I (might) need a New Camera

I have two digital cameras, both of which came into my possession six years ago. I have a handy little Canon PowerShot SD700, a little thing which I bought before leaving for Scotland because it was the best camera in the store when it came to taking pictures of things through glass and I wanted something for use in museums. Later that year I was given a Canon PowerShot S3, which has a larger body and took better pictures.

Taken with the S3, 2006.

Sadly, the S3 has died (it only works if I hold the battery case very tightly shut, and even then it’s 50/50). The PowerShot works well enough, and has been traveling with me to archives this fall. However, I feel the need for a new camera (especially as my father and sister have DSLRs which take Such Nice Pictures!), and this leads me to a conundrum:

Do I continue to use the PowerShot in archives until it (eventually) dies and just buy a camera for taking out and about, or do I try and find a camera which will work in the archives and on the street (or at the parade)?

Taken with the SD700 at the National Archives (US) earlier this fall

Further, if anyone has advice about a particular camera they’ve used in archives that worked especially well, or a camera setup, please do share. Feel free to point me to some blog post which answers all my questions. I’m just looking for input.


  1. It’s been a while since I did archival photos (back in the *sniff* wonderful Georgia State Library and Archives), back in the early months when they’d allow researchers to use digital cameras in the manuscript room. I think if I were to buy a camera now, I’d think carefully about the “ecosystem” I’d be setting up (for want of a better term), as in the workflow I’d be using.

    Since a lot of cameras have similar capabilities, as far as historians need, what might make the most difference in archival use would be the ease of getting images into whatever you use for note-taking and analysis. If you can get a reasonably-priced camera with wifi capability and send images to Dropbox or another file-sharing system, that might be worth slightly lower image quality. But I’d look for somethign with a general “send-to” capability rather than something tied to a specific service or piece of software, since I think we’re doomed to keep switching services every few years.

    Good luck, and have fun looking!

    1. I hadn’t thought about the dropbox/dump aspect of it. I’ve seen SDD cards with wifi – do you know if it has to be camera and card or just card for such things to work?

      I admit I’ve started to eyeball a new(ish) camera from Nikon which has a small body but changeable lenses.

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