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Senior Friendly Guide to Digital Cameras

by: DovC on: 12-02-2009



 

As we well know, seniors enjoy taking nice pictures now and then, especially when the grandchildren are around. The problem is that not all cameras are suitable for all seniors since not all seniors are alike. Some have low vision - and require vision friendly cameras - and some don''t.  Some may need biomechanic friendly cameras because they have a problem with small controls that require precise movements, while some only care about top-of-the-line features.  Some may require cognition friendly cameras with simple controls while some may enjoy the challenge of learning to operate a brand new piece of technology.  Thus the digital camera that is right for you, may not be the same camera that is helpful to your neighbor.Accordingly, ElderGadget reviews products, in this case digital cameras, to tell you what features should be sought out to help you with the impairments that affect you.  It is our strong belief that seniors should challenge their minds and bodies to keep them sharp and "elastic" longer, and that products that are "eldergadget" for one, might very well be "elder-unfriendly" for another. Therefore we need to look for certain features of a camera, which might make taking pictures easier for seniors who may have one or more of these challenges. Please read on to determine the features that best suit you:

What Seniors Should Look for in a Digital Camera

Large LCD screen

Some seniors wrestle with conditions that can compromise their vision. To that end, cameras with large screens  are considered vision friendly because they enable you to see your picture clearer. We recommend cameras with LCD screens no smaller than 2.5 inches. We found a Nikon Coolpix S60 that features a nice and bright 3.5 inch LCD screen.

Easy to Feel Controls

A segment of the senior community may experience a decrease in sensory perception, which may affect the way in which they experience sensory feedback from buttons and wheel dials.  Digital cameras tend to have tiny, flat buttons making it hard to push the right one which can be problematic for some seniors.  Therefore, one should look for cameras that are biomechanic friendly in that they provide a good tactile feel with raised buttons and wheel dials. In addition, cameras that beep when a button is pressed, give you valuable audio feedback that a control has been activated. Accordingly, touch-screen only devices are not optimal as they do not provide ideal sensory feedback.

We found that the Panasonic Lumix FX100K features raised buttons that give you excellent tactile and audio feedback.

Easy to See Controls

Presbyopia is the term given for losing one''s eyesight due to aging. Sadly this process often begins when one reaches their 40s as the lens in their eyes hardens and becomes less elastic, thus making it harder to focus. Therefore small, low contrast text/symbols - that are commonly found on digital cameras - can be difficult to identify. One solution is to use a camera that has a large, vision friendly LCD screen with touch screen controls. Touch screens take some time to get adjusted to, but they can also make the camera''s menu system much easier to see and therefore navigate. NOTE: Although we don''t recommend touch screens for seniors that have lost sensitivity in their fingers, we realize that all seniors are not the same and each needs their own compensatory features.

The Canon PowerShot SD970IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom and 3.0-inch LCD has one of the best, and most user-friendly, touch screen displays on the market.

Simplicity

Age related memory decline is reported in a segment of the senior community. Therefore a good cognition friendly camera will have minimal controls to memorize in order to use the various functions on the camera.  On the whole, Point and Shoot cameras are designed for simplicity and usually don''t require many steps to take a great picture. This is great for those who may have trouble recalling which buttons to press. The Casio Exilim EX-S2 is a great example of a camera that features a clear interface that tells you what each setting does in plain english, dedicated buttons that are simple and intuitive, with predefined set-ups for scene scenarios, and takes great looking pictures in seconds that will preserve the memories of that special trip, as Eudora Welty says "a good picture, stops a moment from running away".

Image Stabilization

Shaky hand syndrome, which some seniors may experience, is negated by most digital cameras, as they are usually equipped with excellent software that stabilizes the picture for you, and automatically removes blurriness caused by shakes. An excellent example is the Canon PowerShot SD800 IS. It is well regarded for its excellent image quality, and will give you rock steady zoom. All together now, cheese!

Olympus Stylus Tough-8000
Durable Design

Clumsiness can affect anyone. Seniors, unfortunately, must deal with ailments like arthritis that can decrease dexterity and put fragile electronic equipment, such as digital cameras, at risk. Luckily there are a number of digital cameras on the market that are built for durability.

Not only is the Olympus Stylus Tough-8000 durable, but it is waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, crushproof and shakeproof so it can stand up to just about anything.

Sony Cybershot DSCW200
Viewfinder

As we get older, changes in the eye can cause glare to have a greater impact our visual acuity. With digital camera use, glare becomes a factor when shooting pictures in bright lighting outdoors. Even large LCD screens might be not vision friendly under certain circumstances as they maybe difficult to see clearly for the aging eye. Thus some seniors prefer to use a viewfinder when taking photos.

The Sony Cybershot DSCW200 is one compact digital camera that still has a viewfinder.


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Comments
 
 
 
  • Max Baumgarten 07-27-2010 08:00 AM
    We provide price ranges in our reviews, but not in our guides. Guides are supposed to give our readers a general sense of the features they should look for with a type of product. Reviews discuss the specific features of an individual product, including price.
     
     
  • Ken Nelson 07-26-2010 03:58 PM
    It would be helpful to give a general idea of prices when reviewing products.
     
     
  • Suzanne French 04-22-2011 05:58 AM
    Another issue is whether an instruction manual in included. The Casio Exilim EX-H15 manual comes on a CD-ROM that you have to download. If you want a manual you can carry with you, e.g., on a trip, you have to PURCHASE one by contacting Casio online. I did, but they have yet to respond, so I don't know how much it costs. This is important and wasn't mentioned by the salesperson at the camera store.