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CostHelper.com > All Electronics > Cameras

Cameras Prices, Reviews and Specifications

     
 


Although most smartphones snap photos and record quick videos, many consumers want a digital camera to take high-quality still photos or video in less than optimal conditions.

Point-and-shoot cameras are typically the most compact and the most automated type of digital camera, and have a single, fixed lens.

Compact system cameras are slightly larger and generally capture better quality images (and cost more) than most point-and-shoot models; they have interchangeable lens and an LCD screen display (without the bulky mirrors and prisms used in the optical viewfinders).

Digital single lens reflex cameras are the largest and most expensive digital cameras, with interchangeable lenses and optical viewfinders, although many also have an LCD screen display and a few use an electronic viewfinder.

 
 

Point-and-Shoot Cameras

Canon PowerShot A1300 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$99-$120
The lightweight and compact Canon PowerShot A1300 is a basic point-and-shoot camera that uses two AA batteries (standard or rechargeable) instead of a proprietary battery pack. It also has both a 2.7" LCD display like most modern point-and-shoots (the camera is held out in front of the body to view the screen) and a conventional real-image optical viewfinder (the camera is held up to the face and the user peers through the viewfinder).

The 5X optical zoom and 4X digital zoom on the A1300 is better than some but relatively typical for entry-level point-and-shoot cameras. The A1300 also records 720 HD video using a dedicated movie button, making it easy to switch between still photos and video.

The Smart Auto system assesses factors in the background and subject after the shutter button is depressed, and selects the best settings based on 32 predefined shooting situations. The A1300 comes without a memory card, which must be purchased separately. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon PowerShot A2300 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$99-$140
The compact and lightweight Canon PowerShot A2300 is a basic point-and-shoot camera intended for casual use, capturing standard snapshots. It also records 720p HD video with a dedicated video button that makes it easy to switch between still photos and videos.

The 5X optical zoom on the A2300 is fairly typical for entry-level point-and-shoots. The Smart Auto system selects the best settings based on 32 predefined shooting situations, and there are 19 shooting modes, such as fireworks, snow or face self-timer (which waits for a face to enter the frame).

The A2300 uses digital image stabilizing to reduce blur from handheld motion instead of the more effective optical or mechanical image stabilization. Priced at $10 more, the Canon PowerShot A2400 IS has the same features as the A2300, plus optical image stabilization. Both models come without a memory card, which must be purchased separately. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon PowerShot A2400 IS Point-and-Shoot Camera
$100-$150
The compact and lightweight Canon PowerShot A2400 IS is a basic point-and-shoot camera intended for beginning photographers and casual use. It's similar in almost all respects to its linemate the Canon PowerShot A2300 (which costs $10 less), except the A2300 has digital image stabilization and the A2400 IS has the more effective optical image stabilization to minimize blurring. Both models record 720p HD video with a dedicated video button, making it easy to switch between still images and video. Neither model comes with a memory card, which must be purchased separately.

The 5X optical zoom on these models is fairly typical for entry-level point-and-shoots. The Smart Auto system selects the best settings based on 32 predefined shooting situations, and there are 19 shooting modes, including snow, fisheye effect and face self-timer, which waits for a face to enter the frame before capturing the image. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon PowerShot D20
$289-$350
The Canon PowerShot D20 is a rugged point-and-shoot camera that is waterproof to 33', temperature resistant from 14 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and shockproof to 5'. Its 5X optical zoom should be reasonably good for basic outdoor photography. The D20 also records 1080p full HD video with the ability to zoom while shooting, and it has a dedicated movie button, making it easy to switch between still pictures and video.

The GPS tracker marks locations on the images, and displays those locations on a map. This is a specialized camera that does relatively well in low-light, humid or wet conditions. Its 24 shooting modes include Handheld Night Scene, Underwater and Underwater Macro. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS Point-and-Shoot Camera
$179-$230
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 is a thin, light and compact basic point-and-shoot digital camera that takes good daylight snapshots. Although it uses Canon's HS (high sensitivity) exposure system designed to produce better images in low light, photos taken in less than optimum conditions might still look soft or grainy, The ELPH 110 can also shoot 1080p full-HD video.

