Canons PowerShot SD630
That said, you might look at Canons PowerShot SD630 ($400, street price is lower; www.canon.com). Its a new camera that has some great featuressix-megapixel resolution, a huge viewing screen on the back of the camera, and the ability to shoot short movies as well as take stills. Im partial to Canons because the company understands photography so well. Ive always found their digital cameras to be intuitive to use, well-designed, and extremely functional. The SD630 has been out just a few months but is already getting raves from users.
Another good choice is the Olympus 710 Stylus ($300; www.olympus-global.com). It has an amazing 7.1-megapixel resolution, a 3:1 zoom lens, and water-resistant construction so a little rain wont hurt it. Like the Canon it has a very large rear screen, although also like the Canon, it lacks an old-style viewfinder. This is unfortunateI think people see and frame a picture much better by looking through a viewfinder, which cuts out extraneous visual clutter. But then, regular readers know that I first took pictures during the Cretaceous Era.
And, to hit the magic number three in suggestions, Nikons CoolPix P2 ($400; www.nikon.com) has a nice set of features5.1-megapixel resolution, excellent Nikkor zoom lens, even WiFi so you can offload pictures wirelessly. The things they think of these days!
Id wander into a camera store and look at all three. See what feels best in your hand, seems to have the least shutter lag, and has the features you want. Theyll all take great pictures; itll be the little things that make the difference.
The votes are in: Check out the winners of Outside's 2006 Gear of the Year awards, including the year's hottest camera.