general purpose digital camera

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Was looking for a digital camera on behalf of a relative who just joined college, and I came up with this combination:

The camera had to be a Canon, because a flip-out-and-twist LCD is a must. I selected the A640 (DPReview) because it gives the best bang for the buck for a casual user.

The S5 IS or its older sibling, the S3 IS are too big and need careful handling. You can’t just casually throw one of these into your shoulder bag as you head for the beach on your college picnic.

Compared to the A640, the current head of the line, the A650 IS has image stabilisation, more effective pixels and the newer Digic III processor with features for face recognition and stuff. But I didn’t consider any of those worth the higher price. It also does not have manual controls for exposure (aperture priority and shutter priority). That last one is a personal preference, and I consider it worth the weightage when selecting a camera, for that rarely made, but stunning, long exposure photograph.

There is another line, the A720 IS. It has one single missing feature that immediately eliminates it in my list … the LCD is fixed, can’t flip it out and twist it in whatever direction. It has one very big advantage though … it uses only two batteries, and hence saves on overall weight.

About the memory cards, decided to buy one of each brand simply because there didn’t seem to be much difference between the two. The wife suggested hedging my bet on the brands instead.

The Maha Powerex C401FS, is the only known NiMH charger that is recommended by almost every photography site out there. It is supposed to be very gentle on the battery, and has four channels to charge each battery separately. Maha Powerex has a history of good products, and their 2300mAh batteries figured second in the only known thorough test of NiMH batteries, losing by just 2% behind the leader, Energizer. Had to order the package from the Maha website itself, since Amazon doesn’t have that particular version … universal adapter, European plug.

The order hasn’t been placed yet, but messages have been sent, and the said objects of desire will arrive Real Soon Now.

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