Thursday, March 13, 2008

point and shoot

We've been looking to get a new point and shoot camera for a while now. We bought our last one about 4-5 years ago. It's still a good camera, but it is feeling slow and doesn't take as good of a resolution as the newer ones right now.

We have the hubby's real cameras, then we have the point and shoot what is nice and pocket sized so we can take pictures whenever inspiration strikes, which is nice. It's like a writer needing a pen everywhere they go. Our point and shoot has gone to New York, LA, Europe. A nice workhorse of a camera.

It's easy enough to buy a 8Megapixel camera for less than $300. Our 4MP cost that much 4 years ago. I tended to like the Olympus brand and had several very good cameras that were Olympus, but unfortunately their P&S were heading the way of the Sonys, the ultra thin with huge viewing screens. I'm not exactly sure who likes that, but I sure don't. Every time I tried to pick on up, I couldn't figure out where to put my hand and fingers to grip in. Am I supposed to delicately hold it between the thumb and forefinger of each hand with my pinkies sticking out? And how do I do that without it slipping through my fingers? And how am I supposed to do it with one hand?

From experience I know that we often hold the camera out at strange angles and just click, just to see what we get. And I don't think I could hold most of those cameras with one hand without smudging up the screen doing it. I love technology, but I most hate crappy design that prevents me from using the technology well. I don't need a smaller thinner camera, I need one that I can grip with one hand without getting a hand cramp!

So we settled for the Canon Powershot that (after the discount that the guy gave us to guilt trip us into buying a warranty that we still refused) was less than $200. A great deal!

Unfortunately, the store we went to had a lot of variety but none of the Nikon brand the hubby holds most dear. We do like to stay within the brand family. And we do like to stay with name brands that have traditionally been photography companies, so no Sony or Panasonic. Kodak is probably the only exception (and this is only because they were the last to get into the digital game and their first ones sucked; I don't know if that's still the case).

The Canon Powershot A720 IS still used AA batteries! (whoo-hoo!) While the others are running off of the Lithium batteries that run longer and hold more charge, for us they are not a good thing when we want to travel. When we travel, we don't want to remember if we recharged the camera, much less find a place to recharge the camera properly. And frankly, if you're desperate, you can get AA batteries everywhere in the world. And it's easy enough for us to have a stock of recharged rechargeable AA batteries with us. I know manufacturers are moving away from that as well, but like the rest of this post, obviously I dislike much of the direction of the P&S camera world right now.

In any case, I'm quite happy with what we got and it fulfills our biggest sell points: feels good in the hand/easy to grip, AA batteries, 8MP, good price. The pictures are pretty darn decent, especially the macros and the digital zoom ain't bad. The flash is really strong, so I don't know how long it will take to diminish the batteries using that, which is fine cuz we like using natural light whenever possible.

For accessories we got one of those small flexible tripods that you can wrap around anything, rather than precariously sit the camera on some ledge as well as a 2GB SD card. It's amazing that there's 2GB on something slightly larger than the SIM card in a phone. (That's postage stamp for folks unfamiliar with SIM cards). The guy tells us it'll hold about 600 photos one one card. The hubby then looks at me and asks, "Is that enough?" This coming from a guy who shot some thousands of photos on our 3 week trip to Europe. Um, 600 should be quite sufficient for me. Thanks!

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