Future digital camera problems

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Dec 8, 2003
This morning I picked up some film taken in one of those disposable cameras. This was most of the pics of my framing sense I opened. Im not sure which direction the viewfinder was pointed in but it wasn’t the same direction as the lens. I did an awesome job on this little old b/w photo and the whole frame ended up being about 11x14 ish. I took the shot from about 4 foot away and its cut in half.

Well the line has been drawn in the sand. I need a digital camera today. Which ones are as good as $150ish dollars will buy? I think I want it to be able to use USB to transfer pics. I think I prefer quality over storage. Ideas? Thanks friends.
Sorry Jay. My resident camera expert says that if you want anything of quality, expect to pay more than $150. You might be able to get a good storage card for that.

If you are looking for quality, there are some that start around $400.

The reason the viewfinder doesn't seem to be pointing in the direction of the lens is that it isn't. Disposable cameras are rangefinders, you need to compensate for the fact the viewfinder points slightly above what you are photographing.
I got my parents a Vivitar digital camera for Christmas. Picked it up at Target for $99 (on sale). For what they use it for, it takes good pics. I personally opted for the Canon Digital Rebel for my first digital. I like the freedom of changing lenses, but that's a little more than what you're looking to do. Good luck with your search!
In the early 70's I bought a 110 "pocket" camera to take photos of for painting. I learned right quick that where I looked and where the picture was taken were 2 totally different places. Since it was "automatic" with no settings to make, I simply looked over the top of it at roughly the same place the opening was. By compensating, I learned to take some decent close up photos.

Same with our digital camera, it is a little off from the lens, so I just have to compensate. Fortunately there is a "delete" button. I'm not sure what our's cost since our son bought it at that great "Wal" place, but we bought a bigger(?) card for it and it does great. (Kodakcx6200 easy share)

It's one of those things that I thought I would use alot, but didn't how much "alot" would really be! I love it!


Check out eBay for a digital camera. I bought an Olympus C-50 5 megapixel camera last November for $315 including shipping from a seller on eBay.

I also bought a memory card reader with USB cable for about $12.00 which transfers images to the computer at about 20X faster than plugging in your camera and doing a transfer through the imaging program that came with the camera. It shows up on PhotoShop as another drive and you access it directly through whatever imaging program you use.

I haven't used half the bells and whistles that are on this camera yet so you would fare well to at least give eBay a look-see for a camera.

BTW, this was a new in the original box camera but I would not hesitate buying a factory refurbished camera. I look at it this way; somebody else has already found the factory flaws, sent it back, and the factory has corrected them. So you are getting a flaw free camera. Maybe a shorter warranty but you can buy extended warranties for little money if you so choose.

Good luck in your search.


We have the Kodak EasyShare CX6230….I cannot fault it…and it should come in around your budget….
Jay, if you want to take photos to post on your new website, or on The Grumble, you don't have to pay a lot. Low resolution is an advantage for those applications.

If you want to make prints - especially prints bigger than, say, 8x10 - expect to pay much more. You'll need at least 5 megapixels.

Look for a camera that uses a memory card - like the Compact Flash or the Sony Memory Stick. If you're shooting up a storm - or traveling - you can carry extra cards (like film) and keep on shooting. Also, you can get inexpensive USB card readers that will treat your card like an extra hard drive so you don't have to have the camera connected to the computer to download photos.

Many of the new photo printers have built-in card readers and can print without a computer.

You're on the edge of a great adventure.
I may print some into a brag book but I think they will primarily remain digital for the most part. I didn't make that clear.

One more thing I was thinking about was doing like Betty (I think that’s who it is) that take pictures of possibilities of framing and emails the pics. Again its digital and the resolution isn't a factor but color IS.
One day deal for today:

CircuitCity (in stores only) has the Canon PowerShot 3.2-Megapixel 3x Optical/3x Digital Zoom Digital Camera for $150 w/ no rebates.

(about $100 off the regular price)
That would be a very sweet camera, Jay.

You could make respectible prints up to about 8x10, and it almost certainly uses the Compact Flash memory card.

