While a camera is not specifically a piece of hiking equipment, I know that I never leave on a hike without one. I’ve owned three different point-and-shoot digital cameras, and I’m going to tell you about the newest: The Canon PowerShot A60.
I have a few criteria that are important to me when shopping for an “on the go” digital camera:
- Intuitive controls
- Optical zoom (Better for composition and cropping)
- Comfortable shooting with one hand
- Great image quality
- 2 megapixel CCD (2 MP is enough! Also keeps file size small)
I had my eye on the Canon PowerShot series for some time, but was astounded when the A60 went on sale to make room for the newer models. I bought mine at Best Buy for under $130! I knew I had found a great bargain, but I was delighted to find I had found a great camera.
The Ideal Point-and-shoot Camera
The A60 meets all of my criteria on paper, but it exceeds all expectations in actual use. Shooting with the flash indoors or using available light outdoors, the AUTO setting consistently produces very satisfying photos. I have never used a better point-and-shoot camera. The LCD viewscreen is bright and clear, the camera is easily used with one hand, and the zoom is a snap to use.
More Advanced Features
A nice bonus is the ability of the camera to take mpeg-1 movies with sound. I actually took some movies of my daughter’s orchestra concert, and they were surprisingly good!
The A60 has several pre-set shooting modes, including portrait, landscape, and action. These are just fancy names for specific exposure settings, and I don’t use them. What I do use are the aperture priority and shutter speed priority modes, which allow me to specify one value and the camera adjusts the other to achieve a good exposure. There is also a fully manual mode, which I used to capture a crescent moon from the campground at Sunset Crater National Monument.
Other Important Considerations
A pleasant surprise was my discovery that the Canon A60 is a miser when it comes to power consumption. I get two to three times the battery life that I experienced with my Fuji FinePix 2400.
The A60 integrates seamlessly with my iBook via its USB interface. I just connect it to my computer, wait for iPhoto to launch, and import the photos.
This camera is solidly built. It feels substantial and rugged, but the design is also pleasing and easy to hold. I carry it with me everywhere I go, and it’s always ready for action.
For the money, this is absolutely the best digital camera you can buy. It was a great bargain at it’s original MSRP of $259, and it’s a steal now, selling as low as $129 on the web. It won’t be on sale forever, but by the time it is no longer available, the A75 should just be going on sale.
Amazon’s Price: $119.88
Buy.com’s Price: $134.99