The Nikon Coolpix S52
I wanted to be able to shoot large, sharp images that could be printed if desired, or cropped down if needed. I wanted a point & shoot camera that could take discreet candids. I did not want a telescoping lens that would give away the fact I took a photo. I wanted a camera that would allow me to turn off the beeps and clicks, and possibly the LCD screen. I wanted at least eight plus megapixels so I could crop as needed, and I wanted it all to be pocketable with no fuss.
I found all this in the Nikon Coolpix S52. It comes with Nikon's vibration reduction system, a 9.3 megapixel CCD digital sensor, and an aluminum body. The light hits the sensor through a 6.3-18.9mm f/3.3-4.2 lens, equivalent to a 35mm film format of 38-114mm. The Nikon S52 has multiple modes and programs, and can be set to run however the photographer desires. The image size selection ranges from 3456 x 2592 to 640 X 480. The ISO range is from 100 to 3200. The images are stored on a SDHC card. The Nikon S52 allows the photographer to select their own white balance. It will shoot continiously at 0.9 fps, record WAV movies, and it has a timer function. Prices for a new one seem to fall between $280 and $400 for this little powerhouse camera.
However, the best thing is Adorama.com has Nikon factory refurbished S52 cameras for a hundred bucks each. $100. One Franklin. Free shipping. Refurbished? Damned right. That just means it got past the Nikon quality inspection process twice. To make my new candid snapper even more discreet, I blacked out all the chrome with electrical tape and black paint. I put black tape over the flash just in case. I have considered a sticker, or maybe a label of some sort to disquise it even further. Perhaps a MP3 player type control on the front along with a set of headphones, or maybe a Blackberry looking cover. We shall see........