Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Nov 10

It’s not me, it’s the camera.

Wild horse on Wild Horse Island

This horse was 10 feet closer when I started taking the picture.

I’m not convinced that a new camera will instantly make me a better photographer, but I’m ready to test the theory. Now that I have two kids, I want them to be able to clearly identify themselves in pictures. That way, my youngest will be able to experience an important rite of passage — realizing there are half as many pictures of her as there are of her older brother.

Cute was 5 seconds ago

How YOU doin'?

We have a six-year-old, point-and-shoot, 4-megapixel digital camera that takes okay pictures when you have the settings correct. But it spontaneously resets itself, and our pictures go from decent to blurry with a chance of halo. And most of the time, the action goes like this: point, point, point, point, (“Snap the picture already!”) point, point, point, shoot! And my kids are only capable of holding a pose or smile until about three nanoseconds before the shutter clicks. So we end up with photos that should have been super-cute, but instead make my son look like he’s practicing his pick-up line. “How YOU doin’?”

So I’m looking for a new camera. But holy overwhelming options, Batman! Digital? SLR? Digital SLR? Something in between digital and DSLR? CMOS, flash modes, image sensor, shutter speeds, ISO…IM(Not so H)O it’s way too complicated. All I want is something that will capture my kids mid-smile and that doesn’t require an engineering degree to operate. And if it could make me look just like Halle Berry, I’m sold. Looks like I might have to do some research.

I’m not a huge fan of research, especially if it involves clicking more than one link, or even having to type the full question into the Google search bar. Lucky for me I work at an electronics store where camera expertise and advice is literally a single click away.

Here’s what I learned. I have two young kids who aren’t involved in the sports, yet, so I need something for good close-up shots and moderate action. And most of our photo ops take place indoors. (I cannot be expected to remember the diaper bag, my purse, sunscreen and/or hats and mittens, phone, car keys, AND the camera.) Finally, I’d like a smallish camera that will easily fit into a purse, but I like buttons that are big enough to accommodate my mannishly large fingers.

For my needs I’m looking at these options:

Sony DSCW370 Silver

Gets the job done

1. Sony DSCW370
Big LCD screen, shows explanation of all the icons — dummyproof
Not the smallest camera on the market, but small enough to fit in the handbag.
HD Movie mode — 2-in-1 functionality, how convenient.
7x optical zoom — probably more than I need at this point, but good for future ball games and school programs
Takes pictures much more quickly than current camera

Panasonic DMCFP3 silver

Slightly more stylish

2. Panasonic DMCFP3
Touchscreen control — easier for my man-hands.
Smaller camera, would fit in jacket pocket easily. They say pants pocket, but…no.
Bigger internal memory, so less messing around with memory cards.
Only 4x optical zoom, so less future-friendly.
HD Video recording

Canon SX30IS

Now that's a camera.

3. Canon SX30IS
35x optical zoom — so I can spy on the neighbors 2 doors down
A bunch of adjustable settings — in case I ever want to learn to be a “real” photographer
Explanation of icons on screen — dummyproof
Image stabilization during movie recording — no motion sickness upon playback

Okay, this camera is spendier and bigger, but it looks like a “real” camera and it’s hard to take a bad picture with it.

Honestly, I’m leaning toward the Sony because it meets all my current requirements and looks like it will be great down the road. I’ll decide in the next week or so. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this one piece of camera/photography wisdom: “Everyone has a photographic memory, but not everyone has film.” Author Unknown.

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