Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Visually Unrecorded Life

Until ten days ago – the day, to the best of my recollection, in which I lost my five-year-old point-and-shoot Sony Cyber-shot with its rechargeable AA batteries – I hadn’t realized how dependent I had become on my camera’s ability to record anything I found visually interesting, anywhere, anytime I felt like it.  Oh, how I have since suffered its loss! 
Just today, for example, I wanted to record the three inches of snow/slush combo filling my driveway, the snorting, running, sleeping dog, the molasses design in the baked beans (blech), and the court surrounding the girl who announced, “But Mom, I’m God” – each a little vignette that together make up the visual fabric of my day – nay, my life. Sadly, today, there are no crystals, no snores, no artistic-outlet -starved husband, and no game playing children to put into my external hard drive of memories, and none to share.
At first refusing to acknowledge that I actually lost my camera, I borrowed my daughter’s for our recent weekend excursion.  It was then that I truly appreciated the older, but far better model that was mine (faster, clearer, able to take pictures in low light).  Finally today, I couldn’t take it any longer and broke down admitting that my camera is long gone on the road to someone else’s house.  I just hope they enjoy the pictures of my parents at Judie’s and the mid-century modern furniture reproductions lining the walls of the otherwise empty Marriot reception center at UMass Amherst, because, apparently, I won’t get to enjoy those images.
I am now in the market for a new digital camera.
This is what I want: a good lens, works well in low-light, has at least a 4x optical zoom, powered by rechargeable AA batteries is an excellent convenience, video capabilities, a quick shot trigger, a metal body, and a compact, but not ultra compact size.  That’s not a lot to ask, now is it?  I don’t need bells and whistles, panoramic stitching, burst pictures, in-camera editing, or fancy design modes.  I just want to be able to take decent pictures at the drop of hat for under $200.
I’ve narrowed it down to these three choices: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC W290, the Olympus Stylus 7010, and the Canon Powershot SX 120 IS .  As if deciding between their features weren’t difficult enough, the Sony offers this for a case.  
Living a visually unrecorded life has caused me to examine mine.  And while the jury is still out on whether or not I deserve another decent digital camera as I wasn’t responsible enough to keep the one I did own, I’ve really come to appreciate the joy these instantaneously recordable and accessible snapshots of life bring me.  I am earnestly looking forward to beginning this practice again as soon as I can make a decision on how best to proceed.   
Any potentially helpful digital camera experience and advice is welcomed.


Beth said...

I love my Nikon CoolPx S630 (and there is a refurbished one on Amazon for $150.)
It doesn't have rechargeable AA batteries, but it does have a large view screen on the back, 12 megapx, 7x zoom that lets me zoom while filming (many that I tried before this one couldn't)
It's been incredibly easy to use...and held up a trip to Italy with my son.
Don't know about a Zebra stripe case....but maybe the one from Sony would fit.
My bro-in-law works for a really large camera store in NYC--so if you want to talk to some one, I can hook you up with him.

Lynne said...

Zooming while filming is something I often wished my last camera had. I didn't list it as part of what I wanted, but you're right - any new camera should have that. I think I'm turned off of the Nikon compacts because that what my youngest has and it feels so incredibly plastic, I'm afraid it's going to break every time I take out the memory card, but this one looks different.

And it appears as though it would easily fit in the zebra case! The only problem is now I'm more confused! I'll let you know what I decide. Thanks.

Fiddler said...

Add to the zebra case the fact that the Sony comes in a great, Steampunkesque bronze! But I have no idea how well it takes photos. O. got this one for Christmas, after much research on Santa's part (I was looking for one he could take birding that was okay for a twelve-year-old to stuff in a backpack, i.e., not too expensive). It takes better photos than my old camera, and I must say I am quite envious.

Lynne said...

Is that why the bronze one "spoke" to me? I haven't even read Soulless yet!

While I'm not ready for the full story, I did get a replacement camera after nearly two weeks and just a short 24 hours before the finders of my lost camera contacted me!

All is not lost. Actually, nothing is lost because in addition to getting back my old camera (hopefully this week) I just discovered that my new camera, while zooming in video mode, and having the ability to take 2 hours of video, does so only in .jpg form which is NOT compatible with Windows Movie Maker!

Happily, Stephen, who did not have a point-and-shoot, has a Mac, and it is compatible with that. Yay!