The camera I have now is a Fujifilm FinePix A303. I bought it from Amazon.com for $298 on December 9, 2002. Back then TechTV was running a special show counting down the top 20 technology gifts of 2002. My camera was listed at number seven. After a quick bit of research, I decided to buy it. It was a great purchase. I've taken more than 3500 pictures, and some of them are fantastic. Today you can get it on Amazon for $129, so it's still a great deal.
My original plan was to wait until December 2003 to purchase my next camera for about the same price. I figured that, by then, the technology would have improved substantially, and I could just buy whatever TechTV said was best. Unfortunately, their choice for low-end digital camera was not what I wanted. The list is no longer available, and I no longer remember the name of their choice, but all it had going for it was a two-inch viewscreen. I read a bunch of user reviews and articles to try to find a good camera, but there really wasn't anything available at the time that was clearly superior. So I waited.
In the past few weeks, I've started to become disenchanted with my camera. I'm not sure if it has deteriorated from overuse and wear and tear or if I am just becoming more aware of its limitations. Certainly it has had its share of falls, one of which was so severe that some of the corners were dented (as was my face). As a result, the retractable lensecap doesn't always retract without help. Lately I am often disappointed by the lack of vibrancy in the colors of my pictures and by the slight blurriness, which is often present. Indoor flash photography is also somewhat problematic.
Orionoir has done much to make me lose faith in my camera. Whenever he posts a photo, my first reaction is "wow, I wish my camera could take pictures like that!" I mean, look at this, and this, and fricken THIS. I've lived with my camera long enough to know intuitively that, under the same circumstances, it would not have captured the same images at anywhere near that level of quality. (Or it could be that Orionoir is simply a master photographer, and I am not.)
What ultimately pushed me over the edge and made me purchase a new camera was an incident last week. I was cleaning the lense with rubbing alcohol, and somehow some of the fluid got inside the camera behind the lense. All the camera could see was a big blur. About ten minutes later, it had evaporated, and the camera had its vision back, but who knows what subtle damage may have occurred.
PC Magazine recommends the Olympus Camedia C-5060 5.1 MP Digital Camera. It's a bit pricey, but it looks like exactly what I want. It even works with xD cards, so I don't have to buy new media. With this camera, I shall rule the world!