Best Digicams

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Alexa and “Andy”:http://judysbook.com were asking me what’s a good digital camera to get. I’m assuming a bunch, but the point-and-shoot kind is probably what she means. Right now the best buys are in the 5 to 7 megapixel (Mp) range. Pretty amazing cameras in that they will give you beautiful shots up to 13×19 for 7Mp and often above. I’m also assuming that she’ll want compact and also no shutter lag. Shutter lag is the bane of the
“I’ve got young kids” crowd.
Steve’s Digicams – The “Best” Digicams. Steve’s Digicam’s is a great source of reviews and in many ways is more interesting than the commercial sites that feature reviews. “DP Review”:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/ is another great site. I particularly like their matrix of volume (HxWxD)and weight so you can see what is the lightest and smallest easily.
If you just love small cameras and don’t mind a smaller 5 megapixel imager, then you can buy two cameras for one. 5Mp are about $250 while 7Mp cameras are $500.
So here are some to pick and choose in rough order
* “Canon Powershot SD500”:http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/sd500_pg6.html and “DP Review”:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonsd500/. It is the same size as the Casio. It has excellent image “quality”:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonsd500/page5.asp with ISO 200 in speed with sharp accurate images but has color fringing and 1700 lpi resolution. It takes 1 second to start and 1/2 second to autofocus and shoot so a little slow for this instant take a picture shots. 3.5″x2.2″x1.0″ and 6 oz so it is small for a 7Mp but not particularly light.
* “Casio Exilim EX-Z750”:http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/ex-z750_pg5.html. This is about the size of a deck of cards. It uses the same Sony 7Mp imager as the Cybershot below. Outdoor shots were sharp and indoor shots were very natural. Ergonomics were a touch below at “good.” It takes 1.5 seconds to power up and only takes 1/10 to autofocus and shoot. 3.5″Wx2.3″Hx0.88″D. 4.48 oz so it is nearly as tiny as the Optio S5i.
* “Sony Cybershot DSC-P150”:http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/p150_pg5.html and “DP Review”:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydscp150/. The “DSC-P200”:http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start?ProductSKU=DSCP200&Dept=cameras&CategoryName=dcc_DIDigitalCameras_Cyber-shotDigitalCameras replaces this model. I’m not sure the difference. This is 7Mp. It is bigger than the ultra-small Pentax Optio s5i and is one inch thick but it has a Carl Zeiss lense with excellent image “quality”:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydscp150/page5.asp and 1500 lpi resolution. It is very fast with a one second turn on and 3/10th of a second to autofocus and then shoot. He liked outdoor shots but though the indoor shots were too “warm” (that is reddish). $500 street. It has great ergonomics but it is quite a bit wider than the others at 4 1/4″ x 2 1/8 ” x 1″ and weighing in at 5.7 oz so it is heavier too. The big ding for this camera is that it uses the proprietary MemoryStick (Ugh! Sony why do you do this).
Finally if you drop to 5MP, the best recommendation seems to be much wider:
* “Casio Optio S5i”:http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/optios5i_pg5.html and “DP Review”:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxs5i is a good choice. It is a little whacky in ergonomics, takes 2/10 of a second to autofocus and shoot. And it had good overall picture “quality”:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxs5i/page5.asp with ISO 100 equivalent with some tendency to underexposure, overcontrast and undersaturation resolving to 1200 lpi. With a 5 megapixel imager, its shots are good to 8×10″. Most important of all, it is truly tiny at 3.3×2.0x0.8 inches and 4.2 oz. The updated model is called the Casio Optio “S5z”:http://www.pentaximaging.com/products/product_details/digital_camera–Optio_S5z/reqID–6533532/subsection–optio. It’s main advantage seems to be a 2.5″ LCD vs. a 1.8″ LCD in the S5i.
* “Sony DSC-T7″:http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start?CategoryName=dcc_DIDigitalCameras_Cyber-shotDigitalCameras&ProductSKU=DSCT7&TabName=specs&var2=. This is a ultra thin camera that is 5Mp. It is 3 5/8″ x 2 3/8″ x 5/8” so even smaller than the Optio S5i. It does require a proprietary MemoryStick though. Ugh, I hate Sony for that.
* “Optio WP”:http://www.pentaximaging.com/products/product_details/digital_camera–OptioWP/reqID–6442215/subsection–optio. This is a waterproof camera that is 5Mp and would be wonderful if it really worked.

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