Depending upon your photographic needs, there's a wide range of digital photography gear to choose from from these days. We were looking for something in the middle: small enough to carry around, but better than the usual point-and-shoot models out there, offering manual features and RAW file capability. We think we found the perfect option for someone looking to graduate beyond point-and-shoot training wheels to more prosumer features...
When we were hunting out a camera, we listed the major factors we'd need and want out of a camera, from size, to quality of photos, to price. As someone who is not a photographer by any means, but still needs to take decent quality photos for our blog and day job, we knew we couldn't continue using the poor 3GS iPhone camera any longer and needed a camera that met the following criteria:
- Portability: Because I'm not a professional photographer, I don't want the hassle of carrying around a DSLR if I'm going to be snapping quick photos. I needed something small that could shoot better than my phone
- Image quality: Although I don't need extremely high quality photos, as a blogger, good quality photos are a must
- Easy to use: As a newbie photographer, I'd need something that could shoot well but not with so many functions that I'd need a manual to know how to snap photos
- Price: I was willing to dish out a couple hundred but nothing over $400 for a good point and shoot
We were fortunate enough to experiment with a couple cameras at work, which is how we came across the Canon S90. It was love at first sight. The black matte appealed to someone who previously owned a Sony Cybershot and an Olympus before that (both of which were mediocre in performance). However, the best part was how effortlessly the S90 was able to produce rich colors, especially in low light.
The S90 was replaced and upgraded to the similarly specced out S95 not that long ago. After scouring online for a coupon, the Canon S95 was procured through Adorama for a reasonable $325 and now we're enjoying the fast f/2.0 lens, 720HD video recording, manual controls as an option (the control ring impresses even those with DSLRs, making it a very popular secondary carry/travel option), and an ample 10 megapixel sensor. These are all just specs, as in real time use, the camera performs excellent out of the box for someone just learning the ropes beyond point and shoot.
(Main image via Hepp)