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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Camera shopping for Mom

I wanted to buy a camera for my mom that is fully automatic—just push the button, and it takes a good picture. Panasonic’s fully automatic FS7 was tempting, but didn’t have many reviews, so I decided to stick with our tried and true brand, Canon. I figured Mom’s requirements matched the snapshooter profile, and wanted the following specs: automatic scene selection, image stabilization, and long battery life.

The three candidates were the SD1200, SD780, and SX120. All of them have automatic scene selection, image stabilization, and reasonable battery life, so she couldn’t go wrong with choosing any of them. The SX120 has a nice big 3" screen, but the others weren’t too bad at 2.5". I wasn’t sure if she would find the SX120 complicated, as it has more buttons and dials than the others. It was also the largest of the three.
Image StabilizationAuto Scene SelectionLCDBattery LifePrice
YesYes2.5"260 shots$200
YesYes2.5"210 shots$250
YesYes3.0"370 shots$300

In the end we went with the big SX120. The tipping point was its use of AA batteries—easy to replace while travelling.

I’m definitely jealous. It has twice the megapixels and LCD size of my camera, a 5-year-old Canon A75. The 10x optical zoom is pretty cool. I would recommend turning off the 4x digital zoom though—it makes the pictures blurry.


  • I just bought a compact for my Mom last week. It's her first digital camera, which she wants mainly for a four-month trekking adventure in South America. Chose the SD1200 because I think it's inexpensive and the best bang for the buck. She knows a bit about photography, but not gadgets, so it had to be easy to use. Combined with the charger, it's the same size as her old Canon compact film camera. I've also used--heavily--the SD1100 for the past year, so can vouch for its straightforward high quality

    And megapixels don't make the camera. In fact, anything over 6 or 8, for a recreational shooter who won't print anything larger than 8x10, is really just creating more noise, taking up more space on their hard drives and making images slower to load and view.

    By Blogger Jeff Werner, at 9/27/2009 11:50 PM  

  • Nice choice for your Mom, Jeff! Good point about the megapixels - I'm content with my old 3MP camera.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 9/28/2009 12:30 AM  

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