Colorful sub-$200 cameras have been a staple of Canon PowerShot cameras for quite a few years, and the recently announced PowerShot ELPH 100 HS camera follows that formula. The ELPH 100 is part of Canon's new "HS System," short for high sensitivity. Canon designed its HS cameras to work well in low light.
For a camera in its price range, the ELPH 100 includes some nice features, including a 3-inch LCD screen and full 1080p video capabilities. You'll find a 12.1MP CMOS image sensor with the ELPH 100, further improving low light performance. It would be nice if the ELPH 100 had a larger optical zoom lens than 4X, though.
Canon is offering the ELPH 100 in five body colors -- blue, gray, pink, orange, and silver.
Canon has included several very interesting features in its PowerShot ELPH 500 HS digital camera. The ELPH 500 HS includes an f/2.0 lens, which is an impressive lens for a point and shoot camera. With its CMOS image sensor and with its Canon HS (high sensitivity) system technology, the ELPH 500 should excel in low light conditions.
You'll find 12.1 megapixels of resolution, full 1080p HD video capabilities, and a 3.2-inch touch screen LCD. The only disappointing aspect of the ELPH 500 is that it only carries a 4.4X optical zoom lens. Look for the ELPH 500 HS in silver, pink, or brown body colors
The sharp-edged design of the Canon PowerShot ELPH 520 HS gives it an interesting look for a point and shoot camera. And it has some good photographic features to match its cool design.
The ELPH 520 HS includes a 12X optical zoom lens, which Canon claims makes the 520 HS the world's thinnest 12X zoom camera. The ELPH 520 HS measures 0.76 inches in thickness.
In addition, the ELPH 520 HS uses a 10.1MP CMOS image sensor, which should improve low light photography results. It has a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD and full HD video capabilities. The ELPH 520 HS is available in blue, red, silver, and black camera bodies, depending on your location in the world.
Canon mixed vibrant and traditional camera body color options with its PowerShot SD1400 IS camera. Canon offers this model in traditional silver and black, along with non-traditional colors in orange and pink. The SD1400 IS is an extremely thin model, too, measuring only 0.70 inches in thickness.
The SD1400 IS includes 14.1 megapixels of resolution, optical image stabilization, a 4X optical zoom lens, a 2.7-inch LCD, and the ability to shoot in 720p HD video.
The latest S-series camera from Fujifilm -- the 14-megapixel FinePix S2800HD -- puts together a strong combination of HD video capabilities and a large zoom lens. The FinePix S2800HD's 18X optical zoom lens includes limited wide angle capabilities along with the strong zoom.
In addition, the camera can shoot 720p HD video and has a mini-HDMI port for connecting to your HDTV.
You'll have plenty of colors to choose from in the camera body as well, as Fujifilm is offering the T300 in black, blue, gunmetal gray, champagne gold, and red. The T300 measures only 0.9 inches in thickness.
The 10X zoom lens is a great feature for a camera in this price range.
Nikon has spent the past few years really beefing up its Coolpix point and shoot line of cameras, offering more high end features in these thin, stylish models.
The recently released Coolpix S9300 fits this description perfectly, as it offers an 18X optical zoom lens, full HD video at 1080p resolution, a built-in GPS unit, a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD, and a 16MP CMOS image sensor.
Few point and shoot cameras can match the all-around strong feature set of the S9300, which is available in silver, black, blue, or red camera bodies, depending on your location in the world.
Olympus has packed plenty of features into a sub-$200 camera with its 14MP SZ-10 digital camera. The SZ-10 offers an 18X optical zoom lens, which is nice to find in this price range. You'll also find a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD with the SZ-10.
OIympus has included the ability to shoot 720p HD video, to use WiFi to connect to a computer, and to shoot in a 3D photo mode, all of which are impressive features for this price range.
This year, Olympus is continuing offering those types of cameras, including the recently released Olympus SZ-12, which features a 24X optical zoom lens. You'll also find 14 megapixels of resolution, a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD screen, and 720p HD video capture, all in a camera that measures only 1.6 inches in thickness.
The SZ-12 is available in black, silver, or red camera bodies.
The 5X optical zoom lens with the FX78 includes a high-quality lens with an f/2.5 aperture. You can shoot HD video at full 1080p with the FX78, and you can shoot 12.1MP images with an emphasis on high-speed photography and good response times.
The FX78 -- which is known as the FX77 in some parts of the world -- contains a "beauty retouch" mode, which automatically whitens teeth, removes bags under the eyes, and improves skin tones. With this camera's "makeup mode," you even can add eye shadow or blush to the final image.
Look for the FX78 in black, gold, or white camera bodies.
11. Samsung SL820
Samsung's SL820 digital camera is another strong model worth consideration from this under-rated camera manufacturer. The SL820 includes a very easy-to-use menu structure, which is great for beginning photographers. The camera's shooting features are nice, too, with 12.2 megapixels, a 5X optical zoom lens with limited wide angle capabilities, and a 3.0-inch LCD. You may find the SL820 in silver, black, and red.
The best thin zoom cameras typically are those that measure less than an inch in thickness while offering at least a 10X optical zoom lens.
These models are beginning to appear with more frequency in the market, and Sony just missed adding another model to the lineup, the Cyber-shot DSC-WX50.
The WX50, which is available in black or silver camera bodies, has 16.2 megapixels of resolution, a 2.7-inch high-resolution LCD, and full HD video capabilities.
Best of all, the WX50 measures only 0.75 inches in thickness. This camera has a 5X optical zoom lens, but it's a 10X zoom when Sony's "Clear Image Zoom" technology is considered, which is a form of digital zoom.