I was not able to find the perfect point-n-shoot camera. However, I was able to find an adequate camera. After a bit of back and forth and research, I purchased a Fujifilm Z33 waterproof camera today.
It was a trick to balance feature set and price. I knew that I wanted something waterproof, but there were several possibilities. I started off looking at the Canon D10, which looked like it was going to be a great camera, but the cost was higher than I wanted to go. It also looked a bit clunky and bulky to me. On the opposite end was the Vivitar 6200W. It was certainly cheap enough, but that came at too high a cost in lost features – no optical zoom, AA batteries, only 6 mp, and a long list of other deficiencies. That narrowed it down to the Olympus waterproof series, the Panasonic waterproof cameras, and Fujifilm cameras rounding out the middle tiers.
I had two distinct criteria for this particular purchase. First, it had to be available locally. I have a paddling trip to Congaree National Park coming up this weekend, so I didn’t want to wait for an online order. I wanted instant gratification, and that ruled out the Panasonic cameras. Secondly, the price had to fall within a reasonable range of a couple of gift cards I had gotten for speaking and singing engagements. That ruled out the Canon and the upper end Olympus waterproofs. It finally came down to a battle between two cameras – the Z33 and the Olympus Stylus 550 waterproof camera.