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  1. #1
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Hello all,

    It's time to replace my digital camera.

    I'm looking for a point and shoot with:
    good battery system
    good pic quality
    fast at taking pics (focus & shutter speed)
    good software
    small enough

    Does this camera exist?

    Thank you for the advice in advance. Have a great day all!
    mk

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I have had several over the years.
    Stay away from HP.
    Cannon was OK
    I now have a Kodac 612 that I'm very happy with
    6mp and 12X optical lens
    Get the optional rechargable battery
    worth every penny

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Mike,

    Like most inspectors, we burn out our cameras, from hard use, crawlspaces, dust, dropping, rain etc. I've burned out my share of cameras.

    With my latest purchase (4 months ago) I think I have the answer.

    I purchased a LUMIX mod# DMC-TS2 - it is a compact point and shoot with flash and zoom BUT the best thing is it is water, dust, temperature, and shock TUFF.

    1. It is good in freezing weather (good to minus 10?? or something)
    2. Can take pictures under water to 30ft. (I'm always under water when I inspect HA!)
    3. Can be dropped from 6 feet without damage.
    4. Dust resistant - no telescoping lens problems.

    It's been great so far, It's fast, has a great flash that recharges quickly, although the battery requires recharging after about 250 pic's (I keep 2 spares fully charged for back up).

    I was tired of cameras freezing up in the winter, sand getting into the lens mechanism, and rain clogging the camera. So far so good. Time will tell if I made the right purchase, but I'm hopefully on track with a good one.

    Good luck with your search


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    For home inspectors, digital cameras are probably like flashlights, we all have our favorites. My favorite digital camera right now is the Fujifilm S1800. It is 12MP and 18X optical zoom. The only drawback is not being shirt pocket size.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I am also looking to replace. My Kodak has been very good overall and may buy another one. This camera is older and taken some abuse. Still works but after a while of use it has a hard time focusing. If I turn it on and off it solves the issue for another dozen pics. Can be a real PIA in an attic. Otherwise, the Kodak has been good.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  6. #6
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    Mike,

    Like most inspectors, we burn out our cameras, from hard use, crawlspaces, dust, dropping, rain etc. I've burned out my share of cameras.

    With my latest purchase (4 months ago) I think I have the answer.

    I purchased a LUMIX mod# DMC-TS2 - it is a compact point and shoot with flash and zoom BUT the best thing is it is water, dust, temperature, and shock TUFF.

    1. It is good in freezing weather (good to minus 10?? or something)
    2. Can take pictures under water to 30ft. (I'm always under water when I inspect HA!)
    3. Can be dropped from 6 feet without damage.
    4. Dust resistant - no telescoping lens problems.

    It's been great so far, It's fast, has a great flash that recharges quickly, although the battery requires recharging after about 250 pic's (I keep 2 spares fully charged for back up).

    I was tired of cameras freezing up in the winter, sand getting into the lens mechanism, and rain clogging the camera. So far so good. Time will tell if I made the right purchase, but I'm hopefully on track with a good one.

    Good luck with your search
    Hi Ken,

    I will be putting this camera in a tool pouch during the inspection. I read it doesn't have a lens cover. Do you notice this as an issue (dirty or scratched)?


  7. #7
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I have had several over the years.
    Stay away from HP.
    Cannon was OK
    I now have a Kodac 612 that I'm very happy with
    6mp and 12X optical lens
    Get the optional rechargable battery
    worth every penny
    Hi Rick,

    I read the flash pop up is in a bad spot and the camera is slow to take pics. What has your experience been with these issues?

    Thank you


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I've been using this series of Panasonic cameras for years, while not "ruggedized" they have proved VERY durable, and for me the more powerful image stabilized zoom is more important than additional durability:

    Amazon.com: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black): Electronics

    When I want to shoot really high quality still pictures for moisture intrusion reports, I use a various lenses (most often a Sigma 10-200) on a canon 30D body with a Canon 430EX Speedlight Flash, all bought used as individual items on Amazon.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I have a Sony Super Steady Shot DSC-T300 and have used it without a hitch for a few years now. It is a 10.1 Meg and that is all that is really needed. I love it for the steady shot factor because most pics are snapped on the move. I can take a picture bhind an AC unit with the camera inches away from the manufacturers tag and gett great shots. I have dropped it on concrete a couple of times. Once from about 5 feet and another time I tripped and it tumbled across the floor. I dropped it about 12 feet into the yard off my ladder.

