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phillytim Nov 29, 2005 8:33 AM

hey everyone - here's a challenge for ya: what camera model(s) would you recommend if you were purchasing for your technology-rebellious (meaning: shy & not owning any tech devices) mom this Christmas?

the basic point-and-shoot camera should be in the 4mp-5mp range, use AA batteries, have at least 3x optical zoom, and have an easy, intuitive menu/settings system on it. and she'll probably take a majority of her photos indoors.

uoficowboy Nov 30, 2005 6:42 AM

I have now had two different fairly non-tech-savy people get Canon S410s and they both have really liked them. You mention AA batteries as a requirement, so I'd suggest a Canon A series (whichever fits your budget and needs best). When my brother went to Iraq last year I had him get a Canon A series camera as I knew them to be strongly built and they used AA batteries (wasn't sure about the power situation over there) - and he returned home a little over a year later and both him and the camera were still in one piece. He is really un-tech-savy, so if he was able to use it (and not destroy it) then it should be very easy to use.

So - my suggestion is either get a Canon S or A series, depending on your needs and budget. They both are built well, take good pictures, and most importantly are very easy to use.

phillytim Nov 30, 2005 12:36 PM

howdy, cowboy! - and thanks for your response - the A410 really does look like a great option! i have a canon a520 that i'm very pleased with that the A410, with DIGIC-2 seems like a clear winner. i wasn't aware of that one, but it certainly now is in the running for my gift dollar!

i found a nice kodak c330 camera/printer-dock package online that i'm also considering. anyone have any experience with the kodak easyshare c330? or any other good, beginner camera?

dearwatson Dec 2, 2005 3:35 PM

I Have a Kodak cx 7530 which I used on a 2 month tripto A rock pile on the far side of the moon. (S. UTAH:Arches Nat Park, Canyonlands N.P., Grand Gulch, Moab) On-line price today: <$140,5mp, rechargable AA batteries, flash, simple point and shoot, probably moresettings than you'll ever use.Takes really good pictures. Cons:I can't see the LCD in bright sunilght(62 year old eyes), so I just use the viewfinder which works just fine.If this is important to you, youmight want toTRY OUTand compare the bright sunlight visibility of the LCD on any camera youconsider.Almost all have this problem.also: Small LCD's (<2 in.) are like 13 in monitors oncomputers. Once you'veused a17 or 19 inch you'll wonder how you got alongbefore. Once you've used a 2 plus inch LCD camera,youmay not like the 1.5 or 1.8 in. Always, always, always, buy a charger and 2 sets of rechargable batteries(<$20), 2 memory cards(frequently on sale$15-30), and a card reader($0-30) to transfer pics to your computer.With these you cansnap in batteries or memory cards and go on shooting pics over an extended period of time until you run out of gas or your camera runs out of memory cards or batteries. At the end of the dayordays, you recharge batteries and transfer pictrures. Don'twaste $80 on a camera dock whichtakes hours to recharge your batteries in your camera and which transfers pictures from your camera to your computer while you sit around and wait.

Other consideratiions:low light focusing ability,likely you will be shooting in less light than a brightly lightedroom at night.Here, some work better than others. If you want to shoot well after sundown, out of the range of your flash(8-9 ft), there arelikely no point and shoot cameras which will do this without picture quality being seriously degradedby somethingcalled "noise", although nobody I knowhas actually heard this "noise"...more like the fuzzies, or blur, or the grainies, or something like that, butyou can consider yourselfno longer a novice if you use the word "noise".

And finally, spend a few minutes on line to READ PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS FOR A WIDE RANGE OF ALL KINDS OF VERY IMPORTANT MAJOR CONSIDERATIONS, and a few user reveiws too. You can also save a ton of money by shopping on line instead of going into a store and going eyeball to eyeball with a salesman. There are a lot of people who have bought digitalcameras whonow wish they had something else after reading reviews of both types and comparing to whatthey are getting from theircamera.Many of them have already bought no 2 or no 3. Just read the banter in the threads in this column!

airshowfan Dec 4, 2005 9:57 AM

I think Casios are the easiest digital cameras to use, with friendly menus and informative scene modes and a simple interface. When my not-tech-savvy mom wanted a new digital camera, I got her a Casio, as is recommended at

If AA power is a requirement, I guess the Casio Z110 and Z120 would fulfill it.

If you want something with more zoom, I have had and used a variety of Fujis that all took great pictures in automatic point-and-shoot mode, like the Fuji S3000/S3100 and Fuji S5100/S5200. They're kinda bulky (which some older people actually prefer over tiny cameras) but take great pictures and are dead-easy to use. The Fuji E510 is also really nice, but probably not as nice as the A-series Canons, with which I don't have much experience yet.

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