2Sony Cyber-shot 12.1MP ($299)
This 12-megapixel (MP) camera features optical SteadyShot image stabilization and face detection technology, as well as a high-definition video mode and direct printing capability (with any PictBridge-enabled printer). The camera’s high-quality lens comes from Carl Zeiss, famous for durability of construction and crispness of detail.
32. Panasonic Lumix 10.1MP ($299.99)
Equipped with a Leica DC lens with 10 elements in eight groups (including two aspherical lenses and three aspherical surfaces), this Panasonic offers great value for the money in a compact format. The lens also has an extra optical zoom of up to 21.4x, and MEGA Optical Image Stabilization helps ensure clear and accurate focus on faces. High-speed burst mode lets users capture images at 2 frames per second (fps) at full resolution.
43. Nikon 6.1MP Digital SLR (from $499.99)
Offering users SLR performance at a low price, this camera captures high-resolution images of up to 3,008 by 2,000, and a three-area through-the-lens (TTL) phase detection auto-focus helps ensure perfect focus. A 2.5-inch LCD screen on the back allows for easy viewing of photos, as do playback functions like nine-segment thumbnails, slideshow and zoom, histogram indication, highlight point display, and auto image rotation.
54. Olympus Stylus Tough 12MP (from $359.99)
Some of us take better care of our gear than others, but for those of us who need a camera that can take a knock or two, the Stylus Tough is, well, tough to beat. This Olympus is waterproof up to 33 feet and can perform in all types of extreme weather conditions. Dual image stabilization minimizes shake and vibration distortion, while a 2.7-inch HyperCrystal III LCD screen allows users to see their photos even in bright sunlight.
65. Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS 10.1MP (from $599.99)
Available in sleek silver or black, this Canon’s advanced image enhancement technologies include an Auto Lighting Optimizer for highlight and shadow control and a host of picture style settings that make it easier to adjust color, contrast and sharpness in-camera. A Dust Deletion function and low-pass filter eliminates dust and debris from the image sensor for enhanced image quality, and high ISO sensitivity (up to ISO 1600) improves photo captures in varied light conditions.
76. Kodak EasyShare 10.1-MP ($159.99)
A small, capable camera for the budget-conscious, the EasyShare comes in a variety of colors and offers blur-reduction technology, as well as HD picture and HD video capture functions, which let users capture high-definition digital photos and video in 16:9 widescreen for viewing on HDTV or HD monitors. Kodak’s “Perfect Touch” technology features cropping, sound tagging and text tagging.
87. Pentax Optio 10.0-MP Waterproof (from $269.99)
For users who love to shoot on the shore or in the surf, the Pentax Optio’s waterproof casing is perfect. The camera is waterproof to 13 feet for underwater pictures and is also “cold-proof” for use in sub-zero temperatures (hopefully you’re not in the water at that point). Standard features include face recognition technology, which utilizes blink detection and smile capture functions-perfect for capturing a Great White’s gaping grin (but use the zoom).
98. Canon Powershot 14.7-MP (from $449.99)
This compact Canon packs a whopping 14-MP punch and features a 3-inch color display and DIGIC 4 Image processor. Intelligent contrast correction brightens darker areas of the photo without changing light areas, while Servo auto-focus (AF) allows you to take detailed photos of moving subjects. For fast transfer or printing, the camera offers direct-print support with a compatible Canon direct photo printer or any PictBridge-enabled printer to print photos without a PC.
109. Leica D-LUX 4 10.1MP ($699)
The D-LUX 4 has a sensor resolution of 10.1 effective megapixels from a 1/1.63-inch CCD image sensor, coupled to an image-stabilized, Leica DC Vario-Summicron branded 2.5x optical zoom lens with a 24mm wide angle. The camera also has an 11-point auto-focus system that includes a single-point “high speed” focusing mode. A highlight of the camera’s design is its simplicity and ease of use for users accustomed to high-quality lenses but not digital cameras.
1110. Sony Alpha 10.2-MP Digital SLR (from $549.99)
A built-in Bionz image processor and Dynamic Range Optimizer optimize exposure, coupled to a 18-70mm zoom lens with a built-in A-mount for use with Sony, Carl Zeiss and Minolta lenses. A 2.7-inch tiltable LCD monitor allows for easy browsing of photos. Sony claims “Stamina” battery power is good for up to 730 shots on a single charge.
1211. Nikon Coolpix 10.0-MP (from $269.99)
If bronze isn’t your color, don’t worry-the Coolpix is available in a variety of hues and boasts features like Touch Autofocus, optical VR image stabilization, and smile shutter and blink warning. A retouch function allows users to paint a frame or add handwritten memos in five different pen colors and thicknesses. The 3.5-inch high-resolution touch-panel LCD screen offers 160-degree wide-angle viewing, and anti-reflection coating enhances viewing in bright light.