The holidays are rapidly approaching and there are a lot of digital cameras out there to choose from. Most manufacturers announced new cameras in August and September that are becoming available just in time for you to get overwhelmed by the choices. This new crop of cameras brought updates to previous models as well as some new ones, so we’re going to give you a leg up on some good camera picks for this season.
To make it easy, we’ve decided to organize the cameras primarily by price, but have added a couple of other categories for those of you who know the specific type of camera you’re looking for. The best part about the digital camera market is that regardless of your skill with a camera or your budget, there is a camera out there for you. If you don’t find one that works for you in this list, or the Black Friday ads don’t have these exact models, just let us know. Many times, there are other cameras in the same product line or family that may be a better fit for you.
If you have any questions about a camera, please don’t hesitate to post a question on our forums (see our What Should I Buy? forum). The digital camera market is broad, and we know how helpful it is to have someone who is knowledgeable about the products.
Good luck finding a camera and have a great holiday season!
Canon Powershot A570 IS – The A570 IS is an excellent all-around camera, especially when you can get it under $200. The camera has a 7.1 megapixel sensor, 4x optical zoom, and 2.5 inch LCD. The camera also features Canon’s DIGIC III processor and optical image stabilization.
Canon Powershot A570 IS Reviews and Pricing
Fujifilm Finepix A820/A900 – These cameras deserve a mention mainly because their price is very good for a quickly operating camera that works well in low-light conditions. The Fujifilm Super CCD has a reputation for good noise performance. The A820 and A900 may have a limited feature set, but it’s still a good buy in this price range. Both cameras have 4x optical zooms and 2.5 inch LCDs. The A820 takes 8.3 megapixel shots, while the A900 is a 9 megapixel camera.
Fujifilm Finepix A820 Reviews and Pricing
Fujifilm Finepix A900 Reviews and Pricing
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W90 – The Sony W series are solid, attractive cameras. If you’re looking for reasonably priced style, the slim metal body of the W90 is a nice way to go. It features 8.1 megapixel resolution, a 3x optical zoom with image stabilization, and a 2.5 inch LCD.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W90 Reviews and Pricing
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 – One of the most popular cameras on our site, the Panasonic TZ3 features a stabilized 10x optical zoom lens in a very compact body. It also has a 3 inch screen, very snappy operation and takes pictures with 7.2 megapixel resolution.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 Reviews and Pricing
Canon Powershot SD850 IS – The Canon SD series could be called the "gold standard" of ultra-compact digital cameras. The SD850 IS is an 8.1 megapixel camera with 2.5 inch LCD and a 4x optical zoom lens with image stabilization.
Canon Powershot SD850 IS Reviews and Pricing
Fujifilm Finepix F40fd – This camera has some of the best performance in low light conditions – and it’s still compact. The F40fd can shoot at a higher ISO – with lower noise – than pretty much every compact digital camera out there. It’s an 8.3 megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom and 2.5 inch LCD.
Fujifilm Finepix F40fd Reviews and Pricing
Canon Powershot A650 IS – I’ve always liked this series of Canon Powershot A cameras – the ones with a flip-out LCD screen. They’re fully-featured and a little more solid and sturdy than the other A-series cameras. The A650 IS features 12 megapixel resolution, a 2.5 inch LCD, and an optically stabilized 6x optical zoom lens.
Canon Powershot A650 IS Reviews and Pricing
Nikon Coolpix P5100 - Targeted at people looking for an advanced Point and Shoot or at others who want a second, smaller take-along camera, the P5100 has plenty of features to keep everyone happy. It’s a 12.1 megapixel camera, with 2.5 inch LCD and 3.5x optical zoom. Optical image stabilization (Vibration Reduction), a hotshoe for an external flash, and a full set of shooting modes round the camera out.
