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March 2017

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daffodils

dear lazyweb:

So yeah, I've accepted that it would be a good idea for me to buy a digital camera, especially as I can call it a work-related expense: the only photos I take are for this blog, as it happens. I want something inexpensive, small (pocket-sized), with fairly good resolution--but it's just for snapshots, honestly. Any recommendations?

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I was just about to recommend that myself. I bought a Canon Powershot SD 750 (digital Elph) for my trip to Japan this summer, because the 2001-era camera was cold and slow and big and way over-featured (it was a gift, and it's for SRS PHOTOZ). I think it was under $200 at the time.

I've been quite pleased with it. It's got some auto settings - indoor, outdoor, pets, aquarium (for reflections) - and a video setting. It turns on quickly, for those "OMG, I need a shot of that!" type things (great for costumes at cons.)
Check techbargains.com for the best prices.

I know a number of folks who have on of the Olympus cameras with the 10x zoom and are very happy with having that much zoom. I own a Canon S70 and a couple of Kodak 10 megapixel cameras. The Kodaks were cheap, $99 from woot.com, so I consider them almost disposable.

CF and SD cards are almost always cheaper from Fry's or Newegg than from a camera, office supply or big discount electronics store.
*g* $99.00 isn't cheap to me, man.
Once you go digital, you'll wonder why you waited.

Edited at 2008-10-26 04:12 pm (UTC)
...thanks for the condescension. And the implied assumptions.

...Whoa. What did I do to deserve that?

Canon

Canon, Sony, or Nikon first choice.

Anything else that you like.

Find something that fits your hand and doesn't have too many controls.
Nikon CoolPix. I'm still rocking the 2100, but I've bought more recent models for my sister and mother. We like 'em.

A CoolPix generally runs between 99 and 130. I note that while that isn't "cheap", it will be a good investment in that it is a decent camera that should last several years with good care. Once you get under a hundred in digital camera land, quality becomes iffy.

Edited at 2008-10-26 04:19 pm (UTC)
Seconded. I got the S210 model for $170 (had a $100 Best Buy gift card from a birthday that was sitting around waiting for us to make up our minds) and I'm really happy with it. It's the first step up from the base model Coolpix, which used AA batteries; this one has a rechargable lithium battery that I preferred.

I test-drove it on a recent trip to Paris, and was happy with the results. Nothing world-breaking, and it's not great in lower-light levels, but overall I was very pleased with it's ease-of-use and the results I got from it.
Yep, Canon. SD850 or 1100 or whatever number they're up to now. I researched the heck out of pocket digital cameras back when I bought my SD500.

Pros:

~ Canon apparently consistently takes the clearest, color true pics out of the various brands, or did two years ago. Not that the others aren't good, but Canon's are rated just slightly better.

~ pocket sized

~ rechargeable battery. The cheaper models use AA batteries, and IMO rechargeable is a MUST.

~ Lots of neat little features you can play with, if you care to.

~ uses SD cards, like all cameras except, um, two brands, can't remember which, that use XD. Olympus, I think? Anyway, I like the more common across the tech world memory of SD.

~ Canon comes out with the "new version" of this camera about every six months, it seems, with slightly higher resolution, etc, so you should be able to find the "last version" for about $100 cheaper than the "really new" one.
Canon does seem to be winning the category so far.

Thanks!
I have gone through a few recently, taking picture to put on ebay.. I have a nikon "coolpix" now, seems like it was under 200.00. I liked the canon best, but it was more.. Prices are dropping..I think i just saw the same canon at sams club for 99.99. I have a spare one if you want.. You might have to look up the software on line..
I'm thinking of the Canon--everybody seems to love it. And I can write it off: this blog is "work," after all.

Mostly, it's for cat pictures. *g*
The Canon PowerShot series rocks the house -- almost all of my photos are taken with an SD550. Two drawbacks -- they take special batteries, which requires remembering to bring the charger along, as opposed to picking up AAs somewhere. Also, they're a tad delicate, don't like beach sand, heavy weather etc. I also have a Pentax Optio W20 which is weatherproof and waterproof, but I frankly like the Canon better. Both cameras generally fit your description otherwise.
Can't go too far wrong with Canon in the P&S arena, certainly. The A590IS is one of the cheaper current models, and the A series has a lot of advantages, including taking AA batteries (you're not locked into expensive proprietary batteries, and you can buy a pack of lithium AAs in an emergency). But it's probably a little bigger than you're looking for (the terms are vague enough that it's hard to be sure).

Sony has made some very good cameras, but remember that they're the company that deliberately put malware on their music CDs for a while, and show no signs of actual contrition even now. I would urge people not to do business with them until they show signs of better ethics. But I won't belabor the point beyond making sure it's been mentioned; I don't recall it being discussed since I've been following your LJ.

I *think* Olympus and Fuji have given up on their XD memory card format, and support SD in their newer models; but don't buy something that takes XD cards, they're expensive and low-capacity. Also Sony may still be using their "memory stick" format, and that should also be avoided.

