I’ve got to admit it. I’m rough on point-n-shoot cameras. I try to have one with me at all times, so for awhile I was keeping first a little Nikon S1, then its replacement, a Nikon S50 in my pocket. Both cameras kept banging against keys, coins, phone, or whatever else I had in my pocket, and kept getting dinged up. Then there’s the matter of rough environments. I like to take these cameras with me while kayaking, hiking, bike riding, etc. My little cameras tend not to have long and happy lives, but they are usually well-loved and used.
I’ve been test-driving a Nikon Coolpix S550. As an inexpensive little camera it does well, and so far the images look OK, but it seems to be dreadfully slow when compared to my earlier two cameras. It takes a long time to write the images to disk, so you can’t take another photo very quickly. Other than that, it has many of the same features as the other cameras. Still, I’m not sure it’s the one I’d like to keep.
So, in a perfect world, here are the features I’d like in a point-n-shoot…
- Minimum 10 mp images – that’s about standard for any camera these days. However, it’s not just the megapixels, but the quality of lens and sensor that make all the difference.
- 28mm – 100mm zoom, or 5X optical zoom, if possible – forget digital zoom
- Truly pocket-sized, with no extending lens (like the S1 and S50)
- ISO 60-3200
- Image stabilization
- Interval mode and time-lapse modes
- Decent video in AVI format – not looking for a camcorder replacement or HD video here.
- Shock-proof from 4 ft drop
- Water-proof to 10 meters
- Standard USB cable connector – nothing proprietary
- SD storage
- Built-in SIRF III GPS for auto-geotagging
- Price point – $250 (or preferably less.)
That’s not too much to ask for in one camera, is it? If it were shock-proof and waterproof, I might be able to make it last a little longer than my other cameras.
(Steampunk Camera photo by Joe Schaf.)