I'd love to run out to Circuit City and get one for you as a token of our new friendship, but I have to walk the dog.

Yea I don't have a CC here.... ohh well story of my life
I am philosophically opposed to having a digital be your only camera. As I watch my children of the digital age take pictures, I see some in emails and occasionally some get printed, but where are we going to get the shoeboxes full of old pictures in the future? I fear that there will be whole years not documented, because the pics will have been downloaded, but not printed yet, then the computer will crash and phffffftttt. So I continue to snap with my PHD camera (Push Here Dummy)so at least there will be SOME pics of the World's Most Adorable Grandchildren...
Ellen, that was happening around here.

I used to sell cameras and accessories in my shop, so there are lots of film cameras around here. (I was my own best customer.)

When I started using a digital camera, my family would complain that they never saw the pictures. They were on CDs, they were on the hard drive, they were in emails going to Texas and Missouri. Sometimes, they were on The Grumble - but they weren't on prints.

A few months ago, I bought an HP 1350 printer/scanner/copier to replace a dead printer. There are card-readers built-in for every imaginable memory card. You shove the card in, the printer reads it and you push a button that lights up. Then it prints a proof sheet of every image on the card.

On the proof sheet, you fill in little ovals (like taking the SATs) for each image you'd like to print, and some other ovals to indicate a size preference and whether you're using regular or photo paper. (I like to use the 4x6 photo paper that gives you borderless prints.)

You take your finished proof sheet, place it on the scanner bed and push that same magic button again. The printer then prints the images according to your instructions.

And it does it all without being connected to a computer.

Now when I take digital pictures, we have good-looking prints - ready for the shoe box or the fridge - in minutes.

There are a bunch of HP printers that work in a similar fashion. This one costs about $150.00. HPs best photo printer, the 7960, is selling now for about $220 ($200 at Sam's Club.) It was $300 a few months ago.
Fear not Ellen…there is a whole world of conservation/preservation people (a small but very motivated group) out there who are looking at that very subject right now…..and the tech industry is also looking at methods to make the long term storage of digital information easier to use and more accessible to the general public

……my wife has just taken up a new job roll with Dell as there recycle manager for EMEA (Europe and Africa) and the safe storage of digital information is on her radar (one of lots of things)……. in fact she is in London today making a presentation to some of the top level people at Dell, part of her presentation is covering what is Dells approach to data recovery and storage from recycle computers is in other words how Dell will deal with this issue……it’s a difficult one dealing with digital information because of privacy laws and freedom of information laws…but it is been addressed.

I read an article about a business in the US who have started to specialise in recovering for relatives data for the from computers of people who have passed on….my feeling on this one is that the tech industry have there act together and are working on this very topic.

I'd second the ebay thing except for one thing - you may get old stuff (with digital 1 yr or so) and overpay compared to new stuff. If you know what you're buying you should be OK.

In the $150 price range a Nikon 2200 is a good choice. It's only 2M, but for shop pictures it would be fine. No enlargements or cropping, though.

Kodaks get good marks - for about a year and then they seem to die. Be wary..

You might also look at Fuji's line - great price and image in a cheaper body style.

If the budget allows, go for something in the 4-5M range - it will have many more uses than a 2M camera. Trust me, once you start using a digital camera you may never shoot film again. Canon's A-series cameras ($250-$300)are nice, as are the Fuji s5000 ($400)and some of the Sony CyberShot cameras($250 and up). I especially like Sony's W1 - brand new around $400.

Many labs and photo kiosks can print from cards and cds now. You can still get your images printed on traditional photographic paper that way or they also have ones that print using a dyesub printer. There are even places you can email your pictures to and have prints sent back through the mail to you. At our studio, currently send all our images to our lab on cds and have them printed on the same professional paper we have always used.
Jay, forget about color acccuracy. Neither film nor digital can easily reproduce accurate color, usually neither comes close. There's almost always a color cast of some sort and that's just the beginning. Color photographs are acceptable because rarely are they compared to what was originally photographed.