Nikon Coolpix P5100 Reviews and Pricing
[For other cameras in this price range, see the Ultra Zooms and Ultra Compact sections]
Canon Powershot G9 – The Canon G9 is an impressive camera, with 12.1 megapixel resolution, a stabilization 6x optical zoom lens, and a 3 inch screen. Many people consider the G9 to be what the G7 should have been, with RAW shooting capability, in particular. You’ll also find a hotshoe for an external flash and the most advanced features you can get in a non-SLR camera.
Canon Powershot G9 Reviews and Pricing
If you’re ready to check out the next level of digital photography, there are plenty of affordable Digital SLR cameras out there to choose from.
Nikon D40x – The successor to the D40, the Nikon D40x is a more direct competitor to the Canon Digital Rebel XTi. The D40x features 10.2 megapixel resolution and a 2.5 inch LCD in the same compact body that we first saw on the D40.
Nikon D40x Reviews and Pricing
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi – This successor to the Digital Rebel XT offers 10.1 megapixel resolution and a 2.5 inch LCD screen. A self cleaning sensor and 3 frames per second shooting are also highlights of the camera.
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi Reviews and Pricing
Pentax K10D – While not technically an entry level Digital SLR (Pentax has a cheaper model), the K10D is priced similarly to the other SLRs listed here and it’s a very good camera. The major difference between the Pentax and it’s Nikon and Canon counterparts in this article is that the K10D has built-in weatherproofing. Besides that, it’s a 10.2 megapixel camera with a 2.5 inch LCD and CCD-shift image stabilization. With the mechanical image stabilization in-camera, you can pretty much use any Pentax mount lens ever made.
Pentax K10D Reviews and Pricing
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200 – The most impressive feature of the Sony T200 is the gargantuan 3.5 inch screen on the back of the camera. And if you’re wondering where all the buttons went, the touch-sensitive screen provides access to the shooting modes and menu system. The T200 takes shots with an 8 megapixel sensor with a longer-than-typical 5x optical zoom with image stabilization.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200 Reviews and Pricing
Canon Powershot SD1000 – If you want something that looks like a throwback to the early Digital ELPHs, then check out the Powershot SD1000. While it doesn’t have all the features of other Canon SD cameras, like image stabilization, it’s a very reasonably priced, high quality ultra-compact camera. The SD1000 takes 7.1 megapixel images, has a 2.5 inch LCD, and a 3x optical zoom.
Canon Powershot SD1000 Reviews and Pricing
Canon Powershot S5 IS – The perennially popular Canon S series has been landing on top of the most popular ultra-zoom lists for quite a while now. The S5 IS captures images at 8 megapixels with a nice stabilized 12x optical zoom lens. A flip-out, rotating 2.5 inch LCD makes it easy to shoot at funny angles.
Canon Powershot S5 IS Reviews and Pricing
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 – The FZ18 is one of the recent crop of 18x optical zoom-equipped digital cameras on the market. Not only does the lens have the long zoom, it has a wide angle 35mm equivalent focal length of 28mm. As with all Panasonic cameras, the FZ18 gets optical image stabilization, which is an absolute must with that much zoom. Otherwise, you’l find 8.1 megapixel resolution, a 2.5 inch LCD and a full set of shooting modes and settings.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Reviews and Pricing
Olympus Stylus 830 – While the entire Stylus line is weatherproof/water resistant, the Stylus 830 deserves to be singled out since it offers a CCD-shift image stabilization system in addition to the less effective electronic image stabilization. The Stylus 830 takes 8 megapixel pictures, has a 5x optical zoom and 2.5 inch LCD. If the Stylus 830 isn’t the perfect fit, the rest of the Stylus line has variations of specs and prices.
Olympus Stylus 830 Reviews and Pricing
Olympus Stylus 790 SW – This camera is the only fully waterproof camera in the Stylus line. As a bonus, it is also shockproof, crushproof and coldproof. It takes 7.1 megapixel images, has a 3x optical zoom and 2.5 inch LCD. It also has a slim, "industrial" look to it which is kind of fun and it’s available in a lot of colors.
Olympus Stylus 790 SW Reviews and Pricing