    I also have a back up camera and it is also a Sony. It is a A550 and i use this for the higher grade shots or stick the 200 mil lens on to get shots of roofs I cannot get on. I know it is a bit more than a back up and I ment to say for specialty shots. Fantastic camera. I do wish that I went up to the A800 or 850 for the full 35 mil format though. Just to much money.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    OK, call me cheeep, Nikon Coolpix, takes AA batteries, can take about 400 pics on rechargeables, has all the faults of a retracting lens, but takes good pics, I've posted lots here. Use the Portrait setting and leave it there.
    I have dropped this one on concrete from twenty feet up and it stayed alive, but the lens wasn't out at the time. A previous one dropped on concrete, the flash bulb broke. $90 at London Drugs. I have a pouch with a belt clip. Yes, the lens will wear out from 50 on/offs a day.
    My spare is a Fuji Finepix with a 2 second timer that is lacking on the Nikons. I use that for the camera pole, 5 or 6 times a year. It also takes AA's. It stopped focusing correctly after about a year.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I use an Insignia NS-DSC7809. It's a 7mp camera. It uses 2 AA batteries and an SD card. I've been through numerous cameras, but this one has been awesome for the past 1 1/2 years. I only use cameras that use AA batteries. No worries about charging cables or buying extra rechargeables. I'll buy the AA's in a brick of 36 at Walgreens for about $10 and use them for other things also. I'm able to get 300 to 500 pictures from one set of batteries, depending on how many of them are using the flash. SD cards are great, pull them out of the camera and slide them into the computer. No cables to mess with.

    The zoom on the camera is great. I'm not sure of the mechanical zoom, but it has a 3x digital and overall zooms about as much as the 300x zoom for my 35mm camera. Other features are anti-shake, date / time stamp on the pictures and a built in digital voice recorder.

    The best part is I paid $45 new when I bought it from Best Buy. I think they've been discontinued now but the one that replaced it is a 9mp with the same features.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    OK, call me cheeep, Nikon Coolpix, takes AA batteries, can take about 400 pics on rechargeables, has all the faults of a retracting lens, but takes good pics, I've posted lots here. Use the Portrait setting and leave it there.
    I have dropped this one on concrete from twenty feet up and it stayed alive, but the lens wasn't out at the time. A previous one dropped on concrete, the flash bulb broke. $90 at London Drugs. I have a pouch with a belt clip. Yes, the lens will wear out from 50 on/offs a day.
    My spare is a Fuji Finepix with a 2 second timer that is lacking on the Nikons. I use that for the camera pole, 5 or 6 times a year. It also takes AA's. It stopped focusing correctly after about a year.
    +1 on the Nikon Coolpix. It's priced reasonably, it fairly durable, and takes good pics. I have a rechargeable one I had to buy when I left my main Nikon at home. The rechargeable one is too small and slim for my liking as far as a work camera goes. I prefer the model that takes AA batteries. Rechargeable batteries are the way to go.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Krueger
    Hi Ken,

    I will be putting this camera in a tool pouch during the inspection. I read it doesn't have a lens cover. Do you notice this as an issue (dirty or scratched)?
    Mike,

    No issues with a lens cover. The lens is small has a flat glass (or whatever) cover that is recessed a bit, so it is is difficult to scratch on something.

    We'll see. Great camera with image stabilization. You will love it. Let me know what you think after a few inspections.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Pentax W90 was made for our profession, well it seems like it was!Optio W90 Black - Official PENTAX Imaging Web Site

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  15. #15
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Pentax W90 (as Scott noted) is ruggedized for our work.

    Has great reviews from many HIs who have acquired it in the past many months.

    Santa may be nice to me and have one in my stocking this year.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Nolan, don't get your hopes up. I have it on good authority that the lump of coal coming your way does not take good photographs.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  17. #17
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    JL -

    That is more likely the reality in light of general quantity of current HIs.

    There are other priorities and my Canon's are still capturing images.


  18. #18
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolan Kienitz View Post
    JL -

    That is more likely the reality in light of general quantity of current HIs.

    There are other priorities and my Canon's are still capturing images.
    Tell Mom $199.00 including shipping


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Currently use a Canon A495. It takes good pics, but the time in between pics is too slow. It also has this nasty feature of deciding which way it thinks I want the picture framed. It keeps great time which is important as it syncs to my inspection software.

    An earlier camera I loved was the Samsung S630. I still have it for backup but it started acting up (after 4 yrs). It took good pics and great close up pics. Great on battery usage too. I would've bought another Samsung in a heartbeat, but they've switched to those flat Lithium Ion batteries and I like having AA rechargeables in my pocket.

    That Optio looks neat but I hate those batteries.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    IThe Sony HXV5 is the absolute best I have owned and I own 5 of them at this point.
    The HD video , panoramic,twilight shots,speed between shots,GPS,on screen compass and speed with which one can change settings is not paralleled with any other camera.
    All that in a pocket camera.
    The 5 x optical is more than enough.
    This is what I use for my remote roof vids.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    ok, i'm hooked....on this Pentax

    Scott, how long do those flat, L-ion batteries last? How many pictures can you get? Did you buy an extra battery and charger for it?

    How long does it take to recharge the flash after taking a flash pic?

