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Pherris

A couple of non fishing electronics questions?

20 posts in this topic

Hi,

My wife and I are looking a purchasing X-mas gifts for our family. I have really no idea on either of the items we are considering.

1. Digital Camera- I did not do any research prior to my first digital camera. I purchased a Kodak easy share system about 4 years ago and have been very disappointed with it. I have been browsing cameras again but have no idea what features are most important. The camera will be used for typical family picture stuff but I would like to have a zoom feature and also be able to take close up pictures. I have also noticed there are different kind of memory cards. I have a flash memory card and I can put it in a slot on my computer (I think it is a SD memory card?) We have determined that we want a 2.5" viewing screen but beyond that have made no decisions so any input would be appreciated.

2. A flat panel TV. I see there are Plasma and LCD. I do not know which is better or really the differences. The only thing we know we want is HD tv capabilities. Again any input appreciated.

As my wife and i have been discussing who we could talk to I said I will ask on Fishing Minnesota. Her response was yea like a bunch of people on a fishing site will know anything about this stuff. I just smiled and said "will see". I plan on printing any replies just to show her that fisher people do know things other then fishing stuff. Thanks for all replies. Good Fishing!!

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A few quick thoughts. I'm by no means a photographer but some things I've noticed and learned with digital cameras that you might want to consider.

Don't let anyone convince you that more megapixels is better. Yes, you can get bigger pictures this way, but if you are only doing 3x5", 4x6", or just for viewing on a PC, then it's not necessary to go overboard. I had a Sony that I bought about 7 years ago that was a 3.3MP and it worked great for taking the perfect sized pictures that you could view on a computer monitor without zooming/panning to see it all. I found that when you resize a larger picture you also reduce the quality. Same goes for enlarging one. If you want to take portrait sized then go for more MP. There are settings on most cameras to change the size of pictures you take as well. I just got an email of two bucks locked together and each picture was 17MB!!! What good is that unless you want to make a poster of it?

Obviously the larger the picture the more memory you will require to store them....both in the camera and on your PC. You'll probably need at least a 256MB SD card to start with. You could get by with a smaller chip if you clean out your camera often but if you're on a vacation trip and can't download the pics off the card then you'll either need one big card or multiple smaller ones until you can get to a PC and then clean them off.

Another thing that I learned was that some cameras have brand/model specific batteries. Although they are rechargable, you know that they will eventually cease holding a charge. By this time the camera is out of date and so is the battery. I learned that with the Sony I mentioned earlier. The only place I could locate a battery was on Ebay and decided it was time to get a new camera anyway with a better lens. The Sony did take great pictures though. I decided to go for one with off the shelf AA batteries which are available everywhere and you don't have to worry about dragging a charger along. Some places you may not even be able to plug in for a period of time (deer shack, ice fishing). The rechargable battery in the Sony also would drain super quick if it was exposed to the cold temps which made it useless for ice fishing and why I chose the disposable batts with the new camera.

Look for the highest optical zoom lens if you plan to take any medium distance photos. It may say 7X optical and then some large digital zoom, but once you get into the digital zoom region the quality begins to go downhill fast. The new camera I have has a feature where I can set it so that it won't even go into digital zoom and just go as far as the optical can go and then stop zooming and I have it set on this mode.

As far as TV sets go, Plasmas are said to have a slightly better picture than a LCD set, but the plasmas can experience burn-in while LCD's will not. Plasmas typically have a better black level also. Most sets today are HDTV compatible and all you'll need is an antenna to receive over the air channels locally if they are available and you're close enough to the transmitter. The other sources would be from a satellite or cable provider that offer HDTV channels.

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Pherris,

Here's a link about T.V. buying from todays Star Trib

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From that article: Do I really need a high-tech TV? If your set doesn't have a digital tuner, the answer is probably yes. After March 1, all new TVs must have digital tuners, and Feb. 17, 2009, will be the final day for analog broadcasting in the United States.

This statement is a little misleading, and I'm sure there are those people out there who are thinking every TV they own will become a door stop on Feb 17th at midnight but that is not true.

Yes, analog broadcasting will stop in 2009. What does that mean? Simply you will not be able to use a rabbit ears or roof-top antenna to get your favorite LOCAL TV shows. I don't know what percentage of people are utilizing only an antenna to get local TV, but I'd bet this mandate will affect a small amount of people compared to the number using satellite or cable today, and since there is no mandate on cable or satellite providers to switch to digital only broadcasting it means you could use your current TV for a long time if you use cable or sat....or until they decide to go digital too and then you WILL need a new TV or a digital to analog converter box or some other provision to feed the old TV with the digital signal.

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Try this site for the camera reviews

www.steves-digicams. (you know what)

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Not all the Sonys need a specific battery. My 5 mega pixel Cybershot only requires 2 AA batteries! It has a 2.5 LCD and is fairly easy on the batteries compared to my last camera.

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I have the same Sony Cybershot. Great camera and I love the AA battery option, especially in a pinch.

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Digital Cameras

A 3-5 megapixel should be fine for what you described. A lot of cameras have a 3x optical zoom. You'll have less selection if you want higher, but for some outdoor shots it is nicer. I think most in the mid-price range and higher will have a macro setting for close-ups. I agree with the others on getting on that can use conventional batteries. The one I have has a rechargable but can also use a 6 volt lithium camera battery. For the size of the memory card, I got a 1 gigabyte (1000 megabyte) for the family vacations and because most cameras can shoot video as well. Last August I used up the first card and didn't have the case with me to put in the blank one. I lost some of the "changing of the guard" at Arlington National Cemetery, not good. The price of these cards have come down a lot and someone usually has them on sale.

