By Christina VanGinkel
The minute I started talking about buying a new digital camera, my twelve year old started asking me what I was going to do with my Sony Mavica. It has an optical 3X lens and snaps photos at a very usable 3.2-mega pixel. Far from being an outdated camera, it just no longer matched my needs for most of the photo taking I do.
I wanted something that would bring my subject, usually my son, into range when he was out on the football or baseball field. Technically, the Mavica did have a higher zoom if you considered the listed digital zoom factor. I did not. The digital zoom is nothing more than a cropping feature built into the camera. I can do that on my computer. I wanted real, honest to goodness optical zoom, something that would allow me to capture him out of the crowd. I also wanted something that would allow me to snap several pictures in succession without an enormous amount of lag between each shutter snap. While the Sony Mavica had let me snap some great pictures over the last few years, I now wanted to snap even better ones.
So what was I looking for in a new camera beyond what I already had? A digital camera that had a decent size LCD screen, an optical lens of at least 10X, and a mega pixel sensor of at least five would be ideal. Oh, and I did not want to spend a small fortune on it. Not asking for much, was I? I even thought I had found the ideal replacement when I discovered the Kodak Z7590. A fan of the Kodak brand from years of experience, the Z7590 seemed to have all the features I was looking for, including the 10X optical zoom, 5.0 effective mega pixel lens, and a decent size 2.2-inch color display. Couple those features with the options for taking both still and short bursts of video complete with audio and I thought I was sold. The camera was everything I was looking for. In addition, at a suggested retail price of just under the four hundred dollar range, I did not think I would find a camera that had the same or better features for a comparable price.
Then, I discovered the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1. It came complete with a 5.1-megapixel sensor, a large, beautiful 2.5 inch LCD screen, image stabilization, and the most impressive 12X optical zoom you could imagine. Do not get me wrong, there are numerous digital cameras available that have much more impressive features, but not at a suggested retail price below five hundred dollars. As a current, satisfied owner of a Sony camera, I also felt competent with the brand itself.
So, what was my choice? I still have not decided. I intend to purchase one or the other in the near future and when I do, I will let you know which one won or if any other competitors joined the field. In the meantime, my son has continued to inquire about ownership rights of the Mavica. The only problem there is I have not decided if I am ready to give it up. It is a bit like parting with a good friend who has been by my side for quite some time. Though I am inspired thinking of all the fantastic pictures he would surely take with it. So, I guess I will pass it along, as soon as I have made up my mind.