Thinking about buying a digital camera? - New user pleased with his Olympus C-220

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by simon1, Jul 31, 2002.

  1. simon1

    simon1
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    Having toyed with the idea of digital photography for quite some time, I finally bit the bullet. The attraction to digital photography for me was:

    1. Ability to upload images - ideal for emailing, quick prints, etc.
    2. Photos instantly - ideal for example, changing the brakes on the car - I can refer to the image when putting things back together.
    3. Less waste - I can decide which photos to keep and which to discard.
    4. Saving money - only print/process the pics I really want.
    5. Editing - altering the pics to my own taste, such as removing parts of the image.

    My original intention was to buy something cheap, say £60 - £100 simply for fun use. Keeping our 35mm camera for regular photography. There was only one snag, every camera I looked at (cheap or expensive) had to be connected to a USB port on the PC, which I didn't have.

    Whilst I appreciated it was possible to buy a USB card for the computer, I was against upgrading the computer in any shape or form. The PC (4yr old) is a 233mhz Pentium with only a 2GB hard drive. I thought any money spent on an upgrade would be wasted and prefered to wait untill it was time to replace the whole thing. The last time I looked, a USB card was £50.

    I was in Maplins just a few days ago and noticed they had a USB cards for as little as £24.99 - I took the plunge. The installation of this was a breeze. Didn't even have to install any drivers. Now all I needed was something to connect to it...........................

    Trying to decide whether to buy a cheap and chearful camera or something better which could, in theory replace our 35mm. Before searching the internet, I had been attracted to the Fuji iX 100 (1.3 megapixel). I liked the facility of being able to replay stills and mpegs on a stantard tv, which was featured on this model. I tried finding a higher up model by Fuji which included this feature, but there wasn't one. Now I knew this feature existed, I wanted it! I searched the net using pricerunner for cameras upto about £200. It included links to review sites (mostly USA) which were useful. After reading many reviews, I decided I'd go for a 2 megapixel camera which should make for excellent prints at 5"x7".

    The more I searched, the more I learned. Whilst many cameras featured an lcd screen, these usually offered a poor reflection of how good/bad a picture may be. Battery drain was one concern, whilst quality of indoor shots was another. Comments varied from one user to another. Hovever, Fuji consistently came under attack for the poor quality indoor shots.

    When looking at the various makes/model, I realised that if I truly wanted something that could replace our regular camera (Cannon Sureshot 105), I would need to find the digital equivelent
    - ie 3x zoom. Then I discovered the Olympus C-220zoom, which seemed perfect.

    It had the tv playback facility, 3x zoom (eq to 114mm zoom), lcd screen, video clip, image edit - b/w, sepia, etc. These were the important features to me, but there are loads more, including a panoramic mode. A couple of points of interest were that the lcd screen was 114,000 pixels compared with Fuji's 55,000 - obviously the more pixels will create a more detailed image on the screen, giving you a better indication of how the real pic will look. The camera features autofocus, which many other digital stills don't seem to have or advertise. I remember being disapointed at the lack of this feature on many other digital's, as I regarded it as an essential feature on 35mm's. One last point, the video clip mode allows you to shoot at 15 frames per second which gives a more realistic/smoother result than other digitals which only do 10 frames per second.

    All in all it seemed like a great piece of kit for only £199.99 high st (a bit cheaper online). There could be a fly in the ointment though, according to Olympus. They state that you may not be able to download images to the PC in cases where you have added a USB port yourself or you have upgraded to win98 from original win95. Unfortunately, both of these applied to me.

    I bought from Argos (the new A/W catalogue had 'just' come out), incase it wouldn't work with the PC. Pleased to say I've had no problems. The downloads from camera to PC were very quick as well, which surprised me. Have just installed the proper software that came with the camera tonight and can't believe how clever and easy it is. Had a couple of pics that were a bit dark and was able to brighten them up to what looked perfectly natural with this software - I am amazed! Lots of other things - calenders, postcards, all sorts of things.

    I intend to have our proper family photos processed by Jessops. I was in there the other day finding out how you went about having digital photos processed. They're more geared upto than I expected, even having a dedicated kiosk for it. You can give them Smartmedia/Flash cards, CD ROM, Floppydisc, Memory Stick, etc. Price for 40 prints 5"x7" was £6.99, which is my usual size. They also provide a service where you do everything online. I prefer doing things instore though, myself - can't wait to see the results. Mind you, they look superb on the PC, even filling the whole of my 15" monitor.

    Bearing in mind, this camera replaces the Olympus C-200, which was priced at £349.99 high st (Index S/S catalogue). The new C-220 @ £199.99 - bargain or what!

    I hope all this info proves useful to any other people thinking about going digital. I'm not an expert, but if there's anything else
    you need to know, just ask.
     
  2. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    I have a Olympus C1 and my brother has the C300Z. You can't go wrong with Olympus.

    Glad you like the C220. I wish it was available when I bought the C1.

    A good retailer you may want to look at is Digital Depot

    They are selling the 64MB smartmedia cards for £18.90 at the moment (normally about £35). 128MB cards are £40.

    Can I also recommend a decent charger and batteries. Argos do Uniross 1700mah batteries (4) with a 1 - 2 hour charger for £29.99. They are the microprocessor variety. Another 4 batteries are £12.

    They have lasted almost 5 days. The longest I have had with batteries.
     
  3. simon1

    simon1
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    Cheers mate

    I still can't get over what a great camera it is. As it happens, I used digital depot for my accessories (Olympus recomended them). I bought the original Olympus brand case at £18.90, the 32mb Olympus brand smart media card (others won't give the panarama facility) at £25.90 and the Olympus battery charger + 4x 1700 mAh batteries for £25.90. Prices were very competative.

    I commented to their telephone sales person what a fantastic camera it was. He agreed, and explained that they had sold loads - demand was outstripping supply.


    What have been your experiences so far with having the pics processed at a lab. Quality? Cost?
     
  4. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    I don't get my photos processed.

    I use the computer to create slideshows and view the pics on the TV by creating Vcd's and playing them on the DVD player.

    I still recommend getting a 64MB card at tht cheap price. You can alsways swap cards when want to do a panaramic shot.
     
  5. nickdare

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    This info is brilliant. I have really average digital camera Jenoptik JD350e and have been looking for a proper digital camera. I had seen this one and like the look of it.

    Thanks for the help - I think I'll go and get one.
     
  6. DazJWood

    DazJWood
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    I too have an Olympus camera. The 3000Z. I picked this up at a sale at Currys for £330 after being marked down from £400 in Februay which at the time was a very good buy (as much as I hate to use Currys!!).

    I have been very pleased with the images it produces but must admit to using mostly the auto settings on this. I have no past photographic experience and must admit the manual could be very boggling in places.

    I am gonna have to have another play with it because if I remember when I first got it I was a little disappointed with the panorama function with it. I was expecting to take a picture with it and then it to freeze some of the picture so as you could line it up to take another picture. All I seem to remember is that it takes the picture and then you have to take the picture again without any clear reference point, which means a steady hand is in order.

    Anyone else found this?

    Simon1,

    USB card for £24.99??? Jeez Maplins must have been chuckling. You can get hold of two port usb pci interface cards for around £7 (if not cheaper).

    For pc bits always check out local computer fairs for components.

    A good site for location, times and dates for these events is

    http://www.theshowguide.co.uk/

    Daz
     
  7. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    With the panoramic function you have to come up with your own reference points and try to keep the same heght.

    The way I did it was to notice something at the edge of each photo to use as a guide and just take the next photo next to it.

    It is really a gimmick though and have only use it once for a bit of fun.
     

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