Digital Camera Holiday Gift Guide - Sub $150 Cameras

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Once again, you are likely faced with deciding what digital camera you should buy for your family and friends for gifts during the 2013 holiday season.  Each year becomes more and more complicated, as camera companies increase their feature sets and change models multiple times a year. In the end, however, consumers win, since increased competition has dramatically lowered prices and improved overall picture quality. As in prior years, this guide will help you sort through the chaos that is the digital photography industry, highlighting some of the best choices for cameras in various price ranges. While it is still generally true that more money will get a nicer camera, even spending under $150 can get you high quality digital camera takes excellent images. Your needs, such as touch screens, HD video, facial recognition or image stabilization, will determine the right amount you need to spend.  

Take a look at the first part of our 2013 Holiday gift guide, the sub $150 digital camera range.  Our following recommendations are based on quality, features and the best value available on the digital camera marketplace for less than 150 dollars.

Canon PowerShot A2600 Black

Top Pick:
Canon PowerShot A2600
(Full Review)

The Canon PowerShot A2600 is compact and affordable, and offers a basic set of features for beginners. At just 0.8 inch thick, it slips into a shirt or coat pocket easily, and won't feel too obtrusive, at under 5 ounces. The buttons on the back panel are well laid out for easy operation. The camera has a 16-megapixel sensor and a modest 5X zoom lens that offers a wide angle (28 mm) for shooting broad landscapes or in tight quarters. The features are well designed for beginning photographers. On the back panel, the top position on the four-way control launches Auto mode so you don't have to navigate a menu. Pressing this position again returns you to the previously selected shooting mode, such as Portrait or Live View Control mode. This latter mode is worth mentioning because it is one of the few places you can make manual adjustments to settings and use your artistic eye. In Live View Control, you are given three parameters to adjust: dark to light, neutral to vivid, and cool to warm. This offers beginners an introduction to creative photography. Pick this up if you need a beginner's camera for simple snapshots that does not need to offer high image quality, a lot of shooting modes, or many sophisticated manual controls.

Click on a color below to see the best prices for the Canon A2600.

Canon PowerShot S2600 black Canon PowerShot S2600 blue Canon PowerShot S2600 pink
Canon PowerShot S2600 red Canon PowerShot S2600 silver

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Canon PowerShot A1400

Canon PowerShot A1400
(Full Review)

The Canon PowerShot A1400 is a basic, affordable camera that's relatively compact. At just over an inch thick at the handgrip, it is not extremely thin, but still sits relatively comfortably in a jacket pocket. The lightweight plastic shell does not inspire much confidence that it could survive many hard knocks, though the buttons on the body are well laid out for easy operation. This 16-megapixel model offers a modest 5X zoom lens with a 28mm wide angle and basic features aimed at beginning photographers. For example, the top position on the four-way control toggles you between Auto mode and the previously selected shooting mode. Being able to do this is more convenient than having to navigate a menu and, to boot, the flash setting is associated with each mode. Pick this up if you have a beginning photographer who will be happy taking basic snapshots and is not looking to stray too far from Auto mode.

Click below to see the best price on the Canon PowerShot A1400.

Canon PowerShot A1400

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Canon POwerShot ELPH 130 IS Gray

Canon PowerShot ELPH 130 IS
(Full Review)

Canon's Digital ELHPs have been popular for years, and for 2013, Canon continues to add to this legendary line of compact, yet capable point-n-shoot cameras. Their latest entry is the PowerShot ELPH 130 IS, a petite camera that is loaded with appealing features for a camera of this size and price. You can tuck this gem into just about any pocket or handbag, and with three color options (red, silver, and gray) you can even match your own personal style. Canon packed a versatile 8x optical zoom lens into the S130, along with their proven Image Stabilization, 16-megapixels of resolution, a 3.0-inch LCD screen, full 1080p HD video recording, their newly enhanced Wi-Fi functionality, and much more. Pick this up if you're looking for an extremely easy-to-use, thin camera at a reasonable price, you don't need advanced photography features, and average performance will suit your needs.

Click on a color below to see the best price for the Canon ELPH 130 IS.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 130 IS gray Canon POwerShot ELPH 130 IS red Canon POwerShot ELPH 130 IS silver

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Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W730 Blue Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W730
(Full Review)

New for 2013, The Cyber-Shot DSC-W730 is about as compact as they come, measuring a scant 3 3/4" x 2 1/8" x 29/32". Although small, Sony has still packed it with appealing features for those in the market for pocket sized, affordable digicam. These include 16.1-megapixels of resolution, an 8x Carl Zeiss lens, intelligent Auto mode, Full 1080p HD video (MP4 format), and Intelligent Sweep Panorama to name a few. Pick up this camera if you are looking for a bargain camera for a beginner who will more entertained by Beauty Effects than annoyed by poor image quality.

Click on a color below to see the best prices for the Sony DSC W730.

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W730 blue Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W730 pink Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W730 silver

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Canon PowerShot SX160 IS red with flash Canon PowerShot SX160 IS
(Full Review)

The Canon PowerShot SX160 IS occupies the middle ground of super zoom cameras. Outfitted with a powerful 16X optical zoom and full manual controls, it is aimed at the aspiring photographer who wants to control his camera rather than rely on its automatic settings, but isn't ready to break open the piggy bank to do so. The powerful zoom lens offers both a wide-angle and 16x magnification (35mm equivalent of 28mm-448mm). This will easily get you close to distant subjects, while the wide angle will help capture broad vistas. Also, the macro AF will get you very close to small subjects as close as 0.4 inch from the lens (see IMG_0106 on the Samples Page). Like a dSLR, this PowerShot has a mode dial with full Auto and full Manual positions, as well as aperture and shutter priority modes. Pick this up if you are looking for a feature-rich super zoom at a very modest price and don't need fast autofocus, fast burst speeds, or great low-light performance.

Click on a color below to see the best prices for the Canon SX160 IS.

Canon PowerShot SX160 IS black Canon PowerShot SX160 IS red