recommendations for a novice



Can any one recommend a good digital camera for someone who doesn't like fiddling around too much (with all those bits and bobs on cameras nowadays ..etc) and doesnt use cameras much?

Needs to provide good quality images (as when I do take pictures, they are of those 'kodak' moments!)

I was thinking of Nikon Coolpix 885 ... anyone used this before?

max budget is £500 (after I sell the clothes , remortgage the house and borrow some off the mafia :D )



Take a look at the Canon Ixus "V3" (i think it's called).

A work colleague has just bought one. paid £335 (ish), 3 megapixel, compact and not too fiddly.

Camera information:

Canon Ixus V3

Purchase example:


You get to keep the clothes!

Don't know anything at all about the 885 though. Perhaps a comparison:

Coolpix 885

I couldn't get to the site, probably a limitation of our internet connection.



Standard Member
Most cameras have a point and shoot auto mode regardless of the complexity.

You have a great budget that can but you 5 megapixels of resolution, so if I were you id be asking a few more questions like:

1) Ok dont want to fiddle now. But would I be interested in learning? If you are then you should make sure the camera has Aperture priority, shutter priority and Manual modes. These expand your ability to be creative (for example the choice to deliberately under expose to get a silhouette, or to choose how water looks - either drops or a misty flow)

2) Am I a technophobe? If you are then Kodak do easyshare sytems where you simply put the camera in a docking station and everything is automated (no messing behind the PC with a USB cable other than when you set up)

3) What are you using the camera for? If its email or the web then a 1-2 megapixel is fine. If its 6X4 -5p5 prints then 1-2 megapixels is fine. If its for larger prints then 3-4 megapixel is needed.

4) How much disc space do I have? If your PC is old then getting a high megapixel camera may fill your hard disk quicker than you think.

5) Other things to consider (advice I was given):
a) Factor in the cost of extra memory what you get with the camera normally only takes 8 full res pictures (you tend to get more memory for high resolution cameras) look at and for cheap memory
b) consider battery life. Proprietary batteries are expensive. Get AA based camera if you can these are cheap and easily obtained if you are stuck without power.
c) consider size. Small cameras may seem appealing but small = compromise on lens, batteries and memory cards
d) consider ability to add filters and lenses if needed (something that niggles me about my choice)

Some good websites are

The reviews here go through all the options and menus so you can guage complexity

Get the best price here. Jessops do a net price match all you need is a print out of the price and a telephone number to check it (and Jessops do 9 months interest free). My camera should have been £550 and I got it for 433 by doing this.

I looked at Olympus C50z, Canon Powershot S45, Nikon 885, Canon A40 a couple of Fujis whose models escape me and Kodak DC4900. Didnt look at sony for some reason?

The Kodak was the simplest and cheapest 4megapixel I came across (£250) and couldnt be beaten for value for money. But didnt have the manual setting flexibility.

I went for Canon in the end because it had all the functions I was after and they were consistent in how they are on my Canon SLR. It has an auto mode, which is exactly that, you just point a click and everything is done for you, it has several creative settings for specific use (night shots, portraits, sports, long exposure) where everything is still done for you but it has a bias to ensure a certain type of picture and finally it has the manual overrides. Its the "best subcompact" at least for this week if you believe what you read. But It took a lot of playing about in Jessops, PC World and Dixons to decide which to go for. Like Hifi, if you are going to part with lots of money make sure you play with them all as they might all do the same thing, but its a matter of personal taste and what you intend to use it for as to which suits.


thanks guys , this is going to take a day or so of pondering over.... :D


Standard Member
If considering the Nikon 885, you would be better off with the new Coolpix 4300 as it's an updated 885 with more manual control. RRP is around £400.


Standard Member
Took me a month to work out what I wanted!!!!

There are plenty of mags out there as well to assist you.


