“The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry”

(The quote is from The Shawshank Redemption, in case you were wondering.)

In two weeks from tomorrow I shall be boarding a plane at Heathrow and jetting off for a month-long tour of the United States. This is going to be good, this is going to be exciting. However, this is going to be somewhat incidental to this particular post. The subject of this particular post is digital cameras.

My current camera is a Nikon Coolpix 775 (yes, I find the “Coolpix” name mildly offensive too, but that’s what Nikon say so that’s what goes). I’ve had it for somewhere between three and five years and it’s safe to say that it has served me well. However, while using this particular piece of kit I’ve rather lost sight of where the camera industry is going and quite how damn fast it’s getting there.

Good as my current camera was at the time, its two megapixels pale in comparison to the 5 or 6 of even fairly low-end consumer cameras. Not to mention that the 775 is dog-slow, taking somewhere in excess of a second to display each picture. My question to the floor is, therefore, whether I should buy a new camera and, if so, which one I should buy.

The case for this is fairly obvious, but can be summarised thus: massively better quality pictures. I’m planning on taking many many pictures while in the States, and I’d very much like them to be good ones. That roughly summarises the case for the prosecution.

Now the case for the defence: let’s say your average digital compact costs about £250–300. That’s a fairly hefty wodge of money, especially when I’ve already got a camera which is good enough (at least, for some definition of “good enough”). It’s also potentially not a good idea to be wandering around in a strange land (with rather loose firearms laws) sporting a brand-new piece of tech. Ok, so I’ll have insurance against theft, but still not a good idea to tempt fate.

The third and final argument against buying a new camera is that I’ll only have a couple of weeks at most to wear it in: should something go wrong with it (which is feasible, if not likely) I’ll be scuppered. Not a good thing.

Oh, and I recently bought a CompactFlash card, so if my new camera uses MMC or SD then I’ve wasted my money. That said, the money is £20, so I’m not really sweating that one.

So, next question: if I do get a camera, which one? Word has it the IXUS 50 is pretty good, but any other recommendations for brands or models?

(Before anyone mentions it, yes I’d love a digital SLR camera, but no way in hell can I justify the price.)

2 Responses to ““The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry””

    •  Gravatar for Jono
    • From Jono
    • Monday 29 August 2005 at 18:03

    I love my Canon Powershot s50. 5mp, and the quality still suprises me to this day(examples can be supplied!) its a couple of years old now and i think the s75 just made an appearance for around your price range and it comes highly recomended from me.

    •  Gravatar for Ben
    • From Ben
    • Monday 29 August 2005 at 23:54

    My parents have a Canon A75 I think. Very nice camera to use. It’s slightly bulkier than the current Nikons, but very responsive. Theirs is a year or so old and thus only 3.2 megapixel, but I imagine the equivalent model would weight in at 5 or 6MP now.

    I’ve not looked very far, but wouldn’t say no to the current top-end Nikon (the 7900). 7.1MP of cropping goodness. Failing that, I think there’s a Fuji (or perhaps Olympus) model that offers 7PM with a 5x Optical Zoom, costs a touch more though.