Recommendations for Digital Camera for rocket photography use

Office mates have tracked down a couple good deals on 3.2 megapixel digital cameras with bigger than normal optical zoom, and I'm looking at buying one
this weekend. I'm looking for feedback on either camera, particularly how they are for rocket use, (NOT for sticking inside the rocket like the Pencam) as in the ability to snap a picture instantly when the button is pushed, without the typical digital time lag.
    Olympus C-720 3.2 MP, 8:1 optical zoom
    Fuji Finepix 3800 3.2 MP, 6:1 optical zoom
I've found both on sale at various places for under $300, which seems to be what the cameras with only 3:1 optical zoom are going for elsewhere.
Or if you've got something else you'd recommend in this feature and price range, let me know. Soon!
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
Save Model Rocketry from the HSA! http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good job on narrowing it down to Oly and Fuji. Those are the two brands I like for consumer digitals.
Of your two choices, I'd take the Fuji 3800 over the Olympus 720. (But you should be aware, neither of those cams are current models.) The 720 had real problems with chromatic aberrations (purple fringing) here's a review: http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/olympus/c720uz-review/index.html The 3800 will give you nicer photos than the 720 but has a smaller zoom and continuous mode is only 2 shots at 1fps (continuous is great for lift off shots).
You should really be looking at the Olympus C-740 with the new ED lens that cuts down on the CA that i mentioned above, and the Fuji S5000 (just released) They're both current models with 10x zoom (optical)
This spring I was deciding to go with the Oly C-740, Fuji 3800 or 602. I chose the C-740 and I'm quite happy with it. I plan on keeping it until I buy a Canon DSLR (probably the 10D).
Below are some samples from my Olympus C-740
here's an example of continuous mode:
http://www.snear.org/nypowerx/p7060040.jpg
http://www.snear.org/nypowerx/p7060041.jpg
http://www.snear.org/nypowerx/p7060042.jpg
I'm the one setting the timer:
http://www.snear.org/nypowerx/p7060036.jpg
closeup (blown Hypertech):
http://www.snear.org/6-28-03/p1010040.jpg
evening shot:
http://www.snear.org/snear10-5-03/pa050029a.jpg
night shots:
http://www.snear.org/snear10-5-03/pa050060a.jpg
http://www.snear.org/snear10-5-03/pa050061a.jpg
http://www.snear.org/snear10-5-03/pa050062a.jpg
I think I could have gotten some better night shots out of it if I manually set the camera, but these were all "auto".
Hope ya find one that suits your needs!
-Dan
On 24 Oct 2003 11:42:16 -0600, kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

Dan Chandler Southern New England Association of Rocketry http://www.snear.org /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm aware of this. I suspect they are this cheap because they are being cleared out in favor of the newer models. I've got some good deals from OfficeMax (the place with the 720) on closeouts on my PDA and Camcorder. I can get the 740 over the itnernet for about $370 instead of $300 for the 720.

The big OPTICAL zoom ratio (and the price) is really the feature that drew me to these two choices.
I also note that the newer 740 uses a different memory card format than the 720. As I'm not really tied to any digifilm yet, is there any advantage of one vs another? Other than Sony being more expensive (wouldn't buy Sony anyway, but that's another story).
Thanks for the feedback. I'll check out your web stff later, as I'm off to go see Homer Hickam again.
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
Save Model Rocketry from the HSA! http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 24 Oct 2003 16:45:09 -0600, kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

Check shopper.cnet.com (or any of the other price search pages) you'll find both the Olympus C-740 and Fuji S5000 for low 300's. I feel the extra $50 or so over the previous models is money well spent because of the improvements you gain.
The S5000 was not available when I bought my C-740, otherwise it would have made the decision more difficult. I think the Olympus takes better photos but the S5000 has the best continuous mode of any current digital in the ~$300 price range. (that I'm aware of)
S5000 specs: 1.8 frames per second continuous or Final 5 frames at 5 fps (hold your finger down until the rocket leaves the pad then take your finger off and it keeps the last 5 frames) that is really awesome for those rockets that like to chuff on the pad before they reach full pressure.
Compared to the C-740: 1.4 fps up to 11 frames Here's an example from my 740: http://www.snear.org/tree/ (warning, not rockets) or 2 fps for 3 frames (this is the mode i find myself using for most liftoffs)
Look through the reviews and sample photo galleries on the review sites that myself and others have mentioned and decide for yourself.

