Looking for a great digital camera for less then $200
September 24, 2011 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Help me select a new digital camera based on my requirements.

The digital camera I have right now is the Olympus Stylus Digital 710 (Specs: http://www.steves-digicams.com/camera-reviews/olympus/stylus-digital-710/olympus-stylus-digital-710-review.html ). It's great but I think it's sensor is waring out, so I'm looking for a new camera.

Key things I'm looking for:

1) SD or Micro SD
2) Takes a standard AA or AAA battery
3) Shoots at least 8 mega pixels
4) Have ability to shoot video at a minimum of 720p (HD)

Budget <= $200. I'm leaning towards cannon camera's simply for CHDK, I'd like to take some long exposure shots at night for astrophotography shots, but am not sure if that'll ware out the camera.

I mostly shoot: Nature (via hiking).

Any ideas?

Camera's I'm looking at:
Canon PowerShot SX130IS 12.1 MP
Canon Powershot A1200 12.1 MP
posted by snow_mac to Technology (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
And remember the standard boilerplate: megapixels makes a completely worthless metric of how good a camera is. The Canon EOS 1Ds for example has less resolution (11.4 MP) than either of those PowerShot models, but in every way that counts it is a vastly superior camera. For one thing, both the SX130IS and the A1200 have a tiny 1/2.3" CCD sensor, which is about thirty times smaller in area than the 1Ds' full-frame sensor. The SX130IS can't open any wider than f/3.4, and the A1200 can't open any wider than f/2.7, while with the DSLR you can easily get a good 50mm f/1.8 prime for about $100, a 50mm f/1.4 for less than $400, and if you need it, a f/1.2 or f/1.0 for megabucks.

I know that this is all outside your price range for a point and shoot, but the point I'm trying to make here is that megapixels is not a number that you should be concerned with, at all. Make sure to keep an eye on image sensor size, widest aperture, maximum usable ISO setting, etc. In fact, you could even make the argument that when shopping for a P&S, fewer megapixels is better than more, because it will have better sensitivity and noise characteristics (which equals better low light performance, and fewer nighttime blurry photos due to the shutter being too long), and that's usually the obstacle you run into far more commonly than not enough resolution.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:14 AM on September 25, 2011

Is AA/AAA battery a requirement? Digital camera battery life has become much better over the past few years, as discussed in this post.
posted by zombiedance at 3:53 PM on September 25, 2011

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