Top positive review
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Beginner's impressions, with follow-up
on September 11, 2012
November 25, 2012 follow-up: I wrote the following in September after first getting this camera. After having more time to use it, I'm raising my rating to five stars because I like it so much. I still wish it came with easier software and instructions, but that has become less important to me.
This is the first digital camera I've used, I've only been using it for a couple of weeks, and I didn't know what to expect from a $90 camera (I later noticed Amazon also offers it in black for $75). It seems a very good camera, but the non-intuitive software and often-confusing user guides make me give three stars instead of five. I write this for other beginners out there:
Pros: It's very easy to use on "Auto" setting, and pictures look surprisingly clear and good even under different light conditions.
I like having other options besides "Auto". So far "portrait" and "foliage" have worked as they should. I haven't tried others enough yet to tell.
I like that it has a "P" (Program) mode that allows you to make a few changes to the aperture value (exposure compensation), shutter speed, pixel setting and compression ratio, etc.--in case I get more ambitious.
I like being able to take black and white or sepia photos by simply selecting to.
The video feature works very well, and I like being able to use the software to select individual frames to make into photos.
The batteries that came with the camera yielded about 60 photos (including lots of flashes) and lots of turning the camera on and off and experimenting with settings.
I like the size--not too small to handle easily, big enough to feel solid in my hands. I think the buttons might be hard for bigger hands, though.
I've had no problem at all with blurred photos (on Auto setting), even though my hands aren't always that steady when I'm taking a picture in a hurry.
Customer service techs are easy to reach, courteous and smart.
Cons: The software seems too complicated (and I'm good at figuring things out). Even the customer service techs had trouble navigating it, though they were very knowledgeable about camera and printer matters.
The online user guides for both the camera and the software could explain things more clearly and thoroughly. They're short on words, and many pages refer you to other pages. Also, I think I'd rather have less options and less ways to do the same thing. And I still haven't figured out how to sort my photos into folders and retrieve them easily.
The soft plastic cover over the terminal where you connect the camera to your computer doesn't feel securely connected. Maybe it's OK, but I have a feeling it's going to fall out long before the camera dies.
I didn't realize I'd need to buy a memory card separately. This may be standard practice, but I think some digital cameras do come with a 2G memory card to get you started.
I haven't tried the video function yet.
In case other beginner's run into this problem (not unique to this camera): my photos printed out very faded until I figured out that I needed to select "print without borders". Or, when printing through Windows Vista with a Canon iP2600 I had to uncheck "borderless". (The sequence is Print, Properties, Page Setup, then look for the box next to "borderless" and make sure it's not checked.) I don't know yet how this will affect text printing.
I'm glad I bought this camera, and maybe I'll raise my rating after I've used it for awhile.