Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Digital madness

Have any of you shopped for a digital camera lately?

No, I don’t mean did you go out and buy one, I mean did you shop for one. As in compare features and prices, figure out which features are worth the higher price and which ones aren’t, and then look for a camera with all the features you want and without those you don’t want to pay for.

Did that make sense? I hope so, but I’m so befuddled from all the choices that I have begun to understand why people don’t try to compare, but just go to a discount electronics store and buy what looks good that’s in their price range.

It’s not just megapixels and zoom. There are: Shooting Modes, Metering Zones, Sensor Types, Image Processors, Viewfinder Info Displays, Recording Formats, and more.

I’m sure all of those are important. Why am I sure? Because the reviews and comparisons all seem to make a big deal out of them.

But which are “better?” Which are unnecessary, and thus not worth the extra money (if optional). And which ones—although they may sound good, important, or even necessary—really only add complexity and are features I’ll never use?


And why don’t the reviewers include really useful information instead of all those technical specs? For example, which one is most likely to keep working after you drop it from eye level onto concrete? Or into a puddle? Or after you leave it outside overnight in the rain?

Hey, it’s the real world out there! Those things happen!

And how about temperature extremes? Like, if I leave it in the car parked in the sun in South Texas while I’m inside a restaurant eating lunch, is the plastic camera body going to be a sagging, misshapen gooey mess when I open the camera bag? Will I look through the 10 mm eyepoint viewfinder with the dioptric adjustment range of -3.0 to +1.0 diopters and see the word “tilt” flashing on the lower right side as the camera fails to function?

I’ve only been “shopping” for a couple of days, and I am beyond overwhelmed. We’ve even called our daughter Amy (who’s the closest thing we know to a digital camera “expert”) and asked her about some of these cryptic specs. She just shrugged and told us that she never uses many of those touted features.

I think this weekend I’ll just take Carol to the closest electronics discount store and pick up whatever camera model they have in stock that’s under $300.

Especially if it comes in a blue case; my favorite color.


kenju said...

Good luck finding one. I can't make sense of all the hype about them and I'd never know whom to believe!

Thanks for the comment. You must be right; all my husband remembers is every basketball shot he ever took!

Karyn Lyndon said...

I'm sure mind does all sorts of cool stuff. Maybe someday I'll read the directions.

Tish said...

Heres what I did: look for the highest OPTICAL zoom, not digital. Look for the HIGHEST megapixal within your price range, and then go to Best Buy, Sams, and Target. Best Buy will match or beat any price.
I have a Canon which is great, but now I want to upgrade to the new Digital Camcorder/built in camera, on sale at BB for around 450.
Hope that helps.
Your writing friend