No "real" P&S camera has insufficient megaplixels; and the higher the number of megapixels, the less good the quality of each pixel, especially in low light. This is a bit counter-intuitive, but true anyway. 4 megapixels is plenty. 6 megapixels is plenty with bells on. If the image quality is good, and the photo is good, you can print a 6 megapixel image to 24x36 inches (the quality from P&S cameras is unlikely to really support that; but putting more megapixels in doesn't help). Now, the unknown-brand cheap things in bubble packs can often be truly horrid.

The Casio Exilim models are some of the nicer really thin cameras out there. They may be too expensive, though. Fuji also makes a wide range of P&S digitals with interesting features, if one of those (a newer one that takes SD cards) fits your requirements they're definitely worth considering.

Happy hunting!
We have the Samsung L200 and absolutely love it. It's very pocket-sized, has terrific resolution, was about $150 i think? and has lots of good snapshot features. My only real beef with it is that is does not have a viewfinder; you have to frame the shots right on the LCD. Has not been as major an issue as I thought it would be.

Happy shopping

Edited to add: I also have a Nikon CoolPix L5 (Yes, too many cameras here) which is a fantastic camera but I do not consider it "pocket sized" - the lens makes it way too bulky for that. It really requires a bag and/or strap to go places. However it's my preferred camera of the two for "arty" shots.

Someday I'll learn actual photography and get an SLR; till then both of these have been totally sufficient.

Edited at 2008-10-26 04:35 pm (UTC)

a dissenting opinion

Bear in mind, I have *nothing* against Canon. Canon makes fine cameras. However, if you're taking pics pretty much exclusively for web blogging and have no expectation of printing hard copy, there is no need to get particularly high quality pics, because you'll just have to smush 'em down to post them anyway.

Which means you have a lot of leeway in terms of size and shape. There are things like this little bitty thing that you can nearly put behind your ear like a pencil. From the samples posted, it looks like it makes pretty good pictures.

Also, it's $29.99.

Re: a dissenting opinion

Yet another alternative would be to upgrade the phone.

Some mobile phones have brilliant cameras and depending on what deal you have with your mobile phone company, you might be able to get a new phone with better camera for free. :)

(Of course I'm talking about UK here, not sure whether US companies offer the same kinds of deals, but if they do, it's well worth considering.)
Canon PowerShot.
I happen to prefer Sony cameras because they are easier to use, though Sony products are often more expensive than the competition. I love my CyberShot W120 but at about $150 street price that looks like more than you're looking to pay. Whatever camera you choose, you should try it out in the store and make sure the user interface makes sense to you (some of them are just plain weird).
I bought a 10 pixel Kodak at Walmart for less than a $100 and the bonus for me was that they honor the Kodak guarantee. So if you have a covered repair you can take it to Walmart and they will replace it and send yours in to be fixed. It's a good option. Takes good pics and I know it takes video but I haven't used that fumction yet.
Oh, that's nice. Thanks!
Yes! My daughter got a Canon Powershot A470. It's about $100 on Amazon, and has a 4x optical lens (good for most stuff) AND has a really good video/sound system. The light sensor is better than the equivalent Kodak digital camera that I bought (it stinks, frankly, the Kodak one).

It also takes AA batteries, which means it's economical and easy to get extra power when you need it.
I haven't read all your other comments, so apologies for repeating anything.

First of all, when I was obsessively researching before buying my camera (I got a Canon Powershot A710 IS and I'm very happy with it, but my priorities were somewhat different from yours, and this was a couple years ago), here's what I ended up with:

1. My best source for reviews was the Digital Camera Resource Page, and my second best was Digital Camera Reviews. When they agreed, I figured I was onto something.

2. Especially at the first site, each camera review ended with a list of (and links to reviews of) similar cameras of other makes and models. So just find something that's about right, skim the review taking in the points that matter to you, and see what else you get to from there.

3. Unless the technology has changed radically in the last two years, don't go for more than 6 megapixels, because the lenses are too small to support the resolution and you get enough noise to cancel out the benefit of the higher res. I'd aim for between 4 and 6, in your place.

4. GET IMAGE STABILIZATION. I know of no other single feature which does more to improve the quality of non-professional shots. The difference it makes is radical in terms of the clarity of the image. If that's the difference between two cameras, get the one with it. If it costs $40 more, do it. Seriously. When my camera's batteries run low, near the end, the IS drops out, and the difference between the last few shots and all the other ones is really startling.

5. There are a lot of features you already know you don't care about. However, there may also be some features you think you don't care about, but if you read a couple of the reviews (they are long but friendly), you may realize that some of them actually do matter. For instance, the lag time between shots doesn't seem like it would be an issue to anyone but a sports photographer, but if you're, say, taking pictures of people who are not posing for you, it suddenly can become very important.

That's the most important stuff I can think of. Don't buy before you're ready - it's worth the review-reading etc..

Have fun.
Oh, and I bought my camera from http://www.beachcamera.com/, and they were incredibly speedy - much faster than promised - and all 'round good, and their prices were better than anything I could find new in stores.
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