I would recommend the Panasonic Palm Cams that record onto floppy or Super disks. These cameras have a multitude of features such as mini video, sound recording, stop action and a wide range of setting options. The Sony Mavicas, which also record to floppys cost about the same but lack many of the features of the Palm Cams. I had a Mavica and now have the Panasonic PV-SD4090 - See.. http://www.panasonic.com/consumer_el...ging/index.htm
I would wait until the price comes down. Remember when VHS first came out, and the tapes were $20 a piece. Now you can pick up the tapes for a buck, and you can darn near buy a VCR for a little more than $20. The new point and shoot cameras are pretty nice for just taking snapshots, and you can always buy a scanner for under a Hundred if you want to computerize your pics.
I bought a Sony for my users at work to replace a dieing Kodak.
As Moke recommends, I like the floppy disk format... saves havin to plug cables in all the time as it goes from one user to another.
Point-n-Shoots plus a scanner? Yea I got those too ( and it does work), but there is something to be said about snapping off shot after shot without fear of developing costs... I now take twice the photo's, and simply delete the bad ones...
First you have to decide what you want and need in terms of features.
Do you need ultra-high multi-megapixel resolution? (1Mpix, 2Mpix,& now 3Mpix are common)
If you are going to create photo quality 8x10's, or you are going to do serious desktop publishing, then you need Mega-Pixel resolution, but if these are going to be standard 3x6 photos (or possibly 5x8's) or web images then 640x480 in more than enough.
How important is a zoom lense?
Personally, I want a reasonably high power zoom lense. I like the Sony FD-73 10X optical zoom with 640x480 res. ($400) or FD-88 8x optical plus 16x digital zoom ($800) with 1280x960 res
What kind of storage suits you?
Floppy disks are nice but are slow and can't hold much data. A 1.44Mb disk can hold about 20 640x480 images and only ONE megapixel image.
Sony now has a floppy carrier that you can plug memory sticks into an essentially create a 32Mb or 64Mb high speed floppy disk.
Some cameras can also act as computer attached video cameras, like a webcam. Is that important to you?
Some cameras have an alternate computer interface like USB, Firewire, or serial port. How important is that to you?
Before you can decide what to buy, you have to decide what you want and how much you can spend. Then look for cameras that meet those needs. Once you have it narrowed down, you can decide which amoung the various brands that meet your specs is the best.
If you really want the best, you can get a Nikon for about $5,000 to $7,000 depending on features.