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digital cameras for baby pics? (lens speeds?)

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I'm trying to decide on a new digital camera, with the specific goal

of finding something my husband will be comfortable using for shots

of our new baby. I read in the equipment guide that it's a good

idea to use a fast lens/camera so you don't have to use flash on the

baby's sensitive eyes all the time, which makes sense. However,

that never seems to be a spec listed for any of the digital

cameras. I'm looking for something in the 3 Megapixel-ish range,

with say a 3x or 4x optical zoom. Also, my husband is a bit thick

of finger, so he's more comfortable with a body like a trad SLR

rather than a little P&S that can fit in an Altoids can.


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Olympus C-5050z, it has a really fast lens (F/1.8?), is a small rangefinder format, and

has the optical zoom you wanted. It's a 5Mpixel camera, there is also a C-4000z that

is cheaper, but not as nice.


If you could find the older (discountinued) C-4040z, it's probably the best fit for


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For pictures of our new baby , my wife and I use the HP850 which is more like an SLR

but with a video display in the eyepiece. I t has an 8x optical zoom range, a 56x

digital zoom range, and produces a 4.1 Mp JPEG file (you have three levels of

compression), manual white balance as well las daylight/flash. tungsten & fluorescent

presets, three levels of color saturation, and multiple levels of resolution. The control

menu is easy to use and the lens is terrific. There are auto, Aperture priority , Shutter

priority and three program modes (Action, Landscape & Portrait); In aperture Priority

you can adjust the aperture in 1/2 stop increments. there are spot , center weighted,

& averaging meter modes, and you can choose "auto', ISO 100 or ISO 200 sensitivity

settings. You can bias the meter in half stop increments from +3.0 stops to -3.0

stops. The flash has several modes. Verticals are automatically rotated in camera, and

I like it because it handles like a camera. Depressing the shutter release partially lets

yo choose and lock focus so you can recompose. You do have to hold the shutter-

release down for the focus to stay locked. there is a macro mode.

Battery life (using with rechargeable 1400 or 1800mAH NiMH batteries) is very good,

but it will eat regular Alkaline batteries like a kid goes after candy.

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I recently bought an Olympus C4000 to replace my older and

broken C3030. I use it primarily for family snapshots. I

purchased that model because it was by far the best value in a 4

MP camera. The C-series Olympus cameras are not super

small hard-to-handle-with-big-hands cameras, nor are they

large and hard to carry.


Super pictures. Program auto functions with full manual control if

you want. The power consumption is very low compared to other

similar digicams and the camera will run on several battery

types including AA. It was a consumer reports best buy. I

recommend it highly. It will serve you well for several years and

has enough resolution for great prints up to 8X10. Cost is

around $400 or less. The C5050 mentioned above is a lot more

money with only a slightly faster lens (F1.8 vs 2.8). It was not

worth the extra dollars for only 12% more resolution in my

opinion. These also use the now common and inexpensive

smart media memory cards


If you want more of a true point and shoot without possible

manual control of aperature, the older Olympus D560

(around$260) 3MP camera. The newer all-weather versions of

the Stylus camera like the the 3MP C300 ($360) should also be

on your compare list. These are very pocket friendly cameras but

not to small for easy control.


Shop online at someplace like B&H to see complete

specifications for any digital camera you are considering.


Happy shopping!

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has a series of reviews but you can also go to the Cameras section (from menu bar at top) and check be megapixels, then select a camera and read a spec sheet. It's a little cumbersome, but the "Camera Finder" feature doesn't include aperture as a sort criteria.


I don't expect that you'll necessarily get good advice but going to a larger electronics chain retailer may get you a broader choice of cameras to look at and feel while you are in the search mode. Besides the Oly's, the now discontinued Sony DSC-85 (may still be worth searching out??) had a fast lens, as does the Canon G3.

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The Fujifilm S602z is another camera worth considering. I agree with Chris, check out www.dpreview.com and read the very detailed reviews over there.


Advantages of the S602z? More SLR like than most digicams due to an electronic viewfinder instead of an optical one. 3MP with 6MP mode giving an image 'quality' equal to that produced by a 4.2MP camera, 6x optical zoom and quite a fast lens (f2.8-3.1). Capable of 1600 ISO in 1MP mode (1280 x 960 pixels). Takes very cheap smartmedia cards, and also compact flash / microdrives (unlike Sony which I believe tie you into their brand of memory cards). Uses cheap AA batteries (best to buy rechargables though).

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Heather, one sore and seldom mentioned characteristic (B. Gates would name it "a feature"?) of digital cameras is shutter lag. As a fairly recent grandfather, I purchased my first digital camera a few months ago with the additional intention of using it to shoot countless snaps of my granddaughter. As Schwartzenegger would say, wrong decision! Don't know about all digital cameras but the one I bought, a Minolta DiMage 7i, which is quite fine, even surprisingly good in most other aspects, is practically useless for action photography. A newborn baby probably doesn't move very much nor very fast but your baby will grow at an astonishing pace (don't I know it with three grown-up girls, two of them married) and faster than you blink he/she will be running around the house with you and your husband on tag trying not to get a picture but to catch him/her. The fast lens is a good idea; 2.8 should suffice with an ISO 400 setting, however I would urge you not to buy anything that you cannot try hands-on on a moving subject. I have found that my rate of keepers is less than 1:20 with the DiMage due to the extreme shutter lag, between 1/3 and 1/2 of one second. Can you figure how much ground can a 18 mo. old kid traverse in that time, not to mention the changes of expression? So far, the _only_ camera in my fairly thick arsenal that can keep up with my granddaughter is a Nikon F90X in rapid burst mode (about 5 frames/sec) fitted with a fast Tokina 28~80/2.8 zoom). My reco would be to look long and hard at a fast _film_ viewfinder type camera with good AF system (i.e. a Contax G2 with the 3.5 zoom), the viewfinder allowing you to maintain the view of the subject at the very time of the exposure. Digitals, save for super-expensive SLR's are just not yet fit for action photos and, believe me, kids mean *action*!
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I agree regarding the shutter delay problem for action, and asked that question above.


Some cameras, including the C4040 and C5050, have what is called sequential shooting mode, where you can set the camera to take from 3-5 images automatically in sequence very fast. When you do this, you can capture the action without delay between each photo, and then just delete the duds.


Fast moving children present a probleming of timing for any camera system, film or digital.

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You've got a lot of good answers already, but consider the Canon Powershot

A70. It's a 3 megapixel 3 x zoom camera with a really comfortable handgrip. It

has a reasonably fast f 2.8 lens.

The canon G2 is good too, but a bit pricier. It has 4 MP and an f/2.0 lens that

lets you work in lowlight. The Canon optics really give a nice color to skin

tones as well.<div>005QET-13424584.jpg.636da61476cad61dbe932439e6f0f98b.jpg</div>

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SHUTTER LAG: Do not buy a camera without understanding (in person) how bad the digital shutter lag will be.


Do not rely on statistics. The printed specs can, and do, lie. My Digital SLR has a similar lag specification to some P&S cameras, but the truth in the field is different.


ERGONOMICS: Get a feel for the body. Big is bad. Small is good. Too small is worst of all!


FLASH UNIT: Many P&S camera's make up for small lenses with big flashes. This can be scary to a baby. My old P&S had a flash so bright it scared adults! My current P&S has a small lens and a weak flash: I now get underexposed shots (gah!).

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