This camera has a fairly large assortment of automatic modes (including 58 predefined shooting situations), but no full-manual override, so the camera makes all the setting choices. Its 5X zoom is less powerful than on some point-and-shoots, but the ultra-wide-angle zoom lens is good for group shots and landscapes. The ELPH 110 can take up to 5.5 frames per second, and up to 12 specific faces can be programmed into the Face ID feature, which sets the camera to get the best exposures of those specific faces, wherever they may be in a group shot. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon PowerShot G1 X Point-and-Shoot Camera
$699-$800
The Canon PowerShot G1 X is an advanced point-and-shoot camera that resembles a digital SLR camera but does not have the interchangeable lens. It's designed to be used as a more-portable alternative to always lugging along a heavier and bulkier DSLR, but it may also appeal to those learning photography who want more options and control, without committing to a DSLR.

One of the primary features of the G1 X is a larger sensor than most point-and-shoots. It also has both a traditional optical viewfinder (the camera is held up to the face and the user views the actual image) and a 3" LCD display (which flips out and swivels for hard-to-get shots). [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon PowerShot S110 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$379-$450
The Canon PowerShot S110 is an advanced point-and-shoot camera with a range of features to appeal to beginning photographers and to photo enthusiasts. It has built-in Wi-Fi and a touch-sensitive LCD screen that can snap the shutter or select certain camera settings. There is also a control ring to quickly adjust focus, aperture, shutter speed and more. GPS is not built-in as it is on some competitors, but with a free app GPS can be accessed through a smartphone.

For photo enthusiasts, the S100 has manual controls in addition to its automatic modes, plus the ability to take still images in both JPEG and uncompressed RAW formats (rare on point-and-shoots). It also records 1080p full-HD video at 24 frames per second, with stereo sound. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]
 
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Point-and-Shoot Camera
$349-$430
With a range of automatic and manual options plus a 35X optical zoom, the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is both an advanced and a superzoom point-and-shoot camera. It can be a good step up for amateur photographers who want to experiment with manual controls but still get great images in automatic modes. The SX40 HS has an electronic viewfinder and a 2.7" LCD display that flips out to the side and swivels for easier viewing and to reduce glare.

The Smart Auto system selects the best settings based on 32 predefined shooting situations. The Zoom Framing Assist feature makes it easier to track moving subjects and the optical stabilizer helps prevent blur. The Face Detection and Smart Shutter features keep faces in focus and can be set to capture an image the minute the subject smiles. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR Point-and-Shoot Camera
$335-$500
The Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR is an advanced point-and-shoot camera designed for photographers who want the controls of a digital SLR without the extra cost and weight. The HS30EXR is much larger and heavier than most of its fixed-lens point-and-shoot brethren, but offers far more options for photography enthusiasts or pros who want a more portable alternative to their DSLR.

This is a feature-packed camera, with both an electronic viewfinder and an LCD display monitor -- and the monitor flips and tilts for viewing flexibility. It has a 30X optical zoom with a mechanical zoom ring around the lens and a focusing ring further up the barrel; combined with solid construction, this makes the HS30EXR look and feel more like a DSLR than a point-and-shoot. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Fujifilm FinePix XP100 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$172-$230
The Fujifilm FinePix is a rugged point-and-shoot camera with simple controls for casual users who want something that will take snapshots outdoors, in rough conditions or underwater. It's advertised as waterproof down to 33'; freeze proof to 14 degrees F; shockproof to 6.5'; and dust proof.

It takes still images in JPEG format and records 1080p full-HD video with a monaural microphone. The XP100 has a 5X optical zoom, a built-in flash, and a continuous shooting speed of up to 10 frames per second. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon Coolpix AW100 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$249-$350
At less than an inch thick, the Nikon Coolpix AW100 is relatively compact rugged point-and-shoot camera that is waterproof, shockproof and cold-resistant (it operates in 14-104 degrees Fahrenheit on land and 32-104 degrees underwater. It shoots 1080p full HD video at 30 frames per second, and includes a built-in GPS to mark images with the location where they were taken.

It doesn't have many manual options, so the AW100 is best for those who want the camera to make most of the photographic setting choices. It has 20 scene modes (such as back light, beach or dusk/dawn) and in-camera editing options like cropping or retouching a still image. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon Coolpix L26 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$84-$149
The Nikon Coolpix L26 is an entry-level point-and-shoot camera that will work well for those who want to take pictures with a dedicated camera rather than using a smartphone. It uses two AA batteries (standard or rechargeable) rather than a brand-specific proprietary battery pack, and has a 5X optical zoom and 4X digital zoom, which is better than some models but about average for standard point-and-shoots.

