Looking for a new used digital camera [Edited title]

At a party on sunday, I lost my Canon SD450 digital camera. Unfortunately, no one has turned it in and I am pretty sure it’s long gone. @#$%^

So, I am at the point of needing to replace it. I can find used ones for 50 - 75 bucks, but I am wondering how much better cameras have gotten since then? Like, is it worth spending a ltitle over 100 to get a Canon A3000, or A495, a refurb SD780? I like Canon as a brand, but if there are similar small cameras out there of equal or superior quality at the same pricepoint, I woudl be interested in hearing about them as well.

Since the OP is looking for advice, I have moved this from GQ to IMHO, and edited the title at the request of the OP.

What are you looking for the camera to do? What features do you want? HD Video, how much zoom, camera size, optical viewfinder (forget that, they’re really aren’t any left), proprietary battery, wide angle lens, manual controls? You need to answer a few questions before we can recommend anything.

I was happy with the SD450. I need it to be a point and shoot digital camera that works well without a lot of manual setup. A higher zoom (more than 3x) would be good, but not at the expense of a smaller form factor…the cameras I mentioned in the OP are about as big as I want to go…slightly bigger might be OK, but anything with a huge honkin’ lens isn’t going to cut it.

I don’t particularly NEED video on it, but if it has video, it needs to also record sound.

The SD450 was just about what we needed. I don’t need a lot of manual settings, I don’t care about proprietary batteries.

All cameras today have video with sound. The question is do you want HD video or not.

With the form factor you’re looking at you will have to get proprietary batteries, none of the ultracompacts use AAs. You’re also limited to about 5x zoom, but that number doesn’t tell you all you need to know. Do you want a wide angle lens, starting at, say, 24mm which is very useful for landscapes, indoors, and architecture shots? You may still have 5x zoom but give up some on the telephoto end.

Used cameras are often a good investment, but in this case I’d buy new. Ultracompact cameras are, IMO, pretty much disposable. You can’t fix them for any reasonable cost.

I’d go for something like a Canon SD1300. I think it has the best mix of price, size, and image quality of the current budget cameras on the market.

Lots of nice cameras in the 8-10mp range you can probably find secondhand, eg the Canon SD1100 or SD1200. Theres no real advantage to going over that MPwise.


It would be great if I had several hundred dollars to throw at a new digital camera, but this was an unexpected loss, not covered by insurance, and at a time when I have other things I also have to deal with (like a leaky porch and a woodpecker putting holes in my house). I want something at least as good as what I lost, and am willing to spend slightly more if it will get me a substantial benefit (like better auto-focus technology, better image clarity, more zoom, etc).

Your statement about buying new seems contradictory, though…if they are pretty mcuh disposable, why would I want to buy a brand new one?

crazyjoe, of the three cameras that you mention in the OP, it seems that the SD780 is your best bet, if you can get one in good condition:
[li]smallest and lightest (nice to be able to slip it in your pocket)[/li][li]only one that has an optical viewfinder (which can come in handy in really bright light when the LCD screen gets washed out)[/li][li]only one that records video at a higher resolution (1280 x 720 instead of 640 x 480)[/li][li]lens has a slighter wider angle (better when you want to capture more of a scene)[/li][li]12 vs 10 megapixels (generally not an advantage for a camera in this class, but could be an advantage if you ever crop your photos in photo-editing software)[/li][/ul]You won’t get the new camera warranty but it will cost less than the other two.

The A3000 allows you to zoom in closer, and the lens is a bit better in low-light conditions.

The advantages of the A495:
[li]less expensive than the A3000[/li][li]new camera warranty[/li][li]uses AA batteries (cheaper and easier to replace compared to proprietary battery)[/li][li]faster available shutter speed (probably not significant, though)[/li][/ul]But, it is the biggest camera, it doesn’t have image stabilization, and the LCD has the lowest resolution.

Hope that helps.

Galileo, thanks for that. I had forgotten about image stabilization technology, and that is definitely somethign I want in a camera.