Digital Camera

I was thinking about getting a pocket sized camera in the $200 price range. I went to best buy the other day and it seemed about 70% of the cameras fit that category. Which one is the best?

I am looking for it to easily fit into my pocket and take good pictures. Any sugestions?


I always liked my little Sony Cybershot, it’s great for catching impromptu (daylight) images & textures. It’s also spent 3 years being very abused (travelling, gigs, etc), and is still working like it’s brand new. Of course, it’s no good at night, but most of the cheaper ones aren’t…

The Lumix DMC-FX series from Panasonic is good. They’re very compact and provide a good level of control.

I have a Canon PowerShot A520 and I love it. I takes standard AA batteries, SD card, and you have the option of complete control over the aperture, shutter speed, and focus which for me is a big deal to have in a camera. And of course there’s plenty of automatic modes. It’s the best consumer grade digital camera I’ve ever used in it’s price range and even those that are more expensive.

Mine is an older model. The one you’ll likely be interested in is the Powershot A570 IS ($180). It has image stabilization which is useful if you don’t have a tripod.

They have all kinds of models of varying prices. You can look at them here to compare. The cameras I’m referring to are at the bottom of the list.

Just one word of warning with that series of cameras though. I’ve encouraged my family and friends to get these cameras, and of course they all love it. But I’ve noticed a pattern. The lens cover, because of the way it’s designed has a tendency to get stuck sometimes when closing and opening. Basically it has these two flaps that interlock like teeth, and if they get put in a weird angle you have to gently push or pull it back into place so they’ll open and close on their own. If the failure does occur it’s effortless to force it open with your finger nail.

Now, don’t let this scare you away from getting the camera, because the A-Series of cameras still rock and I consider it a minor problem; it’s really easy to fix and it doesn’t hurt the camera to do so. It happens rarely and I also have friends that never had the problem at all. I used to have that problem, but when I got a little $2 camera holder for my belt I stopped having the problem. I think having it in your pocket and putting pressure on the lens cover is what causes the flaps to do that. The camera is also 1.6 inches thick, and although it will fit in your pocket I don’t like the feel of it, not to mention that I already have a wallet, keys and a coin pouch in my front pockets already. That’s why I got the camera holder.

I still stand by using a SLR camera… But I like quality pics over being able to take it anywhere. But Metsys does bring up a good sounding camera. If I were to go with a compact, that would probably be one I would buy. Good find!

There’s a number of good camera review sites around the web, several give detailed tests. Steve’s is one, and he sometimes references tests on other sites. I forget which, but one of them lets you do side-by-side comparisons of pictures from different cameras even!

The most important thing is the lens. Don’t get a plastic one. You probably want a decent optical zoom, but like all cameras, get the lowest F-stop and the highest ISO rating you can… if it’s lower in noise. Power up time and next shot speed is often important but look out for the battery drain.

The Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony lenses are all pretty good, but one’s like Kodak etc aren’t as good.

Check the test reviews and see what trade-offs are acceptable.

Oh, and many Fuji and all Sony’s do NOT take SD cards. Which means more expensive memory. Verify whether the camera can take the newer 4GB+ “SDHC” cards, and note you’ll want an SDHC card reader for your computer.