The L26 offers 19 scene modes, such as backlit, beach, close up or night portrait. In-camera editing features vary from cropping and rotating the image to skin softening, glamour retouch or special filter effects that can be applied after a still image is created. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon Coolpix L810 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$197-$280
The Nikon Coolpix L810 is a relatively large superzoom point-and-shoot camera that offers a 26X optical zoom and 720p HD video for a fairly low price. It can be a step up for amateur photographers who want something more than a basic point-and-shoot. However, compared to some of its more expensive competitors, its shooting performance and autofocus can be slow and it is more suited for daylight photos rather than indoors or in low light.

It offers 20 scene modes and basic in-camera editing. Unlike most other point-and-shoots that use a proprietary (brand-specific) rechargeable battery pack, the L810 uses four AA batteries, standard or rechargeable. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon Coolpix P7700 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$496-$500
The Nikon Coolpix P7700 is relatively thick and heavy for an advanced point-and-shoot camera but it is still lightweight compared to many digital SLRs. It can be a good secondary camera for serious photographers or a step up for those learning photography who want to be able to switch between automatic and manual settings.

This camera offers a wide range of both automatic and manual features, with a larger-than-average (1/1.7" ratio) CMOS sensor, a relatively fast lens, a vari-angle LCD screen that folds out and swivels to make it easier to see, and full 1080p HD video recording with stereo sound. The P7700 is fast, does well in low lighting conditions, offers 19 selectable scene modes and can shoot at a speed of eight frames per second for up to six shots when the shutter button is held down.

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]
 
Nikon Coolpix S01 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$127-$180
Weighing 3.4 ounces, slightly more than a half-inch thick and about the height and length of a credit card, the Nikon Coolpix S01 comes in four bright colors -- silver (also called chrome), red, white or pink -- and is advertised by Nikon as "the smallest Cooplix camera ever." However, there are some trade-offs to get that ultra-small size. Rather than accepting a memory card, the S01 uses about 7.3GB of internal memory and a non-removable rechargeable battery to store up to 190 images on a single charge, with an in-camera charging time of about 2 hours and 50 minutes.

The S01 has a 10-megapixel sensor, which is on the small end of the range for most modern point-and-shoot cameras. The S01 records 720p full-HD video (compared to 1080p on many other models) and a 3X optical zoom, which is better than a typical smartphone, but slightly less than on most point-and-shoot cameras. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon Coolpix S3300 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$88-$140
The Nikon Coolpix S3300 is a lightweight and compact basic point-and-shoot camera designed for beginners or casual users. It also records 720p HD video at 30 frames per second, and a separate movie button makes it easy to switch between still photos and videos. Less than an inch wide and weighing only 4.6 ounces, the S3300 is good for those who want snapshots or videos while traveling light.

The 6X optical zoom is slightly better than many entry-level point-and-shoots. The S3300 offers 19 scene modes to choose from, such as backlit, beach, fireworks or night portrait. In-camera editing features vary from cropping and rotating the image to skin softening or special filter effects that can be applied after a still image is created. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon Coolpix S6300 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$120-$200
The compact and relatively lightweight Nikon Coolpix S6300 is a basic point-and-shoot camera for casual users who want something that's easy to slip in a pocket and easy to use. Its 10X optical zoom is better than most in its class.

The Coolpix S6300 shoots1080p full-HD video at 24 frames per second with slow- and fast-motion, plus stereo sound. It also offers simple in-camera editing or still images for things like cropping or rotating an image. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon Coolpix S800c Point-and-Shoot Camera
$327-$350
The Nikon Coolpix S800c is the first point-and-shoot camera that uses the Android operating system, giving full access to the Google Play store and all the Android apps and content. Other high-tech features include a touch-screen, Wi-Fi and GPS to track where each photo is taken.

The Coolpix S800c shoots 1080p full HD video at 30 frames per second full-HD video, and the Wi-Fi makes it easy to quickly email videos or still photos to friends, post them online or wirelessly transfer them to a laptop or other device.

