Simpler the better
September 14, 2006 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Help me find the simplest digital camera available!

Here's the issue. My mother-in-law loves the concept of a digital camera-- being able to see the picture immediately, delete bad ones, view on a computer easily, take to Walmart to print out, etc.

The problem is that she hates her current camera. It is the older model of this Olympus.

The reason she hates it is because she feels that it is too hard to use. When I look at it, I think, "WTF? You point and shoot."

But as I watched her struggle with it, I realized what bothers her about it-- too many choices.

1. The zoom bothers her-- EVEN THE PRESENCE OF IT. "Where should I set the zoom to take the best picture?" I say, "Huh? Wherever you want!". Ideally, her perfect camera would _NOT_ have optical zoom.

2. She would rather have only a viewfinder, not viewfinder and/or LCD. If this was easily settable so that the LCD was not on while taking a pic, that would be okay.

3. The auto-focus lag drives her INSANE. __HONESTLY__, something that is fixed focus a-la disposables would be fine.

4. Rechargable batteries are her nemesis, because she never remembers to pack the charger.

5. As few features as possible. Seriously. Ideally it would have:
a) On/off switch
b) Shutter release
c) A switch to go between taking pictures and reviewing

And that's _IT_.

Am I insane?
posted by gregvr to Technology (12 answers total)
casio exilim are really easy to use for point-and-shoot. i dont think they really meet all your criteria tho
posted by petsounds at 8:55 AM on September 14, 2006

The only consumer digital camera I know of that doesn't have an optical zoom is the Ricoh GR-Digital. It has a fixed 28mm lens (f/2.4), normally runs about $699 and is targeted at the rangefinder community. It doesn't have an optical viewfinder, but it does have a large, beautiful screen.

I wouldn't really recommend it to an uninitiated user, though.
posted by bshort at 8:58 AM on September 14, 2006

You should look into the cheap 3.2MP low-end or kids cameras.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:00 AM on September 14, 2006

You can't get much simpler than the single-use digital cameras. Costs 20 bucks, and this is about as simple as it gets (okay, so it has an LCD screen in addition to the viewfinder). The beauty of it for a technophobe is you don't even have to fiddle around with hooking it up to your PC, though there are hacks out there that allow you to. In fact, I'd suggest you run out and buy one for her - you could end up being her favorite son-in-law.
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:35 AM on September 14, 2006

Logitech ClickSmart 510 might be a good idea - no zoom, uses AAs. no LCD (other than for status), just a viewfinder, which does negate being able to preview your photo Right Now. (it's also been discontinued - while you can still get it, it'll be harder to find a new unit.) to step up a bit, you could go to the Canon PowerShot SD630 which is a nice camera with not many buttons and just a huge freakin' screen on the back.
posted by mrg at 10:12 AM on September 14, 2006

So funny- I wanted to post a similar question for my older dad...can't see well but he still wants to take pics when he goes somewhere. His last trip cost me about 100 dollars in disposable cameras and developing.

Glad you asked the question!
posted by beccaj at 10:23 AM on September 14, 2006

This one looks like an update to the one I have. No zoom. No features. Super small. Super painless easy.

The flash is annoying/causes a lag in really low light, but without the flash I never have an issue (also fairly nice low light shots).

(I should just send her mine, as I want another camera specifically due to the lack of features and the AA batteries rather than rechargeables.)
posted by Gucky at 10:54 AM on September 14, 2006

Why not get an old point-n-shoot film camera? It's easy enough to get digital photos from film if she wants those.
posted by booth at 11:43 AM on September 14, 2006

I don't think you're insane. She might be. I also don't think you can find a camera with an LCD(which is necessary for reviewing, right?) that doesn't have any kind of zoom nor lag.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 12:11 PM on September 14, 2006

There are some suggestions in this thread asking a slightly different question.

I think a lot of gadget manufacturers are missing out on a huge demographic of people for whom perceived value goes down with each feature.
posted by justkevin at 2:09 PM on September 14, 2006

I think shutter lag is going to be your nemesis in this. The only cameras I've seen that do especially well on shutter lag are the higher end cameras, which unfortunately are also pretty high on features as well.
posted by antifuse at 2:11 AM on September 15, 2006

Are you serious about wanting the absolute simples digital camera? I have one I found at Walgreen's for $10. The brand name on it is Innovage, although I've seen the exact same camera with Bell and Howell marked on it selling for $25.

This little beauty has a "viewfinder" that pops up on the top of it, which is essentially worthless. Talk about your "point and shoot." I've had more fun with this toy than with my Fuji digital which cost over $200.
posted by Cranky Media Guy at 2:56 AM on September 15, 2006

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