To make a photograph accurately reflect original color is a tedious and reasonably skilled process. Digital is a whole lot easier than film and, in fact, most color correction of film first involves converting the image to digital format and importing it to PhotoShop.

To give you an idea of what's involved, each step from capture to printing has to be carefully color managed. The camera or scanner has to be profiled (it's almost impossible to profile a camera because of the infinite variety of light it uses), the monitor used for correction has to be callibrated and the printer has to be callibrated and profiled. The cost of good color management software and callibration equipment can easily run to $8000.00. (our spectrophotometer, refurbished, cost $2500).

Cameras are so difficult to work with, when we make a picture of an Abbe Munn frame we've sold, we scan it.

But even if you couldd get a color accurate file of a frame, the recipient wouldn't be able to view it correctly bucause his monitor wouldn't be callibrated. Color reproduction is extraordinarly difficult and is a large part of what "prepress houses" do.
I fear that there will be whole years not documented, because the pics will have been downloaded, but not printed yet, then the computer will crash and phffffftttt.
I wrote a program for our digital camera at home - click a button and it automatically uploads all the picture to our website and then emails the grandparents to let them know there are new pictures online - my parents are 3000 miles away while my wife's family is in England, so we hardly ever see them.

My wife said the same thing though - she misses looking at pictures without requiring electricity to do so, so she still takes some film photos every now and then.

But while you may have to use a computer to look at the online pictures, there are litterally thousands of pictures up there just from the last three years. We're taking on average 1500 pictures a year, which would have been cost prohibitive before going digital. My problem now is sorting and filtering - I need to go back and put them in a database so I can start adding subjects, dates and comments.
Does this sound like a piece of crap?

ViviCam 3705 Features:
• 3.3 Megapixel
• 2048 x 1536 Resolution
• 4X Digital zoom
• Movie-clip recording capability (without audio)
• Fixed focus lens with macro and infinity settings
• 1.5 inch color LCD display
• 8 MB internal memory
• Uses Secure Digital (SD) memory cards - up to 256 MB (not included)
• Integral four-mode flash with red-eye reduction
• Optical viewfinder
• 10 second self-timer
• JPEG, AVI (Motion JPEG) file formats
• USB compatible - PC, and Mac (mass storage device)
• USB cable type A - B Mini
• Includes software titles (for PC only):

MGI PhotoSuite 4 SE
MGI PhotoVista 2.02
• Uses 2 AA batteries, or one CR-V3 (not included)
Heck no.. for a hundred dollar camera that's a great deal. Add another $30 for a 128 meg SD memory card and you're set.
No.. I just looked the camera up on Froogle.com and the memory card on Pricewatch.com.
There is a sale here for $99. I'm gonna get it i guess
Oh Jay, you are starting down that slippery slope.

You'll never be able to look back now.

As WizSteve said, we can now take mass amounts of pictures that were prohibative on film.

In 1983 I took a safari in Tanzania & and the gorillas in Rwanda. Between my 2 brothers and I, we shot 2,000 rolls of slide film. The processing was just over $3,800 @ my commercial rate.
We probably saved maybe 400 slides.
This last November I came back from museums in Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon. I saved about 2,600 pictures of frames and finishes (oh there is some paintings too.) Cost: 4-512MG chips = $300, Kodak 4900 4MP $375, Lithium Batteries used 12 for $17. Down loads & burned to CDs by independent contractors in EU $40. total cost under $750 if I throw away the camera now.

But next I do want the new DX70 or the Sony. Nothing beats 55mm of glass. Next trip, I think I want to spend three weeks and take about 30,000 pictures.

The wife just read this and groaned. I guess the trip will wait.

I will probably fill one memory card and lay it on my desk for uploading while 3-4 months pass. By the time I make room for more pictures the batteries will be dead.

I bet your collection of picture frame photos is so socially advanced that only a picture framer would ever want to see them.

So any chance you'll be bringing that collection to Atlanta?
Ok I got that camera. I like it I think. There are some issues with the batteries I think. It says that the batteries are drained but when I turn it back on it says there is full batteries. Until you take a pic then they are drained again. The voltage on the batteries seem fine (1.3 - 1.25v). I'll put some new ones in and it still acts up it'll go back the store.

