Canon PowerShot A570 IS

I finally bit the bullet and bought a compact digital camera this afternoon — the Canon PowerShot A570 IS

I am the exact opposite of an impulse buyer. I tend to fret and study and postpone for months before purchasing anything, so this is a landmark day of both relief and trepidation. Thank you in advance for your sincere congratulations.

This will be my third digital camera.

I bought my first, a Nikon Coolpix 700, in June 1999 and got a lot of use out of it, especially taking photos for Web design clients. A fantastic site that reviews digital cameras even noticed the online photo gallery I posted in 1999, when Kenosha, Wisconsin was especially photogenic.

That was in the previous century. Yes, I am a digital photography pioneer.

I gave that camera to my sister after my boss, legendary broadcaster Steve Dahl, gifted me with a Nikon Coolpix 5700 in September of 2002. The 5700 has been fantastic for over five years now. I took it to Germany and France, to Tuscany, and to Hawaii. I dropped it on the cobblestones of Galena, Illinois without any ill effects. Just last Sunday I used it to take photos of our nephew in a church Christmas program, after which an attractive blond stranger asked me, “Can I see your camera?” Sitting in the pew behind me, she had noticed that the LCD monitor flips out. I love that too.

So the Coolpix 5700 continues to be a great camera — it’s just not very compact. I’m too self-conscious bringing it to a restaurant table. It’s not small enough to slip into my pocket on a bike ride. You have to carry it openly, which results in people constantly demanding to have their pictures taken. I have been looking for something smaller that still takes excellent photos. I have also been looking for the most inexpensive camera in the world.

After months of browsing reviews at Amazon.com and elsewhere and trying to juggle all sorts of esoteric specifications in my head, I finally noticed the obvious at my aforelinked favorite camera site, Digital Photography Review. There are so many detailed critiques of so many digital cameras there that I was getting lost between one and the next, and the one after that. What saved me was viewing the list of reviews by rating. Doh!

I definitely want a “Highly Recommended” camera, so it became a simple matter of clicking backwards through time down that list. Boom, there it was: The Canon PowerShot A570 IS — exactly what I was looking for! DPReview.com concludes that it’s “a nicely designed, responsive camera with more than enough features to keep most users – especially those wanting a little more manual control than is normal at this price point – happy.” Apparently the only major drawback is that you can’t take a lot of rapid flash photos. That’s fine, because I try to avoid flash photos at all costs.

What I cannot get over is how little I’m paying. At the bottom of that same page is a list of DPReview affiliates that sell this camera. I went with Buydig.com for $152. That amazes me considering that this PowerShot is smaller and far more powerful than my first digital camera, which cost me over $700. This new one is a staggering bargain.

It should arrive in about a week or so. There’s no point in springing for expedited shipping after waiting this long to pull the trigger. I’m done and on to the next thing: Soon it will be time to start thinking about Christmas shopping.

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