Various settings make it possible to shoot photos in black and white, highlight one color in an image or give a photo an antique sepia look, or to manipulate images with any Android photography and video apps. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS Point-and-Shoot Camera
$366-$420
The Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS is a rugged point-and-shoot camera that is waterproof to 40' deep, shockproof for a fall from up to 6.6', freezeproof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit and crushproof for a weight up to 220 lbs. It's a good choice for outdoorsy folks who encounter much dust, sand or water, or those who are simply hard on small cameras.

For an adventure-proof point-and-shoot, the TG-1 iHS is relatively fast and should do reasonably well in low-light conditions. Olympus offers an optional fisheye converter lens ($120) for better wide-angle shots and a teleconverter lens ($110) to extend the optical zoom from 4X to nearly 7X; both require an adapter ($20) that also works with any 40.5mm camera filter. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$249-$350
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 is a lightweight and compact superzoom point-and-shoot camera with a 20X optical zoom plus optical image stabilization to prevent blur. It takes both still pictures and 720p full-HD video, and offers automatic, semi-manual and manual shooting modes.

The DMC-ZS20 has a built-in GPS, but without the automatic log listing which images were taken where that is available on some competing cameras. The DMC-ZS20 has a somewhat limited touch-screen that responds to finger taps and dragging, but only for a few operations. The lithium-ion battery pack recharges only when it is inside the camera. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V Point-and-Shoot Camera
$348-$420
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V is superzoom point-and-shoot camera that combines a long zoom lens (20X optical) with Wi-Fi file sharing and GPS in a pocket-size camera. It has a relatively large 3" LCD viewer display and in addition to still images it will record up to 29 minutes of 1080/60p HD video recording with stereo audio.

The DSC-HX30V offers in-camera editing, special effects (monochrome, watercolor, etc.) and the ability to program in up to eight faces so the camera optimizes the exposure for those specific faces in a group shot. When the shutter button is held down, it takes up to 10 shots at 10 frames per second in Burst mode. This is a feature-rich superzoom point-and-shoot. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 Point-and-Shoot Camera
$108-$140
The compact and lightweight Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 is a basic entry-level point-and-shoot camera that can take still photos or video in good lighting conditions. It doesn't come with a lot of extra features, but it does have a Sweep Panorama mode that shoots continuously at a high speed then stitches the images together into one long horizontal image.

The 5X optical zoom is better than some but relatively typical for entry-level point-and-shoot cameras. The anti-blink feature captures two images and saves the one with less squinting; it also displays an alert if a blink is detected in an image taken in other modes. Up to eight faces can be programmed into this camera, prioritizing settings to produce crisp, properly lit images of family and friends. The Smile Shutter feature allows the camera to take a picture the instant the subject smiles. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 

Compact System Cameras

Canon EOS M Compact System Camera
$715-$850
The first compact system camera produced by Canon, the EOS M has an 18-megapixel sensor that is the same size (APS-C) as the sensors in many entry-level to mid-range digital SLR models, but the camera has an overall size, weight and appearance that makes it more similar to a point-and-shoot camera than a DSLR.

It does not have a viewfinder, but does have an LCD screen with touch-screen control (similar to smartphones) for focusing, zooming, taking a picture and more. This camera doesn't have a built-in flash, but it some retail markets (like Canada) the standard kit includes a small external flash unit.

The EOS M takes still images in JPEG and RAW formats, and records 1080p full-HD video. Canon has created a new line of EF-M lenses (two were available when this camera was introduced in fall 2012), plus with an optional adapter ($200) this camera is also compatible with EF and EF-S lenses. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon 1 J1 Compact System Camera
$397-$5,380
The Nikon 1 J1 is a compact system camera designed primarily for casual photographers who want to step up from point-and-shoot models but aren't ready for the complexity, cost and size of a digital single-lens reflex camera. The J1 does well outdoors and in good light.

The 10-megapixel, 13.2mmx8.8mm CMOS sensor is somewhat smaller and with lower resolution than most cameras in its class. The J1 takes still photos in JPEG or RAW (uncompressed) formats; records 1080i full-HD video; and can capture fast-motion snapshots with still images or a slow motion movie vignette, with one press of the shutter button.