    Last edited by JB Thompson; 11-27-2010 at 12:21 AM. Reason: more questions
    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    ok, i'm hooked....on this Pentax

    Scott, how long do those flat, L-ion batteries last? How many pictures can you get? Did you buy an extra battery and charger for it?

    How long does it take to recharge the flash after taking a flash pic?
    Looks good for the money.
    Just wish it had better Video .Capture movies in widescreen 720p HD video at 30 frames per second.Not bad but I need better for all the still shots I produce off my videos.

    It is a beautiful looking camera however so I may look for one myself.


  23. #23
    Russel Ray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I liked the comment about cameras being like flashlights for our profession.

    My employees and I have used Samsung, GE, HP, and Canon and had the typical problems:lens quit working, batteries don't last a whole day and/or 4-6 inspections, not rugged enough, etc.

    In June 2009 I switched to a Canon Rebel XSi digital SLR and got an 18-80mm lens to go with it. Best thing I ever did. Why keep wasting money on a point & shoot? According to the internal digital numbering system, I've taken 41,227 pictures, not all at home inspections since it makes a great walkaround camera, too. I don't think I ever got 10,000 pictures out of a point & shoot.

    You can get great digital SLR cameras for twice the cost of a point & shoot, so just amortize it over two years or so. Rechargeable batteries last for a week, macro function is unbelieveable, no waiting for flash to recharge, etc.

    Compare the pixels and then get a cheap digital SLR. You don't need more than 5 MP for home inspections, so the Canon Rebel (the original, not the XSI, T1i, T2i, etc.) will work fine, and you'll get much better pictures than with a point & shoot because you have so much more control over the picture at the time of the inspection. Little to no photo editing at the office, leaving you to write the report instead of playing with pictures, although playing with pictures is fun.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    The low-end Canon Rebels are compact and light (for a DSLR), the issue for me with any of the "Prosumer" DSLRs is the poor dust seal at both the camera and the lens; at many of the inspections I perform even if I avoid mechanical damage dust is just going to be an issue - you can clean the sensor in the camera body, but once dust gets in a lens it will never be right again.

    IMO if you want to go the DSLR route the most cost-effective solution solution is to move up to one of the Semi-Pro cameras - something like a used EOS xD (I find the 8MP 30Dto be a good compromise) and a Pro Lens (ex: Canon "L" series); these will have a MUCH better dust and moisture seal... but they are IMO still way to big to drag into a crawl space or attic.

    I do use a DSRL for some photographic documentation - primary low light and extreme telephoto work, but it will never be my primary HI camera.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 11-28-2010 at 08:29 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Personally all I care is that I get a great detailed shot ,fast focus,good dark shot,and HD video for easy still shots.
    All this weather ,dust,durability stuff means little since we will be switching cameras often to keep up with the rapidly changing technology.
    The only perfect camera does not exist yet.
    One where you can take shots and through voice recognition it adds captions before upload.
    Once they do that, a verbal report may become reality soon after..


  26. #26
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    ok, i'm hooked....on this Pentax

    Scott, how long do those flat, L-ion batteries last? How many pictures can you get? Did you buy an extra battery and charger for it?

    How long does it take to recharge the flash after taking a flash pic?
    I don't know the difference in size between the ion in my Sony and the Pentax but I can do 2 inspections with 200 to 300 pictures with the flash on for everyone of them and then download the poics and still take more pictures. I have never had a reason for a second battery fo back up. The flash is back up almost instantly. I did an inspection yesterday and used the flash for most and took 135 pictures (not a nice house) and my battery still shows 3/4 full.

    The battery is a D type Lithium ion NP-BD1. I did not venture into battery size for the Pentax

    Sorry. Price drop over night. I did not put the link in before $195.00 for the Pentax

    BuyDig.com Basket

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 11-27-2010 at 06:40 AM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I use a kodak and have never had any problems. I have been looking at the Pentax W90. Can anyone give some positives and negatives of this camera? I would like some feed back from some one that uses it the inspection business.

    Tom


  28. #28
    Tom Camp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I use a Sony "Super SteadyShot" DSC-T10 which has proved to be a good reliable camera. I like the macro setting which allows good close up shots of appliance labels. It also has the slide which covers the lens and fits easily into a pocket.

    Tom Camp
    Colorado Springs Home Inspector
    Colorado Springs - Home Inspections, Commercial Inspections, Radon Inspections, Mold Inspections


  29. #29
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    ok, i'm hooked....on this Pentax

    Scott, how long do those flat, L-ion batteries last? How many pictures can you get? Did you buy an extra battery and charger for it?

    How long does it take to recharge the flash after taking a flash pic?
    Bruce,

    A couple good threads over at TIJ specifically about the W90 and how it is doing with battery life, etc.. I started one of the threads with some questions as I'm hoping to get one of the units before too long.


