Digital Camera Holiday Gift Guide - $150 - $250 Cameras
2012 Holiday Gift Guide TOC
In part 1 of our 2012 digital camera holiday gift guide, we looked at a series of sub $150 cameras that currently offer the best value for bargain camera shoppers seeking high quality and excellent features for their next gift. In part 2, we will dive into the best cameras in the $150 to $250 price range. These cameras feature higher levels of optical zoom, greater megapixels, larger LCD screens, and some with CMOS image sensors and Full HD video recording. This lineup of digital cameras are still mostly targeted at the point & shoot crowd, but for those seeking a higher level of quality and control in taking excellent photos.
So take a look at the second part of our 2012 Holiday gift guide, the $150 to $250 digital camera range. Our following recommendations are based on quality, features and the best value available on the digital camera marketplace between $150 to $250 dollars.
Top Pick: Panasonic LUMIX ZS-15
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-ZS15 is a powerful yet compact digicam designed for those who are looking for higher quality images without carrying a full-sized camera. Sporting a 12.1-Megapixel High Sensitivity MOS imaging sensor, it actually has less resolution with the same sized sensor as last year's Lumix ZS10. This allows for better low-light performance, and faster processing thanks to the Venus Engine. The camera also features a 16x Leica DC optical zoom lens, 3.0-inch 460,000 dot LCD screen, Full 1080p HD video capture with Dolby Digital Sound, 3D image capture, and an in-camera HDR mode for tricky lighting situations. Panasonic's included iAuto shooting mode incorporates an HDR shooting mode as another way to make sure you get the best image possible with the camera set to iAuto. Available in black or silver, pick this up if you're looking for am affordable, yet high-quality digicam loaded with the best in new features.
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Nikon Coolpix S6300
Available in black, blue, red, or silver, the Nikon S6300 featurs a 16.0-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, 2.7" LCD screen, 10x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom-NIKKOR Glass Lens (25-250mm), Full HD (1080p) movie recording with stereo sound, High-speed continuous shooting, Easy Panorama Mode (180 or 360 degrees), and a number of Creative Effects. Thanks to the CMOS image sensor, images are bright and coloful in most shooting conditions and the camera offers decent operational speeds. Pick this up if you're looking for your first digicam and primarily plan to shoot photos for social networking sites and for making small to medium sized prints.
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Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS20
Panasonic's Lumix TS20 is a compact and affordable waterproof digicam. Featuring a 16-Megapixel imaging sensor, 4x optical zoom with Mega O.I.S, 720p HD video recording, and a 2.7 inch LCD screen, this camera could be confused for a pricier Panasonic model. Its image quality is very good, just showing us a little noise when viewing the images at 100%, which we have seen with most 16-megapixel models. This "tough" camera is waterproof to depths of up to 16 ft, shockproof from falls of up to 5 ft, freeze proof down to 14°F and also dustproof. Combining all of these features with Panasonic's iAuto shooting mode makes this the perfect camera for adventures, vacations and any other rough situation. Available in red, blue, black and orange; you should have no problem finding a color to fit your style. Pick this up as an affordable accessory for anyone with kids, a pool or those who are adventurous.
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Canon PowerShot A4000 IS
Part of Canon's "A"ffordable line of PowerShots, the A4000 has plenty to offer. Features include a 16-megapixel CCD image sensor, 3.0-inch LCD screen, 720p HD video, Smart Auto, and various other easy to use Scene Mdes. Covering a 35mm equivalent range of 28mm - 224mm, the A4000's 8x optical zoom lens offers a great deal of framing versatility. The wide angle extreme will work out great for landscapes and group shots, while the telephoto capabilities allow you to tightly frame subjects for portraits or macros, or bring far off objects a bit much closer. To help keep things nice and steady in both still and video modes, Canon included their proven optical image stabilization system. The maximum aperture range is from f/3.0 at wide angle to f/5.9 telephoto; which is actually pretty fast for a lens of this magnification. All of this is packed in to a pocket-sized body that comes in five stylish colors; Black, Silver, Pink, Red, and Blue. Pick this up if you want a compact and easy to use camera that snaps great photos and doesn't break the bank.
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Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS performs well for the price. Its 16.1 megapixel high sensitivity CMOS sensor captures high-quality images, and its DIGIC 5 processor ensures fast performance. The high-resolution LCD displays very sharp details and vivid colors. The camera shoots 1080p HD video, and boasts attractive shooting modes and features that make capturing them a pleasure. The 24mm wide-angle lens is ideal for some shooting situations, though the trade-off is that you don't get the most powerful zoom, at 5x. On the whole, the ELPH 110 HS is quick and responsive. It can power up and take a shot in two seconds. And, once turned on, it can focus and capture a photo in a third of a second. If you're not using the flash, the camera can shoot continuously at 2fps while capturing full-resolution files (in high-speed burst mode, it captures 4MP files at 5fps). Battery life isn't the best, but with everything else going for it, this compact Canon offers a lot for the money. Available in black, silver, blue, red, green, and pink, pick up this camera if high quality images are more important than a long zoom range.
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The MV800 is quite compact, measuring just 3.6 x 2.21 x 0.72 inches (92.0 × 56.2 × 18.3 mm). While offering a mostly metal construction, the camera weighs in at a scant 4.3 ounces (without the battery or memory card installed). These figures mean you can stuff the MV800 into the smallest of pockets; or even a stocking this Christmas. Due to its touch screen operation, there are very few buttons mounted around the MV800's body. All that remain are the power button, shutter release with the zoom controls mounted around it, and the Home and Play buttons. All camera operations and settings are handled via the newer "smart phone like" GUI (Graphical User Interface). Specifications include a large 3.0-inch touch screen on the back, 16-megapixels of resolution, a wide 5x optical zoom lens covering 26 - 130mm (35mm equivalent), HD video capture at 720p resolution, Smart Auto 2.0, Magic Frame options, and various photo and video filters for those more creative users. Pick up this camera if you think size shouldn't mean sacrificing features and performance.
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