Because I don’t know exactly what to expect in Bali in terms of safety and security, I opted not to take an expensive camera along. Instead, I went to BIC Camera in Ikebukuro and picked up a perfectly serviceable pocket camera, a Pentax Optio H90.
12.1 megapixel, a hillion jillion in-camera special effects, and most importantly, the diminutive size I have grown accustomed to with my now-defunct Canon. It set me back a whopping 5980 yen, about $72 or so. Early indications are that it takes pretty good pictures, given the limitations of any pocket camera, and that it will suit its intended purpose fine. Also, it uses SD memory cards, of which I have a bunch, so that made it kind of a no-brainer of a purchase.
After I got it home, I realized that I would likely want a backup battery, so the next time I was in Ikebukuro, I stopped in to BIC Camera to pick one up. The (almost) English-speaking salesperson checked the computerized stock list, and indeed there was one on hand. “4200 yen,” he said. Wait a minute, 4200 yen? But I paid only 5980 yen for the camera, and it came with the aforementioned battery, a charger, and a memory card as well! Naturally, I asked if there was a waribiki (discount) available, and was met with a (likely faux) sad face and a shake of the head.
So now (you can see this coming, right?) I am the proud owner of not one but two Pentax Optio H90 cameras, identical in every respect, each with its own dedicated battery and memory card. The next pictures you see in Mysterious Orientations will be from one or the other of the Optio Twins, so we’ll see if it was a worthwhile pair of purchases. One way to look at it is that the second camera is simply a 1780 yen accessory to the battery, which makes it a most reasonable way to break into digital photography!