Looking for a camera with HD video, real stabilization, & 5X zoom that uses AAs.
March 11, 2010 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Anyone know of a compact or subcompact digital camera that can run on rechargeable AAs, has at least a 5X lens, can record at least 720p video, and has optical or mechanical stabilization?

I've spent way more time in stores and online than I'd would've preferred looking for a camera with all these features, and have come up empty. The closest I've come is a single as-yet unreleased model that doesn't have genuine stabilization.

The AA thing is the hardest to find, most that use them rarely have even one of the other features.

Brand doesn't particularly matter, nor does cost. Cheaper's better but I will pay for a good camera with all these features.
posted by aerotive to Shopping (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The sticking point is the AA battery requirement: it's roughly like asking for a luxury car with manual roll-down windows. If you drop the AA thing, you can order a camera like this Powershot, which seems a good bet.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 4:58 PM on March 11, 2010

This Fuji runs on AAs, has a 5x optical zoom, records 1280x720@24fps and has digital image stabilization. Not sure that's what you're looking for--either way, I found it by using Newegg's advanced search.
posted by box at 5:00 PM on March 11, 2010

DPReview also has a pretty detailed advanced search.
posted by box at 5:01 PM on March 11, 2010

Just in case you're curious why this is, AA's would drain too fast to be useful on a camera like that: all those features suck up power like a vacuum.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 5:07 PM on March 11, 2010

On preview: looks like Fuji did it! Just in time for your question, too.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 5:11 PM on March 11, 2010

Response by poster: strike: Agreed, but the AA thing is why I'm looking for a different camera. My current one has everything else but that. I'm just done dealing with its weird, hard to find, and usually expensive batteries that require a special charger.

box: That's the unreleased model I referred to above. But the others place where you could preorder it did not have the release date, so that info definitely helps. And I will try dpreview.
posted by aerotive at 5:12 PM on March 11, 2010

This Pentax comes pretty close, but doesn't quite get there. It's currently available, though.
posted by box at 5:15 PM on March 11, 2010

Looks like the other options matching your criteria on Newegg are all SLR-like "bridge" cameras.
posted by zsazsa at 5:19 PM on March 11, 2010

This isn't an answer to your question, exactly, but battery life on digital cameras has improved substantially over the past few years.

I also wanted an AA-powered camera when I was looking for a new digital camera because I was frustrated by my old camera burning through the battery so quickly (and I already had rechargeable AAs). I ended up buying a camera that took a proprietary battery, and was pleasantly surprised at how much longer the battery lasted compared my old camera. My old camera would last maybe half a day of use on a charge. My new one is more like 4-5 days.
posted by zombiedance at 5:43 PM on March 11, 2010

I used to be the same way about AAs but I just got a Canon S90 which uses a proprietary battery (the other features outweighed the lack of regular AA batteries for me). I think you should be open to other options and forget what kind of batteries it takes. A few points here:

1) Rechargeable AA batteries take up a lot of space and provide relatively low power compared to a proprietary battery of the same size. This also limits how small the camera can be (in the case of the S90, it would have had to have a big bulge on the right side like my older Powershot did... instead, it's nice and slim).

2) AA batteries also don't last as long. Even with the best Powertech or Eneloop AA batteries, I get a lot more shots from the proprietary battery in the S90 than I ever did in my previous Powershot (and the S90 is probably doing more, since it's processing RAW and JPEG files every time I take a picture).

3) Proprietary batteries can cost a lot but only if you buy the brand name. For instance, the Canon battery is something like $45. I got a "MaximalPower" brand replacement battery for $6. Actually I bought three since they are so cheap. The only difference seems to be the price. It charges in the Canon charger and fits the camera perfectly. Reviews on Amazon seem to indicate no problems whatsoever.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 7:26 PM on March 11, 2010

Also not a direct answer to your question, but I have had good experiences using batteries from sterlingtek.com for proprietary batteries. Pretty cheap as well (compared to manufacturer).
posted by poyorick at 7:29 PM on March 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

This canon does everything, plus it has the most excellent swiveling led screen which you will love. The one minus is it is bigger than a compact at 4.9" x 3.5" x 3.4"

That is still very small though.

Also, speaking as a Canon SLR owner, I agree with everyone who says their batteries are great. I regularly shoot hundreds of photos and HD video and have never once run out of battery power.
posted by extrabox at 8:44 PM on March 11, 2010

Your "AA battery" plus your "720p HD video" requirements are not going to get along. AA batteries don't have a lot of power, or at least, the power in them will be sucked out quick if you're taking a lot of HD video, especially if the camera has a live viewfinder. If you can drop one demand, drop the battery thing. Yes, internal batteries suck, but everyone has to deal with shit battery life; it's the Achilles Heel of our modern techno age.

FWIW, I have a Kodak zi8, and like it alot. Shoots 720p, 720p at 60 fps, and 1080p. Image stabilization, too. And about the size of a pack of cigarettes. My only gripe is lack of autofocus, but at $150 it's a pretty good little camera.
posted by zardoz at 9:05 PM on March 11, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments everyone. I think the best option for me would be to get a bridge camera similar to the ones that zsazsa linked to. They're heavier & bigger than I'd prefer but they do have all the features.
posted by aerotive at 7:24 AM on March 12, 2010

I have the Canon Powershot SX20 IS (one of the cameras zsazsa linked to) - I think it has everything you need (except a little bigger than you'd prefer as you mention above), but it takes amazing pictures and the 20x zoom is pretty awesome, as is the video. I highly recommend.
posted by echo0720 at 8:30 AM on March 12, 2010

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