The J1 is typically sold in a one-lens kit; a two-lens kit that is either wide-angle (close ups or scenery) or zoom (telephoto); or a two-lens zoom kit in pink with a pink leather strap and two pink lens hoods. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon 1 J2 Compact System Camera
$457-$850
Like its predecessor (the Nikon 1 J1), the Nikon 1 J2 is a thin and lightweight compact system camera designed primarily for casual photographers who want to step up from point-and-shoot models but who will mainly rely on this camera's many automatic features.

The J2 is identical in size and quite similar to the J1, with a 10-megapixel, 13.2mmx8.8mm CMOS sensor (somewhat smaller than most in this class). Minor upgrades to the J2 include: a higher-resolution LCD monitor; additional photo effects and screen modes; video autofocus; and the addition of autofocus (locked on the first frame) to the high speed burst mode (continuous shooting). Unlike the J1, when the lens is retracted on the J2 the camera turns off automatically.

Nikon simplified the number of kits available with the J2, and dropped the suggested retail price almost $100 below the price for the J1. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon 1 V1 Compact System Camera
$299-$1,150
The Nikon 1 V1 is a small, lightweight and relatively fast compact system camera that uses the same size sensor as its less-expensive linemate, the Nikon 1 J1, but the V1 includes a 1.4-million-dot electronic viewfinder and a proprietary accessory outlet (hot shoe). The V1 has more manual override settings than the J1, but these are buried within the menu, making them less accessible to experienced photographers who want more control over their images.

Still images can be stored in JPEG or NEF/RAW formats, and in continuous shooting mode the V1 can take up to five frames at a speed of 10, 30 or 60 frames per second using the electronic shutter. The Smart Photo Selector feature captures several images and only records the best one. The V1 also captures 1080p full HD video with a built-in stereo microphone, and can take still images and video simultaneously.

The V1 does not have a built-in flash, but can use an optional proprietary speedlight attachment ($140-$150). [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon 1 V2 Compact System Camera
$747-$1,150
With the November 2012 introduction of the Nikon 1 V2, Nikon made a number of upgrades to the high-end model of its Nikon 1 compact system camera series. The V2 is bigger than its predecessor, the Nikon 1 V1, and its sensor has been upgraded to 14.2 megapixels resolution (although the sensor size remains the same).

Other changes include a built-in, pop-up flash and a handgrip to make it easier to hold the camera. The mode dial has been moved to the top of the camera and now includes the usual set of manual and semi-manual mode settings, so it's no longer necessary to go through the menu to override the preset automatic modes. These changes appear to be designed to make the V2 appeal to serious photographers as well as amateurs trading up from point-and-shoot cameras.

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]
 
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Compact System Camera
$999-$1,300
The Olympus OMD E-M5 is a somewhat bulky and hefty compact system camera that combines a retro traditional-film-camera exterior with modern high-tech features. Faster and more sophisticated than point-and-shoot cameras, the E-M5 is also sealed against weather and dust, making it a relatively rugged option without the size, weight or cost of the average digital single lens reflex camera.

With 24 automatic scene-select modes and 16 art filter/effects settings, the EM-5 captures still images in JPEG or RAW (uncompressed) formats, and records 1080p HD video. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Olympus Pen Lite E-PL5 Compact System Camera
$549-$800
Also called the Pen Lite, the Olympus Pen E-PL5 is a relatively lightweight compact system camera that uses the same 16-megapixel sensor as the top-of-the-line Olympus OM-D E-M5 compact system camera, but without the weatherproofing, electronic viewfinder or other bells and whistles on the OM-D E-M5.

The E-PL5 has a touch-sensitive LCD screen (tap on the screen to adjust the focus or snap the shutter) that flips out and tilts for more flexible viewing; the E-PL5 retails for $100 more than the entry-level Olympus Pen Mini E-PM2, which only has a fixed, non-tilting LCD screen.

The E-PL5 captures still images in JPEG or RAW formats, and records 1080i full-HD video (up to 29 minutes per clip on the normal setting). It doesn't have a built-in flash, but an optional external flash is included in some kits. It typically comes with a 14-42mm kit lens with a 3X optical zoom. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Olympus Pen Mini E-PM2 Compact System Camera
$449-$700
Also called the Pen Mini, the Olympus E-PM2 is an entry-level compact system camera that uses the same 16-megapixel sensor as the top-of-the-line Olympus OM-D E-M5 compact system camera, but the E-PM2 is much more compact and lightweight. It offers a variety of automatic settings for beginning photographers wanting to step up from a point-and-shoot model, as well as full manual controls for photography enthusiasts.

