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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:09 AM   #1
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Default camera for old folks / intelligent auto

When I buy a point-and-shoot camera for myself, I generally set the "full manual controls" search filter, and the selection is narrowed down nicely. This xmas, I decided to find a p&s for my elderly parents... And the number of full auto cameras is simply overwhelming. Help!



What I'd like is a pocketable or near-pocketable compact with:
1. As few buttons and knobs as possible, without the interface being overloaded. So - intuitive interface.
2. Large screen. They probably won't even be downloading their pics often.
3. Reasonably-sized controls for large, shaky hands.
4. Probably image stabilization, for the same reason.
5. Reasonably responsive turn-on, focus, and shoot times.



6. The single most important feature, though, is a one-button smart mode that is actually smart. I've read some good things about Panny's iA (Intelligent Auto) mode. I don't know if the other manufacturers have analogous features, or how they stack up.



The Panny DMC-FH20 seems to get decent ratings elsewhere.



Any suggestions are welcome. I need to narrow the field down quite a bit before I can even go down to B&H to put my hands on some actual models. (That place is a zoo around the holidays - going in without a plan is just asking for trouble.)
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 9:47 PM   #2
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I mentor a group of 20 senior citizens who meet twice a month at our local senior center. The overwhelming choice among that group (11 members) is the Kodak Z915,a 10mp, 10X optical zoom camera.

The Kodak Z915 usually sells for around $100. It has both automatic and manual controls, a fairly powerful built-in flash unit, and produces good image quality. The Z915 is powered by 2 AA sized batteries, Sanyo Eneloops seem to work best and provide reasonable shot to shot times.

The group has a very mixed level of photo experience and they willingly share tips with each other.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 10:05 PM   #3
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mtclimber - thanks for the recommendation. It looks like the Z915 has Kodak's "Smart Capture" mode... I'm assuming this is an analogue to Panasonic's "Intelligent Auto". Does anyone out there know how the two features compare? Google doesn't seem to be providing me much in the way of a head-to-head.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 10:25 PM   #4
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If you check the top 10 rated digital cameras, you will find the Z915 among them. As I understand it the "Smart Capture" feature is in the Auto Mode and includes a bit of in camera post processing.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 10:29 PM   #5
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Answering myself, for the benefit of others... Here's a list of each manufacturer's "intelligent auto" feature. No luck yet finding a comparison of how well they function, but I'll post again if I do. If anyone has specific knowledge to that end (or additional recommendations), feel free to chime in.

  • Canon – Smart Auto
  • Casio – Premium Auto
  • Fujifilm – SR Auto (Scene Recognition Auto)
  • Kodak – Smart Capture
  • Nikon – Easy Auto Mode with Scene Auto Selector
  • Olympus – iAuto
  • Panasonic - Intelligent Auto
  • Pentax - Auto Picture mode
  • Samsung - Smart Auto advanced scene recognition technology
  • Sony - iSCN (Intelligent Scene Recognition)
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 6:46 AM   #6
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I have the Kodak Z950 and that is a pretty good point and shoot and the auto is fairly decent. Shot to shot times in auto can be a bit slow but to be honest for the older generation should not be too off putting. Rechargeable battery tho.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 8:18 AM   #7
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The Kodak Z950 model sells for about $130, while the Z915 sells for about $100. The Z950 is 12mp with the same 10X optical zoom, while the Z915 is 10mp with 10X optical zoom.
The Z950 has HD video and you can zoom while filming. The Z915 has standard 480 X 640 video.

The shot to shot times are faster on the Z915 and about 20% slower on the Z950.

Another good camera to consider is the canon SX130. It has received great reviews. It also has large buttons which are easier for older folks. here is a good SX130 review:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Ca...Shot_SX130_IS/


Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Dec 15, 2010 at 8:22 PM.
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