Of course! My previous digital had a 3x zoom and I added a 1.45 teleconverter but it's no match for my current 10x. (you can always add a 1.7x teleconverter if 10x isn't enough)

Yeah, xD is the replacement for SmartMedia, one more reason not to buy a SM camera. I use xD, SmartMedia and Compact Flash for all my gadgets. CF is the most widely used (and you can get microdrives of several gigabytes). xD is the smallest (some say too small) There are some boring differences, which kind has inherently faster bus speeds, which have performance cards available, etc... the cards are really no big deal because the second thing you buy (after Ni-Mh batteries) is going to be a multi card reader. They run anywhere from $10 to $50. Mine is made by Lexarmedia and was about $30 from Wallyworld.

Dan Chandler Southern New England Association of Rocketry http://www.snear.org /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well the thing that got me going was a flier a colleague brought into the office, with a one day sale on the C-720. Based on your comments, I've decided to pass it over. Now I'm in no rush to decide between the S5000 and the C740. So far best prices I've found are $304 and $359 respectively.
In the same class I also found a Minolta Z1 ($290) and a Toshiba M700 (307) both with 10X zoom.

Well, I've got 4 NiMH already, for my GPS. I guess if the camera eats 4 AA then I'll be in the market for 8 more of them. Might be time to upgrade from the 4 cell charger to the 8 cell charger too. I can see needing to charge NINE to FIFTEEN cells after a day on the rocket field: 4 camera, 3 FRS (times 3 FRS radios), and 2 GPS!
My camcorder takes MMC/SD and both the Pencam SD and my new PDA use the SD. Is xD related at all to SD? I suppose there are some advantages to all your toys eating the same memory chips. But so far my memory chip investment is minimal. What's the market in used SD cards for my Pencam and PDA? I wonder if I can take the Pencam chip and put it in the PDA for viewing?
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
Save Model Rocketry from the HSA! http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 25 Oct 2003 16:42:11 -0600, kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

If you wait more than a few months, there will be a new crop of cameras. But don't let that stop you from getting a camera you like now.
Back a few years ago, I had a friend who was looking for his first PC. He did all the right research and found out some cool new features would be released in a few months. So he waited and found out more stuff would be out in a few MORE months. He ended up waiting 2 years before he finally bought his computer, when he should have just bought one in the first place.
So I guess my point is... It'll be obsolete in 3 years anyways. If ya find one ya like, go buy it. practice with it over the holidays and you'll be set for next launching season

Well they both have more of that "purple fringing" than I like. (look for it around the edges of white areas of a photo) But of those two, I like the Minolta way better than the Toshiba.

While you're shelling out the cash for a camera, why not buy a couple Garmin Rino's that way you'll combine the GPS with FRS and have less stuff to charge! haha spend everything :)

I completely understand if going with a matching set would give you that "warm n fuzzy" feeling. I'm repairing a laptop right now for someone and it has a built in SD reader. That alone would probably sway my camera decision. (if it was my laptop)
I don't see why the PDA wouldn't read the pencam card unless it's formatted differently. There's one obvious way to find out. I doubt anything would be permanently damaged :-)
Dan Chandler Southern New England Association of Rocketry http://www.snear.org /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've always maintained that any computer product you buy in the store today is ALREADY obsolete. Yet my 33 year old SLR is NOT!.

Neither of the Rino's offer the magnetic compass necessary for Site N Go rocket finding.
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
Save Model Rocketry from the HSA! http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hey Bob another option for you !!
Ritz Camera has the Minolta DImage S414 camera for $350 !!
4mp 4x zoom (AND you can get 2x and 2.5x tele adaptors fromebay cheap !!) making it possible to get 8x or even 10x zoom from it.
its Compact Flash (good)
you can also get an IR remote for it (nice touch) and a slide adaptor to digitize slides (search ebay with this criteria no quotes "(minolta, dimage) s414"
I would not buy the camera their just accessories later on.
check out steve's digicams for shutter lag and what not (I have not fully read it yet) but it might be a VERY nice option for you at 4mp at that !!
My friend just got it today for $350 at Ritz Camera. I will have a chance to "play" with it tuesday I will let you know what I think.
Chris Taylor http://www.nerys.com /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
if you pda can read SD and JPG then yes you can view in the PDA
I used to do this with my pocket pc before I sold it.
as for Memory cards. pricewatch. (newegg also has good prices and good reliable service)
XD is another completely different format
as for reading these cards. go to walmart. $30 will get you a USB2 (and 1) compatible reader that can handle every single standard format out today.
Chris Taylor http://www.nerys.com /

