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Discussion Starter #1
My wife is wanting a new camera for Christmas and I am seeking advice for a simple easy to use but good quality unit for her birding hobby. She has been using a Kodak Easy Share for several years and must say that has been the lousiest camera and software we ever used plus it is a total battery hog. I still have my obsolete Ricoh 35mm w/a variety of lenses but those days are gone with the advent of digital plus picture downloading to computer. We are trying to stick to a budget of under $500.00 but want one that has really good battery life, auto focus and relatively strong but clear telephoto lens. All recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thanks, Rudy.:thanku:
 

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More questions:
1) Do you want interchangeable lenses?
2) Do you want to view thru a viewfinder or the LCD

Your choices are:
a] A point and shoot. Some have excellent lenses.
b] A mirror-less camera with interchangeable lenses. These vary from cameras like the Sony alpha5000 to fully professional models which can go for $4Kplus.
c] A DSLR.

Don't worry about the proprietary software that comes with the camera. All cameras that I know of allow one to either connect a USB, wi-fi, blue tooth or card to the computer and use the computers software to manipulate the photos.
 

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If a pocket-size camera is more what you're after, I highly recommend the Olympus TG-5. I bought one for Mrs. (after I dropped and broke her old one) and it is a real pleasure to use. Basic when it needs to be, but also offers some advanced shooting options and attachments. Also waterproof (and shockproof!), and of course excellent image quality, especially from such a small package. Also comes in red, for easy finding.




https://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Waterproof-Camera-3-Inch-V104190BU000/dp/B0711C1R4X/ref=sr_1_2?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1512850790&sr=1-2
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for the really great input and excellent camera recommendations. I will review the asked questions, as well as, the cameras with her. I pretty much know she will want to keep the operation as simple as possible and may can even stretch the budget just a tad if needed. Thanks again, Rudy.
 

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i was Satisfied with my sony mavica that i could set the light level/ev on in a few clicks
but any thing i took a picture of sold in a day or two
and everyone was happy
it was only a at best 980x1260 but took a good picture
but was a a drive camera

john
 

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Does the camera have to be new?

If you are looking for good high resolution pictures, I'd opt for a DSLR like the Canon T5i (18 MP) with two lenses like the Canon 18-55 mm Image Stabilized (IS) and the 55-250 mm IS telephoto. Look for a low shutter count camera - less than 10,000 pictures taken. That equipment with a bag and memory card can usually be found as a package for $475 to $500 on Craigslist. If you do stretch the budget and want new, BestBuy has the Canon T6i (24.2MP) and Canon SL2 (24.2 MP) on sale this week for $599.99 with the 18-55 mm lens. You can usually find the 55-250 mm (used) on eBay for $75 to $85. So your total would be closer to $700. Note that the T3i (18MP) and T4i (18MP) both have very similar specs to the T5i. On CL you can probably find the T3i with that package for $325 to $375 and the T4i for $400 to $450.
Perhaps Nikon users can recommend a similar model like the D3500 or D5500. BestBuy has the D3400 (24.2 MP) with 18-55 VR lens (Image Stabilized) and 70-300 mm (non-VR) lens on sale for $499.99. I'd hold out for a VR telephoto - image stabilization is more important in a telephoto.

If you want to compare the focal lengths/reach of these lenses to your old film camera lenses, note that they are all crop sensor cameras (that is somewhat smaller sensor than a 35 mm full frame, but much better than any of the point and shoot models) you need to multiply the stated focal lengths by the crop factor for the camera. The Canon crop factor is 1.6. The Nikon crop factor is 1.5. So the Canon 18- 55 mm effective focal length is about 29 - 88 mm and the Nikon 18- 55 mm effective focal length is about 27 - 83 mm.
There are similar models from several other major brands, too including Pentax, Olympus and Sony.

The best camera in the world is of no value if it doesn't get used. So make sure to try before you buy. Your wife might find the DSLRs too heavy or not want to deal with interchangeable lenses. If that is the case, all of the above brands have some pretty good point and shoot cameras that look like a small and lightweight DSLR (but with a smaller sensor). Some even have up to 50X optical zoom lenses. They aren't as good as the DSLRs, particularly in low light situations, but are far superior to your old Kodak.The BestBuy flyer for this week has the Canon Powershot SX530 (16 MP, 50X optical zoom) for only $249.99.

Good luck with your search.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Again, thank you all for responding. Ok, she wants a simple pocket size point and shoot single lens camera w/ telephoto with better battery life and picture quality than her little Kodak. We are looking closely at an Olympus and Cannon but the hunt is still on.
 

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Tha Panasonic Lumix cameras are P&S and usea a Leica lens. I've had a Leica P&S for more than a decade, and while the price point has crept up, it is a remarkable camera. If I were you, I would buy the Lumix, a very good consumer quality camera with likely a stellar lens.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/panasonic-lumix-dc-zs70-20-3-megapixel-digital-camera-silver/5866713.p?skuId=5866713&ref=212&loc=1&ksid=edd8a9d2-1a23-48b0-8372-bd2f75333a01&ksprof_id=14&ksaffcode=pg174742&ksdevice=c&lsft=ref:212,loc:2
 

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You might want to checkout KEH Camera at KEH.com. They are a used camera company but sell varying conditions of cameras, lenses, and accessories. I have purchased three camera bodies and four lenses from them without a problem. Depending on condition, they could be 50% or more less than brand new. For example, I just purchased a Like-New grade lens (it looks like it was never used) for a Sony Mirror-less camera which sells new for $348.00 but only paid $156.00 for it.

Plus right now until the end of the year they have a 1 year warranty just like brand new equipment.

If looking at new, I would recommend the Sony HX-90V. It is a great point-and-shoot camera with a Zeiss lens.
 

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As mentioned by Rock, the Lumix is a real good camera. One thing to look for is how the camera does shooting things that are moving. Need a fast camera. Best of luck.
 

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Ok we looked the different offerings and she all but cried saying that they looked way too complicated for her including features she would never use- go figure. :tango_face_sad: I am giving her a break to take it all in and get over her shock. Yes she is going to need a fast camera with the birds flying to & from all 7 feeders. Thanks again for your suggestions, Rudy.
 
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