one supplied with it. There are larger ones made, but sometimes manufacturers don't update their firmware to handle the largest available at a given time. Since you can hold only one image at the highest resolution of the camera with a 16MB card, you'll probably want more cards of higher capacity.

I like the fact that it uses a standard battery size rather than a proprietary pack like some cameras. It will be easy to get more and cheap replacements. The reviews of the camera I saw said they did not supply rechargable batteries or a charger with it so the first thing you'll want to do is get some good NiMH batteries and a fast charger for it. You'll probably want two sets. I've heard that you can get both the batteries and a fast charger from Walmart cheap.

If you want this type of camera and you want to take it into the outdoors under less than ideal conditions you might want to look at others that sell a waterproof housing.

Another thing you might consider is that this camera was introduced almost a year ago. It seems to me that digital camera years, like computer years, are like dog years. You might find the camera discontinued shortly.

As to Olympus, I still own an Olympus SLR that has been, literally, around the world, that I got more than 20 years ago. Like any company, they could have gone down hill but my experience has been that they build good stuff. I was considering an Olympus ( it was actually my runner-up ) when I was buying a digital camera. It ended up not quite having the features I desired though so I bought from a different maker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks;
I got the Olympus 550 yesterday while I was still in the mood. I'm pretty much learning it as I go. I went ahead and got the Olympus accessory pack with it and that includes a set of NiMH batteries w/recharger, a case, extra 16 MB card, and a USB reader/writer. I'm going to get a bigger card next. This camera does all I need it for and then some.
I should have come back here yesterday evening and said that I'd gone ahead and gotten one so no one would have to bother with replying to the above question. I forgot about it at the time.
Thanks again.
JS :D
 

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Guess I'm too late...the Kodak DX4900 is 4.0 Megapixels and was selling (if you can still find one) for $320 (Wal-Mart, clearance), $311 (Office Depot). I just stumbled on one and got it from Office Depot for $300, since it was the last one. I think it must have been badly promoted; 4 Megapixels for 300bux is fantastic.
 

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I found this one a little late, but I'll respond in case you have any buyers remorse. :)

We're on our second Olympus digital camera. We got the first one several years ago, 640x480 was it's max resolution. It took good pictures, for that resolution. Second one is a 360Z (I think) max resolution is either 1280x1024 or 1152x768, it takes very sharp clear pictures.

One thing to look at when you're looking at digital cameras with a zoom lens is the optical zoom. Digital zoom means NOTHING. It's no different than opening the picture in your photo editor and zooming in. It won't let you take any closer or better pictures.

Have fun with the new camera!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks JohnK. No remorse at all with the 550. It does everything I want it to do and then some. There haven't been any problems with it. This should hold me for a few years.
JS :D
 

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I bought a Olympus 2020Z digital camera three years ago when the list price was $1,000.
Paid $625 for it over the net.
It's 2.1 megapixels: 1600 X 1200 pixels within the Charge Coupling Device (CCD).
It produces first-rate images up to 8X10 size. That's fine by me, because my home printer doesn't print larger than about 8X14. I've never had occasion to make a print larger than 8X10 inches.
People get too wrapped up in megapixels. More than 2 megapixels is great if you're going to print larger than 8X10 but for most family use, images won't ever be printed larger than 4X6.
Of greater concern is the optics of the camera itself. Some cheaper digital cameras advertising high megapixels have sub-standard lenses. It doesn't matter how many pixels you have, if your lens is made with lousy glass.
I am a photographer for Uncle Sam and regularly use a professional-grade Kodak 760 digital camera. The body alone on this camera cost about $8,000. It's a 6 megapixel camera capable of producing prints up to poster sized. It's a great camera but heavy at about 4 pounds, without flash.
In my jacket pocket I carry my little Olympus 2020Z. I don't always have my Kodak 760 camera and bag with me, but the little Olympus ensures that I always have some kind of camera with me.
In the next few years I'll likely get another Olympus with more pixels. The price on good, digital cameras is plummeting weekly, it seems.
I bought the Olympus 2020Z for many reasons:
1. Good optical zoom. Digital zoom is of dubious value.
2. Small and lightweight. It looks like a cheap point-and-shoot 35mm, which doesn't draw a lot of attention from the public and the ever-present thief.
3. Image quality is exceptional. In fact, in various tests published just before I bought it, the Olympus 2020Z was rated slightly above the Nikon Coolpix. Magazines and testers reported it had slightly better color accuracy and resolution than the Nikon Coolpix of the time.
4. It takes AA batteries. I was in Mexico a month ago when my NiMH batteries unexpectedly died. I walked into a drug store and bought four AA cameras and kept shooting. Try doing THAT in a foreign country with a camera that requires specialized batteries.
5. Wide range of capabilities: shutter priority, aperture priority, choice of color, black and white or sepia, remote control, timer, zoom on the LCD so I can zoom in on an image to determine whether it's focused (most LCDs really can't tell you if an image is slightly out of focus, unless you can zoom in), capable of taking a separate flash if need be (I haven't had the need to get one) and so on. It has far more features than I normally use, but it's nice to have them.
6. Capable of taking cards up to 128 MB. I recently bought a 128 MB flash media card at Costco for $45. However, I normally use 16 MB cards.
I dislike putting all my images from an entire vacation or trip on one card; I've had too many cards crap out on me to ever trust an entire event to one card.
A 16 MB card will give me about 35 images, at the highest resolution, so it's about like having a 36-exposure roll of film. I carry numerous cards with me, in case one is damaged or gets corrupted.