There is no built-in viewfinder or flash, but an attachable electronic viewfinder ($160-$250) or flash ($160-$250) are available, and an external flash is included in some kits.

The 3" LCD touch-screen controls the shutter release, autofocus and other settings without having to push a button or turn a wheel. However, the LCD screen is fixed in place, without the flexible tilting adjustments possible on the Olympus Pen Lite E-PL5, which retails for about $100 more. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5KK Compact System Camera
$599-$1,099
The Panasonic Lumix G5 compact system camera is a "mirrorless" (no bulky optical viewfinder) alternative to an entry-level digital SLR camera for budding photographers who want more than a point-and-shoot can offer. It has both a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a high-resolution, touch-focus LCD screen that rotates 180 degrees to the side and tilts. The viewfinder and LCD screen can be used simultaneously, for greater flexibility.

The G5 is the successor to the G3 (there is no G4, presumably because the number four is considered unlucky in Japan). It captures still images in JPEG and RAW formats, and record 1080p full-HD video. The G5 offers 23 scene guides for beginners to choose from, as well as manual controls. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Compact System Camera
$449-$950
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 is a relatively fast, mid-size compact system camera that combines the manual override and customizing options that photography enthusiasts demand with the touch-screen controls and wide variety of automatic modes that appeal to relative beginners who want more than a point-and-shoot model can offer. The touch-enabled LCD screen controls many shooting settings without the need to push a button.

The GX1 stores still images in both JPEG and RAW formats, records 1080p/60i full-HD video, and can captures still images from video. It has a built-in, pop-up flash plus a hot shoe (outlet) for power attachments like an external flash. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Pentax K-01 Compact System Camera
$338-$1,310
The Pentax K-01 is larger than most other compact system cameras, making it closer in size to digital SLRs than to compact or subcompact point-and-shoot cameras. The K-01 is a strong choice for owners of Pentax DSLR cameras, because the K-01 can use older Pentax K-mount lenses without an adapter.

This camera uses the same size sensor (16 MP APS-C) found in Pentax's DSLRs, plus a 3" TFT-LCD monitor with a crisp 920k-dot display. There is no viewfinder and the monitor doesn't fold out or tilt, so the camera has to be held extended away from the face, like a point-and-shoot model.

The K-01 takes still images in JPEG and RAW (DNG) formats, and captures 1080p full HD video at 30 frames per second, for up to 25 minutes in a single file. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Samsung NX1000 Compact System Camera
$449-$800
The Samsung NX1000 is one of the smaller compact system cameras, and will appeal to those interested in high-tech features. It has a Wi-Fi setting (on the mode dial) for instant image sharing. There are free apps available that beam photos directly to an iOS or Android device, or that turn those devices into a remote viewfinder for the camera.

There's also a Social Sharing menu to post photos and videos on Facebook, Picasa, YouTube or Photobucket. One feature that's unique to the NX series is the iFn button that allows the user to quickly adjust certain settings, such as shutter speed or aperture, by moving the focus ring on the lens.

Most NX1000 kits includes an external flash, but there is no built-in flash. There is also no viewfinder, and the LCD monitor does not fold out or angle, so the only option is to hold the camera directly in front of the user's face (rather than holding it up to the eye with a viewfinder). [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Sony Alpha NEX-F3 Compact System Camera
$18-$779
The Sony Alpha NEX-F3 is an entry-level compact system camera that can be a good step up from a point-and-shoot or a lightweight backup for an experienced digital single-lens-reflex owner. It's relatively compact and lightweight, but still has an APS-C-size sensor, similar to those in some DSLRs.

The 3" LCD display folds out and tilts up to 180 degrees, for flexible viewing, including shooting self-portraits. The NEX-F3 doesn't come with an electronic viewfinder, but one can be added ($300-$350). In addition to still images, the NEX-F3 records 1080p, with manual control of zoom.

One downside is that the battery pack can only be charged inside the camera, so a backup battery could be a necessity. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 

Digital SLR Cameras

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera
$2,975-$4,300
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is a full-frame digital SLR camera with features that will appeal to the serious photography enthusiast. It has an estimated start-up time of 0.1 second, 13 customizable functions, a 61-point autofocus system and a silent-shooting, low-vibration mode to make taking pictures less intrusive.

