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Permanent link to Low-cost Digital Cameras: Revisited Low-cost Digital Cameras: Revisited

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

This past May I recommended a trio of sub-$300 digital cameras. Over half a year has gone by, and it's time to refresh my recommendations for those who are interested.

I have three major sources that I research for my recommendations:

  1. - way out the best camera review site on the web.
  2. - realistic prices, reputable seller, useful reviews, and good place to find used stuff.
  3. - tech site, useful reviews, helpful categories. They're actually running a few helpful articles for the holidays:

I use a Canon Powershot G1, and love it, but it's not under $300! Because of this, and from what I've seen, I'm partial to Canon's cameras - they're just plain good. However, if you have experience using a different brand of camera, often you'll have the easiest time using the same maker's digicam. That is, if you've used an SLR; if you're moving up from point-and-shoot, don't worry about it.

There are lots of things to consider when looking for a digital camera, regardless of your budget:

  1. Size - do you want something really small?
  2. Memory - memory prices are about the same, but if you have some already, you probably want to leverage your investment, and stick with the same kind
  3. Computer support - don't forget these are computer peripherals. Make sure you can connect them to your computer. Most cameras connect with USB, or laptops can use PCMCIA adapters.

Anyway, here are some great cameras to consider purchasing, kind of finding good places to start among the brands I feel comfortable with. I can't recommend everything from a given manufacturer, so be careful. You could also bring this list into a local Best Buy, CompUSA, or other electronics store, but don't get talked into paying more just because they don't have what you want.

Canon Powershot S200

$290 at Amazon. A great little camera! This thing is tiny, yet still takes great shots. The huge advantage here is that you'll end up taking this everywhere, because if fits right in your pocket.

Olympus D-380

$180 at Amazon. This one actually was on May's reccomended list. I'm putting it back on here, because it's a great price for a really decent camera.

Nikon 2500

$280 at Amazon. I have a friend with one of these, and I know Nikon makes great cameras. Cool form factor, too.

Kodak CX4230

$200 at Amazon. I've used Kodaks in the past; they take great photos. Kodak has done much toward bringing the price down on digicams, with several affordable, good-quality offerings.

Sony DSC-P51

$250 at Amazon. The only Sony I have is a Clie - which I love, but I've heard of lots of people being happy with this dimunitive camera. Sony uses a memory card that only they use, but that's not an issue unless you had multiple cameras and you wanted to share the memory sticks.

Other brands? I'm unsure about Minolta, Fuji, Toshiba, and others, mostly because I just don't know enough. Again, if you have time, play around on - but you'll have a hard time isolating the sub-$300 cameras, and you'll have to be careful not to get too knowledgeable and end up wanted a $500+ camera!

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LaRocque Family