Ok , here's my list in order of preference, tell me what you guys think :D

1. Canon Powershot S45

2. Nikon Coolpix 4500

3. Canon G3

4. Olympus Camedia 4000


Standard Member
You cant go wrong with any of those. But if it was me and I had the budget I would go for the G3. Its a semi pro compact. Very good lens, has flip ot LCD (ike camcorders) and you can buy an add on zoom or wide angle lens. Also takes filters and external flash. The G2 won loads of accolades from creditable organisations, so its not just the magazines reviewers favourite. There are so many things on this you wont find anywhere else. You really need to play with them isn a shop to see.

The menu system on the canons is so easy. Every thing is accessible by a button called func. And everything that you can set is shown on the LCD in the same spot as the menu. You have to play with it to see whatI mean. Also the autofocus is so flexible. Like being able to msnuslly select from 300 positions where to focus. This isnt raving about canon because I have one. I downloaded manuals for all the others and did a lot of research, so I know what most of them in this price bracket can do (yes I am aa bit of as geek)

Internally its the same as the S45. SSo on a tighter budget Iwould go for theS45 (which indeed I did).

Next I would go for the Nikon.
And lastly the olympus (would be tempted more by the C50z than the 4000)


Active Member
I have just got a G3 (having had a G2 for a year before it was stolen) and am very happy with it.

It is slightly larger than the S45, so you need to have one in your hand and think about how you will carry it. There is no point having a camera if it sits at home all the time (that is why I moved from SLRs initially, but I would never go back now).

I have a friend with the S40 and he complains about the power of the flash. I'm not sure whether the S45 uses the S40 flash or the G3's. You should check that. (The G3 flash is excellent by the way).

Apart from that I would agree with everything that nunew33 said earlier. Think about what you need, what you might need later and how you will use it. Most importantly though, whatever you get, take a LOT of pictures. You will learn so much more about how to take a good picture that way.



Standard Member
Thats the advantage of digicams though, that you can take loads of pictures and know immediately if they are duff and dispose!!

The S45 is different from the G3 flash. Its ok, but if you are close you need to be in p mode and reduce the flash exposure and if you are too far then you need a tripod and slow synch for best effects. Its a compact flash so its bound to be crap. Advantage of G3 is the hotshoe as there isnt one on the S45. If flash photography is important go for the G3


just bought the Canon S45 :D ... I like the build quality , its not too small and its all metal!

So far so good , in auto mode... however macros are a bit iffy , since the flash whitens out everything .. still playing around with the thing :D

I tried p mode but it seems to me that any mode which is not set on AUTO , suffers from the 'shakes' ...picture comes out all blurry ...

do I need a tripod for manual mode ?


Standard Member
Good choice.

Yes the flash is over bright.

You will find it ok on anything more than a couple of feet away. Any closer and its a tad harsh.

I get round it by going to Pmode. Setting everything as in auto: AWB, AUTO ISO, auto everything, Set the flash to on (top left button). Then I go into func and 7th icon down is flash compensation. Itll either look like a scale -2 to 2 (or if using Tv/Av it maybe a a set of bars of flash adjust is set to manual). This allows you to adjust the flash. I have found that -2/3 works best. I took it back to Jessops but in true egg on your face style the pics were perfect when we tested it in the shop. I think it has difficulty on when a lot of the image is white, ie white shirt or white walls.

Camera Shakes occur when the shutter is open too long. With flash you should be looking at 1/60 shutter speed and f2.8 for aperture. Anything larger for speed will result in shakes. Check all your settings as things like 2nd curtain synch may cause this (its the same as slow synch setting, it has a long shutter speed to get a lot of light in and then flashes at the end, this is ideal for those nighttime holiday shots where you want the street light reflections in the river and your other half all nicely exposed - something you cant do on most digicams).
With daylight shots anything less than 1/60 could benefit form a tripod (pocket tripods are about a fiver and very handy, also use with 2 second timer to avoid the movement you get when you press for the shot).

Im not sure if Im teaching you to suck eggs or if Im using terminology that is meaningless to you!?!?

The beauty of the digital media is that you can waste pictures learning, at no cost!

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