By: Vince Font
Not everyone is a born photographer. But the good news is, you don't have to be a professional photographer to capture killer snapshots. If you're not content with capturing life's moments with your smartphone, you might want to consider plunking some money down on a digital camera. Here's a list of five of the coolest easy to use cameras on the market today.
Cameras can be delicate instruments, but the appropriately named Olympus Tough TG-2 defies that convention by offering a device capable of withstanding a seven-foot drop, 220 pounds of pressure, temps as low as 14 degrees, and underwater operation at depths up to 50 feet. Ease of use is accommodated by a number of different shooting modes that can be adjusted via the camera's physical dial so you don't have to mess with internal settings. The camera also comes with GPS and a digital compass, has 4x optical zoom, a three-inch LCD, and 720p or 1020p video resolution at 60 frames per second. Its MSRP of $379 makes this an affordable option for the non-pro photographer.
Considered one of the best cameras you can get in the under-$200 range, the Canon PowerShot Elph 330 HS shoots in 24 megapixels and comes with 10x zoom and a three-inch LCD that displays in crisp resolution. At 3.8 inches long, 2.2 inches tall and not quite a full inch thick, it's about the size of a smartphone and weighs a mere 5 ounces. Video performance isn't fabulous, and is limited to capturing 1080p video at 24 frames per second - but the camera's built-in WiFi for convenient photo transfer or remote online posting might make up for that. Ideal for people who aren't into fiddling with manual settings like shutter priority and aperture priority, the Elph 330 HS has an MSRP of $179 when you buy it direct from the manufacturer.
If you're willing to spend a significant amount of money but don't have the budget to go absolute crazy, check out the Nikon D3200, a D-SLR shooter that can be snatched up for anywhere between $400 and $500 (MSRP is $699). Offering a broad range of manual controls for more advanced users, the D3200 also includes a "guide mode" for newbie photographers that automatically configures snapshot settings and qualifies it as one of the best, easy to use digital cameras on the market. It comes with an attachable 18-55mm zoom lens and shoots in 24-megapixel resolution.
Another easy to use, quality camera that falls into the highly affordable category (MSRP $299) is the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS - a 12-megapixel "superzoom" device also improved upon by the inclusion of WiFi and GPS location-tagging capability. Video is recorded at 60 frames per second in 1080p and optical zoom has a range of 20x, packing a lot of versatility into its 2.5 x 4.2 x 1.3 inch frame.
Built for the individual who prefers smartphone-like functionality but craves a higher quality photographic result, the Samsung Galaxy Camera comes with a large, 4.8 inch touch-enabled rear display and can snap pictures in 16 megapixels, zoom in up to 21x, and capture video in 720p or 1080p. It?s also capable of running Android apps like Instagram. Measuring 2.8 x 5.1 x 0.75 inches and weighing close to a pound (11 ounces) it's a bit thicker and heavier than the average smartphone - but its fully-touchscreen controls, coupled with a number of preset shooting modes for scenarios light panoramic views, macro mode, and fast action make it the ideal choice for users more accustomed to the Android experience. It's got an MSRP of $449 but can be found through various online outlets for significantly lower cost.