Three Monkeys, Three Typewriters, Two Days

November 15, 2009

Looking for luggage and a digital camera

I find myself in the market for two things, and was wondering whether anyone has any recommendations:

  1. Luggage. I'm looking for something to check (not a carry-on) for trips when I need to take a bunch of stuff along. Obvious desirable qualities are being sturdy enough to deal with being checked, spacious, light. Bonus points for noticeable (e.g. brightly colored), cheap. Given how I use luggage (e.g on hilly sidewalks), I'd want one of the ones with 2 wheels, not 4 wheels.
  2. Digital camera. Just looking for a point-and-shoot. Main criterion here is that it have good enough quality to print, not just look at on screen. I suspect any modern camera will have most of the rest of what I want (reasonable capacity, decent battery life, ability to shoot close-ups if needed). If I can find something that doesn't have a delay on the order of 1s between me pushing the button and the picture being taken, that's a big plus! Past that, I'm not even quite sure what typically differentiates digital cameras nowadays; haven't shopped for one in a while.
  3. I welcome any advice people may have.

    Posted by bzbarsky at November 15, 2009 8:08 PM | TrackBack

Noticeable luggage highly depends on the airports you're traveling to. In Frankfurt, having a Rimowa is like the new gray, but in Bangalore, anything that isn't tied in with a belt is off. Haven't seen a lot of Rimowas in the US.

I'm personally quite happy with the one I have, they're the bread-and-butter suitcases of Lufthansa crew, that's how I got to the brand. Doesn't make them exactly cheap, though, I guess.

Posted by: Axel Hecht on November 16, 2009 10:03 AM

Camera-wise, in the point & shoot range the main brands I look at are Canon and Panasonic. Those two are probably the most consistently good quality - hard to go wrong any model from them. Keep an eye on as they'll probably have some good group reviews of P&S models posted between now and Christmas.

Posted by: Toe on November 16, 2009 11:20 AM

I made my standard black suitcase more recognizable by putting white tape on all the handles. Crude, but effective.

Posted by: Curtis Bartley on November 16, 2009 12:50 PM

Just plaster the suitcase with Firefox stickers.

Posted by: Cap'n Refsmmat on November 16, 2009 2:14 PM

Might as well be Opera or Safari stickers, as I believe bz uses Seamonkey.

Posted by: Colby Russell on November 16, 2009 2:26 PM

I've actually been using different browsers on different machines, recently. But in any case, the "noticeable" is a bonus precisely because it's not hard to work around. The other criteria are more important.

Posted by: Boris on November 16, 2009 2:29 PM

FUJIFILM FinePix F70EXR is excellent... versatile, takes good photos etc. Not a typical more Mpixels must be better camara.

Posted by: Nörde on November 16, 2009 2:37 PM

I bought american luggage brand, cheap and at Sears, not bad. Should be cheaper real soon too.

I got a Canon Powershot SD1000. Very easy to use camera, takes nice pictures too, much better than most cameras in the consumer space. This one I have is 7.1 megapixel. Fairly automatic, a few easy buttons to navigate. Not a hard menu to use. It fits well in a front or back pants pocket.

Most camera's have standard built in autofocus, zoom 3x+ which are good features to have, It has good video capture/mic at 320x240 or 640x480 resolution at about 24 to 30 fps. Its even got an easy button to switch between photo taking, video recording, view pictures/videos.

Hell, I even dropped it in the airport before a flight on tile from about 4 ft up, and it didn't turn on, but I got it fixed for free from canon and it was a great and fast turn around experience, and was fixed too, no questions asked why. They have service centers here in the states.

Most cameras use SD cards, some now even with SDHC (high capacity cards capable 4GB+ per card, but the cards are not usable without the SDHC compatible devices)

If you need SD Cards for a camera, go with SanDisk UltraII which are used for faster picture taking on the camera for that 1/2 second click. Don't ever settle for a standard flash,SD,XD card. Its like comparing USB1.0 to USB2.0. The Sandisk SD UltraII cards are much faster than standard ones. It helps on the i/o read/write speeds when taking pictures. Pic up a space too.. so in case you find video is your thing, it will be nice to have, since it take up many megs once you take a few minutes here and there.

Most cameras come with some USB dongle to plug into a PC, easy to use, as the SDCard basically looks like a another external drive to the computer, and a wall charger. Also look for a possible extra battery, even generics are fine, but battery life is like a laptop, it has a typical run off point before it goes dead w/warning. The good point is that recharge only takes about an hour or so.

Not sure what Canon has for mac support, but if mac can look at SD cards, then this should be no problem with a USB2.0 connection or SD card reader.

Though I've had my camera, and I do love it, I don't regret going with canon on this one.
Sony Coolpix is another decent camera and so are Nikons though, Nikon, Canon and Olympus are good even in the consumer space, sony is further down the quality chain. And I think Olympus uses a more proprietary memory card called xD, which I don't like the Olympus interface, picture quality was less on the Coolpix and Sony, well you know, they are always proprietary makers of electronics.

The canon just works, I'm happy with it.


Posted by: cuz84d on November 16, 2009 10:01 PM

My wife and I have four Samsonite cases. They are "hybrids" -- half hard-shelled, half soft (the fabric is called "Cordura", I think), quite durable and good. They have two good-sized wheels. I don't know if I'd say they are light or heavy, I don't have any comparison points.

The hard part is dark grey, the soft part comes in a range of colours, we have two burnt orange ones and two green ones, they aren't garish but are very easy to spot on luggage carousels.

They look a bit like this one:

I can't find the exact model on the Samsonite site, it's possible we have older models that aren't available any more. The colours on the site are pretty restricted too, mostly black. You don't want a black case, everyone else has one.

Posted by: Nick on November 17, 2009 11:39 PM

The consensus best tiny camera these days is the Canon S90. Not cheap, though.

Posted by: Roger on November 26, 2009 11:59 PM
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