Saturday, October 20, 2007

when the stressed go shopping

I've been a little overwhelmed lately.


Well ... Charlie's started a new job and has been working out of the house ... three year old triplets that have been increasingly difficult every day since their birthday ... our poop eating dog ... a badly infected toe ... my adorable 20-pound, three month old baby that nurses every two hours 'round the clock ... career choices ... a broken digital camera ... ninety six loads of laundry ... this, that, this and that.

This afternoon at 4:00, I left for the camera store. I had done all the research I could do on the internet, now I needed to get in and hold the various cameras and find out which one would work best for me.

It's no mystery that I'm technologically challenged.

But that doesn't stop me from knowing what I want.

For the past several years, I've used the Kodak DX6490. I've never been particularly happy with the camera, but then again, I'm not much of a photographer. Even so, I thought the response time between shots with the Kodak was way too slow and it didn't work well in low light. Although it has a relatively good zoom (10X), for every 10 pictures taken at least 5 were out of focus.

Before I received my digital camera as a Christmas gift in 2003, my primary camera was a Nikon N50. I loved the picture quality that this camera produced. Even though I didn't know what I was doing, the majority of my pictures turned out really good. The problem was that this camera required film and why use film if you don't have to?

Especially since I still have several rolls of undeveloped film from ten (?) years ago.

At this point in time, I want a user-friendly digital camera that is capable of taking awesome pictures. I want to be able to zoom in super close on an object. I want the option of an object to be perfectly crisp and clear and the surrounding image to be blurry (shallow depth of field).

I want to be able to take pictures really fast, without delay. I want to take pictures at night when our kids are sleeping and have the lighting look like it's actually nighttime and not high noon. I don't want to use my flash. Ideally, I'd also like to have a video component to the camera, because although I have a nice camcorder, I don't like taking two cameras with me when we go out.

I had a limited amount of time I could be away since Charlie was home with the children. The first store I went to clued me in that SLR cameras don't have a video component. My Nikon is an SLR, so you'd think I'd know that ... along with the 27 minutes of research I'd done on the internet. But, technology is so advanced these days, I thought maybe they'd made strides.

There were several cameras that looked good - but I couldn't decide.

After an hour, the guy finally told me that he thought I should check out the Canon PowerShot S3IS. But they didn't have it at "that" store. The closest store was at the mall, five miles away.

It was 5:15 PM.

I call Charlie. The kids are fine. Henry is awake but content. Charlie gives me his blessing to go to the mall and check out the Canon.

I jump in my car and zip to the mall. I run to the store. I check out the camera. It's very nice. But it takes 4-AA batteries. The other cameras only take two. The camera doesn't allow me to zoom in as closely on things as I'd like, while keeping the object in focus - like the SLR does. I take pictures of everyone in the store.

I take pictures of things in the mall. I'm going nuts taking pictures.

I still can't decide.

Of course I can't decide. I can't ever decide on anything.

I really like the features of the SLR. But it's big. The smaller cameras are nice, but I want a really good camera. And if I'm going to be forking out several hundred dollars - what's a hundred or two more?? The sales staff don't seem to know much. With every camera they pull off the shelf they gush "Oh, this one is REALLY cool!!"

Maybe I should get two cameras. Sure, that's it. I'll spend $1,500.00 on cameras. What am I?


All I want is to get a camera and leave. But I want it to be the perfect camera. What I really want is a SLR in the size of a micro point and shoot, with digital capabilities and a rechargeable battery.

It's been two hours since I've left the house. I'm asking questions, but not hearing the answers. Surely the baby is hungry. The baby has to eat. My God, the baby has to eat. But, I don't want to leave the store without a camera. I have to have a camera. I've been without a camera for almost a week. I call Charlie and he tells me that the children are climbing off the walls. They are driving him absolutely insane. He cannot guarantee their safety.

Suddenly, a man appears. He has a big camera case. He is looking to purchase a $2,000.00 lens. He is clearly knowledgeable about cameras. I turn to face him and say "Please help me. I need a camera. I don't know what camera to get."

