Small camera purchase - advice please.

My dear wee Canon Power Shot A430 digital camera is now RIP after thousands of shots and over 900 TM gallery pics, age 5 years. Question is, do I go for another one (if there is such a model) or what do I buy! Am an artist on low income and I DON'T want fancy and expensive, just a simple, reliable camera to carry on taking mainly close-up photos of art work.
Your serious input based on experience will be gratefully received. Or maybe you know BEST DEAL somewhere at the moment! Thanks so much.

geek_zuggle, May 16, 2:26 pm

Canon are a good brand .
Try to purchaseone with built in rechargeable batteries .
Get at least 10 megapixels
Wait for specials that have a 2 or 4 gigcard included , and sometimes a bag .
Panoramic digital is an excellent feature to have
Now is a good time to buy .don't know how much you want to spend

geek_barry68, May 16, 3:15 pm

Thanks Barry. Built in rechargables sounds good although I always had rechargables ready for my "dead" one. should be able to pick a good wee digital up for about $100 now, shouldn't I! Like I said, it's for a very simple service, not into national photo comps or anything - needs to pick up the detail of fine pen drawing.

geek_zuggle, May 16, 5:01 pm

My Canon A550 was getting a past its used by date, so I got a Canon A3300IS during harvey normans easter sale for $99. It is a wonderful camera compared to the A550. They have made it even easier than the A550 to use and it has Image Stabilization, so no more blurry photos due to moving the camera. The A3300IS can use the free canon camera hack that I used on my A550 to give more features like taking photos in RAW format, histograms, zebra pattern, long exposures and more.

geek_happy2buy, May 16, 5:18 pm

geek_happy2buy, May 16, 5:20 pm

geek_happy2buy, May 16, 5:26 pm

Free Canon Camera hack software : http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK will not harm your canon camera in any way. Gives your $99 camera the features of a $800 camera.

geek_happy2buy, May 16, 5:30 pm

Will the hack increase the digital zoom from 4x to 10x !

geek_r.g.nixon, May 16, 5:51 pm

Lol, yes if you wanted to, personally I disable the digital zoom. The program gives you features that the Digic processor can do but has been left out by canon on the cheaper cameras.

geek_happy2buy, May 16, 5:57 pm

One example of the camera program. my camera states that it can do HD video. Under the camera settings I can choose between 1280x720, 640x480 or 320x240 but i cant choose a quality setting only resolution. With the program loaded I noticed that the default video quality was 84, you can change this to 100 for better videos (bigger file size)

geek_happy2buy, May 16, 6:02 pm

Another lovely feature of the free program: battery power! Without the program you have three power levels, 90% of the time it has three bars & then suddenly down to two bars and then it tells you it is flat. It would be nice if you had more of a warning. With the canon hack you get a battery level indicator. When my camera has three bars it may only have 47% battery power left. Once it falls below 45% it has two bars displayed.

geek_happy2buy, May 16, 6:05 pm

Oh, I meant optical zoom, sorry. I hate digital zoom.

geek_r.g.nixon, May 16, 6:06 pm

That would be nice but I don't believe that they limit the movement of the lenses on the cheap cameras. You could always move closer :-)

geek_happy2buy, May 16, 6:32 pm

Seem to have your specs sorted, so pricespy.

geek_richard112, May 16, 6:39 pm

Pricespy's good but not always accurate. When i got my A3300IS pricespy still said that the cheapest was $179, it doesn't always do all the big stores like harvey norman.

geek_happy2buy, May 16, 6:41 pm

Thanks happy2buy I like the sound of the $109 one, might also give the hack program a look but that may be beyond my skills. Guess it can't harm a camera that has already died!
Many thanks for thoroughly interesting info.

geek_zuggle, May 16, 7:06 pm

Honestly I would not take much stock in the big brands "sale" prices.Go and negotiate/talk to the largest local camera specialist store.You may well be able to get a better deal when you take into consideration extras they may include at a better overall price like memory cards/bag etc, the extra are all very negotiable especially as you are able to consider slightly older floor stock to meet your needs, not the latest hot models.Electronics stores staff will very generally sell you the model they are getting the biggest bonus/promo/kick back in the pocket they are getting from manufacturers.Many of the manufacturers run deals for sales staff, sell $Xin X months and get westfield gift vouchers etc, good deal for sales staff but makes their advice biased.Pick somewhere with less staff turnover and you are likely to get better advice IMHO.

geek_dinx, May 16, 10:21 pm

You just can't beat Canon but as indicated it pays to shop around.There are some bargains to be had.

geek_jeeves-50, May 16, 10:28 pm

I always find the cheapest deal I can and then go to a shop with fly buys and ask if they will match it.

geek_cameragod, May 16, 10:47 pm

Good advice dinx, and others. There are two very friendly "small store" guys who have examined the camera in depth already for free (I shouted them beer money as a thank you) and I have a mind to go back to them after this comment. Seems like everyone agrees with keeping with Cannon.
Thank you.

geek_zuggle, May 17, 7:12 am

Thanks everyone, finally settled on a Canon Power Shot A2400 as most suited to my needs, with good advice and instruction from guys at the local camera shop and spare memory card included. Also like the fact I have a business card with name I can ring up about any problems(unlike buying from larger stores!)

geek_zuggle, May 17, 12:32 pm