Digital Camera Recommendation
The Olympus C-770 is worth a close look. You can get it on the web now for under $300. With a 10x optical zoom, 4 megapixels, a decent MPG4 video mode (with sound), this camera is (believe it or not) VERY compact for what it is offering. There are lots of manual controls available, but the auto mode works very well for the novice user. One of the more outstanding and little discussed features is a POWERFUL built-in flash. This camera has actually 2 built-in flashes in one, and the camera automatically chooses the best for wide angle or telephoto shooting. This yields amazing outdoor flash photos at night.
Biggest drawbacks: No built-in infra-red focus assist for low light focus, and no digital image stablizer. If these are a priority, take a close look at the Canon S1. You don't get the good flash, and drop to 3 megapixels, and the camera is more bulky. One additional drawback for the Olympus is it uses propriotory batteries instead of AA cells. Olympus batteries are about $50, so I bought additional (new) batteries from e-bay. Two good batteries (I would avoid the cheap, under $1 offerings - I read the negative feedback!) including shipping were about $25. Another drawback is you will definitely want to pick up more camera memory. It only comes with a tiny 16meg xd card.
For a well-done review of the Olympus C-770, go to http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/olympus/c765uz_770uz-review/
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