David Pogue from the New York Times has been writing a review annually for the last 9 years pointing out the best point and shoot digital cameras for under $300.
It is always interesting to see how features change over time and in this case his 2001 cameras offered around 1-2 mega pixels. Now the best ones have about 12-14. In 2001 some could zoom up to 2x, now it isn’t unusual to find 12-14x zoom. Like so many areas, technology continues to give us more for less money.
We recently bought an Olympus E520 which isn’t a point and shoot, but rather our first step into the DSLR arena. I must have spent 15-20 hours investigating the purchase – reading reviews and testing different cameras at the store because (like every purchase I make) I wanted to get the best camera for the money – and I was grateful to find a few articles that pointed me to some of the best cameras. It saved me a bit of time.
David’s article does just that. It works as a great head start if you are looking for a point & shoot for under $300. If you want to read the full article you can find it here: Best cameras for $300 or less. But if you just want the Cliffs Notes version see below.
Here are his top picks for the best cheap cameras
|Model Name||Approximate Price|
|Canon PowerShot SD980||$280|
|Fujifilm Finepix F70EXR||$197|
|Kodak EasyShare Z950||$183|
|Nikon Coolpix S8000||$299|
|Olympus Stylus 7000||$184|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3||$284|
|Samsung DUALVIEW TL225||$274|
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290||$180|
So what’s the BEST point and shoot digital camera?
I have three favorites this year, for different reasons. (That’s the price we pay for differentiation.)
The Fujifilm F70EXR is superior in low light (and has that 10X zoom). The Panasonic Lumix ZS3 takes great hi-def movies (12X zoom). (The Nikon S8000 is extremely similar, but costs more.)
The Samsung DualView TL225 zooms only to 4.6X, but offers that huge touch screen and the amazingly handy small front screen. (Honorable mention to the Kodak Z950. It doesn’t quite match the big boys’ photo quality, but what you get for $183 is amazing.)
One more thought
I will just throw this out there because I still see some confusion – in some people around me anyway. The days of needing a camera for pictures and a camcorder for movies are pretty much over. I still see a lot of people going out and buying a separate camcorder to take home-movies while they already have a camera that they didn’t realize could record movies – in some cases HD quality!
My preference is to kill two birds with one stone and buy a good camera that records video and maybe spend a little extra on a memory card so you can take longer videos if you like.