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Take another picture with your click, click, click, click, camera

Here’s a photo of me and my mom at an awards ceremony.

And here’s a photo of me with Maggie Rodriguez on the set of The Early Show.

What’s that you say? You can’t tell that’s Maggie Rodriquez? You wouldn’t be able to ID my mom in a line-up? Why yes, that’s because my camera SUCKS!

The Canon PowerShot SD1000 was affordable and is easy to carry around because it’s the size of a pack of cards. (It cost me a lot less than what Amazon.com is listing it for. Don’t know what that’s about.) Sadly, 1/5 of the time the pictures it takes look like Vaseline was smeared on the lens of the camera. It’s a testy little device and it takes some training to learn how to push the button halfway to focus and then take a photo. I know about its quirks, but if I do not get a new camera in a month I’m going to have a lot of blurry photos of me standing in front of Big Ben and the Arc de Triumph.

Eventually, when I am rich and famous, I will buy a nice DSLR camera and take beautiful, breathtaking photos. However, you can keep your breath for now since that day has not yet come. Even if it had, I wouldn’t want to drag a camera that huge around Europe. So, does anyone have any firsthand experience with a point-and-shoot camera that is lightweight and will take focused pictures without any training? My scrapbook will thank you.

* Entry title respectfully stolen from Bishop Allen – Click, Click, Click, Click

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42 Comments

she overflows • April 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm

I have the Polaroid i733: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5301379. I bought it from Wal-Mart about a year ago, for just under $100, and haven’t been disappointed. It took amazing outdoor photos on my recent vacation. My only gripe is that it is easy to wash out colors on indoor pictures, because of the flash. I’m sure that could probably be taken care of by playing with the settings, but I don’t know how to do it.

I’m normally a huge Canon fan, though. That’s really weird that your’s has been such a pain.

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PastaQueen • April 5, 2009 at 5:29 pm

@she overflows – Yeah, I was surprised. I had a Canon PowerShot before this one and it worked great. That’s why I got another one.

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Robin • April 5, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Wow…that sucks.

I just bought a Canon PowerShot SD1100IS this weekend and love it…no Vaseline pictures at all.

Good luck and enjoy Europe…I can’t wait to see the pictures, smeary or no!

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Annalisa • April 5, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I bought a canon SD1100 about 2 months ago for our online business. It was around $160 on Amazon. I love that it is easy to focus, switches easily between macro and portrait, great battery life, and is small enough to fit into my pocket. I think at the time this was one of the highest rated/best selling cameras. It took a few weeks of research but so far, I am thrilled with this new camera. Good luck on your quest! PS – I am so excited for you to take your Europe trip!

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Tina Marie • April 5, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I have a Panasonic DMC-FZ50. It’s on the big side for a point-and-shoot, but it’s got a 12x optical zoom, and it does a fantastic job with colors, both inside and out.

A good place to look is at the flickr camera finder – you can get basic stats, but you can also look at all the pictures that have been uploaded to flickr from that camera – gives you a good way to filter out cameras that don’t focus well, don’t do colors well, or whatever.

(http://www.flickr.com/cameras/)

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Karen • April 5, 2009 at 6:14 pm

My vote is for the Casio Exilim, my son took it to France and took glorious pictures. Chk your email, I’ll send you some.

I had one and loved it, but it was in my bike jersey pocket and damaged the lens, so don’t do that. Otherwise this is a great little camera in my opinion.

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jenny • April 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm

My little optio camera takes the majority of the pictures in my blog and I’m very happy indeed with them. Its also waterproof, which is a godsend!

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Melanie • April 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm

I have the Canon Powershot A720, and I love it.

http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras/canon-powershot-a720-is/4505-6501_7-32471270.html

(I did not pay anywhere close to $500 for it, though, and I never saw it priced more than $200 or so – I don’t know what that’s about in the cnet link).

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Jen • April 5, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I’ve had two different versions of the fuji finepix and they both take great photos. I only upgraded to the newer one because the older one wouldn’t take a larger memory card.

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KateG • April 5, 2009 at 7:16 pm

I love, love, love my camera, but it is also a Canon – it’s a Power Shot SD870 IS digital elph. I can understand if you are wary of canons now, although maybe you happened to get a dud. When I was buying the one I have now I was waffling between it and a slightly more expensive camera that was not a canon and the salesperson thought the canon lens was superior.

