For the last 40 years - I have had a string of cameras. Every year something new and so much better comes out - and I can't resist.
My "big" camera is a Canon G9. It takes great photos - but it is impossible to put in your pocket - so you have to walk around with a clunky strap around your neck - or a pouch hanging on your belt. You have a choice of getting great pictures and looking like a pack rat - or stinky pictures that look like they came from your cell phone.
Coolpix is a goofy name - but it packs a lot of nice features. Since we are going on our cruise in 2 weeks - I thought it would be a good time to try "another" small camera. The Camera is 2 inches x 4 inches by 1/2 inch. It has a nice lens - takes 12 megapixel pictures and has a 5x optical zoom. On the back it has a giant viewer screen - and a very simple controls interface. You are an expert in 5 minutes.
Other features you would not expect in an $80 camera - a camcorder - and a voice recorder. It take multi burst pictures - namely 10 pictures and you can pick out the best one of the burst. There is also a setting where it will not take the pictures until everyone in the group is smiling and/or has their eyes open. I am surprised how neat that works.
The Coolpix uses a standard SDRAM card to store pictures - but it also has its own memory if you remove your card. Since it has the SDRAM format - I can insert my "eye-fi" card that sends pictures wirelessly to the Internet and my computer.
It comes with a battery and charger - and a cord to connect it directly to your computer or television to manipulate the photos.
This is the first camera that I have used that has an "unblur" feature. No - I am not talking about something to prevent "camera shake" but a program that while viewing your pictures will make an attempt to "unblur" a picture already taken. Right now - I am skeptical of that feature - but would love to be surprised if it works well.
The Nikon Coolpix S500 can be purchased at buy.com - for $80 - no sales tax - no shipping. That is of course if they have sold out of this item - and have moved on to the next "greatest thing."