Thu, 20 Oct 2005

Mini-Camera shopping

I own an aging, but otherwise excellent digital camera, an Olympus C3030 Zoom, which is a three megapixel camera with 4x optical zoom. Sure, it's showing its age by using four AA batteries, and the ancient Camedia data cards. But specifications and features aside, every camera is worthless if it's too bulky to bring along when a Kodak moment arises. So, I began to look for a mini-digital camera in advance of my impending cruise that I could feel was small enough to not feel obstrusive during our various shore excursions.

Tom recommended several of the Canon Elph series. When I headed to our local Frys, however, several of them were in poor condition. The battery doors, which appeared to be metallic, but were actually flimsy pieces of plastic. Three out of the five models they had on the showroom floor had broken battery doors, which I felt were a disconcerting sign about durability. In the end, I weighed the Canon Elph SD450, a Sony Cybershot DSC-T3, and a Fuji Finepix Z1, each with 5MP and 3X optical zoom.

Ultimately, I decided on the Fuji for several reasons, the primary of which was size. This camera is tiny for a 5MP 3X Optical Zoom camera. It's a bit smaller than a 3G 20GB iPod. In fact, it fits perfectly inside my iPod clip case that came with said iPod, and weighs about the same. While it came with a measly 16MB card, Frys was offering a 1GB card for only $69 (after rebate), and for a total cost (with tax) of under $400 for both, I was sold. One key feature I was looking forward to was using it as a simple video camera (I have a great Panasonic video camera, but like the Olympus, it's so bulky it tends to gather dust rather than seeing any action), hence the need for a 1GB card.

Khan Klatt

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