Posted by: Tommy | July 24, 2010

The Great Camera Hunt

We leave this morning for Yellowstone…and I’m up, before sunrise, running through all the things that we still need to do before we can leave.  We’re taking Jack with us, so no amount of planning is going to keep us from having to buy something somewhere…but at least Anna and I could be fully prepared.

One thing that we did finally get done, earlier this week, is the purchase of a camera.  A camera is a fairly important piece of equipment on a regular vacation – but for a trip like the one we’re doing, it’s essential.  If we do it right, we will come away with some amazing pictures of things rarely seen.  We will also be seeing so many amazing sights over the course of the year that we might not remember them all if we aren’t taking pictures.

Of course, picking one camera that is going to be best for every situation we plan to encounter is difficult.  I spent about a month researching, thinking about different features, getting input from Jerry (Anna’s dad loves buying electronics and researching stuff online) and reading reviews.  Ultimately, I knew the things we wanted would be – a good optical zoom, 10x or better, the ability to shoot video, durability, small in size and weight, easy to use, good battery life and ideally, something that could function underwater since we did just take scuba lessons.

I found a Consumer Reports style website that broke down a whole generation of higher end point-and-shoot cameras and gave pluses and minuses.  Amazon customer reviews proved to be very helpful in finding out which cameras we didn’t want to buy.  There were at least 10 reviews for each camera and at least a few were negative for all of them.  Luckily, neither Anna nor I know what “low ISO speed” means, nor were we ever concerned about the fact that MJPEG AVI is an outdated video format (an actual complaint on one of the reviews).  We were able to sort through what other people thought was good and bad after trying each camera.  We focused on things like “I couldn’t figure out all the menus” – a problem we might have and “the battery was only good for 100 pictures” – a definite problem as our access to batteries and electricity may be spotty.  Ultimately, I did what I almost always do – found one that was on sale!  Amazon had one of our frontrunners (the Casio FH100 is you want to know) on sale for about $75 off – still $275, but much better than $350 – and I bought it.  Free shipping with Amazon Prime and we had it on Tuesday. It has a 10x Optical Zoom, a very sturdy feel and several reviewers raved about the long battery life.  The biggest complaint about this camera was that the GPS syncing takes a very long time to setup.  Yeah – that doesn’t really seem like that big of a problem to me either.  We’ll really get to know it on this trip – expect to see some Old Faithful at some point – but so far we are very happy with the Casio FH100.

We’ve taken it to a few things just to test it out before leaving.  We were excited to discover that one of the things this camera is known for is slow-motion video.  We’ve been having a ton of fun with the slow-mo this week. I’m going to post a video of me doing a cannonball in a pool for you to check out.

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