DigitalCameraReview.com
2005 Digital Camera Buyers Guide from DigitalCameraReview.com
by Ben Stafford -  11/13/2005

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. 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 have any questions about a camera, please don't hesitate to post a question on our forums. 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!

[Under $200] [$200-300] [$300-400] [$400-600] [Entry Level Digital SLRs] [Ultra Slim/ Ultra Compact] [Ultra/Super Zoom] [Waterproof/Weatherproof] [Wireless Enabled]

Under $200

Canon Powershot A520 -- When Canon announced their latest Powershot cameras, this one got a nice price drop. Currently the most popular camera on our site, the A520 captures 4 megapixel images on a SD/MMC card, has a 4x optical zoom and runs on 2 AA batteries. If you don't need to take movies longer than 30 seconds, this is a great choice. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S60 -- Great battery life (Sony claims 500 shots with NiMH rechargeable batteries), quick operation, and a 2 inch LCD make this camera a great choice. It captures images at 4.1 megapixels with a 3x optical zoom lens and stores them on Memory Stick media. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Nikon Coolpix 4600 -- Featuring some of Nikon's innovations -- D-Lighting and In Camera Red Eye Fix -- the Coolpix 4600 captures images at 4 megapixels. A 3x optical zoom lens and 1.8 inch LCD round out the features of this compact camera. This camera is also powered by 2 AA batteries and is good for 230 shots on alkaline batteries. -- Reviews - Pricing

$200-300

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S90 -- If you want a larger LCD than the DSC-S60, then this is the way to go. This bigger brother in the "stamina" series from Sony still has the great battery life and speed of its younger sibling. Possessing good indoor performance, the camera captures images at 4.1 megapixels with a 3x optical zoom. View your images on the sharp 2.5 inch LCD. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Canon Powershot A610 -- One of the successors of the popular A95, the A610, with the DIGIC II processor and 2 inch flip out LCD is a fast camera with great image quality. The 5 megapixel camera uses 4 AA batteries for great life and stores images on an SD card. Use the 4x optical zoom to get close when you need it. -- Reviews -- Pricing

$300-400

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W7 -- Sony really knows how to do their LCDs right. The 2.5 inch LCD on the W7 is a great feature on this 7 megapixel camera. A 3x optical lens takes images that are stored on Memory Stick media. The camera runs off 2 AA batteries and Sony even tosses in a charger with this one. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Fujifilm FinePix F10 -- The F10 is probably the best consumer level point and shot camera for low light shooting. This quickly operating camera captures images at 6.3 megapixels, has a 2.5 inch LCD, 3x optical zoom and it can take pictures at ISO 1600. The lithium ion battery is good for 500 shots. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Canon Powershot A620 -- I know I included the A610 in the lower price bracket, but I can't help but put the A620 here. Basically, the same camera, but this one takes 7 megapixel images. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Kodak EasyShare V550 -- This ultra-compact from Kodak that doesn't sacrifice image quality for good looks. The camera shoots 5 megapixel images with a 3x optical zoom lens. The 2.5 inch LCD allows for easy framing of the shot and viewing later. Images are stored on SD/MMC media. The V550 uses a lithium ion battery and its life may be the one downside to this camera. -- Reviews -- Pricing

$400-600

Kodak EasyShare One -- The first wireless enabled consumer level digital camera performed well in our review. The 4 megapixel camera has 256 MB of internal memory, a 3x optical zoom, and a whopping 3 inch touch screen LCD. Upload your pictures to the Kodak Gallery, email them to friends, and order prints. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Kodak EasyShare P880 -- This 8 megapixel, top of the line camera in Kodak's Performance series is a camera that blurs the line between point and shoot and digital SLR. The only technical difference being that you can't change the lens on this camera. The wide angle lens has a 35mm equivalent of 24-140mm focal length (5.8x optical zoom). The camera stores images on an SD card (including RAW format). -- Reviews -- Pricing

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 -- This camera has become one of the front runners in the ultra-zoom product space. The latest in the FZ series, the FZ30 is an 8 megapixel shooter with a 12x optical zoom (with image stabilization). A flip out 2 inch LCD allows for easy review of the images stored on an SD card. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Entry Level Digital SLRs

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. Listed below are a couple of recent models.
Nikon D50 -- Reviews -- Pricing

Digital Rebel XT -- Reviews -- Pricing

Olympus E-500 -- Reviews -- Pricing

Ultra Slim / Ultra Compact Cameras

Konica Minolta X1 -- One of the impressive things about the X1 is the inclusion of Konica Minolta's CCD-shift Anti-Shake mechanism in such a small camera. This ultra-slim camera has a very hot mirror finish and captures 8 megapixel images. You can use the 3x optical zoom and the camera uses a lithium ion battery -- Reviews -- Pricing

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 -- Sony probably has the largest line of ultra compact cameras and the T5 is the latest (that is currently available). If you're looking for a stylish camera, with a great LCD, consider this one. The 5.1 megapixel camera has a 3x optical zoom and is only 15.3 mm thick. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Casio EXILIM EX-S500 -- The S500 is another ultra compact that I enjoyed reviewing. Image quality was good in this camera that comes in 4 colors. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Ultra / Super Zoom Cameras

Canon Powershot S2 IS -- A very popular offering from Canon that offers a 12x optical zoom lens with image stabilization. A flip out 1.8 inch LCD, 5 megapixel sensor, Canon image quality and reasonable price explain its popularity. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 -- This camera has become one of the front runners in the ultra-zoom product space. The latest in the FZ series, the FZ30 is an 8 megapixel shooter with a 12x optical zoom (with image stabilization). A flip out 2 inch LCD allows for easy review of the images stored on an SD card. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Waterproof / Weatherproof

Pentax Optio WP -- If you need a waterproof camera, but don't want to spend too much, the Pentax Optio WP is a great choice. The camera is a JIS Class 8 device, which lets you submerge the camera up to 5 feet for 30 minutes. You get 5 megapixels, a 3x optical zoom and settings for shooting underwater. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Olympus Stylus 800 -- With a reputation for ruggedness, the Olympus Stylus 800 provides a weatherproof, sturdy camera. While it's not technically "waterproof", it's everything but. If you need a tough camera, the Stylus 800 is an 8 megapixel camera with a 2.5 inch LCD and 3x optical zoom. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Wireless Enabled Cameras

Kodak EasyShare One -- The first wireless enabled consumer level digital camera performed well in our review. The 4 megapixel camera has 256 MB of internal memory, a 3x optical zoom, and a whopping 3 inch touch screen LCD. Upload your pictures to the Kodak Gallery, email them to friends, and order prints. -- Reviews -- Pricing

Nikon Coolpix P1 -- Taking a different tact than Kodak's EasyShare One, the Nikon P1 and P2 offer wireless sharing with your computer or printer. The P1 shoots 8 megapixel images (P2 does 5 megapixels), has a 3.5x optical zoom and a 2.5 inch LCD. -- Reviews -- Pricing