The 5D Mark III records still images in JPEG, RAW, M-RAW , S-RAW, RAW+JPEG, S-RAW+JPEG formats, and allows in-camera conversion of RAW files to JPEG. It also captures 1080p resolution full-HD video, with up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds of continuous recording. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon EOS 60D Digital SLR Camera
$699-$2,100
The Canon EOS 60D is a mid-range digital SLR camera that should appeal to SLR beginners who want a camera they can grow into and photography enthusiasts who want a bit more than a basic SLR model without the weight, bulk and cost of a professional-grade camera.

The 60D captures still images in JPG, RAW and RAW+JPEG formats and records 1080p full-HD video. This camera has both an optical viewfinder and a high-resolution 3" LCD screen that flips out and angles for flexible viewing, which can be particularly helpful while recording video. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Camera
$1,999-$2,900
The Canon EOS 6D digital SLR camera offers the benefits of a full-frame sensor -- excellent low-light images, wide field-of-view and shallow depth-of-field -- in a fairly small camera body and at a relatively low price, at least when compared to most full-frame DSLRs.

This camera has many of the features photo enthusiasts desire, plus built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. It takes still images in JPEG and RAW formats, and captures 1080p full-HD video for up to almost 30 minutes of continuous recording. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR Camera
$429-$700
The Canon EOS Rebel T3 is a basic digital SLR with full auto and manual controls at an entry-level price. Introduced in 2011, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles (and megapixels) of its linemate the EOS Rebel T3i or the more recently released EOS Rebel T4i, but the T3's lower price reflects its just-the-basics approach.

The T3 captures still images in JPEG and RAW formats, and records 720p full-HD video for up to about 17 minutes of continuous shooting -- again, not the 1080p video on the T3i and T4i models, but still respectable and possibly enough for casual shooters wanting to move up to a digital SLR camera without breaking the budget. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital SLR Camera
$599-$1,200
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i is an entry-level DSLR camera that can allow amateur photographers to become accustomed to the size, features and controls of a digital SLR. It captures still images in both JPEG and RAW formats, and records 1080p full-HD video with zoom. The Video Snapshot feature lets the user record short video bursts of up to eight seconds.

The T3i includes an articulating LCD screen that flips to the side and rotates up to 170 degrees. There's a built-in, pop-up flash in addition to the hot shoe (outlet) for an optional external flash. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Canon EOS Rebel T4i Digital SLR Camera
$599-$1,250
The Canon EOS Rebel T4i is an entry-level to mid-range digital SLR camera. While larger than most point-and-shoot or compact system cameras, it is relatively small and lightweight for a digital SLR camera. The T4i records still images in JPEG, RAW or RAW+JPEG formats and captures 1080p-resolution full-HD video with a built-in stereo microphone.

The T4i has a continuous shooting speed of up to five frames per second; a touch-screen LCD screen that folds out and swivels for more versatile viewing; and a built-in, pop-up flash in addition to a hot shoe (outlet) for an optional external flash ($155-$225 or more). [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera
$477-$1,080
The Nikon D3100 is an entry-level model that is relatively compact and lightweight for a DSLR camera, with several features designed to appeal to aspiring hobbyists. The Guide Mode provides in-camera tutorials to lead novices through the various photographic settings, and there are six automatic scene modes, with settings such as landscape, night portrait or sports.

This camera captures still images in JPEG and NEF (RAW) formats, and records 1080p full-HD video for up to 10 minutes per file, with a built-in monaural microphone.

The D3100 was introduced in November 2010, and in December 2012 it remains a top-seller at several retailers. However, prices for the D3100 dropped after the release of the Nikon D3200 (with 24.2-megapixel resolution and other upgrades) in April 2012. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera
$597-$1,450
The Nikon D3200 is an entry-level digital SLR camera that is relatively compact and lightweight for its class, with several features designed to appeal to aspiring hobbyists. The Guide Mode provides in-camera tutorials to lead novices through the various photographic settings, and there are eight automatic scene modes, with settings such as landscape, night portrait or sports.

