Digicam that just works
June 15, 2005 9:55 AM   Subscribe

My family wants to buy my grandfather a digicam (compact, zoom, 4-5 MP, US$250ish). Most of the reviews I've seen online are from a 'power use' perspective and focus on adjustability and features - but my grandfather's camera skills pretty much stop at 'point & shoot.' Any recommendations for cameras are genuinely easy to use, and take consistently good photos out of the box?
posted by kickingtheground to Technology (10 answers total)
 
the kodak cameras all get high marks for usability.
posted by chr1sb0y at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2005


I just bought a Nikon Coolpix because it had a nice big screen on the back, and I could figure how to use it without the manual. It has a lot of dials and knobs that you can use to adjust the photo, but I just used the auto setting, and got great shots on my last vacation, including weird places like inside a cave, pointing at a sunset, etc.

http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=2&productNr=25517
posted by beezy at 10:22 AM on June 15, 2005


Any of the Canon compacts are good too. I've recommended the predecessors of the PowerShot S70 to at least five people and they've all been thrilled with them.
posted by kindall at 10:48 AM on June 15, 2005


I love my Canon S500 but it may have more bells and whistles (and knobs that can be misset) than you want based on your comment. However I believe they have several of the SD models or others that are more click-n-go.

On the knob issue, I advise you to go into a Circuit City or the like and fiddle with anything you consider buying - my girlfriend has a Nikon which she loves to death -except- it has a knob which moves very easily and sets modes like "party" which puts confetti crap all over the photo. Be on the lookout for 'features' like that which are too easy to use accidentally.
posted by phearlez at 10:57 AM on June 15, 2005


I love my Canon S500 too! hehe It does have some extra bells and whistles, but works great as a point and shoot camera too. I have a Flickr page if you want to see the kind of photos it takes.

I would really recommend any Canon digital cam. My brother has a Canon A75 (I think the current model is A95) that he loves. It has fewer extra things, and is really easy for him to use as a novice photographer. And of course it takes great photos too.
posted by geeky at 11:07 AM on June 15, 2005


"Compact" can be pretty small - I don't know how dextrous your grandfather is but the Canon AXX cameras (like the A95), though not technically "compact" are relatively small and feature very usable buttons and such. I have an older A70 and it's great.
posted by mikel at 11:15 AM on June 15, 2005


By 'compact,' I was using the terminology of DPReview, which considers anything smaller than SLR-size to be 'compact' - and tiny cameras, such as the Canon Elph series, to be 'ultra-compact.' I haven't seen it in person, but the A95 looks like it's in the right size range, while the Canon Elph series would probably be too small.
posted by kickingtheground at 11:50 AM on June 15, 2005


I really like Canon Elph cameras (i.e. S200, S300), they come in a variety of megapixels. They're small, have solid aluminum cases, usually have 3x zoom, and take fantastic pictures with very little effort.
posted by knave at 11:57 AM on June 15, 2005


I bought a 4MP Canon Elph for my parents at Christmas. My father is a complete and utter technophobe, and he uses it just fine. It's quite tiny so might be toooo small, but from a UI standpoint, the features he worries about - flash or no flash, how to review and delete pictures, zoom, are all readily available and understandable.

I was advised by the salesperson that the more expensive Kodak camera I was looking at would be less friendly from an interface standpoint.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:43 PM on June 15, 2005


If you can find one in stock (it was discontinued last month) the HP 945 is a great point and shoot, easy to use camera. All the buttons do one thing and there aren't a swack of them. It's also a bit on the large size (about the size of a full manual 35mm like the K1000 with out the heft) and the buttons are widely placed making them easy to use. I find the Canons in the G6/S2 range a bit too small and smooth to hold onto. The 945 has grippy bits covering about half of it and the grip is a bit more hand filling. It also has a dock available meaning you don't have to fumble with cords/memory cards/batteries if that is difficult for him. 5MP with 8X optical zoom. Flash pops up so it is easy to tell whether it is on or not.
posted by Mitheral at 2:49 PM on June 15, 2005


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