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Best Inexpensive and Easy to Use Point and Shoot Digital Cameras of 2014

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We were recently shopping for an extremely easy to use, not to pricey point and shoot digital camera. Our top choices in the $200-$280 range are the Canon PowerShot S110, Canon PowerShot SX510 HS, Fujifilm XF1 and the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS. We found there are a bunch of cameras in the $150 range, but they are intended to be pocket-sized and thus make the buttons and controls very small. They also seem to be optimized for college kids with all kinds of social media features a simple point and shoot user might not need.

We found when you jump up to the $200 range you get a substantial increase in quality – especially for low-light shooting which is probably the most common kind of shooting people do (in-door or evening birthday parties, holidays, performances, etc.). And the $200-$270 range also gets you a pretty substantial boost in speed too — which is great for trying to capture grand-kids.

If you’re currently in the market for a camera, we hope you find this run-down useful:

Fujifilm XF1

– Amazon – $215
– ISO 12,800
– max aperture f1.8
– LCD – 3″
– 12 MP
– Sensor 2/3
– movies
– 8x zoom
– CNET – “Best compact digital cameras of 2014″ – http://www.cnet.com/products/fujifilm-xf1/
– Fujifilm – http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_xf1/
– CNET says quality doesn’t start to drop off until after ISO 1600. Good auto shoot modes. Good for low-light. “The Fujifilm XF1 is a nice camera for those who want the look and many of the features of an enthusiast compact, but will use it primarily as an automatic point-and-shoot. It’s an attractive camera that takes above-average photos indoors and out.”

PowerShot ELPH 330 HS

– $180 Best Buy
– Canon – http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_elph_330_hs#Specifications
– ISO to 6400
– max aperture f3.0
– 12 MP
– video
– PC Magazine — “Sharp lens. Integrated Wi-Fi. 10x zoom range. Excellent high ISO performance. Short shutter lag. Includes external battery charger.” http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2417693,00.asp
– CNET – http://www.cnet.com/products/canon-powershot-elph-330-hs/

What about the new Elph 340?
http://cameras.reviewed.com/content/canon-powershot-elph-340-hs-digital-camera-review
http://www.digitaltrends.com/digital-camera-reviews/canon-powershot-elph-340-hs-review/
– CNET “The Canon PowerShot Elph 340 HS pocket camera packs a long zoom into a slim body, but image quality drops off a cliff in low light.”

 

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS

Photo from CNET

– Amazon – $271
– ISO auto to 6400
– max aperture f3.5
– 3″ LCD
– movies
– 20x zoom
– CNET Review – “Best compact digital cameras of 2014″ – http://www.cnet.com/products/canon-powershot-sx280-hs/
– Canon – http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_sx280_hs#Specifications
– For the price – “Basically, if you need to shoot in low light or want to freeze action, the SX280 HS is a fine choice.”

Canon PowerShot SX510 HS

– One negative is that it’s pretty bulky.
– Amazon – $219
– ISO auto to 3200 (CNET says quality doesn’t start to drop off until after ISO 1600)
– max aperture f3.4
– LCD 3″ – very bright even in daylight.
– large, easy to press buttons
– 12 MP
– 30x zoom
– movies
– Canon – http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_sx510_hs#Specifications
– CNET – “Best budget digital cameras of 2014″ – http://www.cnet.com/products/canon-powershot-sx510-hs/
– CNET conclusion, “Like most megazoom cameras, the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS is best suited for outdoor daylight use. Canon’s switch to a BSI CMOS sensor, however, makes it a bit more useful in low-light conditions than last year’s model.”

Canon PowerShot S110


– $250
– ISO 12,800
– max aperture f2.0
– 12 MP
– 3″ LCD
– movies
– CNET – http://www.cnet.com/products/canon-powershot-s110/ – “This is not a camera that excels in low light.” “For someone who’s looking for something a little better than a point-and-shoot, with more manual features and slightly better photo quality, but still wants the smallest camera possible, the Canon PowerShot S110 is a good choice.”
– Canon – http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_s110#Specifications

 

 

 

Canon Powershot SX600

– Amazon $199
– 16 MP
– 4x digital zoom
– HD Video
– 3″ screen
– ISO 100-3200 auto
– max aperture f3.8
– 1/2.3-inch CMOS
– Canon – http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_sx600_hs#Specifications
– From CNET – “The Good The Canon PowerShot SX600 HS delivers easy automatic shooting options, very good photo and video quality, and a useful zoom range with optical image stabilization in a slim, lightweight package and at a reasonable price.
The Bad The lens is slow, so indoor use of the zoom lens is limited, the autofocus can be frustratingly inaccurate at times, and low-light photo and video quality are merely OK.
The Bottom Line Though there’s nothing extraordinary about it, the SX600 HS is a solid choice for snapshooters wanting a simple step up from a smartphone without sacrificing on-the-go sharing.”

http://www.cnet.com/products/canon-powershot-sx600-hs/

 

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25

– Amazon $210
– 16 MP
– ISO
– Max aperture f3.3
– Low light: “If you need something for great low-light shots, this isn’t your camera. It does have low-light shooting modes, but the results are really only good for emergencies because of heavy noise reduction and off colors. Then again, if you just need shots for small prints and Web use, the high-ISO results might be acceptable.” – CNET
– video
– “Simple and satisfying, Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FH25 is an excellent point-and-shoot value.” – CNET http://www.cnet.com/products/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fh25/

Product Comparison

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 5.06.38 PM

Close, but not quite in the running:

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2406738,00.asp

 

Nikon Coolpix L610

– Amazon – $154
– ISO 3200
– LCD 3″
– 16 MP
– 1/2.3 sensor size
– movies
– Nikon – http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product-Archive/Compact-Digital-Cameras/COOLPIX-L610.html
– CNET –  “Best budget digital cameras of 2014″ – http://www.cnet.com/products/nikon-coolpix-l610/
– CNET says, shoots slightly above it’s price range, bit isn’t outstanding. “The Nikon Coolpix L610 might not be a terribly exciting camera, but it’s good for what it is. If you’re considering this for regularly photographing active kids and pets or sports — especially indoors — you’ll probably want to pass on it, or at least be willing to really learn its limitations.”

Samsung WB250F

Image from CNET

– Amazon – $201
– ISO 3200
– LCD 3″
– 14.2 MP
– Sensor 1/2.33
– 18x zoom
– Samsung – http://www.samsung.com/uk/consumer/smart-camera-camcorder/smart-compact/smart-compact/EC-WB250FBPWGB
– CNET – “Best budget digital cameras of 2014″ – http://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-wb250f/specs/
– CNET says features before photo quality in this one. Plus, not great over 400 ISO.

Canon PowerShot A4000 IS

– Amazon – $140
– ISO auto to 1600
– Canon – http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_a4000_is#Specifications

Canon PowerShot SX170

– Amazon – $150
– ISO auto to 1600
– Canon – http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/support/consumer/digital_cameras/other_powershot/powershot_sx170_is#Specifications

Canon PowerShot A2400 IS

– CNET says controls are small and hard to use.
– Amazon – $125
– ISO auto to 1600
– Canon – http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_a2400_is#Specifications
– CNET – “Best budget digital cameras of 2014″ –

 

Nikon Coolpix L820

– bulky
– Amazon $210
– CNET http://www.cnet.com/products/nikon-coolpix-l820/

Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR

– Amazon $218
– CNET “For those unfamiliar with Fujifilm’s EXR sensors, getting the best results can require a little extra effort. Similarly, its menus and controls can take some adjustment.”

http://www.cnet.com/products/fujifilm-finepix-f900exr/