The New Point and Shoots
If you’ve been waiting for technology to catch up with your point and shoot film camera, it has arrived. Not inexpensive at $250 to $480, the following digital cameras feature some type of vibration reduction, 6 – 8 megapiixels of resolution and a large (2.5” diagonal) monitor (except Casio). Some have a viewfinder for easy viewing in bright sunlight and while all models have built in flash, their range is limited.
The feature of image stabilization enables you to capture a sharp picture in dim light without using the flash or when a telephoto lens setting is needed. Every one of these digital cameras are capable of producing ultra sharp 4 x 6s and great 11 x 17 enlargements.
My choice is the Pentax A10. It has the sharpest monitor, the most effective image stabilization and the best flash range. The DIVx movie mode is also a plus. However, you may have other priorities to help you decide on a model. The Sony features a terrific slide show with music but is pricey for 6MP. The Casio is low priced and thin, but hard to see in bright light. The Panasonic has a nice optical view Finder and is reasonably priced. The Canon has the longest zoom but is overpriced. All have a plethora of special features but the one you will use most is the dial marked ‘AUTO’. If the video capability is important to you then buy the largest SD or MS Card available (2GB). For regular still photos a 256 or 512 megabyte card is enough. Some models include many manual settings for the advanced amateur so further research may be called for.
Kenneth C Hoffman, Retired portrait and wedding photographer.
See also: Photography Tips