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Deb • April 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Have you checked the lens for Vaseline?

Ha ha. Seriously, I suck as a photographer. I bought a Fuji Finepix camera because it was cheap and everyone else had a digital camera. Now that I’m on Facebook, I do like being able to put pictures on there. But it’s hit or miss as to the quality, which I blame mostly on the photographer (me!). Good luck with the search. You look great, and I do want to see you in front of those great European sights. By the way, the Eiffel Tower is one of the few things in the world that actually surpassed my expectations. It’s so cool! Good luck with the shopping.

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Kari • April 5, 2009 at 7:31 pm

The Fuji FinePix line takes great pictures and is very easy to use. I’m on my second one and hubby is on his third in about 8 years. I upgraded just because I wanted to…his fell to the ground one too many times. ;)

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Michelle • April 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Panasonic TZ series. I have a TZ3. My dad has the TZ5, my bff has the TZ1 & 2. I have taken FABULOUS pictures with mine. It has a 10 optical zoom. Shop around; prices vary. It’s a good camera.

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Ness • April 5, 2009 at 8:52 pm

I used an olympus mju all the way around europe and I have many awesome photos. You can’t go too far wrong with it, just point and shoot. The viewscreen isn’t great if the sun is glary, (Which is all the time in europe’s summer) but the photos still turn out fine. Also it’s super small and light, I had it hanging off a lanyard around my neck most of the trip. Hope you have a great trip!

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Christie • April 5, 2009 at 10:24 pm

I have a Nikkon Coolpix S550. I got it as a Christmas present this past Christmas and I have not had any issues with it thus far. It was just under $200 – I picked it out. It has been to many places already (NYC, NOLA, Christmas, birthdays, my sister’s wedding, etc) and I haven’t had any ruined shots.

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Jennifer • April 5, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Wow, I think you got a lemon or something. I had an Olympus that I loved, then bought a horrible sucky model. I think you’d have a hard time finding another camera that consistently takes bad pictures! I am now a Canon girl and recommend the Canon Powershot Sx10-IS. It has an incredible zoom, takes gorgeous pictures consistently, and takes the best movies out there that I know of. It’s $370 at Walmart. If you can’t bring yourself to get another Canon, then how about the Nikon CoolPixP80? It has consistently good reviews and is about $300. Get a good camera now and get comfy with it. And if it gives you any shit, return it!!!! I’d even pay a restocking fee before I’d get stuck with a crappy camera again. Good luck!

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Ashley • April 5, 2009 at 11:42 pm

I have a Sony Cybershot DSC-T700. On my last vacation, I took a an aerial tour and took over 80 pictures from a small airplane. They are all in focus and look really great. The camera also has only two buttons, so you really can’t screw anything up. Every other feature operates from the full touch screen menus.

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sandy • April 5, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I am a Nikon Coolpix fan. I have had a 4200 for aeons and it takes consistently wonderful photos. This is depite having been dropped by my graceful son – resulting in a dented body and the battery door being held shut with tape. It is such a great little workhorse that I cannot justify replacing it even though it is soooo out of date based on what it available these days.

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Christine • April 6, 2009 at 3:43 am

Most (nearly all) cameras will have you press halfway to focus and then fully to release the shutter. DSLRs do this too, unless you’re using manual focus.

However, it’s entirely possible that you ended up with a lemon – because if you had a canon powershot that you liked before, chances are it had the same halfway press thing to do. Possibly this camera just presses all the way too fast, and it’s hard to “find” the halfway point on the shutter button.

When people ask me what compact digital camera to buy, it’s hard because I don’t own one. I’m a fan of the Powershots, though, because the interface is very easy to use and the image quality is generally very good. I always end up recommending a Canon a570IS. (The IS stands for Image Stabilization and it’s really useful for not getting blurry shots) But, “it only has 7.1 megapixels!” you say?

Well, this is because for the size of sensor that is in ANY compact digital camera (this is any camera smaller than a DSLR), once you get beyond 6 mega pixels, image quality actually starts to deteriorate. There just isn’t enough space on the sensor for more pixels, so they make them smaller and smaller… except that leads to noise. Unfortunately, for a few years until cameras got to be 6 mega pixels, mega pixels was the analogue to which digital camera quality was measured. It was easy for folks to understand – the bigger the mega pixel number, the better the camera. So camera manufacturers are continuing this trend, despite the fact that as they approach 12 mega pixels on these teeny tiny sensors, the images they produce are actually getting worse.

