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A Tale of Two Cameras

December 20, 2009

For as long as we’ve been married, Mr. Karen and I have shared a camera, starting with a Kodak that took 110 film which I brought into our marriage and upgrading over the years to 35mm, APS, and digital units. For the last three years, a Canon PowerShot SD600 Digital Elph has been our mainstay. We bought it based on very little research after I dropped our Olympus digital in a hotel parking lot while we were on vacation, and it’s served us very well ever since. This Christmas season I decided the time had come for us to become a two-camera family, mostly because I wanted Mr. Karen to have one on an upcoming road trip he’s taking without me (turnabout is fairplay—he didn’t get to come with me in September) but I couldn’t send the Elph with him as I need it for projects I’ll be doing while he’s gone.

Nikon Coolpix S220Since the second camera would be mostly used on trips, it needed to be small (for portability) and cheap (for lessening the worry about it getting lost or damaged). Since I’d had such good luck buying our last camera almost on a whim, I didn’t do a lot of research before I stopped at the store. I figured one point and shoot from a name brand would be pretty much like another of comparable megapixels and optical zoom. Based on size and price and, I must admit, its attractive plum exterior, I got a Nikon Coolpix S220. I got a bit concerned when after I’d bought it I found some negative reviews about the photo quality from this camera, but figured I’d try it out myself and see—maybe those people who weren’t happy with it were just extra picky. Saturday morning I did some test shots, taking pictures with and without flash, with and without the macro turned on. For comparison, I shot the same subjects with the trusty Elph. After I uploaded from both cameras to my laptop and got a look at the photos, I no longer thought the complaining reviewers were extra picky. The shots from the Nikon were noticeably fuzzier than the ones from the Canon, even though the files from the Nikon took up four times the storage space on the disk. (I put an example here.) Crap, crap, crap. This would not do. I deleted the photos from the memory card and carefully put everything back in the box as close to how it had been when I first opened it as I could manage. I worried that I’d have trouble taking it back, especially since the store’s return policy had a whole separate section with stricter rules for electronics, but it was easy as could be—I didn’t even have to wait too long despite doing the return on a Saturday.

Canon PowerShot A480Once I had the credit for the Nikon, I went back to the camera department and found several of the models I’d researched on display (yes, I did some research for this round—better late than never). After a quick phone consultation with Mr. Karen, I stood in line to get a clerk to check what was in stock. My first choice was not available, but they did have the Canon PowerShot A480, which had gotten good reviews for picture quality, so I grabbed that. It’s not as sleek or small or pretty as the Nikon had been, but it did great in the test shots, so it’s officially part of our family now. (Same subject as the Nikon test shot I linked above is here for the Canon.) Bonus: it was about $20 cheaper than the Nikon. (I was very briefly tempted to blow my budget and get the very beautiful lilac SD980 Digital Elph but then I remembered all those condo bills and sobered up.)


On this date in 2008: A Simple Request
2007: Messy is as Messy Does & Festive
2006: Restaurant Critic Time
2005: Welcome to Where?
2004: Cheater’s Compass
2003: Soon the Sun Will Be Up
2002: One Girl, All Alone

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  1. Hazel Says:

    Hi. I’m 15. Oh, crap. My aunt just sent me this camera from abroad. And recently, I have been watching this certain video on YouTube…it’s got negative comments. And now, you say it. Oh, Gosh. I feel sad. 🙁

  2. KarenD Says:

    I’m sorry that you’re sad. Just because I didn’t like that camera for the kind of pictures I take most doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone. I’m sure if I weren’t so picky about certain odd things I wouldn’t have noticed the things I did. And having a camera is better than not, right?

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