  30. #30
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    IThe Sony HXV5 is the absolute best I have owned and I own 5 of them at this point.
    The HD video , panoramic,twilight shots,speed between shots,GPS,on screen compass and speed with which one can change settings is not paralleled with any other camera.
    All that in a pocket camera.
    The 5 x optical is more than enough.
    This is what I use for my remote roof vids.
    Bob E. -

    An excellent camera and I've also tested/looked and still "sort of" considering, but it is pricey. Also learned that turn-a-round on repair times is 4+ weeks. Canon will repair and return my units in less than 2 weeks.

    Also ... biggest downside for the Sony is the physically extending zoom lens and the possibility for jamming or getting debris caught in the extensions and jamming. Similar to what happens with my Canons.

    Now ... the extending lens on the Sony is excellent for the zoom shots, but with a positive there is also a negative.

    The W90 does not have a physically extending lens (thus has some zoom limiations), but on the other hand makes it one very "rugged" camera for an inspector's use.

    Again ... plusses and minuses.


  31. #31
    Vince Santos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    My biggest problem with cameras is the crawlspace dust, attic insulation, rain and dropping on basement floors or sidewalks. The screen is typically the first thing to go.

    Like most HI's I searched and searched for a camera that would hold up to the abuse from a typical inspection. Over a year ago I purchased an Olympus Stylus 850SW and likely will get another one when this one stops working. It's shock + waterproof and has digital zoom. I've used it in heavy downpours and dropped it dozens of times, just yesterday it took a hard fall but it still works like new.


  32. #32
    Bruce Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Mike
    I have used every camera out there over the years. The best inexpensive camera has been the Cannon Power shot A series Cannot get anymore. Had them repaired once a year still have them retired them about a year ago. Went with a camera that puts all others to shame. Well worth the cost. Dust and water proof. Built to military standards. It is the Recoh 500SE with re-chargable battery. The camera is small enough to get into those tight spots. I have dropped mine off a roof and no damage to the camera. The Ricoh 500SE is about $700.00. I paid $450.00 for the last Cannon that I purchased and about $500.00 in repairs over the years. The Ricoh will out last me. Have a friend that does surveying for the government. Has had his for five years, and will swear by it. You can keep buying the cheep cameras or you can buy one and not have to buy another. This camera can be purchased through SDG systems. You can find them on the internet.
    Bruce


  33. #33
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    When considering any of the manufacturer's waterproof/ dustproof/ shockproof cameras do a side-by-side comparison of features and qualities.

    Olympus' newest line of Stylus Tough series are all good for what we do, as would the other manufacturers. Yes, they use a proprietary battery, but that should not be a problem with an AC/ DC charger and extra batteries from eBay for less than $20 (charge at home or in your vehicle and three batteries total).

    I've been using the Stylus Tough 6020 this last year ( very happy with resolution, fast focus, shot to shot, battery life, etc. and excellent movie taking). No worries in the attic and crawlspace. Just give it a good water bath when I get to the office and I'm done. The lenses have some sort of special coating on them that prevents water spotting.

    Using my Alpha 230 from time to time and where pic quality is needed for Inspector PPT presentations. Picked up the A230 DSLR for $237.00 after S&H as refurbished then purchased a squaretrade warr. for $35 for 2 years. Almost a throw-away price for a DSLR and I can use all my old Minolta lenses.

    Check out all the waterproof models from all manufactures. That's really the way to go for our industry. Do a hands-on in a store first, then shop online (even refurbished on eBay with a 2year squaretrade warr.).


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolan Kienitz View Post
    Bob E. -

    An excellent camera and I've also tested/looked and still "sort of" considering, but it is pricey. Also learned that turn-a-round on repair times is 4+ weeks. Canon will repair and return my units in less than 2 weeks.

    Also ... biggest downside for the Sony is the physically extending zoom lens and the possibility for jamming or getting debris caught in the extensions and jamming. Similar to what happens with my Canons.

    Now ... the extending lens on the Sony is excellent for the zoom shots, but with a positive there is also a negative.

    The W90 does not have a physically extending lens (thus has some zoom limiations), but on the other hand makes it one very "rugged" camera for an inspector's use.

    Again ... plusses and minuses.
    Been using it since it came out and it still works great after a hundred jobs in the rain,crawlspaces and being extended over roofs on a 28 foot pole.
    I like durability but picture quality and ease of use are more important to me.
    I suggest you guys read the reviews on c net between the two cameras and who says you are allowed only one.
    The Olympus tough guys are getting good reviews also by the way However that Pentax sure looks portable.
    I could care less about the micro shot feature.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Two of the most important features I look for is standard batteries (AA's) and a great zoom - at least 10X

    I have been using Olympus Camedia 600 and 700 Ultrazooms for several years and still waiting for them to die. I bought two spares off of eBay for $25 apiece so unless the memory cards go or my card reader breaks I will continue to use them.

    My wife and daughter have Lumix which I will move over too when I retire the Olympus

    Orcas Inspection
    Lopez Island Home Inspection

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    Two of the most important features I look for is standard batteries (AA's) and a great zoom - at least 10X

    I have been using Olympus Camedia 600 and 700 Ultrazooms for several years and still waiting for them to die. I bought two spares off of eBay for $25 apiece so unless the memory cards go or my card reader breaks I will continue to use them.