If you have a camera with more than 6 mega pixels and you’re happy with the photos it takes, that’s great. But the truth of the matter is, you’ll get great images out of a 6 mega pixel camera, and since these are generally older models, they’re much cheaper. It’s weird, but apart from the Canon G10 (which has unfortunately also had to fall into the mega pixel corollary trap), the best camera you can buy is far from the most expensive.

In any case, here is a good buying guide from DP Review.

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Jessica • April 6, 2009 at 4:56 am

I bought a Canon Powershot SD880IS for ease in traveling. I do have a DSLR (that I love) but sometimes I don’t want to drag it around if I go away for a couple of weeks.

Also, I saw earlier that you were thinking of using the wrist wallet thing on your trip. If you decide against, please use a belt wallet (you can buy them in the travel section at Target). It will fit your passport, Euro, and Credit cards very easily and you don’t have to worry about getting things stolen.

Lastly, I’d recommend buying the Rick Steves books of where you are planning to visit in Europe. It’s so worth it to spend the $25 on your trip to get all the info about what is closed when. Also it will help you find things. I’m an American that’s been lucky enough to live in Europe for the past 2 years.

Happy Travels!

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Jenn • April 6, 2009 at 7:52 am

I’ve got a Canon Powershot… in A series… don’t know which number off hand, but I’ve never had issues with the blurry pictures. Well, only when the flash is off and I can’t hold still, but that’s not the camera’s fault. :)

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Pam • April 6, 2009 at 7:53 am

Back to your travel plans – Paris is wonnderful. My high school french notwithstanding, I had no trouble with the language – everyone speaks some english, you’ll get by. It’s like NY – people are not rude, they’re just busy. You don’t need them to be your best friend, just get you from point A to point B. And that’s fine.

Don’t miss the Musee D’Orsay – small, it will take just a few hours, and has Impressionist paintings you’ll be familiar with. The Louvre is a bit overwhelming; this is easier to enjoy.

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QueenB • April 6, 2009 at 10:32 am

Casio Exilim 7.2 Megapixel with both a digital and optical zoom. I love this little camera. I also have one of the DSLR’s but prefer to carry this small one while traveling as it fits in your pocket. this is the second one I have purchased just like this (the first one hubby dropped and broke). I believe I paid around $200 for it. I would purchase it again!!!

Good luck on your search and congrats on the Europe trip. I

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Kelly • April 6, 2009 at 10:36 am

We just got a Casio Exilim EX-Z9: http://www.plemix.com/camera-casio-exz9-camera. In orange. It’s a cute, convenient, tiny camera and so far the pictures we’ve gotten off of it have looked great.

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Mary Sun • April 6, 2009 at 10:46 am

I have the Samsung SL202 and really love it. Much better pictures than the Canon I bought just last year. I reviewed it on Amazon.

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Poppy • April 6, 2009 at 10:56 am

I second (or third or fourth) the recommendations for the Casio Exilim. I bought one because I had a so-so digital camera that I never used because it was too hefty to haul around in my purse on a regular basis. I take the Exilim with me everywhere and it’s easy (I’m a bit of a luddite), takes nice, clear pictures, and it weighs almost nothing.

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Lyn • April 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm

I may be the odd one out, but I really like my Kodak EasyShare cameras. I’ve had two and they’ve taken really good point and shoots of my five kids for over ten years.

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Chris7463 • April 6, 2009 at 5:23 pm

@Jen -I have a Fuji Film FinePix Z100fd and it’s great! It takes great pictures with little photography knowledge (believe me, I know nothing about taking good pictures). It has a great feature that allows you to take a picture with a flash and without a flash at the same time. This is perfect when you’re not really sure what to use (for me, this is all the time). It’s pretty affordable and very compact–it’s about the size of a deck of cards. I have had it for about 2 years and it hasn’t failed me yet!

Have a great time in London and Paris. I just came back from Germany. It was my first trip out of the country and it was amazing!

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Quix • April 6, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I’ve got a Canon powershot a460 5.0 mega pixel – it’s worked ok for me, but pretty much I just like to post silly pictures on facebook and in my blog. I got it super cheap when CompUSA was going out of business, like 60 bucks. Good luck finding something for your awesome European vacation! :)

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Anonymous • April 6, 2009 at 8:00 pm

I got a Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS last year and love it. Small, reliable, and consistent. It’s the first camera I’ve actually been willing to carry all the time.