I tell him my criteria. He tells me that I really need an SLR. But until I'm prepared to make such a purchase, I should get a small point-and-shoot type of camera. After another 30 minutes, and seeing that I've missed two calls from Charlie, I settle on the Nikon Cool Pix P4. I select this one because I'm totally frantic, my chest has sprung a leak, the camera has rechargeable batteries and they threw in a free carrying case.

I literally run out of the store. I run to the parking lot and can't find my car. My shirt is sopping wet. I call Charlie and can hear children screeching in the background. I feel totally irresponsible leaving him at home with all the kids, by himself.

I've never been gone this long from the baby.

I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home. I. Must. Get. Home.

I still can't find my car. Finally, in desperation, I hold my car keys over my head and hit the panic button. My car is directly in front of me.

I jump in and drive home - the whole way - I'm second guessing my purchase. I arrive home to a howling Henry. I'm nursing the baby and trying to take pictures of the kids. I'm unhappy with the 3X zoom. I'm really unhappy. I'm crying. I spent all this time at the store and now I am not happy with my choice. Everyone is concerned. The kids are giving me hugs, Charlie is getting me a glass of ice water. I'm wondering why I'm crying over a camera. On a Friday Night.

It's now five hours later. I'm sipping wine and feeling better. But I must go to sleep. Because tomorrow, I'm going to go return my camera and buy a new one.


I never guessed it would be so much fun.


  1. We have recently needed a new digital camera because our last one was stolen in skate park thanks to my perpetually teenage husband. After much research (well, more than 27 minutes), we settled on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3K. It has 10x optical zoom and 7.2 megapixels. I saw a friend's pictures before I even considered this camera, so I knew the quality to be excellent. I know what a hassle camera shopping is, so good luck!

  2. Oh what a bummer that you didn't like it! I have that camera, and I adore it - and I have had great luck with the pictures that I take with it.

    I hope you find something that works for you!

  3. I have a Panasonic DMC-FX01 digital camera. Mine is only 6 MP but I know you can one with more MP now. I love it. It takes pictures quickly and has lots of different modes. It also does a good job making video clips. My husband liked mine so much, he went out and bought himself one. Have fun "shopping."

  4. As I read your post I realized that this was ME last year! I did all the research and had the same issues as you did, the biggest being I needed a camera that would take the pic immediately when I pressed the button, NOT have a huge delay. (To catch baby smiles, of course!)
    I decided on the Canon S3-IS and I LOVE it. It takes fabulous pictures and great videos,too. It has a macro mode and a super macro so it can get really close.
    Please email me if you'd like more info or a link to one of my videos so you can see how they look. I can also send you a fabulous pic from an ice storm where I used the super macro.
    Here is a helpful review on the S3 from Epinions:
    Canon recently released the S5-IS (dont know why they skipped S4) but I don't have any experience with that one. Here, the same reviewer as above reviews the S5.


  5. I agree with Marcia. My MIL has the same Canon and its amazing. The clarity and quickness are fantastic. I have a Nikon Cool Pix and I hate it. Hate hate hate it. The clarity and color blow, and the zoom is a joke.

    Good luck. Maybe the next time you go (with Henry?) will provide you with better luck. Hopefully!

  6. Shopping is fun! I know you have trouble picking out a sandwich filling so I can just imagine.

  7. We have the Canon PowerShot S3IS and I LOVE it. We use rechargable batteries in ours and it works great. THe video capability is amazing and it really is camera-idiot friendly...because I dont' know the first thing about taking pictures other than basics and I can use it. My husband knows a lot and can do cool things with it and take incredible pics. I thought the zoom was pretty good. I have had the Nikon and I didn't like it at all...I'd definitely return it. Cannon brand is really reliable and I've only heard good things about their repair/customer service when needed (knowing your luck with customer service things:))

  8. Throwing in my two cents on cameras, since my shopping experience was much like yours - and I wanted many of the same options.

    I went with the Canon PowerShot A710IS. 7.1megapix / 6x optical but 24x digital zoom. I took a picture at the top of the Skylon tower in Niagara Falls Canada, and zoomed in to capture the skyline of Toronto from ACROSS the great lakes. I've been amazed at the zoom. Also - it takes the pics at night, and they look like night ;) AND... it takes high speed, or several at a time. The video option is as good as any I've used before. And lastly, it takes two batteries. The viewing screen is larger than most. It is what I found to be almost an SLR, but smaller and with video.
    Take the Nikon back when you can and buy something you'll fall in love with...

