I have been desperately seeking a point and shoot camera. The problem is, there are a million of them, and new ones spring up like popcorn every 30 seconds.

So much selection would seem to make it easy, and they all have a gazillion features, but not one of the camera companies combine them in the way I want.

When you go to websites like photographyblog.com, they start describing a camera as if it’s finally the answer to everyone’s prayers. “The long awaited Canon ST Two Million is packed with so many features you need a database to keep track of them all.”

This is good news, because in all those features, could it be they have the three or four I’m really interested in? I hold my breath and read further. “This camera can make your mother-in-law look like she’s human and fill in the missing teeth of your redneck friends.”

That’s something I’ve always needed in a camera, especially the filling in teeth, so I check that off my list. But what about the rest? “This camera has a built in hover system so you can set the timer, run over and join your family, get in the picture, and run back and catch it so you don’t have to worry about propping it up on a table and everyone having to be on their knees.”

Now THAT’S definitely a clever feature, and not one I’d thought of but I add it to my list because I now feel like I can’t live without it. But will the camera take a good picture? That’s high up on my list, right under “Will the camera break before the warranty runs out?”

Image quality is a tricky subject. It’s subjective, and there are many variables. Most cameras pitch a fit about being required to do something they don’t like. Yes, they’ll gladly take a nice picture on a sunny day, but if it gets cloudy they’ll coat the scene with a grayish tinge. Or they may not like it inside, so low light pictures have the people in the arc of the flash looking like surprised albinos while anyone a few feet back looks like they’ve been painted with roofing tar.

The sample images are not much help, either. If the scenes are picturesque, then any camera takes a good shot. It’s a little like going into Costco and all the big screen TVs are showing the same thing, and they pretty much look identical except for size. I recently bought a TV for my son and ended up picking one by saying, “Eanie, Meanie, Miney, Mo….”

What I’m looking for in a camera is manual controls so I can override the camera’s stupid Auto Mode on those occasions when it doesn’t know as much as I do, which granted is rare but still. I want a big enough screen so I can at least make out the big objects in the picture I just took without a magnifying glass. And I want it to not be so complicated I have to lug around a phone-book sized manual. If on top of that it takes good pictures, that would be a plus. Oh, and I want a super-zoom so I can take pictures of wildlife, but I don’t want one of those huge ones that’s the size of mailbox. I can see myself swinging one of those hunkers up to my eyeball to look through the viewfinder and knocking myself out cold.

I’ve narrowed my choice down to a Canon because you can practically have the DT’s with a Canon point and shoot and the picture will still come out in focus. The model I’ve been waiting for did not get a good review from photographyblog.com. Actually, it got a glowing review, but only a 4 star rating out of 5, which is hard to understand. It’s like a critic saying he loved a movie but only gave it a B rating.

I’m going to get the camera, though. I’m sick to death of looking, and I’m tired of lugging my Nikon dSLR around for snapshots. I don’t think I’ll have buyer’s remorse when another new model comes out in two days, because I’m certain it will not have all the feature I want either.

I will let you know how the camera turns out, and what model it is once I get it straight. It might be an SX 200 IS but could be an SX 210 IS, though I was also looking at an SX 120 IS. As if the camera features weren’t enough of a headache, they’ve got to make all the numbers the same, too? Jeepers!