There’s never been a better time to get an easy-to-use point and shoot digital camera. As so many families scramble to pick up a more expensive SLR—that’s a single-lens reflex camera—stores and manufacturers are dropping the prices on not-quite-as-advanced models. Thing is, these cameras probably do everything you want and more. The features to look for include megapixels, auto-focus features, zoom features, the video (these cameras can take cute short video clips) and the display screen (larger screens are easier to use).
Great cameras can be had for less than $135—one of the most popular and best reviewed cameras on the market is Canon’s A550, A560 and A580 models. These cameras are easy to find and easy to operate. This model operates on AA batteries, so you won’t have the convenience of recharging—and AA batteries are bulkier than those rechargeables, too, so these are not quite pocket cameras. Purse cameras, though, they are. And actually it will probably fit into a coat pocket.
Two other popular models in this price range include the Sony Cybershot (recent prices online for the DSCS730 were about $127) and the Casio Exilim EX-Z75 (available for $127)—this model has the added bonus of a rechargeable battery.
You can go lower still, although if it’s you taking the shots and not your 10-year-old, you may not be happy with the slower performance of these models, especially as they recharge for a flash shot, for example. The Nikon Coolpix L14 is available for $107 for the pink or blue model and only $99 for the silver model. It has a smaller zoom range (3X optical) and a nice, slim profile.
The other reason it makes sense to buy now: the cost for memory is at an all time low. Memory cards with 2 GB of storage can be found online for just under $20. Extra memory means you can store plenty of images on the camera before you have to download them to your computer. Perfect for long vacations where your laptop doesn’t accompany you.
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