Flat panel tv

What size do you want? LCDs go up to 37-42 inch, any higher will be real expensive. Plasmas start at 37 and go up from there.

LCD advantages: better for gaming and computer work; lighter in weight; less power usage than plasma

disadvantages: the screen is soft like a laptop screen and is at greater risk of damage by something hitting it, i.e. kids

Plasma advantage: better for tv and movie viewing; screen's surface is glass

disadvantages: There is a risk of burn in on plasmas but not as much as the first generation of screens; heavier; more power usage than LCD but about half of a conventional tube tv (crt)

I just went through the tv decision and bought a 42-inch Panasonic plasma. They were rated well by Consumer Reports.

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If you watch a lot of fast paced sports the plasma will show details better than a lcd because of the time it takes to change the colors on a lcd is slower.If you go to Best Buy or some place that has them on display try to watch sports and you will see that the details don,t follow the action like a hockey puck moving accross the ice. you should also try to find one that is capable of 1080p.Most will be 720p or 1080i but as things change over that will be the standard that most things will get broadcast at.

As for digital cameras you should get the most optical zoom in the brand of camera you like.Also look to see if they have lens adapters to give you greater zoom.for pictures up to 8x12 something in the 4 megipixal and up will give you great shots. hope this helps and have a merry christmas wink.gif

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Just my quick $.02

Don't loose faith in the Kodak cameras, everybody has had some clunckers out there, take a peak at the z series, more like the z7590, pretty decent cameras.

lcdtvbuyingguide and plasmatvbuyingguide ( you know the rest ) are some good places for information overload.

Mike

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TV's

The choices are endless.

There are pros and cons to each. I could probably go on and on.

A couple of the most confusing things to people are understanding the difference between HDTV and Digital signal. They are two seperate entities.

The other one is understanding the resolution of the monitor/TV.

High Definition starts at 720p. Don't mistake "Enhanced or EHDTV for high definition, it's not the same. There are quite a few low end plasmas that are EHDTV and my suggestion would be to pass on those.

When it comes to the numbers, you have:

720p

1080i

1080p

There really is not a whole lot of difference between 720p and 1080i. Six of one and half a dozen of the other. The p means that the lines are progressively scanned (better) and i means that they are interlaced.

Here's one thing to remember. Currently the ONLY way you are going to get 1080p resolution is with a high end PC, BluRay, or HD-DVD. Don't expect any broadcast or even cable 1080p signals for a very long time.

In my opinion 1080p is a HUGE waste of money. I saw a Samsung 47" LCD in Sunday's flyer (Best Buy) that is 720p native resolution for 2400 vs the same thing with 1080p for 3600. Not only that, but good luck actually seeing the difference.

I would lean towards the LCD vs the Plasma....well actually I would buy a projection TV instead. A lot more bang for your buck.

I have a projection LCD that has an amazing picture, no loss of view at extreme angles. Yes it's a bit deeper than that one you can hang on the wall, but still pretty thin at 13".

The only downside is that you will need to replace the bulb after approx 3000-5000 hrs, but once you do, you basically have a like new picture.

If you consider a DLP projection set, be careful, because there are a small percentage of people that are prone to the "rainbow effect". Basically as you view the screen you see a rainbow that is annoying and can cause quite a headache after a period of time.

Good Luck!

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If you are looking at Hi-Def don't forget projectors there are a lot of them out there and if you have the room to make a home theater this can be a great family gift. I added a home theater last winter and enjoy watching movies and the Vikes in Hi-def on my 88" screen for a lot less then a flat screen or a plasma.

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Thank you everybody. I have printed out the replies thus far and my wife is in disbelief that a bunch of people that spend their time hanging out on a fishing board all the time would know so much about other stuff. cool.gif Please keep the replies coming I am now taking into consideration many things that never crossed my mind.

On the digital camera: I have a friend that has a canon powershot SD630 Digital elph. I really like the 3" screen and was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this specific unit or features of this model. Thanks again this is a huge help.

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One other thing I heard about the LCD bulb is if the tv is turned off and then turned on right away it may toast the bulb. The kid factor came into play again because of this. The plasmas don't have this issue.

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Quote:

One other thing I heard about the LCD bulb is if the tv is turned off and then turned on right away it may toast the bulb. The kid factor came into play again because of this. The plasmas don't have this issue.


Most will have some sort of protection to prevent this, however, I wouldn't be suprised if it did happen. However, the bulb is easy to replace. Once a plasma goes........it's gone wink.gif

I know of three people personally that had issues with a plasma. Two had them burn out totally, and the third had major burn in.

Burn in is basically a static image permanently burnt into the screen mad.gif

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Quote:

Thank you everybody. I have printed out the replies thus far and my wife is in disbelief that a bunch of people that spend their time hanging out on a fishing board all the time would know so much about other stuff.


I think a lot of us here have a lot of experience in a variety of things and the forums here let us express ourselves. Kind of like having 26,000 grandpa's around

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For $12 you can buy a years worth of Consumer Reports Online. They have an excellent how and what to buy section on all electronics. They provide alot of info free as well. Excellent resource.

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What's great is that we come from a wide variety of backgrounds and we are not all just fisherpeople. There are attorneys, peace officers, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, you name it here and their expertise is used as well.

Bob

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Well coming from the movers stand point of view here I would say definitely go with the LCD especially if you are looking at a big screen. Those things are really light for there size with even a 42" version weighing under a hundred pounds. These tvs are very easy to move and very nice looking. As stated before when the bulb burns out on the LCD that is an easy fix but when the gas burns out in a plasma there is no fixing it your out your thousands of dollars on it. And for all of you trinitron lovers out there make sure you get rid of it before you call the moving company wink.gifwink.gifgrin.gif

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TTT

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