Sunday, February 03, 2008

Camera quest

I've been bitten by the shutter bug. Thanks in part to the Round Robins Photo Challenge, I find myself looking at the world through imaginary frames. I notice things I wouldn't have a few months ago. Textures and planes of light are suddenly fascinating, pathways of all kinds are irresistable, and I've stalked the cat to point where he avoids me. I carry my camera in my purse, along with a replacement battery, just in case something interesting presents itself. Now, if only I could actually capture what I see ...

My old Nikon Coolpix 2500 has been a fine little starter camera. It takes serviceable shots for sharing online and has lots of automatic settings. But it gets noisy in low light, and at least half of all my shots are too blurry to be of any use. The screen is small and dim, completely useless in bright light, and there is no viewfinder. And let's face it, there's only so much you can do with two megapixels. It's high time for an upgrade. The question has been, to what?

I'm looking for a point and shoot camera with SLR-like performance; I want one camera that can take decent snapshots of a kid's birthday, freeze the action at a sporting event, and do artsy fartsy macros and landscapes. I do not want to memorize a manual the size of a dictionary, lug around a bag of lenses, or pay over $500. On the other hand, I do want a camera with advanced features that I can grow into.

After three months of study and shopping and dithering, I think I have found it: The Canon Powershot G9 appears to be The One. I pretty quickly narrowed the field down to Canon, based on reputation, features and reviews. No camera has everything I want, but of those available in my price range the G9 appears to have the best combination of features for me with the fewest drawbacks. It's on sale today at Circuit City, so I'm going in to check it out.

Wish me luck!

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