    My wife and daughter have Lumix which I will move over too when I retire the Olympus

    Orcas Inspection
    Lopez Island Home Inspection
    I may check them out if not the Pentax however the remote controlled picture sounds useful


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolan Kienitz View Post
    Bruce,

    A couple good threads over at TIJ specifically about the W90 and how it is doing with battery life, etc.. I started one of the threads with some questions as I'm hoping to get one of the units before too long.
    Thanks Nolan!

    FWIW, My needs/desires on cameras have been ability to use AA batteries, speed at which the flash recharges, the ability of the camera to keep very good time. The Canon A495 is good in two of these, but the flash recharge is too long for my taste.

    My inspection software auto-edits all photos to about 1 megapixel (I think)

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  38. #38
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    IThe Sony HXV5 is the absolute best I have owned and I own 5 of them at this point.
    The HD video , panoramic,twilight shots,speed between shots,GPS,on screen compass and speed with which one can change settings is not paralleled with any other camera.
    All that in a pocket camera.
    The 5 x optical is more than enough.
    This is what I use for my remote roof vids.
    On screen compass. Is the compass accurate? Does it stamp the direction on the pic. That could be handy in some basements that are easy to get turned around in.

    Thank you all for the good advice. I have been checking these cameras out online...

    Have a great day all.
    mk


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Krueger View Post
    On screen compass. Is the compass accurate? Does it stamp the direction on the pic. That could be handy in some basements that are easy to get turned around in.

    Thank you all for the good advice. I have been checking these cameras out online...

    Have a great day all.
    mk
    Compass is very accurate and shows on screen in miniature.
    The GPS shows in properties if you are using the software which is very good also but I am used to the regular CPU files.
    The HD video is shocking in clarity when you have descent light.
    I could post a few still shots from my video roof inspections .


  40. #40
    Jack Patterson's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Guys and Gals, I've been using a Canon S-30 and S-40 for two years now with great photos and no problems. You can easily spend a lot of cash on a lot of high end features and ultra Meg.pxs that we don't need for inspections. Unless you want great 8X10's or family vacations, it's money wasted.
    Unfortunatly Canon discontinued both models along with the S-50 and S-60 (same cameras, more Mp) a few years ago but there are many used ones around.
    I bought both cameras used, one from a shop ($50.00) and the other on Ebay for $40.00.
    They both have rigid, protective sliding lens covers, 3x zoom, no sharp corners to snag so they slip into my pocket easily and up tp 60 seconds voice recording after each photo. That's a lot for $40. Jack Patterson


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    There is also the issue of "what do you inspect"?

    I my area there are many older SF homes with roofs that are impractical/unsafe to access with the equipment reasonable to use at a home inspection (and I'm pretty aggressive about roof access).

    At these inspections I want a camera with a combination of a high resolution sensor, image stabilization and a 18X plus zoom lens with excellent optics, so that I can photographically "inspect" the roof in Photoshop from half a block away to get an angle past the trees and still see ever shingle lifted by a nail and every hairline crack in the chimney cap - this afternoon I will be taking exterior pictures of a 17th floor condominium unit from ground level, and even from a tripod nothing short of a high quality DSLR with a first class lens is gonna' hack it.

    OTOH, if you seldom see this type of structure, but spend a lot of time in crawl spaces, you want a compact, durable, water and dust resistant camera with excellent low-light auto focus and flash exposure control, including in the macro mode, and a 3X zoom (if you need one at all) is plenty.

    I inspect both, and use different photographic tools for each.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 11-28-2010 at 07:06 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  42. #42
    Patrick McCaffery's Avatar
    Patrick McCaffery Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I have a KODAK Easyshare C330 and have had no problems with it. The camera is very rugged and has been used so much that the case is tarnished and the markings on the dial are faded. This camera has a 3x lens, which is not really suffcient for taking far away picture. I would recommend getting a camera with at least a 5x lens. My girlfriend has a Pentax with a 5x lens and it takes remarkable pictures. I am very impressed with the Pentex. I will probably purchase another Kodak camera, just because I worked there for 37 years. I will however get at least a 5x lens. I also have rechargeable batteries. I carry one in the camera and one spare in my case. I can usually shoot at least 150 pictures on one set of batteries.


