Best Cameras for New Parents

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New parents have a lot to think about.  Which camera they are going to purchase is not necessarily one of them.  Do them a favor by doing the thinking for them.  Go a step further and buy that new camera they have no idea they really need.  Diapers, formula, toys, blankets, toddler beds, nursery water, baby food, precious holiday themed outfits and college tuition will take precedence over a new camera almost every time.  The best kind of camera for new parents is one that is lightweight, slim, records video and lasts a long time, both in terms battery life and camera life.  A sturdy, portable camera will also be your best bet when buying for new parents.  Everything needs to fit into that diaper bag.  

This guide will offer some examples of the best cameras out there with expecting parents in mind.  As you will see, it isn't necessary to spend more than $100 on a fully functional, easy to use, portable, slim camera.  But keep in mind, the more features you are looking for the more you will have to spend.  There are options out there that provide you with nearly every feature under the sun but run you close to $400.  This guide will show you the best camera for every kind of expecting parent. 

Canon PowerShot SX130 IS

Full Review  

For the parents that deserve the best.

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Cameras with a long battery life, huge memory capability, possibly even a video function should be at the top of the list for new parents.  Keeping in mind that they will be too busy and too preoccupied to bother with uploading pictures, charging the batteries or taking the time to whip out the video camera, a multi-featured camera is your absolute best bang for your buck.  The Canon PowerShot SX130 IS is a great companion for the new parent on the go.  With a 12.1-magapixel resolution and a 12x optical zoom lens, you can cover a wider distance with this camera than some others only offering a 4x zoom.  Canon's impressive Optical Image Stabilization helps with handheld shooting while the 3.0 inch LCD screen does not require you to take a picture while looking through the standard viewfinder.  This particular PowerShot gives control to the user.  When set to manual, the user controls the ISO, metering mode, aperture settings, exposure method, whether or not to use the built-in flash and the shutter speed.  

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the camera can also functions just fine in a Smart Auto mode as well.  You'll be glad you have this camera when the first steps burst forth from the new little one because the Digic 4 Image Processor means that from the time you turn on the camera until you take the first picture, you only have to wait 2.8 seconds.  When that lifetime of "firsts" begin, the 720p HD video capture will mean not having to take the time to run and grab the video camera; it will already be in your hands.  Although there is no dedicated "video record" button on the camera, the menu and its entirety are accessible with one thumb.  Whether the camera is being used as a point-and-shoot or a video camera, the two AA batteries that power the device will keep it running for a long time.  Any new parent is going to have a treasure trove of AAs to power all the new toys anyway, and it would be a good idea to add this camera to the list.  

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700

Full Review

For the parents who absolutely have to have the newest gadget for their precious newborn.

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Welcome to the world of touch screen digital cameras.  The brand spanking new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700, released in July of 2010, offers a 3 inch TFT LCD touch screen eliminating the need for buttons or menu pads.  This bad boy takes digital cameras to the next level by offering an extremely impressive 1920x1020 full HD movie recording capability on top of a 14.1-megapixel resolution.  Combine all those juicy details and add in one of the best 5x optical zoom wide angle lenses on the market and you have yourself one of the most capable, powerful, versatile cameras in the digital compact market.  For those looking for a simple point-and-shoot, this camera comes ready for the challenge.  With iAuto, Intelligent ISO, Motion Deblur and Intelligent Exposure work together to master the art of photography for you.  Panasonic worked hard to ensure every shot was a good shot. 

Equipped with a staggering 27 preset modes, any time is a good time to take a picture with the Lumix DMC-FX700; included for optimal baby photography, try the Baby 1, Baby 2, Soft Skin, High Sensitivity or Portrait modes.  For those who already know what they are doing or are willing to take the time to learn, the DMC-FX700 also allows the user to dial in each and every setting just the way they like it, including focus, exposure modes, ISO settings and focal length.  The built-in flash and retractable zoom lens keep it slim while the fold-away prong wall charger (my personal favorite) keeps this beauty portable.  The catch with all of this featured goodness is the price tag, however at MSRP $399.99 you can bet you are going to get an amazing picture after amazing picture.

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Kodak EasyShare M575

Full Review

For the parents with the biggest family.

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Part of Kodak's most recent series of EasyShare cameras, the M575 is at the top with a reasonable MSRP $179.95.  In comparison to the M530 and M550, it has a higher resolution making for a better picture without any huge jump in the price.  Featuring a sleek, slim design, it will fit in the side pocket of a diaper bag or Dad's back pocket with ease.  Its 14-magapixel resolution is just a touch higher than most other point-and-shoot digital compacts on the market today but its 5x Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon optical zoom lens does not match the quality of the Canon PowerShot's 12x zoom.  Not only does it have quality still photography capability, but can also record a whopping 29 minutes worth of video; this is a huge plus in terms of convenience for new parents.  

The feature on the camera most suited for new parents and the entire family can be found in its name: EasyShare.  Once plugged up to the computer through the built-in USB 2.0 port, the one-touch Share button automatically uploads your photos to your Facebook, Flickr, YOUTUBE, Kodak galleries or directly email from a programmed address book.  This Share feature alone makes it perfect for new parents who don't have to time to upload every picture to every website for every grandparent to "ooh and aww" over.  On top of that, the camera comes PictBridge-enabled, meaning you can print directly from the camera when connected to a Kodak photo printer.  In terms of batteries, the EasyShare M575 has a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that can be charged with the USB AC adapter cable that comes in the box.  So for anyone who loves to share their life online, this is the camera to enable that. 

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Casio Exilim EX-Z16

For the parents that appreciate the value of a buck.

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For the budget conscious gift-giver or modest gift-receiver, the Casio Exilim EX-Z16 is the way to go.  At only MSRP $99.99, this powerful compact will run you less than a month's worth of diapers (horrifying, I know).  At less than an inch thick (.85 inch), this tiny but mighty camera will fit virtually anywhere making it light and portable.  With a 12.1-megapixel resolution and a 3x optical zoom lens, the picture quality is in no way compromised by price or size. Although the LCD screen does not quite reach 3 inches (2.7 inches), the CCD-Shift Image Stabilization will make up for what you don't see when taking shots of the precious new bundle of joy.  

The camera's Easy Mode feature means that anyone from little sister to great-grandmother will be able to take a quality shot; all settings are taken care of when using this mode making this a true point-and-shoot.  Additionally, the EX-Z16 offers the Best Shot feature where, with the touch of a button, the camera applies Face Detection, Auto Focus and correct Exposure Settings providing optimum picture quality without the fuss.  This little giant also records video in a Youtube ready format making it as easy as installing the right software to get baby's first word available for the world to see.  With a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, the camera will keep going as long as you can.  This little guy is the perfect addition to your every growing family. 

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Maggie OBriant
Maggie O'Briant  Personal Blog Flickr

Maggie O'Briant recently graduated from Florida State University with an English Literature degree.  She is currently a freelance writer and photographer.    She currently lives in Hawaii with her husband and giant baby. 

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