With 24.2 megapixels, the D3200's resolution is higher than most in its class. It captures still images in JPEG and NEF (RAW) formats, and records 1080p full-HD video for up to 20 minutes per file. The built-in microphone is monaural, but an optional external stereo microphone ($180) is available. Nikon also offers an optional wireless adapter ($60) or GPS unit ($265) for the D3200. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon D5100 Digital SLR Camera
$447-$1,650
The Nikon D5100 is an entry- to mid-level digital SLR camera that offers aspiring photographers a variety of settings and features. It has seven picture controls (such as landscape or monochrome), 16 automatic scene modes (like beach or night portrait) and 19 in-camera editing settings, as well as exposure bracketing (shooting the same image at slightly different settings) for three frames in 1/3 or 1/2 steps.

The D5100 has both an optical viewfinder and a side-mounted LCD screen that tilts and swivels. It captures still images in JPEG or NEF (RAW) formats and records 1920x1080p full-HD video recording with a built-in monaural microphone, for a maximum of 20 minutes of continuous recording. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon D600 Digital SLR Camera
$1,997-$5,500
Even with a $2,000-$2,100 price tag for just the camera body and a heft of nearly 27 ounces, as a professional-grade camera the Nikon D600 is relatively inexpensive and compact for its class. It's intended for an enthusiast wanting to upgrade from a mid-range DSLR model or a professional photographer needing an affordable backup DSLR camera.

The D600 has a full-frame sensor (the same size as a frame of 35mm film), 24.3-megapixel resolution, a full complement of shooting options, a built-in flash, dual SD card slots and a headphone jack. It captures still images in JPEG and RAW formats and records 1080p full-HD video for up to 20 minutes of continuous shooting at the highest settings, or 29 minutes 59 seconds at normal settings. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon D7000 Digital SLR Camera
$897-$3,900
For experienced photographers wanting more than an entry-level digital SLR, the mid-range Nikon D7000 offers both an optical viewfinder with 100% coverage and a 3" high-resolution (about 921K dots) LCD screen, as well as full-time autofocus, full manual exposure control and two SD memory card slots.

The D7000's magnesium alloy construction is dust- and moisture-sealed. It captures still images in JPEG and RAW formats, and records 1080p full-HD video at 24 frames per second. Continuous shooting of still images has a maximum speed of 6 frames per second. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera
$2,997-$5,500
The Nikon D800 is a high-end digital SLR camera with an unusually high resolution (36.3 megapixels), full-frame sensor (the same size as 35mm film) for professional photographers who want precisely detailed photos. In addition to still images in JPEG, RAW or TIFF formats, the D800 records 1080p full-HD video.

This camera is also available in a more expensive limited edition known as the D800E, which has a modified low-pass filter system that typically creates sharper still images, but can cause problems with some subjects and generally doesn't work well for video recording. The D800E is typically chosen by professional photographers who need an extra level of precise detail in still photographs. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Pentax K-30 Digital SLR Camera
$625-$1,151
The Pentax K-30 is a rugged, mid-range digital SLR with a number of features typically found on more expensive models, including lots of manual controls, a relatively fast six frames per second continuous shooting speed, a high-resolution LCD screen and a large optical viewfinder that Pentax advertises as 100% accurate (so the image viewed is pretty much the same as the image recoded). The camera body is sealed to be water-, dust- and cold-proof, although it requires the use of a sealed lens to be fully weather-resistant (the basic kit lens is not weather-sealed).

The K-30 records still images in JPEG, RAW (DNG), DCF 2.0 compliant, DPOF and PIM II formats and captures 1080p full-HD video. It can use both a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack and an optional ($30) holder for four AA batteries. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

 
Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Digital SLR Camera
$1,098-$2,250
The Sony Alpha SLT-A77 is a mid-range digital SLR with a number of distinctive features to appeal to serious photo enthusiasts or gadget lovers. It is actually one of Sony's proprietary single lens translucent cameras rather than a true single lens reflex model, meaning the lens is translucent and fixed in place -- and faster than the hinged lenses on most SLRs.

The A77 captures still images in JPEG or RAW formats, and record 1080p-resolution full-HD video. It has a built-in GPS unit, a sensor with 24.3 MP resolution, an electronic rather than an optical viewfinder and a 3" LCD screen mounted on an extending arm for extra-flexible viewing. It can shoot at a speed of up to 12 frames per second in continuous shooting mode, and has a panoramic setting that stitches together several images for extra-wide images of scenery or groups. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]