  43. #43
    Katie Bedard's Avatar
    Katie Bedard Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    While the ability to carry extra AA batteries is convenient, it may become pricy after awhile. It's been my experience with digital cameras that utilize AA batteries that they suck more and more power the older they get (at least two of my cameras have killed the battery life after just one photo), when the camera is only a year old. Gets expensive!
    I swear by cameras that use the lithium-ion batteries. Buy two batteries, recharge them regularly, and you'll never have to buy another one for the life of your camera. Significantly cheaper than continuing to purchase AAs.
    As for a camera - in the "home inspector" side of my life, we use a Kodak M763 - it's a couple of years old (I'm usually not a fan of Kodak cameras but this one surprised me). Battery life is still long, takes hours of pics before it shows any loss of power. The shots are clear and focused; the camera offers a variety of settings for indoor, outdoor, landscape and closeup shots. I doubt the M763 is still available (we purchased it at Best Buy) but I am sure there is something comparable out there.
    In the "freelance journalism" side of my life, I use a Nikon digital SLR. The Kodak's pics certainly aren't as good as that, understandably, but the for crawling around in crawlspaces and attics, you can't beat the size (it fits in your pocket), durability and ease of use.


  44. #44

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick McCaffery View Post
    I have a KODAK Easyshare C330 and have had no problems with it. The camera is very rugged and has been used so much that the case is tarnished and the markings on the dial are faded. This camera has a 3x lens, which is not really suffcient for taking far away picture. I would recommend getting a camera with at least a 5x lens. My girlfriend has a Pentax with a 5x lens and it takes remarkable pictures. I am very impressed with the Pentex. I will probably purchase another Kodak camera, just because I worked there for 37 years. I will however get at least a 5x lens. I also have rechargeable batteries. I carry one in the camera and one spare in my case. I can usually shoot at least 150 pictures on one set of batteries.
    I agree with the Easyshare comments. I have only used Kodak and I probably take too many pictures. They do not eat batteries(rechargables of course) and I can do an inpsetion with 325 pictures without changing batteries. I'm cheap and I buy refurbished cameras off of Kodaks website and I carry a spare just in case. Never had a problem.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Katie Bedard View Post
    While the ability to carry extra AA batteries is convenient, it may become pricy after awhile. It's been my experience with digital cameras that utilize AA batteries that they suck more and more power the older they get (at least two of my cameras have killed the battery life after just one photo), when the camera is only a year old. Gets expensive!
    I swear by cameras that use the lithium-ion batteries. Buy two batteries, recharge them regularly, and you'll never have to buy another one for the life of your camera. Significantly cheaper than continuing to purchase AAs....
    Katie, I use Powerex 2700 mAh batteries (AA) and a MAHA intelligent charger. They will last 2-3 inspections depending on the number of photos I take (several hundred).

    I write a date on the batteries when I get them and they tend to last about 13-15 months. I don't think it's your camera's fault. The batteries just wear out and won't hold as much of a charge.

    I bought a camera about midway through my current batch of batteries and just like clockwork, the batteries started losing their uumph at about 15 months.

    I'm soooooooo in love with these batteries and charger, but I'm seriously considering this Pentax W90. I'm doubtful of the Li Ion batteries though. The Pentax comes with a 700 mAh and I see a few 900's and 1000's out there. Of course, as I said earlier, the AA batteries are 2700 mAh - which is great.

    So, of you that have the Pentax w90, did you buy an extra battery - which mAh? Did you buy a charger or just use the camera to charge the extra battery?

    Thanks,
    Bruce

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Katie, which brand of Li-Ion battery did you purchase?

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I have really never had a problem with the proprietary battery on a camera running down. I take on the average 20-30 pictures per home unless I have a ton of problems. Sure I have had some jobs that I have clicked off 100 or so photos but that it not very common. I can get 4-5 inspections with one battery charge and if most are in daylight without a flash it can even be higher. I just recharge the battery every couple of days, it really is not a big deal.

    I think I'm going to buy an extra battery just to keep on hand. I think it was Kurt M over on TIJ that said he bought one online for around $18 and it was 1250 mAh for the W90. I think it came with a 900 mAh battery. Still with that size battery it last a pretty long time.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  48. #48
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I have really never had a problem with the proprietary battery on a camera running down. I take on the average 20-30 pictures per home unless I have a ton of problems. Sure I have had some jobs that I have clicked off 100 or so photos but that it not very common. I can get 4-5 inspections with one battery charge and if most are in daylight without a flash it can even be higher. I just recharge the battery every couple of days, it really is not a big deal.

    I think I'm going to buy an extra battery just to keep on hand. I think it was Kurt M over on TIJ that said he bought one online for around $18 and it was 1250 mAh for the W90. I think it came with a 900 mAh battery. Still with that size battery it last a pretty long time.
    I haven't found a 1250 mAh, but I did just find this one. Looking at chargers now.

    Click here

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Finally found a 1250 mAh for the Pentax W90

    Click here

    When I began using digital cameras and AA batteries, the mAh was super important. I'm not sure when it comes to these proprietary batteries.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  50. #50
    Katie Bedard's Avatar
    Katie Bedard Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Katie, which brand of Li-Ion battery did you purchase?
    I didn't purchase an extra one - to date, I've never needed it (crossing my fingers, now...). My Kodak camera came with one. It was just a suggestion for those days when every inspection seems to require dozens (or hundreds...) of pics.


