Canon PowerShot A520 ($230) Specs: 4 megapixels, 4x optical zoom Pros: Optical viewfinder, better-than-usual optical zoom, handles well...

Share story

Canon PowerShot A520 ($230)


Specs: 4 megapixels, 4x optical zoom


Pros: Optical viewfinder, better-than-usual optical zoom, handles well


Cons: Supplied SD card is only 16 MB, small (1.8-inch) screen


Canon PowerShot SD400 ($350)


Specs: 5 megapixels, 3x optical zoom


Pros: Thin (0.8 inch) and small, optical viewfinder, easy to hold one-handed


Cons: Supplied SD Card is only 16 MB, uses proprietary battery


Kodak EasyShare V550 ($390)


Specs: 5 megapixels, 3x optical zoom


Pros: Thin (0.9 inch), attractive black-and-chrome design; optical viewfinder and 2.5-inch display; docking station included


Cons: Small buttons, markings hard to read, proprietary battery, long recycle time


Nikon Coolpix S1 ($330)


Specs: 5.1 megapixels, 3x optical zoom


Pros: Thin (0.8 inch), with smooth front and nonprotruding lens; docking station included; presets helpful; convenient panorama mode


Cons: No optical viewfinder; finger can block lens, which is close to upper left; proprietary battery


Nikon Coolpix 7900 ($350)


Specs: 7.1 megapixels, 3x optical zoom


Pros: Black with chrome accents, optical viewfinder


Cons: Relatively small, 2-inch display; despite larger size, still requires proprietary battery


Olympus Stylus Verve S ($270)


Specs: 5 megapixels, 2x optical zoom


Pros: Stylish body, black and brushed chrome; display screen sealed from weather and fingers; great visual menu for scene modes


Cons: No optical viewfinder; only 1.8-inch display; onscreen menu-based controls clumsy; uses proprietary xD cards; proprietary battery


Pentax Optio S5Z ($340)


Specs: 5 megapixels, 3x optical zoom


Pros: Small and thin (0.8 inch), 2.5-inch display


Cons: No optical viewfinder; no memory card included, confusing array of program modes; continuous mode too slow; proprietary battery


Pentax Optio S55 ($250)


Specs: 5 megapixels, 3x optical zoom


Pros: Small, if not thin; uses AA batteries; convenient on/off button; 2.5-inch display


Cons: No optical viewfinder, enigmatic settings menu


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7 ($450)


Specs: 5.1 megapixels, 3x optical zoom


Pros: Thin (0.6 inch); 2.5-inch display; lens cover doubles as on/off switch; zoom lens cleverly hidden; good one-handed ergonomics


Cons: Uses proprietary Memory Stick Duo cards; no optical viewfinder; most expensive camera in this lineup


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S90 ($270)


Specs: 4.1 megapixels, 3x optical zoom


Pros: Optical viewfinder plus 2.5-inch display screen; includes rechargeable AA batteries


Cons: Looks and feels bulky, uses proprietary Memory Stick


Note: All prices are estimated retail prices


— Alan S. Kay


Special to The Washington Post