Judging which digital camera to purchase for your schools means balancing budgetary constraints and camera features such as memory, image resolution, and ability to adjust a lens. The editors of Winmag.com, which is published by the same company that publishes Technology & Learning magazine, offer their recommendations on reasonably priced digital cameras that can meet educators’ classroom needs:
1. Epson PhotoPC 3000Z. The most highly recommended of the cameras, the Epson model offers a great deal of memory (3.34 megapixels) and the ability to add more with a memory card. It is compact, light, and can be set on fully automatic, so that even younger students can use it. Among its automatic settings are Sports, Portrait, and Landscape, plus a zoom feature. Also, the reviewers praise the printed documentation on using the camera as extremely comprehensive and clear. Retail price: $999.
2. Fujifilm FinePix 4700 Zoom. Average memory (2.4 megapixel), but small size makes it perfect for carrying outside the classroom. $799.
3. Fujifilm MX-1200. Midrange size and memory (2.3 megapixel). Few advanced features. By far the least costly camera of the bunch at $299.
4. Fujifilm MX-2900. Another midrange camera in terms of memory (2.3 megapixel), but more automation options than the MX-1200, which makes it good for new photographers. Automation comes at a cost: $899 at retail.
5. Nikon Coolpix 950. The editors say it provides the best images of any camera on the list. Not exceptional in other ways, including memory of 2.11 megapixel. $899.
6. Olympus C-3030 Zoom. Offers the ability to shoot movies (with sound) as well as still images. Contains 3.34-megapixel memory and an extensive array of aperture and focal settings, as well as other fancy features. $999.
7. Toshiba PDR-M70. Another picture-film combination with lots of memory (3.37 megapixel). At full resolution, delivers a very sharp image. $899.95.
For more complete product reviews, go to http://www.winmag.com/reviews/hardware.