Now, it noon now and I'm going to try to post some pics. I close at 6:00 so I'm not sure if I have enough time to get these pics posted but I'm gonna try. It might take me a while. After all I’m not as sharp as Kathy at this posting pictures business. Wish me well!
Here goes nothing..... TESTING TESTING....

Hey it worked I think.... a few more!


Hey /\/\/\/\ That was easy. Whatcha think of my new camera?
You're not a real framer, are you?? That store is WAYYYY too neat!!!

Pix look great! Maybe you can email me sometime on how to post photos here. I can't find the info.
Well as you can see the pics seem fine. They print well BUT. This thing burns through batteries like funnel cakes at the county fair. I started searching around and found one site with these reviews.

"Takes a good picture but eats batteries"

"It eats batteries with flash and video."

"And it eats up batteries too quickly. Two AAA batteries are dead within 1/2 day if left in, even when not in use."

"the only negative comment I have is that it eats batteries quickly."

-and my favorite

"this camera is not even worth anything. Goes through batteries so fast that there is no sense in even buying it"

I see a theme here. And they are right. I get about 10-15 pictures between battery changes. Its going back. Any other suggestions?
THey do eat batteries.
See what type of better battery can be used with the camera. Nimh batteries are better than the alkaline ones and are rechargable. But use what is recommended for your camera.

I have an older Kodak (DC290) that I'm selling and plan to buy a new one. The prices are sure a lot better than they were five years ago!
Found on another forum:
I had similar problems; the trick is to get LITHIUM AA BATTERIES.

I was running through a pack of batteries a night and was getting really upset until my uncle (who owns the same camera) told me about this and gave me a pair of LITHIUM AA Batteries (energizer) and have used them for over a month now!
So you may want to try using these Lithium batteries. Also, make sure (you probably already are) you use AC power when downloading pictures to your PC. Or if you using one of those removable SD cards instead of the internal memory on the camera you can pick up a USB SD card reader for your PC rather cheap so you don't even have to use your camera to download the pictures.

Another option you could try to explore is turning off the LCD screen on the camera - that probably consumes a great deal of juice from the batteriers...
I will try to turn off the LCD screen. It doesn’t work well in sunlight anyway. One user said "upgrading to rechargeable batteries will turn hate into love". My question is, do rechargeable batteries last longer? At a baseball game yesterday we took about 10 pictures and the new batteries were gone. I came home and took about 12 more any those batteries were gone. Never did upload them to my computer. If the rechargeable don't last longer its still unpractical.

The user also said to get rechargeable at 1800??Ma or higher? What is this? I'll stop into a battery store today and have a talk with them today.

I read many many reviews on digital cameras last night while looking for a replacement. There was no digital camera that didn't have batteries mentioned as a "con" eventually.
My original Kodak DC240 was like that. About 10 pictures and the batteries were dead. The culprit was the LCD screen. If I used the viewfinder, it would last for the day.

I picked up 2 sets of special rechargeable batteries, and always have a set on the ready, and one in the charger. The DC280 we replaced it with is easy on the batteries, and the new Canon A80 we got last year doesn't seem to dent the batteries at all.

The batteries we use were bought at STAPLES, with charger. They say "Digital Camera Rechargeable NI-MH 1800mAh" and perform quite well.

Looking at their web page, I see they have some 2000mAh ones now that claim to last "up to three times the photos per charge compared to alkaline batteries". 4 AA size batteries with charger $16.79 http://www.staples.com/Catalog/Browse/Sku.asp?PageType=1&Sku=517007

2300mAh $26.99 http://www.staples.com/Catalog/Browse/Sku.asp?PageType=1&Sku=517006
You get what you pay for - or maybe I should say that you never get more than what you pay for. All of the decent brand name cameras come with good batteries and a charging system. Pay a little more and you get excellent battery life and you can get a spare battery so that you will never again consider batteries an issue on a photo mission.

I bought a camera a few years ago that came with an IBM Microdrive. It seemed like a great idea for high-capacity storage and it fits in a compact flash slot.