  9. I heart my Cannon PowerShot SD900 with 10 mega pix. Small and good pix.

  10. I have been following your blog closely this week, as I too have been camera shopping. I was hoping to mooch some great advice. Last night I decided I must order a camera and opted for the Canon S5-IS. It has 12x optical zoom and 8 megapixels. Considering I have been using a point-and-shoot with 2 megapixels and a 32mb chip, I am excited to branch out. I ordered from Amazon for $334.00 w/free shipping. I too really want an SLR, but I do not think I am qualified. I am thinking I can get great pics now and take a class in a year or two and upgrade then. Best of luck with your decision. I am the queen of undecisive :).

  11. Omg...that's hillarious!!! I can feel the insanity!!!Lol!! I spent alot of time deciding on my camera and I am very pleased with it. Plus I get lots of compliments about it. Fuji FinePix S6000fd , here's some links :
    It's SLR enough and auto enough. And in my opinion out performs the Cannon S3IS. With that said it really depends on the user. This Fuji camera is also small enough to hold with one hand and click at the same time. I truly have enjoyed mine! Oh and works great in low light!

    I'm a mom of 8yr old triplets(g,g,b) and two other older children (g,b). Life doesn't get easier. Just more fun!

  12. I have the Canon PowerShot S1IS and it does everything you mentioned. Love it. It's survived all the things my little ones do to it (drool, throw sand, knock it out of my hand) and takes great videos and great photos. All the expensive Energizer Lithium Batteries come in four-packs so that's perfect.

    When I upgrade (because it's 3 years old and out of production), I'll probably go with the S3IS. Ack, my baby is teething on the lens cap right now...

  13. While we were at Disney, our Canon Powershot S80 camera fell and broke. We frantically purchased a new camera at the Disney store ($$$$). We bought the Kodak Easyshare Z1275 and I hate it. It has a poor focus, weak flash, very slow in response, not very useful.

    While my Canon is being fixed (I love this camera!) we decided to finally purchase the SLR I have been dreaming about. After much research and trying the cameras out, I decided to get the Nikon D80. I am patiently waiting its arrival.

    Getting the right camera is a real investment. The kids grow so fast and I want to try to capture as much of their lives in images as possible.

    You need to get the right camera for you. I wish you luck!

  14. My son just bought a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi SLR. The pictures are amazing

    I have a Kodak easy share 4.0 that is way too slow.

    Other son has a ??? 8MP digital but wishes he would have gone with the SLR

    BTW my 30 week twin boys share their birthday with your triplets. Just 24 years apart:)

  15. Hi,
    I have been reading your blog for a while, but don't think I have commented before. Anyway, I figured I would get in on the camera suggestions too :)
    I bought my new camera this summer and I am quite pleased with it.It is a Sony DSC H7. It has a 15x optical steady shot zoom with 8.1 megapixels. It also records pretty good videos. It has a ton of manual features as well as automatic. So it has the options of selecting aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc. yet you can go all manual if you wish. It has some awesome features and I love the zoom because you can be across the room and zoom in on a child and capture "real life" without having a camera in their face. Anyway I would suggest checking it out if you have time.

    A really good website for camera reviews is

  16. Oh Jen,

    When I read this, I didn't think about cameras at all. All I could think is that you sound so stressed out - is there not anyone you could ask for a little bit of help?

    I know how much you pride yourself on being able to do it all without help. Is there a way you could trick yourself into thinking a housecleaner or a few hours of babysitting was NOT help, but was, in fact, a favour you were doing to someone else to give them some money.

    I'm no help on the camera - but I hate it when it takes too long to take a picture. I lose my little ones' smiles!

  17. I am so glad you are going through this. Whatever you choose, I'm just going to copy you and buy the same thing and avoid the stress. Thank you, Jen. You are wonderful. :) Feed your baby! If he isn't 30 pounds by the time he's six months old, I will wonder if you were starving him!

  18. Happy belated birthday to your amazing trio!! I am way behind on my blog reading...sorry I am a week late!
    I LOVE my Nikon D70S (SLR) but it is bulky. It takes great pics though! Good luck with your purchasr!!