By Don Lindich
Week 20, 2018
Q. I am looking for a good small purse camera with a long zoom for trips. I recently got my first smartphone (an iPhone 6) and it takes great pictures, but I like using memory cards to store and save pictures. I am not very tech savvy and I like the simplicity of a camera and memory cards.
I would like to spend $100 to $200. Do you have camera suggestion, or at least a brand suggestion?
-C.H., Corona, CA
A. These days it is pretty hard to find cameras like you want, as most camera manufacturers have abandoned the entry-level marketplace. There are good reasons for this. The first reason is no one was buying inexpensive compact cameras any more. That leads to the reason why people were no longer buying cheap compact cameras. The fact of the matter is that the average smartphone camera absolutely clobbers any $100-$200 compact in terms of image quality.
I’ve mentioned my Google Pixel 2 XL phone in this column before and I am still flabbergasted by how good the camera is. Add in the ability to share instantly and automatic backup to Google Photos, and you have a formidable picture-taking machine. Even when I zoom in with the digital zoom the quality still looks pretty darn good. I definitely get better results when I take along my Sony DSC-RX100 or Panasonic DMC-GM1, but it has gotten to the point where you need that quality of compact camera to significantly outdo a good smartphone. Of course, there are other factors like optical zoom, the ability to take along extra batteries, having a viewfinder, easier operation, and expanded creative capabilities with a dedicated camera, but for most people out to capture memories the smartphone does a perfectly good job these days. I’d never go to Europe or Asia with just my smartphone, but to the local amusement park? The smartphone may be all the camera I need.
You asked me for a brand recommendation, and that is probably the best I can do given the current marketplace. Check out Kodak PixPro cameras. J.K. Imaging (making cameras under the Kodak name, under license) is one of the only companies still serving this market segment.
Meater Wireless Meat Thermometer: The spring and summer barbecue season is upon us, and I have a neat gadget to tell everyone about.
I first saw Meater at Pepcom’s The Digital Experience, a press-only exhibition held in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show. Some excellent work by their PR firm afterwards led to me giving Meater a try. Now that I have experienced it I can’t imagine going without it.
My friends and family tell me I am an excellent cook, but I don’t always believe them. They don’t know how I fuss over getting the meat cooked just right. I often cut a piece of chicken and see pink inside, or overcook something because I misjudged when it was actually ready.
Now those concerns are a thing of the past. Meater is a wireless, rechargeable meat thermometer that communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth (30 foot range) or Wi-Fi to tell you when the meat is cooked to your liking. The probe has two sensors that measure both the internal and external temperature of the meat, using the combined information to determine its actual resting temperature. It’s not just a thermometer, though. It is the whole package, complete with a smartphone app and a clever wooden storage box that also recharges the unit, that make it great.
There is more to Meater than I can go in to here. See it at meater.com.