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Best Summer Digital Camera Buys That Won't Leave You Broke

Best Summer Digital Camera Buys That Won't Leave You Broke
summer-timeSummer time is on its way, and with it comes the graduations, weddings and vacations that we want to have captured forever. If you’re thinking of keeping costs down by making your 6-megapixel camera from 2004 limp through the summer, it’s a good idea to take a look at what the newer cameras have to offer. A plethora of new camera models were released this spring with new features and at super low prices, often hitting the sale ads of Best Buy and OfficeMax.

Bang for Your Buck

money-pileIf you’re new to the camera market, some of the more important details you’ll need to look for are megapixel ratings and optical zoom magnifications. As the megapixels and zoom magnifications increase, the chances of you taking a great picture go up, but so does the price. Other items of importance include memory types, batteries and video resolution. Most newer models are equipped with rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, which help minimize the cost of the camera’s upkeep, and accept two or three types of memory cards, which you probably already have on hand. 

Cameras equipped with video can either shoot in standard definition (any resolution lower than 720 pixel lines), or high definition (720p or 1080p). Though most models manufactured in the last few years will take HD video, it’s a good idea to skim the specs if this is an important feature for you, as some extremely cheap models will still take standard definition video.

Decisions, Decisions

Not sure how much to pay or which kind of camera you’re looking for? There are two major kinds of cameras out there: consumer point and shoot cameras and DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras. DSLRs are the bigger, expensive cameras many people associate with news reporters and professional photographers. Point and shoot cameras are for those of us that are relatively inexperienced or that want a small form factor. They’re inexpensive and perfect for tossing in your bag and heading out on a summer excursion.

Low-end Models

canon-A3300One great inexpensive camera is the new Canon PowerShot A3300. It weighs in with a 16 megapixel resolution, three-inch LCD display and 5x optical zoom. It’s small enough to put in your pocket and takes 720p HD video, so it’s a good choice for capturing snippets of your niece's graduation or video of your road trip to the Corn Palace.  The camera can use standard digital (SD), standard digital high capacity (SDHC) or standard digital extended capacity (SDXC) memory cards. The PowerShot A3300 is one of the newest Canon models, and was released in February 2011. It also comes in five different colors to suit your couture. Currently, the A3300 will set you back about $170 to $180.

Mid-range Models

nikon-9100Another new point and shoot camera is the Nikon CoolPix S9100. It’s slightly larger than the PowerShot A3300 but comes with a few different features that make it a good choice for some buyers. The CoolPix S9100 has a 12-megapixel resolution, which is on the lower end for many new point and shoots, but comes with an impressive 18x optical zoom. It’s a better choice for far away shots and videos, such as those taken at a concert. It also comes with 720p video and includes VR Image Stabilization, which helps to prevent blurry photos and movies.  The Coolpix S9100 is going for around $310 online.

High-end Models

Nikon-Coolpix-P500For those that want a more versatile camera with a good zoom, HD video and high megapixel rating without breaking the bank to buy a DSLR camera, a high-end point and shoot is the best choice. The new Nikon Coolpix P500 is packed with impressive specs: 12-megapixel photo resolution, 1080p high def video, a 3” LCD viewfinder, VR Image Stabilization and a high 36x optical zoom magnification. This model is a good step up from the pocket-sized CoolPix and PowerShots, but is a larger camera so it’s not a great choice if you’re wanting to throw it in your bag and head out the door. If you don’t mind the larger size for the improved photo capability, the CoolPix P500 is a great all-around camera and will set you back about $380.


Heading to the water park or to the beach? Getting water or sand inside your camera is bad news for you and your wallet. Get a waterproof camera for your next adventure to avoid having to replace your everyday point and shoot. These cameras have been crafted to make them resistant to everything -- water, sand, dust, crushing, extreme temperatures, zombies - while still taking photos. The FujiFilm Finepix XP10 is an exception to the rule, as it’s a great inexpensive choice for taking on adventures, and still comes packed with a 12-megapixel photo resolution,  5x optical zoom, 720p video and a 2.7” bright LCD viewfinder.  This camera is priced around $100 or so, but goes on sale for as low as $80. 

What kind of camera do you love? Where will you be taking pics this summer?


  1. Lauren

    Love the underwater camera. No more disposables

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