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I'm new to digital photography and am looking at the Sony Cybershot, possibly the P7 or P2 as a first purchase, plus the 128 mb memory stick. I've had a good demo of the P2 and read some good reviews of the P7. I'm looking for something with good movie clips with sound, as well as stills. Opinions and reviews welcome please. I really wanted advice on what my computer requirements should be in order to be able to edit/use the movie and sound. I've got three networked computers with CDRW, so space is no problem, I'm wondering if I need to upgrade memory etc. I already use a scanner and several different software editing packages, so I know I should be ok for good quality pictures. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks.
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Can't help you with the equipment Fran but make sure you have enough RAM. I recommend 512mb minimum for throwing TIFF's around in a picture editor and suggest 1Gb+ for movies. John.
You do not say what memory you have now or which OS you are using.
If you are on 98se or me you will have a problem wit the memory in that 98 does not handle RAM over 256mb very well as it can only address 256mb. Having more can even slow the system down. If you are on NT4 then the camera will be a problem as it uses USB for its downloading and NT4 does not support USB so a floppy disc adapter will have to be used for downloading to the computer. Windows 2000 or XP (sorry to swear there) will work fine with large memory and USB.
To be fair you only need RAM over 256mb if you are going to get into image editing using programs like Adobe Photoshop etc as they are memory hungry. If you are just going to tweak and print using basic programs like MGI or Arcsoft etc. or even the SONY program (not recomended though) then 256mb is more than enough.
For Photoshop, you are recommended to have between three and five times the image size in RAM allocated to it.
ie. If you are dealing with 20 Mb. file sizes, you should have between 60 - 100 Mb.
RAM is quite cheap at the moment and increasing your RAM well above what Photoshop requires will also allow you to have several programs open at the same time.
My main PC is Windows 98 with 128 mb with Pentium III 450mhz (I think), my laptop is ME, and my old dinosaur is 95. I know I'll need to add more memory. Disk space is no problem as all three PC's are networked and one has two hard drives, plus I've got a CDRW and zip drive.
I'm researching my family history and really just want to add photos to a magazine type document, I don't think I really want to "play around" with them too much - not yet anyway. May be just resizing and minor bits. I will also want to add movie clips with audio to the document too. I don't usually have any problems when I edit photo's that I've scanned.
Thats my other problem, I'm not really sure what software to go for. I've got a couple of packages, mainly MS Photo Editor, Snapshot (which only seems to like BMP, plus a couple of magazine freebies that I don't really use (Photo Montage, Photo Printer, EZ Pix. When I use my scanner I usually play around with the MS package but mainly use the Snapshot package, as it came with all my family history software.
Is a Sony Cybershot the best option for this?
Photo but don't really use them much or do much with them yet to know what is best
Your main PC has plenty of scope for photo use and as much as it would be nice to take it to 256mb ram, it is not essential. Your editing software is ok but if you want to repair or enhance older images then it will fall short.
Adobe has just launched Photo Elements 2 which will be more than enough for your photo needs and will cost around 80. However you can still find version 1 out there for less than 50.
For your video clips there are plenty of packages that will do a fine job. MGI video wave for example. You will find alot of full products for video editing free on download websites or computer magazine disc. They may be 1 or 2 versions old but for your use more than adequate.
The Sony P7 is and excellent choice for this kind of work. It is small and compact with an excellent lens. It has the simplest menu system to use and a very long battery life. Photo quality is very good. You might like to also look at the Canon S30/40 they have a better spec and give you more for your money. At the end of the day though, you will not go wrong with either Sony or Canon.
The problem you will have is there are new models coming out every week and it is knowing when to jump. My suggestion is to write down all that you are going to ask of the camera. Set a budget and visit a good camera shop (not multis like Dixons , etc). You can then handle most of them and hopefully make an informed decision.
When I have customers coming in 'blind' I always encourage them to make a list as mentioned and set a firm budget. This will always make it clear what the requirements are and leads to a satisfied customer at the end of it. I also encourage them to 'fire a couple of shots off so I can show them on the shop PC' this facility is available at most good camera shops.
Hope this helps
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