Journal: News & Comment

Friday, May 02, 2003
# 9:09:00 AM:

Midrange digicam recommendations for May 2003

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I've given a few overviews of good values in digital cameras since I started looking into the subject last year. Here's my latest, precipitated by a question from a friend of mine currently living in the U.S., who noted that his wife...

...needs to buy a digital camera for her department here at the Uni. Budget is $300 USD, tax in, so we are looking in the $260-$275 range.

Of course, it depends on how they want to use it. Generally, you can't go wrong with a Canon model (while I don't own one personally, I'd buy one now with their current lineup).

Look for a 3-megapixel model with a proper optical zoom (3x or greater), like my top current choice in that price range, the Canon PowerShot A70. If they're likely to need a good macro (closeup) mode, Nikon is known for theirs. The Coolpix 3100 is a decent bet.

If a wide optical zoom range (i.e. distance shooting) is a big deal, look for the older but still sold Olympus C-720 Ultra Zoom. For simplicity, the Kodak EasyShare models like the DX4330 are good, but beware of having to pay extra for the dock. If you don't mind Memory Stick storage, Sony has a number of quality models like the Cyber-Shot P72.

If they need a small camera, the Pentax Optio 330GS is swell.

Again, I'd recommend the Canon A70 as the best all-around camera—it also has the bonus of using CompactFlash storage (the most flexible and cheapest) and regular AA-size batteries (but get NiMH rechargeables right away!). I would suggest the PowerShot S230 (or S400) Digital Elph models as nice micro-size cameras, but they're out of the price range.

No matter what the department buys, budget for a bigger memory card. None of the stock ones are big enough, and a 128 MB card is pretty cheap these days.


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