  51. #51
    Katie Bedard's Avatar
    Katie Bedard Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Katie, I use Powerex 2700 mAh batteries (AA) and a MAHA intelligent charger. They will last 2-3 inspections depending on the number of photos I take (several hundred).

    I write a date on the batteries when I get them and they tend to last about 13-15 months. I don't think it's your camera's fault. The batteries just wear out and won't hold as much of a charge.

    I bought a camera about midway through my current batch of batteries and just like clockwork, the batteries started losing their uumph at about 15 months.

    I'm soooooooo in love with these batteries and charger, but I'm seriously considering this Pentax W90. I'm doubtful of the Li Ion batteries though. The Pentax comes with a 700 mAh and I see a few 900's and 1000's out there. Of course, as I said earlier, the AA batteries are 2700 mAh - which is great.

    So, of you that have the Pentax w90, did you buy an extra battery - which mAh? Did you buy a charger or just use the camera to charge the extra battery?

    Thanks,
    Bruce
    Hi Bruce,

    Sorry for the misunderstanding - I haven't tried it with rechargable batteries, just the standard Duracells or equivalent.


  52. #52
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    IThe Sony HXV5 is the absolute best I have owned and I own 5 of them at this point.
    The HD video , panoramic,twilight shots,speed between shots,GPS,on screen compass and speed with which one can change settings is not paralleled with any other camera.
    All that in a pocket camera.
    The 5 x optical is more than enough.
    This is what I use for my remote roof vids.
    From what I read the gps really runs down the battery. How many pics can you take before recharging? Is it easy to shut off the gps? Does the gps come on every time you turn the camera on? Does the gps have to be on to us the compass?

    Thank you for the info
    mk


  53. #53
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Finally found a 1250 mAh for the Pentax W90

    Click here

    When I began using digital cameras and AA batteries, the mAh was super important. I'm not sure when it comes to these proprietary batteries.
    You can also get a 980 mAh battery for $12.57 at PENTAX Optio W90 Batteries,FREE Shipping,PENTAX Optio W90 Camera Battery

    For that price you can buy 3 for what a 1250 mAh would cost....!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  54. #54
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Finally found a 1250 mAh for the Pentax W90

    Click here

    When I began using digital cameras and AA batteries, the mAh was super important. I'm not sure when it comes to these proprietary batteries.
    1500 amh for the P W90

    Amazon.com: Wasabi PowerŪ Battery for Pentax X90: Electronics

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

  55. #55
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    This particular one actually looks like it isn't for the W90

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  56. #56
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Something to keep in mind about LI batteries: all LI batteries start deteriorating on the date of manufacture (irrespective of whether they are used or not), and have maximum service of around three-four years, So a high quality OEM battery manufactured 2,5 years ago may hold less charge than a more recently manufactured after-market battery of lower stated capacity.

    This also means that the service life of some battery powered devices is limited by the availability of recently manufactured batteries. In the case of something like a $1500 (initial purchase price) laptop or tablet with a (physically) large battery it may be worthwhile to send the battery out for re-manufacturer (I have done this for tablets), but in the case of a $200 camera or GPS with a small (and difficult to re-manufacturer) battery, once "fresh" batteries are unavailable you are just out of luck.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  57. #57
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Thank you all for your advice. I appreciate it very much!

    Have a great day all

    mk


  58. #58
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
    Mitchell Toelle Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Mike,

    If you have not purchased as yet, here's a sale a Circuit City that looks pretty good. Don't forget to compare other mnfr. within this category of digital camera, such as the Olympus Stylus Tough line.

    Oh, they say take an extra $20 off of $100 or more so the net would be $179 on the W90. And compare their offered extended warr. with Square Trade and see if you can't save a little extra on that. Square Trade also has a warr. that will cover accidental damage if you want to afford that. Full replacement almost no matter what happens.

    Pentax Optio W90 12.1MP Digital Camera at CircuitCity.com

    Merry Christmas to all.


  59. #59
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Personally all I care is that I get a great detailed shot ,fast focus,good dark shot,and HD video for easy still shots.
    All this weather ,dust,durability stuff means little since we will be switching cameras often to keep up with the rapidly changing technology.
    The only perfect camera does not exist yet.
    One where you can take shots and through voice recognition it adds captions before upload.
    Once they do that, a verbal report may become reality soon after..
    Hello all,

    The tough cameras sound really attractive for the durability but I don't like the fact that you have to compromise the quality of the photo, and zoom to get it. I totally agree with Bob (above). I did some research along with Bob's positive remarks about the Sony HX5V and decided to buy one. I didn't get it yet but I can let you know in a month or so how it's working for me.

    I have a cheap GE A735 7 meg. I bought for $50 new on sale. I dropped it several times used it in crawl spaces, in the Wis cold, and protected it the best I could in the rain and it still works great. It's not a tough camera either. So I hope to get the same toughness out of this new Sony.

