After checking some manufacturer’s websites and then review websites as well, I had a general idea of what I was looking for.
I checked all the local stores, some twice. Staples (no one offered to wait on me, even though I stood there looking around for someone, I’m not going to go bother to seek someone me out unless I see something I am REALLY interested in), Best Buy (a number of people offered to help, unfortunately the one camera I was looking at was so new the guy had to ask someone else every question I asked him, and they didn’t really know the answers either), Kmart (only a few models, the lady asked me if I needed help but I didn’t have any questions on them), Sears ( Sears bites in general but what the hell. Even fewer models, no specs shown under them, some with no prices! What the hell? Someone did offer help though.), Target (many models missing, salesperson wandered by, looked at me), Walmart in Watertown (many models, a few not working, didn’t expect any help from salespeople, they were taking one piece of equipment away for fingerprints, huh?), and Super-Walmart near Fort Drum (also didn’t expect help, many models).
After stopping at various free WIFI spots along my route, checking reviews and features against what I saw in the stores, (as well as prices) I headed back home, did some more research, made another trip to Walmart in Watertown (calculating fuel usage in my head as well as I could) with the idea of buying a Fujifilm S5700.
There were some downsides to this particular camera. One of which was the large size of it and another was the lack of an integrated automatic lens cover (which isn’t practical on something with such a large optical zoom).
Both of these were minuses to me, pretty big ones. I’m always tugging my camera out or somewhere. The extra size and weight as well as having to take the lens cover off (or leaving it off and possibly scratching the lens) was a downside, for sure. I’d need a large case to carry it, it would be clumsier and awkard to take along, and hell – it was bigger then my digital camcorder!
But the camera was beautiful. It looked like a professional piece of equipment, felt like it too. And it looked like the kind of thing you could walk into any place and anyone would allow you to take photos of whatever you liked. The sort of thing that customers who needed photos taken would take you serious with.
And it had that 10X optical zoom, real nice.
But ultimately another camera won out.
The Canon Powershot A570 IS. This had everything the Fujifilm had (except the 10x optical zoom) and much more. I fell in love with it right away.
It was very similar to my Canon ZR500 digital Camcorder in the basic use of it – a fully automatic mode where the camera takes care of settings according to visual conditions, yet with the ability to tweak those to presets, and then the fully manual settings for all aspects of the camera.
I went ahead and bought it, plus 2 gig of memory (they give you a measly 16 meg chip for starting out).
The camera comes with a wrist strap, lots of manuals and software, a USB cable, plus a video cable (for plugging into a TV for showing the pics – a must for me), and even alkaline batteries. This only takes two AA’s, where my old one took four – lots more backup in the battery department now. One of the disadvantages of some of the cameras I looked at were proprietary batteries.
But the biggest features of interest to me were the image stabilization and the quality of the photos, the high ISO settings and the ability to change any setting manually if needed, while not having to mess with it if I did not want to.
I’ve played with a lot of people’s cameras but this by far has the best pictures for its price (hell, even for much more pricier cameras I’ve tried). The high ISO settings are great, as you can see from this picture of Tucker. Wow.
The 4 times optical zoom works well, and pauses right before it switches to the digital zoom (a nice feature, though some might want it more fluid – I think there is a setting for adjusting this to ‘no delay’).
It is 7.1 megapixel, nice for larger prints. It also has an automatic red-eye reduction (see how well it works in this pic), large LCD plus an optical viewfinder. I think I can take about 900 pictures with this per mem card.
It also has an amazing face recognition mode. It recognizes where the eyes and face of a person is, or even animals and other things, and shows a box on the screen, focusing in on it. Wow, the technology behind this is mind-blowing. It can, of course, like everything else on the camera, be turned off.
I need to take some time to learn all the features, but so far it seems quite nice and a good choice for $229.
Some specs (from the Canon website):
f/2.6 (W) – f/5.5 (T)15-1/2000 sec. (settable in Tv and M)
Auto, High ISO Auto, ISO 80/100/200/400/800/1600 (Standard Output Sensitivity. Recommended Exposure Index)
Evaluative*, Center-weighted average, Spot**
* Control to incorporate facial brightness in Face Detection
** Metering frame is fixed to the center. Program AE, Manual+/-2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
|Light Metering Method|
|Exposure Control Method||Exposure Compensation|
Auto, Preset (Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Underwater), Custom
|White Balance Control|
Auto, Auto w/ Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On w/ Red-eye Reduction, Flash Off Normal: 1.5-11 ft./45cm-3.5m (W), 1.5-7.2 ft./45cm-2.2m (T)
Macro: 1.0-1.5 ft./30-45cm (W/T) (when sensitivity is set to ISO Auto)10 sec. or less (battery voltage=3.0V)+/-2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
|Built-in Flash||Flash Range||Recycling Time||Flash Exposure Compensation|
Auto; Creative: P, Av, Tv, M; Image: Portrait, Landscape, Special Scene (Night Scene, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater), Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot, Stitch Assist, Movie Activates shutter after an approx. 2-sec./10-sec. delay, CustomN/AApprox. 1.7 fps
|Shooting Modes||Self-Timer||Wireless Control||Continuous Shooting|
SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, Multi Media Card Design rule for camera file system, DPOF Version 1.1Still Image: Exif 2.2 (JPEG)
Movie: AVI (Image: Motion JPEG; Audio: WAVE (Monaural))Still Image: 640 x 480 (Small), 1,600 x 1,200 (Medium 3), 2,048 x 1,536 (Medium 2), 2,592 x 1,944 (Medium 1), 3,072 x 2,304 (Large), 3,072 x 1,728 (Widescreen)
Movie: 640 x 480 / 320 x 240 (30 fps/15 fps) available up to 4GB or 60 minutes, 320 x 240 (1 min. at 60 fps), 160 x 120 (3 min. at 15 fps)
|Storage Media||File Format||JPEG Compression Mode||Number of Recording Pixels|
Still Image: Single, Magnification (approx. 2x-10x), Jump, Auto Rotate, Rotate, Resume, Histogram, Index (9 thumbnails), Sound Memos, Auto Play, Red-eye Correction
Movie: Normal Playback, Special Playback
|Playback Modes File|
Still Image: single image, all images
Movie: part of movie, all of movie
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mini-B jack)NTSC/PAL Monaural Memory card slot; direct connection to Canon CP and SELPHY Compact Photo Printers, PIXMA Photo Printers and PictBridge-compatible printers via camera’s USB 2.0 Hi-Speed cable
|Computer Interface||Video Out||Audio Out||Other|
1. AA-size Alkaline Battery (x2)
2. Rechargeable AA-size NiMH Battery (x2)
3. AC Adapter Kit ACK800Still Image: approx. 120 shots (AA-size Alkaline Battery), approx. 400 shots (AA-size NiMH Battery)*Approx. 540 min. (AA-size Alkaline Battery), approx. 660 min. (AA-size NiMH Battery)** LCD screen on. The above figures comply with CIPA testing standards and apply when fully-charged batteries are used.
|Power Source||Shooting Capacity||Playback Time|
32-104°F/0-40°C10-90%3.52 x 2.53 x 1.69 in. / 89.5 x 64.3 x 42.8mmApprox. 6.17 oz. / 175g (camera body only)
|Operating Temperature||Operating Humidity||Dimensions (W x H x D)||Weight|