Ewa-Marine makes a waterproof housing for my 2020Z, so I can use it underwater to about 30 feet or take it fishing with and not worry about damage. It's about $150 for the heavy, vinyl bag but it will probably be my next purchase. I'm sure that Ewa-Marine makes a similar bag for your camera too. It would be a good thing to have out duck hunting or in dusty environments.
You have a very good camera in that Olympus. Take care of it and it will last you for years.
Don't get in a rush to buy the newest digital down the pike. A favorite expression among professional digital photographers today is, "If you can buy it. It's obsolete."
My Olympus may be obsolete, but it's far from useless.
 

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Very nicely put, Gatofeo...I learned years (and years!) ago that the ideal camera was the one you had with you, not the one you left home in the closet because it was too dang heavy and bulky. When I was going out JUST to photograph, the big SLR WITH lots of BIG lenses and WITH a ½° spotmeter and extra film and, and, and...all carried neatly in a backbreaking, bulky "case" (really more like a packing crate), was the thing to have, but just for some thing to have with me, a small, folding RF camera that would slip into a pocket was the way to go. Back then, the Kodak Retina IIIC (last of the Stuttgart line, I think) was the best solution I could find. Now, I'm using a little Olympus Stylus for film, and have given everything mentioned above to my daughter. She's young; she can carry that stuff.
I just got into digital a few weeks ago when I got the Kodak DX4900. The pictures are good up to about 20" × 30", which is fine with me; I know I'll probably never need more pixels, and I can easily throw some away, as long as I keep the big one in archive (I've got a BIG hard drive).
It's a lot the same way with guns; the ideal gun for any purpose is the one you have with you; the howitzer at home in the garage might as well not exist. For me, much as I love the 1911, I'm beginning to think that I should carry a wheelgun for self-defense; I notice that I'm always looking around for my brass after each shot. Bad idea.
 

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VERY bad idea, Charlie Detroit.
Reloaders typically stop shooting their semi-auto after each shot and note where the brass lands.
As my father pointed out to me years ago, "First comes the pattern, then comes the habit."
Such a habit can get you killed in a real firefight.
The late gun writer/ Border Patrolman Skeeter Skelton wrote years ago of a firefight along the Tex/Mex border, involving Border Patrolmen. They were all carrying .38 revolvers. Most of them reloaded and used the same revolvers for target shooting.
At the end of this very heated gunfight, one of the Border Patrolmen noticed that his pockets were bulging with spent .38 Special brass.
He never remembered ejecting the shells and sticking them in his pocket.
It was cause for laughter but it points out that under the stress of being fired upon you will do things by habit, not by thought.
In a gunfight with a 1911 .45 Auto you should let the magazine fall from the pistol to the ground, rather than catching it in your hand. Your free hand should already have a loaded magazine in hand, or grabbing one.
Learning to drop a magazine onto the ground, especially an expensive one, without thought is hard to do for most shooters. So, in my own 1911, I shoot "combat style" using cheap G.I. magazines.
If the magazine jams, so much the better! It accustoms me to clearing a jam in quick-time. But for target shooting, or carrying it, I load it with the good magazines.
The only thing you can't replicate is the terror you experience being shot at. The best way to overcome this is through endless repetition in your training until every movement becomes second-nature.
This is how the world's armies have taught troops for thousands of years, and still do so today.
There's a reason why: it works!
 

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I went with an Olympus C700UZ - and it has served me well. Pretty versatile - does all that I need from a digital camera. Still carry the Minolta 7000i also - have all the goodies for it and it has been a very good camera on my copy stand with the 100mm Macro. I agree that for the average digital user, the high megapixels are really not necessary, so why pay extra for something you don't really need. If your usage will grow, then maybe. FWIW
 

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I've got a 3.3 Mega pixel camera I've had for about a year and a half now and when I got it there were certainly others with higher resolution on the market. I went with the 3.3 however mainly because I considered the optical zoom one of the most important features and the camera I got had a pretty good one, 7X, even better than the same model camera with a 5.0 Mega pixel resolution ( and more $ ).

I, more often than not, resize pictures down to email them etc. so in those instances the added resolution doesn't buy me anything.

There is a reason to have more resolution than you think you'll need however, and that is when you want to crop. I frequently take pictures with the camera that, even with the zoom at the max, need to have the subject cropped out and enlarged because I just wasn't close enough to frame it the way I wanted. When you do this that extra resolution helps make it so that the cropped area doen't look blocky when enlarged.
 

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Sounds fairly sensible in these days of zoom lenses...when I started, zooms were very expensive and not very good; I was taught that your first cropping tool is your feet (move in and out) and your second tool was your enlarger. If you were shooting slides, forget the second tool. Hence the search for ever-finer grain in B&W, it's the same as hunting for more pixels.
The search for fine grain went to sometimes ridiculous extremes: I remember an article in a magazine which went into using Dokupan (an Agfa document-copying film that didn't reproduce continuous tones at all; everything was black or white) for regular photography, developing it in Rodinol (I think), and enlarging for continuous-tone B&W prints. They said that, with a 35mm neg (24 × 36mm), at 8 × 12 FEET, it would start to show some grain. Wonder how many megapixels that's equivalent to?
Hmmm... maybe gettin' old ain't so bad after all...ya get so many memories to entertain you!
 

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Sounds fairly sensible in these days of zoom lenses...when I started, zooms were very expensive and not very good; I was taught that your first cropping tool is your feet (move in and out) and your second tool was your enlarger.
I'm usually trying to photograph wildlife so using the "human zoom" isn't always practical. Either the subject will leave or the subject will try to make you leave ( or stay forever ). ;)
 
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