    Thank you all for your input. Have a Merry Christmas!


    If interested the best price I could find was one of the stores on amazon.com.

    mk Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5V, 10.2 Megapixels Digital Camera (Black) $279.00 $279.00 1 Promo Digital: Case,Tripod, Lens Cleaning Kit ,LCD Screen Protector, Fiber Cloth & Memory Wallet $0.00 $0.00 Sub-Total: $279.00 Ground $0.00 Total: $279.00



  60. #60
    Eric Russell's Avatar
    Eric Russell Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I'm using the Olympus Stylus and have had it since 08. It fits in a shirt pocket...or a thigh pocket as is my case...it has a thin hand cord that doesn't get in the way, and its waterproof, dust proof, and shock proof. I've dropped it several times (once off a roof) and it still gives great service. I once dropped it in a puddle of water in a crawlspace, and just wiped it off and went on. I bought an extra battery (you can get aftermarket brands at walmart that work as well as the original) and an extra memory card. My computer has a card reader built in, so I just plug it in, create a folder, and transfer all the pics, then delete them from the card. The camera comes with software, but I don't use it. My software...HomeGauge auto loads the pic file into the program an then sizes them to fit. I've never had an issue with it through several hundred inspections.


  61. #61
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Russell View Post
    I'm using the Olympus Stylus and have had it since 08. It fits in a shirt pocket...or a thigh pocket as is my case...it has a thin hand cord that doesn't get in the way, and its waterproof, dust proof, and shock proof. I've dropped it several times (once off a roof) and it still gives great service. I once dropped it in a puddle of water in a crawlspace, and just wiped it off and went on. I bought an extra battery (you can get aftermarket brands at walmart that work as well as the original) and an extra memory card. My computer has a card reader built in, so I just plug it in, create a folder, and transfer all the pics, then delete them from the card. The camera comes with software, but I don't use it. My software...HomeGauge auto loads the pic file into the program an then sizes them to fit. I've never had an issue with it through several hundred inspections.
    Hi Eric,
    Now ya tell me.

    Have a great weekend and a Merry Christmas.

    PS Amen to your foot note!!


  62. #62
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    For the past few years I have been using a Lumix DMC TZ4. I chose it because it had rechargeable batteries, a 10X zoom, and it was small enough to fit in my pocket. I also carry a spare in my truck.

    I bought extra batteries and carry an extra charger as well. One battery charge will last me 2 -3 inspections. If I have to change the battery in the middle of a job, I plug the charger in next to my laptop and its done in a short time.

    I have a little pouch I use to carry the camera in my coverall pocket when I go in crawlspaces. That protects it a little better from dust/dirt. I use those dust off air bottles to clean it out once in a while.

    I did drop one of my cameras coming out of an attic. It hit the garage floor. It did shatter the screen, but still works fine. I just can't see anything on the screen when I use it. It's one of my spares now.


  63. #63
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell Toelle View Post
    Mike,

    If you have not purchased as yet, here's a sale a Circuit City that looks pretty good. Don't forget to compare other mnfr. within this category of digital camera, such as the Olympus Stylus Tough line.

    Oh, they say take an extra $20 off of $100 or more so the net would be $179 on the W90. And compare their offered extended warr. with Square Trade and see if you can't save a little extra on that. Square Trade also has a warr. that will cover accidental damage if you want to afford that. Full replacement almost no matter what happens.

    Pentax Optio W90 12.1MP Digital Camera at CircuitCity.com

    Merry Christmas to all.
    It never fails.

    I decided to buy one a few days ago. I looked at Circuit City but they were higher than $199. I ended up paying $195, but would have rather had the orange one (it was always more expensive for some reason). Got the green instead.

    What extra $20 are you talking about? Where was that listed?

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  64. #64
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    Default Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I second Ken on the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS2, after using waterproof Pentax's (W20, W30, W60) the TS2 is by far the best. The Panasonic batteries (OEM!) are excellent, I have backups but rarely have to use them. I always had to carry several spare batteries with the Pentax models because they drained so fast.


  65. #65
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    Default Re: Looking for a good digital camera for home inspections

    I use the Panasonic DMC-LZ7, 6x optical zoom, AA rechargable batteries, neck lanyard.
    Liked it so much, I bought the company .... not really, just picked up a few backups on ebay last winter.

    In hopes of improving the quality of longer range photos, I bought the Panasonic DMC-ZS3 for the 12x zoom about a year ago. It requires the "manufacturer's battery", not AA, so I bought a backup "manufacturer's battery" as well. Takes GREAT long range pics, and video, but at over $300, it rarely leaves it's case because I don't want to smash it.

    The DMC-LZ7 is inexpensive ($100 brand new on ebay, much less for used, but be careful you don't get one with lens issues), reliable, takes great pics and uses AA batteries.
    Best thing since sliced bread.

    "the relentless pursuit of perfection"

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