One of the websites I often go to to find out about the details of various digital cameras is: http://www.steves-digicams.com/
very comprehensive reviews, including all the specs, pictures of the camera being reviewed (from various angles), sample pictures from the camera, and nice conclusion reports.
Friends bought a V550 and there is a lot to like about the camera.
It has an optical viewfinder. I don’t like the trend of dropping the viewfinder. With an eyelevel viewfinder you can get a steadier hold in limited light, you can shoot better in bright sunlight and you can acquire and follow moving targets much better – especially when zoomed.
It has an excellent LCD
It has internal memory rather than come with a useless throw-away card. You still have to buy a decent sized SD card, but the internal memory is a good backup.
You can put a large permanent photo album on the internal memory to view on the nice LCD.
You can use the optical zoom while filming movies.
It has MPEG4 so movies take only a quarter of the memory space.
I guess most important – it takes good pictures.
The cradle and EasyShare software is perfect for them. They just put the camera in the cradle and push the download button. EasyShare makes a folder and names it with the current date, downloads the photos into the folder and will then delete the pictures from the camera if you set it to do that. If you have it set up for an online account it will also put your pictures online where you can share them or order prints.
The battery life isn’t the greatest by current standards, but my friends found a spare battery online really cheap. Seems to work about as well as the original. The nice thing about lithium batteries is that you can charge one and throw it someplace handy and it is still almost fully charged if you need it two months later. You can’t do that with NiMH batteries because of the self-discharge rate.
Before you buy that V550, you may want to checkout the Casio EX Z600. ($250) I got mine a couple of weeks ago and this thing is awesome. It's a 6 mp camera with a 2.7 inch lcd (very bright), the battery lasts forever. You can take approx. 500 pix on one charge. All kinds of great features - like antishake, Bestshot (has a sample of different pix taking situations) and sets the camera up for you. No guessing. Bottom line: It takes great pictures. Check it out!
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