A couple of days ago I wrote a post on how my digital camera gave out on me due to a factory defect, and while Canon Philippines has generously offered to fix my camera for free, I have to wait two to three months before getting it back.
Of course, in the meantime, I still need a camera.
So I went out and bought another.
I thought about purchasing another brand, but somehow I've become accustomed to the various controls common to all Canon cameras, and they seem to have it standardized for their entire line. Not wanting to relearn how to use a digital camera, I opted to stick with the same brand.
Not having much in the way of camera requirements, I bought their latest entry-level model, the PowerShot A410. It's a pretty basic camera as far as specifications go (3.2 megapixels, 3.2x optical zoom, 3.2x digital zoom, 10x combined zoom, SD/MMC storage) but it does have an excellent feature set when it comes to picture composition (automatic or manual exposure settings, 14 shooting modes, 8 special scene modes and macro capability). Image quality is quite good using maximum resolution and the superfine setting.
However, Canon seemingly took a few steps backward with this model compared to my older A300. For one thing, while the A410 still has a movie mode, some wise guy opted to remove the microphone from the final design of the camera. Hence, you're limited to making silent movies since audio can't be recorded. While it isn't really a necessity, the ability to capture short movies on the fly was always a handy feature to have around. Too bad they took the audio capabilities out.
Speaking of audio capabilities, the A300 also offered a number of choices for aural feedback whenever you press the shutter to take a picture. My favorite prompt using that camera was the "click" sound which sounded like an authentic old-fashioned film-based mechanical camera. The A410 doesn't offer any choices for sound, and only offered a somewhat bland "beep" every time I snapped one off. A minor complaint to be sure, but I still prefer a positive sounding "click" than an anemic "beep".
Aside from these niggles, the A410 is an excellent camera with a price that won't hurt your wallet. Canon has a promo of sorts for it, offering a 128 MB storage card, a card reader, and a carrying case free with the camera. I paid a little extra so they would give me a 256 MB storage card instead. The camera is available if four colors. Mine is metallic grey.
I hope this Canon doesn't have a factory defect.
My sister also recently got into the digital camera scene, with her purchase of a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S40. It's a pretty impressive entry-level digital camera, boasting Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar optics, 4.1 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, 6x digital zoom, compact size, and all this for only a few more quid than what I paid for my A410. What's remarkable for Carl Zeiss lenses is the fact that they possesses long focal lengths (greater optical power) despite being physically smaller, hence it can optically zoom as well or even better than conventional lenses, despite its diminutive size.
I'm sure she'll be having a lot of fun with her camera as well.
With digital cameras becoming less and less expensive, and with more and more features and capabilities being built in, I guess its pretty safe to say that even in a third world country like the Philippines, we can start kissing antiquated film cameras goodbye.