My SD card reader bit the dust a couple weeks ago, and yesterday while taking pictures of pie, my SD card suddenly became unreadable. While we do have a reader I can borrow from lab, I feel like I'm being nudged slowly but surely to find myself a new camera. I've had my brick since June of 2004, and it's, um, old. And performs rather poorly under low light conditions. It has been a very good camera for me, and I'll be sad to retire it (==pass it on to my younger brother so he has one to fool around with), but it needs to happen. So--much of my spare time has been spent browsing DP Review and other websites, trying to find a camera that balances cost, utility, and the bells and whistles.
At the end of the day, I want a light camera (not a full DLSR) that I can hold comfortably one-handed, one that is small enough to fit in my purse, and great in low light conditions (image stabilization and operation in low ISO). While a fancy camera would be great fun to play with, at the end of the day I want a camera I can take everywhere I go, all the time, not something that is so big it requires its own case. Not gonna do it, sorry. I also want it to last for at least 15 years, double what this current camera lasted; we'll see how it does. I did find an article from PC World about the best compact low light cameras, which is where I found some of my options.
Current Camera: HP Photosmart 935 (specs taken from a very thorough DP Review article from 2003)
price back in 2004: close to $275
Weight: 9.9 ounces
Maximum resolution: 2608 x 1952
(this camera came with a 32 MB sd card. I upgraded to a 512 MB three years ago, but I need to buy a new one, I think, haha)
Camera option number 1: Canon Powershot S95
Weight: 6.88 ounces
Maximum resolution: 3648 x 2736
ISO: 80 to 3200
Battery: rechargeable lithium ion (lasts about 200 shots)
Tiger Direct: $399
New Egg: $399
I also checked out the Canon Powershot S100, which is more expense ($429 on Amazon) but offers better HD Video and other things that are slightly better. Basically, it's not enough to be worth it for me...if I want a video camera, I'll buy a Flip.
Camera option number 2: Olympus XZ-1
Weight: 9.2 ounces
Maximum resolution: 3648x2736
Lithium ion rechargeable battery with USB, lasts about 320 photos
Tiger Direct: $450
New Egg: $445
Camera option number 3:
See, I was trying to be open-minded, searched through about a zillion cameras, all that, but by hour three of searching today (plus the many many hours I've searched before this), I became more and more convinced that the Powershot S95 is exactly what I need right now. Add one or two extra batteries to be safe, and the amazon deal comes with a 4GB SD card and a mini-hdmi cable...basically, I'm set. Now, I just have to wait for it to arrive!