Tech Talk

Permanent link to Low-cost Digital Cameras Low-cost Digital Cameras

Saturday, May 11, 2002

If you haven't bought a camera yet you'll have already saved money, because they're very similar to computers in their frequent newer better faster models. The good thing is that good cameras are now to be found in older generations. Look to spend just a couple hundred dollars? Usually I tell people to expect to pay $300 or more, but let's take a look.

I did find some decent cameras in the couple hundred dollar range. It's hard, because most in this range are quite poor. Key features of a good digital camera you need to watch for, in addition to whatever your preferences are:

  1. 2 megapixel or better. Any less and you won't get anything good when you print
  2. Color. Read reviews and users' comments carefully for how the camera does with color. A surprising number of these cameras just plain don't do any justice to the original.
If you don't have the quality and color to start with, all the other preferences don't really matter. You might notice I don't mention Sony; their cameras never show up in the reviews I read, for some reason. I also have very little "feel" for HP, Toshiba, and Minolta digicams.

Kodak DX3500

  • I've known Kodak's cameras to be consistenly good. I've never had my hands on this one, though.
  • Read a review and lots of users' comments on
  • $220 at Amazon
Fujifilm 2600
  • I've never had my hands on a Fuji, but read lots of good things about them. The main reason I haven't considered them is because I already have money in Compact Flash memory cards, and the Fuji uses Smartmedia. This one's moving a ways away from $200, too.
  • Cnet review and users' comments
  • $280 Amazon
Olympus D-380
  • Again, never had my hands on an Olympus (sound like a pattern, here?). I know Olympus makes good cameras, though; again this is a Smartmedia vs. Compact Flash issue. By the way, there isn't a better media type; I was at Walmart today and noticed the prices are identical on these two types.
  • Nothing at Cnet on this one
  • $200 at Amazon


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