Part of me feels so extremely sick of writing/reading “What camera should I buy?” posts (or vacuum cleaner posts—those two topics are tied for extreme sickness of), I never want to write/read another one.
Another part of me is in the market for a new digital camera.
The trouble, I think, is that digital cameras keep CHANGING: a post written/read a year ago is about cameras that aren’t even being sold anymore. And the thing is, the search for happiness with a camera (or vacuum cleaner) is a search most of us are going to be working on repeatedly throughout our lives: THIS camera took the picture the instant I clicked the button, but had trouble with focus; THIS camera had excellent multi-spot auto-focus, but paused briefly so I never got the picture I had in mind. THIS camera has everything I want, but is too expensive and too large.
I’ve read several places that if you’re not making poster-size prints (or frequently cropping down to a tiny fraction of the original photo), you don’t need anything larger than 10 megapixels. But it’s hard to even FIND a camera 10 megapixels or smaller.
Panasonic DMC-F2K Lumix 10.1MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom (photo from Amazon.com). This is the camera I bought most recently. Right around 10 megapixels (which is indeed more than I ever need), about as much zoom as I generally use, and when I bought it I paid $89 so that was the kind of price I was looking for. Downsides: no viewfinder, just the screen; and it takes a flat square rechargeable battery—so unless I want to buy a second battery, there’s no-camera-available time period whenever it needs recharging. Still, I would just buy a second one of these (we need a spare, not an upgrade), if they were still available at close to the price I paid.
Panasonic Lumix 16.1 MP with 8x Zoom (photo from Amazon.com), about $150. (The link is defaulting to one that costs $180, but over to the right is a “More Buying Choices” list that includes a $150 option.) This looks like the new version. Way more megapixels than I need, but I’d be glad of the increased zoom.
Canon PowerShot 12.1 MP with 4x Zoom (photo from Amazon.com), about $130. Or here’s a version with 10 MP and 3x Zoom for $90. (I had to add it to my cart to see the price. I hate that so much, especially when the SUPER SECRET TOO-LOW-TO-ADVERTISE PRICE!! is in fact the exact same as the list price.) I had an earlier version of this camera, and I liked it fine. We still use it as our back-up camera, and as a camera for the kids to use. The older version took AA batteries; the new version has the flat kind. That seems like the way things are going to be for digital cameras, so probably I should just buy a second battery and stop whining about it.
Nikon Coolpix 14MP with 3.8x zoom (photo from Amazon.com), about $90. I’ve heard people mention the Nikon Coolpix often enough that the name has stuck in my mind—but the reviews are poorer than for some of the other cameras, and this one has more megapixels and less zoom than my ideal.
Kodak EasyShare 12MP with 3x Zoom (photo from Amazon.com), about $60. The EasyShare was one of my first digital cameras, and I remember liking how fast it took the picture. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what it was that led me to replace the camera, but I do remember it was SOMETHING. Maybe the auto-focus wasn’t great: that seems to be the trade with the fast-taking photos. But it takes AA batteries, and that’s another point in its favor. Plus: color choice. I realize that shouldn’t factor into it, but it does. Blue! Silver! Green! Purple!
Olympus Stylus 14 MP with 5x Zoom (photo from Amazon.com), about $85. I seem to be working my way through a camera from every brand, and this is one I haven’t yet tried. I used a photo of the pink because I like pink, but I’d be getting the silver because the pink costs $121 including shipping, and I don’t like pink that much. Also, this camera purchase is primarily inspired by PAUL needing a camera, so.
I’d be interested in your input. Do you have a camera in the $60/$100/$140 range that’s been a success?