Juggling all the aspects of my life with some baking, writing and good old fashioned ranting thrown in

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Choosing a compact digital camera for family snaps

As a family, we're quite big fans of photography.

I vaguely remember being given disposable cameras for childhood holidays and really enjoying the whole process of taking the photos then getting them developed and creating a photo album for them. For my eighteenth birthday, I was given my first digital camera. At the time, I was thrilled with it. It was silver and compact and took some lovely photographs. I used it during my first trip with the Other Half, to Paris just after we got engaged. That camera lasted nearly two years but then would often switch off of its own accord. In the end, I reluctantly binned it. 

My next camera was actually a phone; the Song Ericsson Satio with an impressive in-built 12.1 megapixel camera. It took many of the Little Monster's baby photos and the picture quality was surprisingly brilliant for something taken on a mobile phone. But when my phone contract ran out, I decided to upgrade but sacrificed the good camera for other features. As it happens, that phone has turned out to be utter rubbish and I look forward to sending it off to Mazuma the second I can upgrade to something better, possibly an iPhone. I already use my Other Half's old iTouch, why not go the whole hog and get the phone too? Everyone else seems to have one and they all delight in showing how much better it is than my phone. I am Apple green with envy. 

The other half has a big SLR camera that he uses to take mostly creative photographs, often wandering outdoors in the small hours of the morning to catch some shots of the sunrise. The Little Monster even has a camera of her own, a massive thing with big rubbery grips on the side. She's just starting to get the hang of it. The picture quality is fairly poor but for her purposes, its good enough. 

I miss having a camera now. My current phone, the Samsung Galaxy Ace (AKA piece of utter rubbish I mentioned before) has a camera on it but its only 5 megapixel and when I have tried printing photographs taken on it, they look really, really awful. With it being summer (although you wouldn't know it at the moment) and the holiday coming up, it would be nice to have a proper camera to take photographs with. The Other Half can take fantastic photographs with the SLR but its rather bulky and, frankly, I'm always a little nervous of dropping it. Not really suitable to take on a family holiday with a two year old! So, after saving up some money, we're now looking to buy a nice compact digital camera. 

There are a few options. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS35 was the first we looked at. Although not shown in the link, it is available in a lovely purple colour. I know, the colour shouldn't be important but I do like purple. Is it a teensy bit obvious from my blog's design? On the more technical side, it's 16.1 megapixels, has an 8x optical zoom and takes high definition videos. Plus it's small and slim and would easily fit in my pocket or handbag. All very good for taking family snaps. Unfortunately, some of the reviews I have looked at claim that it has a "cheap feel" due to being mostly made of plastic. 

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 is the current favourite and probably the one we'll get. Much like the FS35, its 16.1 megapixel and takes HD video but has a far superior 10x optical zoom. Plus, according to reviews, it has a much more sturdy feel to it, though still nice and small for carrying around on family days out. 

There are a couple of others on our short list. The first is the Fujifilm JZ250. Its a bit cheaper than our other choices but, since we've got money put aside specifically for the purpose, this isn't too much of a concern for us. Its 16 megapixel, which I doubt is a noticeable amount compared to the previous two and has an 8x optical zoom, so better than the FS35 but not as good as the SZ1. 

The last one my list is the Samsung ST88. I will admit, this has a lot to do with style. Again, it's purple plus its metal and very sleek looking. There's a nice big LCD screen on the back too. As for the technical stuff, its about the same as the FS35, with 16.1 megapixels and a 5x optical zoom. I doubt we'll actually get this one, it would be shallow to buy a camera merely because its so very very pretty, wouldn't it? 

On Tuesday evening, I will be meeting the Other Half in town after he has finished work so that we can have a little look and feel of the cameras, since one of the major things people have mentioned is the "feel" of the FS35 and the SZ1, the former being a negative and the latter being a positive. Hopefully, this little outing will end with us bringing home our new camera so expect a picture or two of it and hopefully some test pictures taken with it! 

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