Q: I want to get a Olympus SP-500 Ultra Zoom but whatever website that I look at they are always to expensive or I can’t find them.
— Two-Tone Travis, West Point, Va.
A: Your choice for a camera is a good one, Triple T. The SP-500 has a 10X zoom and a feature few non-pro digital cameras have: raw mode. The camera creates a “raw” file that is similar to the “negative” that film cameras produce. These raw images have to be processed in photo software, so it’s not always convenient and quick if you’re looking for speedy uploads.
Part of the reason you’re having problems finding your camera is that it’s no longer made. Cameras, like computers, are constantly being improved and updated. The updated version is the SP-550 Ultra Zoom, about $350.
An excellent camera that is similar is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8. It has a “street” cost of $240. If you’re looking for a smaller point-and-shoot type digital you might look at the Canon PowerShot SX100 IS at $220 or the Nikon Coolpix P60 at $230. The Panasonic model has raw mode; the Canon and Nikon models do not.
I prefer to buy my digital equipment from on-line camera stores that have been in business for many years and that treat the customer right if there are any questions, problems or returns. Buying from cheap on-line sources may or may not work. Sometimes the prices are quite low but such items as lens caps, instruction manuals and even batteries don’t come with the camera. Be extra aware when shopping online.