Actually, my wife got it this summer, so I guess it's ideal for parents, but let's face it: more often than not, dads are still the Designated Photographer. The Fujifilm FinePix E550 is an excellent digital camera, but not just because it's 6.3 megapixels or because the screen is so gigantic.
The Fuji has two features that solve the most annoying problem taking pictures of a kid: actually getting the shot of whatever cutesy look or trick made you pull the camera out in the first place.
First, the shutter lag for most non-SLR digital cameras is so slow, by the time the picture actually snaps, the kid's not making that face anymore. The E550's shutter lag, though, is miniscule. Compared to our Elph, it practically feels instantaneous. And the interval between consecutive shots is totally decent, too. [The specs say 1.0 second. I don't think it's quite that quick, but still. Now you'll be able to shoot thousands of pictures in an afternoon instead of just hundreds. Then you can burn'em all and let grandpa sort'em out.]
The other strength is shooting videos. Unlike most digitals which only allow 8 or 15 or 30 seconds/clip--and whatever the number is, it's always cuts off two seconds too soon--the E550 lets you shoot continuously, for as long as your memory holds out. Now if you miss the kid saying "Go Sox!" or whatever it'll only be because you were too impatient.
Back in the summer when we got this camera, it was a deal at $350. Now it's even cheaper; Amazon's got it for $249.
Does that mean it's becoming obsolete and will be soon be pushed aside by a new It-camera like, say, this little-known Lumix (Panasonic) hybrid SLR with an insane Leica lens and image stabilization that is currently the $350 pocket camera of choice among "silicon valley billionaire gadget freaks"? Only if you're the kind of guy who outgrows cameras the way his kid outgrows pajamas.
Check out the Fujifilm Finepix E550 6.3MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom, currently $249.88 at Amazon [amazon]
Lumix FZ5: Ultra sharp, bargain-priced digital camera [cool tools]
Check out the Lumix FZ5, $349 at Amazon [amazon]
[1/11/06 update: quite a few people have bought the Fuji from Amazon since posting this, which I take to be a good thing; but someone just returned one today, too. Of course, I never know who buys what, just what gets bought. But if you have tried the Fuji and found it lacking for some reason, please feel free to share your experience below. Don't want to lead people astray just so I can make a quick $3.]