Point and Shoot Cameras
My favorite camera has been around long enough that older models (and still EXCELLENT models) are CHEAP
If you want the pocket-sized camera, I still love the Canon Digital Elph ($129). I own one myself and just got this one for my mom. It’s the best combination of tiny size and good picture.
When it comes to features, remember that more megapixels are not always better. Unless you’re going to make a billboard, 10 megapixels is plenty. Otherwise you are just buying bigger memory cards, bigger hard drives, and waiting longer to upload. The ridiculous part is that often the camera defaults to a lower megapixel rating so it appears that the card holds more images. So your 12 megapixel camera is actually shooting at 8 or less unless you change this.
Image Stabilization is pretty important on a camera that has more than 3X optical zoon (remember digital zoom is EVIL. It CROPS your pictures. It’s not a zoom at all. Turn it OFF.) Without I.S., a tiny wiggle in your hand (even in just pushing the shutter button) becomes a big movement at the extended end of a zoomed-in lens, causing motion blur.
HD Video Camera on the Go
As most of my clients know, this year I added HD video to my presentations. Initially I bought a little Flip video camera, but returned it the same day because the footage made me dizzy to watch–the backgrounds were strange and blurry and pixely.
I read dozens of reviews and settled on one I am so happy with — the Kodak PlaySport. It delivers MUCH better video than the Flip and as a bonus–it can go underwater. This was perfect when we went to SeaWorld and I wanted to capture the “splash zone” as well as our antics in the water park. It also captures stills (no flash, but this is really about outdoor photography) so you can make it the one camera you take to many events. It’s down to $148 now.
Wow, did Canon ever bring on the powerhouse prosumer SLR this year. The Canon Rebel T2i ($799 with lens) has been purchased by many pros and almost-pros due to its light weight and the HD video that is high enough quality to make real movies.
The link is for the kit, which I don’t love, as I think the 18mm-55mm lens isn’t enough zoom for what most people will want. Try a 28-135 lens instead if you want to buy the body-only.