Back to School: Cameras

So this is your first year of real independence and trust me, you’ll want to document every possible thing. That’s probably one thing I failed to do during my collegiate days. Girls making out and possibly showing you their hooha’s are something you’ll want to hold onto while at college. You never know when you’re going to need to blackmail said hooha to get test answers. And I know some of you are strapped for cash, so we’ll check out a couple point-and-shoots, DSLRs and maybe a video camera or two.

For some reason a lot of my friends have really old point-and-shoots that are the size of…well, really big mofos. You might be in the same boat, so why not get something that catches everyone’s eye and will certainly make him or her your next subject. Enter the Fuji Finepix Z20fd. It boasts an ISO of 1600 for those oh so important low light girl-on-girl make out sessions, face detection and auto red-eye correction. There’s even a handy one-touch movie recording for fast uploads to Youtube. You can get it for as low as $147.95.

If you’re a trust fund baby then take a gander at the Panasonic Lumix LX3. It’s equipped with a 24mm F2.0 Leica lens. ‘Nough said. Well worth the $500 price tag and my brother really wants one. He owns, like, 20 cameras, so I trust his judgement.

So you’re over the point-and-shoot shenanigans and you’re ready to step up to a real camera are you? Good to hear. You just put a smile on my face and the face of SLR manufacturers the world over.

First up is the Olympus E-420. This thing is tiny weighing in at 13.4 ounces but powerful. It’s a pretty good entry-level DSLR that’s easy to use. I had a chance to demo this and the E-520 last week at the US Open and images came out surprisingly well or maybe I’m just that damned good. I can’t stress to you how tiny these DSLRs are, so they’re perfect to tote around campus and parties. But it all depends on your skill level. Either are great choices for only $530 and $700, respectively.

If you’re looking for an even beefier setup with all the features you might find in a more expensive package then take a look at the Pentax K200D. I don’t condone the mistreatment of gadgets, but the K200D was overhauled with all new weather sealing so some side spray from the beer bong (serious water sports enthusiasts should check out the Pentax W60 or the Olympus 1040 or 1050 with the latter being shock resistant as well) likely won’t render it useless. The 18-55mm kit lens covers the basic focal lengths needed by youngsters like yourself unless you plan on perving out in the alley of the Kappa Kappa Gamma house. Alternatively you can find the older K100D Super for much cheaper than the $620 you’ll dish out for the K200D.

The latest Rebel from Canon, the XS isn’t a shabby competitor in this arena either and it has live view as does the Olympus. It all comes down to personal preference and which UI you feel most comfortable with. The Pentax is pretty straight forward, but that might come from having used one for the last few years. The Olympus takes a bit of extra time to figure out, but it’s not the science of the rockets by any means. I can’t personally attest to the ease of use on the Canon XS, but I’m sure it’s not too difficult based on my experience with previous generations. You can snag one for $700.

More of a cinematographer are you? How about the Samsung MX20? It is, after all, Youtube ready and comes in at $280. Or you can just go with that Flip thing we reviewed a while back.

Well, kids, that should do you some good this year. Have fun and send us some of those girl-on-girl pics. Heh. JK.