SD.
your
wonder
http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf
www.nar.org
http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bob Kaplow wrote:

After looking at this thread and then reading about the cameras last night, I would lean toward the Fuji if I were buying right now. The Toshiba uses Cannon optics and its shutter lag is a little better, but the Fuji has more cool features and looks nicer to me. Almost a toss up.
tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I went for the Fuji S602. LOVE IT. Great continous shooting, Plus a nice video mode if you forget to chage the video cam (happns more than you would think)
I've only shot 2 or 3 launches with it, but I learned hot to use it ay NYPOWER.
Heres some of my pics: http://rmpitzer.syr.edu/nypower03/theo/ (day 1 + 2) http://rmpitzer.syr.edu/nypower03/theo2/ (day 3)
Im running a 256 CF, Transonic 32x, I like CF alot, I'd go for that if I were you.
- Theo McD.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

The 602 is a nice camera, I'm jealous of the manual focus ring you have. Autofocus is normally fine for the launch site, but I was on a hike earlier this year and auto didn't work for this shot:
http://www.snear.org/5-30-03/P5300196a.JPG
by the time i was able to focus properly, the bird was gone. kinda wished I had your 602 that day.
Circuit City carried the S602z's briefly then they blew them all out one week for like $175. I called every store within 200 miles and couldn't find one. :-(

Cool, day 3 looks like you got some shots of my stuff!

Dan Chandler Southern New England Association of Rocketry http://www.snear.org /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
$175 Of man, I would have bought 2!! I paid alot more than that!! I just bought a few filters and a lense adapter cameragear.com
Cheep stuff!! and good quality!
- Theo

to
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 24 Oct 2003 11:42:16 -0600, kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote:
snip

snip
All the digitals have different lag times, pick the camera you like and really learn it.
<zen mode on> Become one with the camera <zen mode off>
Dan Chandler Southern New England Association of Rocketry http://www.snear.org /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Many Digital Cameras can "rack the focus" by pressing half way down on the shutter release. This allows the camera to sample the shot before the action, and then pressing down all the way will snap the shot.
Also look to see if the camera has burst shooting. This allows you to take multiple shots in a row automatically (like an autowinder on a SLR camera). Some cameras change the shot rate based on the resolution you set the camera on.
With that said, I find digital cameras to be VERY sensitive to motion. You'll need to practice your rifle finger (slow steady) and avoid a shotgun finger (slapping the trigger).
Mark ASTRE WebGeek
On 24 Oct 2003 11:42:16 -0600, kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OH one more thing. Shutter Priority Mode is a definate plus.
I can put my camera in shutter priority and select 1/1000 or 1/2000 and let it figure out the rest.
ANYTHING slower than 1/1000 (MAYBE 1/850) is begging for blur. I sometimes get blur at 1/1000 !!
If you do not have shutter priority but you can lock the focus on infinit point the camera in the vicinity of the sun (NEVER AT IT) which will force it to max out its shutter speed (BUT cause it to deeply step down the aperature so if it is not a very bright day the images might come out dark)
Chris Taylor http://www.nerys.com /
(Bob Kaplow)

digital
one
be
http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf
www.nar.org
http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

digital
one
One feature you must have BOB: Rapid sequence shooting. I found a $299 kodak to have a 4 rapid shoot feature, and get a lift off and boost shot every time.
Ary

be
http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf
www.nar.org
http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bob Kaplow wrote:

Chris Taylor's digital launch shots are some of the best I've seen barring high end digital SLR's. You might not agree with him on his Grrr, but you have to admit he's got it going with digital launch photos. I don't remember what model his camera is. Chris?
tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I fully agree.
--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jerry Irvine wrote:

They were good...very good?
What cam did he use???
Ted Novak TRA#5512
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.