It’s not what you think.

After years of faithful service, my trusty Canon PowerShot S300 Digital Elph has yielded its crown as Number 1 Camera in our household. When I bought it in May 2001, it was the smallest, lightest 2.1 Megapixel point-and-shoot digital camera available. At the time I paid $550 for the camera, $110 for 128 MB Flashcard and, $63 for card reader and battery. In other words, about $700 for the whole thing.

The S300 has been great. I’ve taken it to parties, out camping, up the top of Mt. St. Helens, into the Ape Caves, along the beach, and so on. In most respects it still functions well and should continue to have a useful twilight employed as our second camera.

The new baby, however, is a beauty. The Canon SD500 is smaller, lighter, faster, prettier, and otherwise better in every possible respect. For example, it’s 7.1 Megapixels—that’s five full Megapixels more than the old S300—and it has almost zero shutter lag, an annoyance that frequently meant missed shots with the old camera. It also has a full-screen with audio movie mode that lasts the length of the memory card (in our case, a 1 GB high-speed Secure Digital). There’s more stuff like built-in black-and-white and sepia modes, in-camera color swapping, USB 2.0 connectivity, and other assorted craziness. Those interested can read good reviews at the Digital Camera Resource Page or at Digital Photography Review.

Another bonus: The Canon SD500, 1 GB SD card, and extra battery were about $100 less than what I paid for the S300 some four years ago. Plus, unlike another new baby of mine, this one doesn’t cry when you change her.