If you're headed out to the playa this year and you're in the market for a new camera, I have a suggestion:
It retails for about $350
It's waterproof to 50 ft.
And most importantly:
It has a vast array of features, including:
Completely auto picture mode, a regular picture mode (where you can change the settings, which is quick and easy), night pictures, and many more, including settings for pictures of flowers, food, children, children playing, sports, pets, a couple of panoramic settings, etc. It also shoots 720p video, which looks quite good, even at night. It has underwater settings for both stills and video. It has a heavy-duty carrying strap.
I took this camera to 2010 Metropolis, which had more than its fair share of dust storms. This camera was a trouper throughout the entire week. Whenever I get around to editing the video and posting it, I'll put a link to it here.
Obviously, a camera that does this much does make a few compromises. For one thing, the microphone it has is not too good, especially is there is music playing when you're shooting. Also, the camera is essentially and by necessity a still camera. This means that while you're shooting video, you can't zoom or change the focus. (This is no limitation at all for shooting a Burn Night video, since you're most likely not moving around while you're shooting it.) It has a time-lapse feature that is pretty cool. The shortest interval between frames is one minute, so it has its limitations. I shot one of my camp Wednesday afternoon, and it turned out really well. (Until someone who didn't know any better took it upon themself to turn off the camera...) I can't count how many times I dropped it, and it always worked fine. It eats battery. You should take at least three batteries. I took three with me. When I went out, I always had a fresh one in the camera, a fresh one in reserve, and one on the charger back at camp. Make sure you can have access to your camp's generator to power your charger.
In summation, this may look like a little point-and-shoot, but it's far, far more than that. Despite its limitations, I unreservedly recommend this camera. It's Burner tested and approved!
I won't be able to make it to BRC this year, so have a wonderful Burn!
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are faeries at the bottom of it too?"