Cheap Camera
August 28, 2008 11:09 PM   Subscribe

What's a good video/digital camera for a college student on a budget?

I'm a pre-engineering education student at TCNJ, and many of my classes call for photography to document the design process. I like the cameras on my cellphone and MacBook Pro, but I tend to find the white balance on them to be weird, and the stills and video to be grainy.

I recently saw a Flip Ultra Video 30 Minutes on sale for $99, and I remembered that David Pogue said he uses them for his podcast. Do they take really good stills at a resolution good enough for a PowerPoint? I mostly take these pictures in a woodshop with florescent lighting. I also like the idea of getting a small camcorder at a low price with decent quality, and no need to deal with tape, external batteries, or any of the other problems regular digital camcorders have. It's something I'd been thinking about buying otherwise, and if the stills were good, this could be the thing that pushes me over the edge. I might also consider the 60 minute one.

If the thing takes bad stills, are there any good digital cameras with decent resolution for somewhere in the $50-120 range? I don't want to need to borrow friends' cameras anymore, nor do I like awkwardly holding my work in front of my MacBook Pro's camera. The cell phone takes such awful pics, I'd be embarrassed to use them in a presentation.
posted by mccarty.tim to Technology (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Flip Ultra's resolution is 640x480 (VGA), which is actually the same as most digital cameras. If you want stills, it might be worth looking for a gently-used last-gen Canon SD or A-series on Craigslist or the college small ads, which ought to fit into your price range. A new A580 is just above your budget ($130 at NewEgg) takes video at VGA resolution, and it's about as solid as it gets. (Here's some sample video.)
posted by holgate at 11:41 PM on August 28, 2008

The Flip does not take stills, it's video only.
posted by Remy at 6:20 AM on August 29, 2008

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