Customer service is a HUGE consideration. Part of the reason I probably wont' replace my Sony I have at home is just for that reason. No camera shop can fix them, they HAVE to go to a factory repair center (none of which are around here) costing more then my camera is worth. I bought a non-working "parts" camera for $50 on E-bay, and have used many things off it. My screen cracked, the shutter button, and the battery cover have WELL paid off the purchase of the other for parts. I should try to find Kodaks to do the same for my two broken ones. I did like the cameras, my daughter still uses the one with duct-tape over the battery cover. It's going on 8 years old I believe.
Brookings Middle School
From: M. Austin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 6:26 PM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] Digital curriculum
Laura, that's interesting cause I've had the exact opposite experience. My Kodaks are very reliable (mine don't have the extruding lens specifically because the students have a tendency to be rough on them - I purchased mine with minimal features with student use in mind). I've had my Kodak cameras for 2 years with no problems. I personally have a Canon Powershot A620 that I purchased specifically based on Consumer Reports. I will never buy another Canon product due to their awful customer service. The camera died on me while still under warrenty. I sent the camera in and it cost me $80 for them to fix it. So my less than one year old $300 camera which is now a $380 camera, and the people on the other end of a 2 hour hold for customer service are rude. Still don't know what was wrong with it - nobody could seem to tell me. I do have a Fiji camera that I love, but I'm not letting my students touch my pricier cameras!
<snip>We have a Canon Power Shot A550 for each of our art rooms. I've been very happy with them.
Personally, I have had problems with each Kodak camera I've owned. Lenses sticking shut, battery doors that break then won't stay shut, lots of little issues. My current home camera is a Sony that is 4 years old now, and still working great, the only issues I have had are pure abuse from my kids, not a defect with the camera.
The things I would NOT be concerned about are a big zoom lens. MOST pictures do not need that, and it seems the more zoom you have, the more problems with lenses, not to mention the size of the camera, my personal one has a 12x zoom lens, and the lens is FAR larger then the camera, actually making it awkward to carry around. But you want ACTUAL zoom, not DIGITAL, all the digital does is crops the picture, you don't get the quality of a physical zoom lens. Also mega pixel size. Anything over a 6 is really not necessary, keep costs down by this. Unless you plan on printing off prints that are poster size, the size of the pictures is not that much of an issue. I had digital portfolios of all my students' artwork for one year. Used up all my state web space, because my pictures were such big files, even when I re-sized them. Just something to keep in mind.
The card reader is a great idea, also a ton of rechargeable batteries if you're getting a camera that uses "regular" batteries.