It’s been absolutely great for home and travel.

My husband has a pocket Olympus that does take better pictures in low light, and is waterproof to something like 30 feet, but it was also $100 more.

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Jeannine • April 6, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I have the Cannon Powershot, I think SD770, and it is awesome. I highly recommend it. I think maybe there is something wrong with your camera, I haven’t seen any of the Cannon’s be so bad and vaseline-y. Maybe there is something they can fix… but probably not in time for your European vacation.

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John • April 6, 2009 at 9:38 pm

My educated guess (I’m a pro photographer) is that in the picture of you and your mom, the camera couldn’t focus correctly in the low light. That might have been the issue below, too, but looks like in both cases someone else was taking the photo and who knows what photo experience they had.

Canon makes fine cameras. I recommend sticking with it and practicing how to use it.

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Erin • April 6, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I just bought a new digital camera its a Olympus FE-20, which was on clearance at Staples (where I work) for only 60 bucks! Fantastic deal. and I love it! Really light weight too

Prior to that I had a Nikon Coolpixs L2…really old! But I’d recommend a Nikon to EVERYONE. They are really easy to use and always take awesome pictures. I had mine for years…and its still working great. I seriously dropped the things MILLIONS of times and always survived!

Another thing I’d recommend is accidental damage protection. Staples and Best Buy (I’m sure there are other) all offer it and for digital cameras its really worth the price. That way if you do drop it, you can get it replaces without any addition cost to you. Light weight cameras are really fragile now!

Have fun in Europe! Get LOTS AND LOTS of memory cards!

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dietgirl • April 7, 2009 at 3:22 am

@PastaQueen – Sorry to hear your camera SUCKED, PQ… must be that model coz i had the exact same problem! i’d had a previous camera of that breed which is why i bought another one, sooo compact. i’ve now got a panasonic lumix which is fab but still kinda miss the canon. i think that particular model must have just had a few duds…

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Happy • April 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Is your camera on ‘marco’ function? If it’s on, it will take very good pictures of close up objects and make far away things blurry. When my camera’s on marco, a flower icon shows up on the screen. Try and turn it off and maybe you’ll find that your camera is fine~~ :)

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debby • April 7, 2009 at 11:48 pm

I have a nikon coolpix 4200 too. And it is super simple to use and takes really good pictures faraway and close up too. I don’t really know anything about cameras, but I love taking pics with this one.

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K • April 8, 2009 at 7:16 am

@Chris7463 – I also have a Fuji Finepix and I love it. I’ve got the one with the amazing 10x optical zoom, which is great for sneaking up on my guinea pigs.

The only thing is that it’s not miniscule and lightweight. That might be an issue if you’re travelling.

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Mary Sun • April 8, 2009 at 9:56 am

@John – I don’t have any background in photography, but I bought a canon last year that took indoor photos like PQs. Even in a room that was quite well lit, the images were always dark and fuzzy and the white balance was terrible – even when the subject was not very close to the camera. I did a lot of research before buying the camera and was very disappointed in it. I tried adjusting some of the settings, but could not get much improvement. It was strange because everyone I know who owns a Canon is happy with it.

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PastaQueen • April 8, 2009 at 10:04 am

@Mary Sun – Yeah, it doesn’t get more well lit than a TV set. I think it’s the camera.

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val • April 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Here’s another vote for the Casio Exilim. I have the Ex-Z850 and love it. I’ve had it a few years, so there may be a newer model. Here are some pics I’ve taken with it:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/desbah/sets/72157600051212399/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/desbah/sets/72157605324590611/

And, here’s how I came across the Casio. I went to Costco, wrote down all the models they had in my price range, and then went to Digital Photography Review to do a side-by-side comparison of them all. Casio had the best reviews/features at the time.

Good luck!!

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adrienne • April 8, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Sony Cybershot. It’s default settings are highly automated, so you simply point and shoot.

The new ones are pocket sized and can withstand toddlers and other challenges.

They have a one-touch macro setting that does well for close-up photography. Almost all the pictures on my blog are from a Cybershot.

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Michele • April 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Another vote for the Panasonic Lumix. We LOVE ours. It was about $230 at Amazon.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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