Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forDecember 20th, 2003 | back to home

20 December 2003
Filed under:Gadgets,Personal at5:28 pm

Having read Popular Photography’s “buyer’s guide”:http://www.popphoto.com/article.asp?section_id=2&article_id=780 I am now more confused than ever. It “singles out”:http://www.popphoto.com/assets/download/12182003163311.pdf the camera I wanted saying, ‘The Minolta DiMAGE Xt is a wonderful little 3.2MP camera, full of fun features. But for just about the same money these days, you can get Minolta’s DiMAGE S414, a standard compact with all the Xt’s features and more—as well as a full 4MP of resolving power.’ It’s true that the S414 – “reviewed here”:http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/cameraDetail.php?cam=460 – is about the same price with an extra MP of resolution (and seems cheaper than competing 4MP cameras) but is it cheaper for a reason? Having looked at dozens of reviews for different cameras I don’t know what to think any more…

And practical though it might be, it lacks the ‘coo what a neat little camera’ factor as well.

Filed under:Gadgets,Personal at12:24 pm

I’ve been wanting a proper digital camera for a while now (I have a camcorder that can capture 1MP digital images but the results aren’t that great). For a while I was tempted by the “NISIS DV4”:http://www.nisis.com/Products/DigitalCameras/DV4.asp since it can act as a webcam and a storage device and even an MP3 player and is reasonably cheap (£109 from Amazon) but I knew it was what the Brits call a ‘mug’s eyeful’ – lots of features but nothing likely to work terribly well. It only has a 2MP resolution for example which is hardly state of the art these days.

Then I heard about the “Minolta Dimage XT”:http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/minolta/dimage_xt-review/index.shtml via the message boards on “dpreview”:http://www.dpreview.com/ (available in the UK for a little over £200).

It is a 3MP camera small enough to take with you anywhere, has a 3x zoom (surprisingly omitted from some of the low-end digital cameras I have looked at), and works as a webcam (though admittedly a separate webcam would only cost around £25).

A few questions arise, though –
1) Is the Minolta the best small digital camera in this price range or is there another that would be significantly better (without costing significantly more?) Does anyone know if Minolta plans to upgrade it again within a month or two or if some wonderful new cameras are due shortly? The Minolta has been out since the middle of the year.
2) I already have a nice little Canon Elph APS film camera (the original Elph). My wife says it’s a perfectly serviceable camera and a new digital camera wouldn’t give any better images (might in fact be worse) and that we don’t need any more gadgets anyway. Is she right? Should I just get a DV4 to muck about with and wait another year? What other persuasive arguments can I use to justify the purchase of this desireable piece of kit (or its equivalent)? You’ve got to help me out here, guys!

P.S. If you’re looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer, may I recommend the very fine slim volume I wrote earlier this year pictured in the column on the right – “Dealing with E-mail”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0789495392/blogorg-20 – a bargain at £6 or $7?

P.P.S. So far I have received exactly nothing in the way of recompense from the thousands of people who read my site weekly. I don’t do this for any financial reward but if one of you did feel inclined to give me something for Christmas it would certainly encourage me to continue and fill me with the Christmas spirit. The cheapest items on my Amazon wish list start at less than £10 – they wouldn’t arrive by Christmas at this point but I’m not fussy!