I quickly learned that the microdrive chews through batteries and, as flash memory became much cheaper, I replaced it with a couple of cards. The camera now gets excellent life from its batteries.

This camera uses AA batteries. I can use alkaline in a pinch, and get good life, but I prefer the rechargeable NiMH for great life.

This is not a camera I'm going to recommend, though, even if it's still available. For what I paid for it a few years ago, I could now buy the Canon Digital Rebel.
Digital rebel - now that is a nice camera. Personally though, I think Jay is nuts for not borrowing enough money to go snatch up one of those $150 Powershot's.
"I need a digital camera today. Which ones are as good as $150ish dollars will buy?"

Right after I asked that question would have been a good place to suggest the Powershot if you’re that fond of it. All of them I have found at that price were 2+/- megapixel.

I have been searching camera reviews for a while and It's seems that this is just the nature of most digital cameras. Some seem better than others however the ones that are ranked better (battery life) either come with rechargeable or take 4AA. Even then most have comments about low battery life. I like the camera. I think I'll try rechargeable.

Thanks for the links mike. Ill try the 2300mAh and turn off the LCD screen.
Jay, the Canon Powershot was the one Circuit City had - one day only - for $150. It was mentioned right here a full hour before Circuit City closed for the day - if you had a Circuit City.

Some guys are just hard to please.

I'm getting around 250 shots (typically about 1/4th of them with flash) from a set of 4 1800 mAh rechargeable NiMH AA's, so poor battery life is not inevitable. These batteries last MUCH longer than alkaline (also in my daughter's portable CD player.)
I went in to get the batterys yesterday after watching Shrek II. My son was loaded up with 1.25 gallons of Coke and the second we entered Staples he said, "Do they have a bathroom here?" So we loaded up in the van and went home. I'll try again today!
ok i hit this one late...but i have to splain something here that was posted on the first post by jay. when you get a camera that has a viewfinder in the wrong place (rangefinder and many cheaper cameras) it has a problem called parallex error. this is when the lens has a different placement then the viewfinder. ok i am a nerd and it was not needed, but i do not have the chance to post on this portion of the site too often.

The standard battery and even lithium batteries arent the best for meeting the high power demands of a digital camera. What works best for digital cameras are rechargable nickel-metal batteries. They come in a variety of different types but I've had good luck with 2100mAh, but I've been told the higher the number on that the better.
NiMH = Nickel metal hydride.

Unlike the old NiCads, they have no memory (like me) so you don't have to discharge them periodically to maintain a useful life.

Even the 1800 mAh last considerably longer than alkalines, so I imagine the 2100s would be better still. (Maybe about 16% better?)

I keep a charger plugged into the console of my van and another in my office at home, so I always have fresh batteries.
"and another in my office at home"

Does your wife have to unplug the batteries to plug in her curling iron?
Jay, how's that camera working out for you? Or did you do what my wife does with 60% of her purchases and return it?

I bought 8 Eveready AA 2300 mAh batteries the other day at Sam's Club for under $16. I'm anxious to try them. The only downside I see is they take about 24 hours to charge in a standard NiMH charger.
Yes I love it. The recharable batteries last much MUCH longer. Thats wild because they don't cost too much either. The last recharable batteries I had ever used was when I was like 6 years old. The charger was just a little smaller than my PC tower. It took 24 hours to charge them and my RC car would drain them in 30 seconds. I can tell that batteries have came a long way. We even bought some for my sons Gameboy. Thanks for turning me onto them.

I also turned off the lights in my workshop and my flash and set my exposure on it longest setting and took some pic with frames with glass (thats an ugly sentence). They looked great too. Those pics will be on my website soon. Thanks for the help!
I had quite a few NiCad rechargeables around the house and have gotten rid of all of them, along with the charger. We are gradually installing NiMH batteries into any AA or AAA applications: CD players, cameras, electric toothbrushes. :D

The only trick is to remind my kids not to throw them out when they're dead.

Once I install these AA 2300 mAh batteries in my camera, I may NEVER have to replace them.