I mentioned my new camera on Twitter and someone requested a review, so here's a quick look! I'm still getting to know it, so this isn't super in-depth, but at least you'll get an idea.
Here's the run down of what I needed in a camera:
*As cheap as possible, preferably under $100. I felt like if I was going to spend more than that, I might as well suck it up and wait till I could afford $400-ish for my dSLR.
*Ability to take video. I think this is pretty standard now, but I wanted to make sure I could vlog with it.
*Available on Amazon, since I had a bunch of gift certificates from things like Crowdtap and Swagbucks.
*Well known brand. I mostly narrowed it down to Nikon and Canon, and ended up going with the latter since the camera I found offered the most value for my limited dollars.
Canon PowerShot A810
So, this is my new amigo. The list price on Amazon is $99, but it was on sale for $73 when I ordered it, and as I'm writing this up it is down to $70.
Just for comparison, my old camera is a Nikon Coolpix 995. I have been in love with it for close to a decade, despite the fact that it's only 3.2 MP and quite bulky.
The thing I really loved about it was that you can rotate the lens 180 degrees, so you can be looking straight at the LCD screen while aiming in front of you, straight up, straight down, or even back at yourself. Basically, a narcissist's dream. Still, it was time to move on.
Here's what's rad about the new camera:
*In pretty sharp contrast to my old 3.2 megapixels, this one is 16 MP.
*Takes HD movie. Yay! Even better, there's a button just for video, so you don't have to go through a menu to get there.
*5x optical zoom and 4x digital. I wish there was a little higher optical zoom, but that's probably asking way too much for a less than $100 camera.
*It's pretty quick. There's literally about a second between pushing the on button and being able to shoot.
*It's small (fits in the palm of my hand) and lightweight. Perfect for tossing in my bag to take to theme parks.
*There's a silent mode that turns off all menu and shutter sounds, if you want to do some sneaky snapping. I know I'm always a little embarrassed when I know people in other dressing rooms can hear me taking outfit photos when I'm trying on clothes.
*And, the thing that sold me- lots of fun scene modes! You can select options like fisheye lens, monochrome, toy camera, fireworks setting, etc. Not a necessity, but certainly fun to play around with.
Sam through the fisheye setting
What I'm not crazy about:
*Although there is some room to play with things like ISO, I really miss having a full Manual mode. Unless I'm missing it, this camera won't let me select things like shutter speed or aperture priority. I'm just going to have to deal with that until I can afford my snazzy camera, I guess.
*It takes two AA batteries. I know a lot of people like this, since you can grab them pretty much anywhere, but I am ambivalent. Yes, it's nice to be able to just buy fresh batteries if yours die while you're out and about, but I liked my old camera's fairly long lasting battery that would get me through a pretty full day before needing charged. Totally a matter of preference, rather than a solid pro/con.
So, in short, if you need something professional and awesome and high tech, this isn't your jam. On the other hand, if you need an in between camera until you can afford something higher end, or you just want something lightweight that you can toss in your purse instead of hauling your fancy camera everywhere, this is pretty darn decent for the price. (It comes with 2 AA batteries and a cord to connect it to your computer, but you'll need to buy a memory card separately.) Let's be honest- a good photographer is going to get good results with just about anything you give them, and someone with zero photo skills could still suck with the nicest camera available. I still hope to get a fancypants camera as soon as I can afford it, but until then, I think I'm going to be pretty satisfied with this one.