About 10 years ago, I bought a Canon PowerShot digital camera.
It was heavy, it took up my entire pocket and the 32MB memory card it came with meant it did not have the capacity for many pictures. The performance was slow, the flash was awful and the zoom was even worse.
I loved it.
I carried that camera with me everywhere for years. Sure, it was only two megapixels, but that was basically cutting edge for point and shoot cameras at the time, and leaps and bounds better than any cell phone.
Things have changed since then.
As iPhones and phones like it become more commonplace, and the cameras on those phones become increasingly higher quality, the consumer's need for the additional weight of a digital camera continues to diminish.
The New York Times reported on the growing reliance on cell phones for quick photos about two years ago:
The point-and-shoot camera, which has been a part of American households since 1900, when George Eastman introduced the Kodak Brownie, is endangered. Like other single-use devices — the answering machine, the desktop calculator, the Rolodex — it is being shoved aside by a multipurpose device: the smartphone and its camera, which takes better snapshots with each new model.
Since then, that trend has continued. The new iPhone has eight megapixels. Sure, that's still a few less than the newest PowerShot, which has 12, but unless you're blowing your photos up into huge sizes that distinction doesn't make much of a difference.
Some in the tech world disagree. Joshua Goldman at CNET wrote earlier this year a list of 10 ways a point and shoot camera is still better than a camera phone. Citing factors like optical zoom, battery life and burst shooting, his reasons are compelling:
Just because you leave the house every day with your cell phone and not a camera doesn't mean point-and-shoots are dead. Six of the 10 highest-traffic cameras reviews on CNET are point-and-shoots, with the No. 1 spot going to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V.
As a reporter, I am often taking photos of the events and meetings I cover. Typically, I'll use my Nikon D80, a DSLR that allows for crisp shots in less than ideal lighting situations and get capture in a way that makes my amateur photography skills look slightly more professional (though even that might be a stretch). But if I need to take a quick photo, I don't reach for my point and shoot. I reach for my iPhone.
And I'm rarely disappointed.
So what do you think? Are point and shoots on your wish list this holiday season? When you're taking photos with your family and friends on New Year's Eve and over the holidays, what will you be using to take them with?
Looking to buy locally? Check out these nearby electronics stores, but be sure to call ahead to see if they carry what you want:
1200 Milwaukee Ave, Glenview, IL 60025
1072 Willow Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062