Is a (groovy) camera.

The full, proper name of the C-720 is the "Camedia C-720 Ultra Zoom Digital Camera." The ultra zoom bit is justified by the excellent 8x zoom (40mm to 320mm in regular photography terms).

The picture resolution ranges from 1984x1488 (SHQ) to 640x480 (SQ2) in four steps. The C-720 has a little pop-up flash which has a tendency to overexpose. The C-720 has no flash shoe, nor a metal threaded tripod mount (plastic threads on a $400 camera?).

The camera takes about a second per picture (really slow autofocus), and has no buffer to speak of. What it can do however, is take pictures in 'Drive' mode. (as in motor drives on 35mm cameras) This allows you to take pictures much more quickly, but, as a result, focus and exposure are locked to the values set in the first frame. There is another drive setting that does refocus after each frame, but it is slower. Another version of drive mode does exposure bracketing automagically.

In conclusion, if you need a point-click-done kind of camera, you won't find it in the C-720, but if you often find yourself taking pictures of things that have the decency to stay still, the C-720 is your camera.

Update: The C-720 doesn't like being dropped. It tends to shut itself off. That is all.

And Again: I took a trip to New York with the camera, with eight rechargeable cells. I ended the trip with five, which somehow lost themselves on their way home. I am forced to conclude that either New York eats cells or that my incompetence knows no mortal limit.

So now I use alkaline cells. The C-720 works fine with them, but woe be onto thee if you want to use the flash. If you really must, wait at least thirty seconds between discharges, or the voltage droops steeply enough that the camera dies with the lens assembly extended, which confuses it when you turn it back on.

Four years and counting: It's been to South Daktoa more than six times, and to Japan once, and still works just fine. It is, of course, hopelessly antiquated compared to modern cameras, but it remains a fine camera. I can no longer recommend its purchase, however. Its picture taking capabilities remain stellar, but it uses the abortive SmartMedia memory card, which is hard-limited to 128mb in size, and is hard and getting harder to find. My mother recently purchased, for two hundred dollars, a 7 megapixel camera the size of a thick credit card. It takes a one gigabyte SD card. But it's doesn't have 8x zoom! Ha!

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