A $250 camera budget doesn't sound like much, but you'll be surprised at the best inexpensive digital cameras you'll find in the sub-$250 price range. This price range provides a good mixture of slightly older intermediate-level models that have dropped in price, along with new point and shoot models that have a good feature set, including plenty of resolution, large LCDs, interesting styles, and extremely thin camera bodies. With a budget of around $250, you'll have a lot of choices regarding your next camera. Here are the best inexpensive digital cameras for under $250, listed in alphabetical order.
The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS provides some very impressive features for a point and shoot camera, giving both beginner and intermediate photographers a model that's going to give them some nice options.
You'll find 12.1 megapixels of resolution, a 20X optical zoom lens, a 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD, and full HD video options with the SX260 HS.
In addition, the PowerShot SX260 HS features a built-in GPS unit and a popup flash unit. It's an expensive camera, but it has quite a few features that you won't find in other point and shoot models, making this camera well worth considering.
Few fixed-lens cameras can match the 30X optical zoom lens that Canon has included with the SX500 IS.
Canon included 16MP of resolution, a 3.0-inch LCD, and 720p HD video options with the SX500 IS. This camera is a large model that's only available in black, so be sure that you can work with a camera that measures more than 3 inches in thickness before you purchase this one.
Nikon 's recently released Coolpix L620 gives mid-range zoom shoppers a new option just before the holiday shopping period begins. The L620 offers 18.1 megapixels of resolution, a 3-inch LCD, and full HD video options.
This interesting camera runs from two AA batteries, making it one of the few camers currently on the market to operate in this fashion. Look for the L620 to be available in black or red camera bodies.
With so many interesting features available in the Nikon Coolpix S800c, it's tough to know what to focus on first.
For starters, the S800c has a 10X optical zoom lens in a camera body that measures only 1.06 inches in thickness. The 3.5-inch OLED touch screen is very bright and sharp. This camera has 16MP of resolution, and it can shoot full HD video.
The Coolpix S800c's on-screen interface is based on the Android operating system for mobile devices, which should make it very easy to use to visit the Web with the built-in Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities.
Olympus has created what it calls the world's smallest and lightest PEN camera, which, considering the history of the PEN family of cameras, makes it one of the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens cameras from any manufacturer.
The PEN E-PM1 offers some really nice features, too, including 12.3 megapixels of resolution with a CMOS image sensor, full 1080p HD video, and a 3.0-inch LCD. It measures only 1.33 inches in thickness (before you attach the lens) and it weighs only 7.65 ounces for the camera body.
One of the latest SZ models, the Olympus SZ-16 iHS, appears to fit perfectly in with its predecessors. The SZ-16 iHS features a 24X optical zoom lens with 16MP of resolution. It offers a 3.0-inch LCD and full 1080p HD video recording.
You'll find the SZ-16 in white, black, or silver camera bodies, all with silver trim, depending where you live.
The latest tough camera from Olympus, the TG-830, provides a nice mix of photographic features and "tough" features.
The TG-830 has 16 megapixels of resolution, a 5X optical zoom lens, full 1080p HD video capabilities, and a 3.0-inch LCD. Olympus recently dropped the price on this camera. It's available in blue, red, silver, or black body colors.
- A 3.0-inch touch screen LCD
- A built-in GPS unit
- A 16X zoom lens in a small, point and shoot camera
Finding one of these features in a camera is always nice; finding all three in a camera -- that carries a sub-$250 price tag -- is pretty rare. Throw in really good image quality and sharp focus, and the ZS10 is a very powerful camera.
Panasonic has built quite a few very interesting features into a point and shoot camera that measures only 1.1 inches in thickness with its Lumix DMC-ZS20 model.
The ZS20 includes a 20X optical zoom lens, a 3.0-inch high-resolution touch-screen LCD, and a built-in GPS unit. In addition, the Lumix ZS20, which was introduced at CES 2012, includes 14.1MP of resolution and full HD 1080p video recording capabilities.
That's a lot of really nice features in the ZS20, which is a beginner-level camera that's available in black, red, silver, and gray/white camera body colors. It's one of the better thin ultra zoom cameras in the market right now.
For the past few years, Pentax has come up with some very interesting, innovative designs for waterproof, rugged cameras, and the Optio WG-3 fits very well with those previous models. The WG-3 is available as an orange camera with black and yellow trim or as a black camera with gray trim.
The WG-3 features a 16MP CMOS image sensor, a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD, full 1080p HD video recording, a 4X optical zoom lens, and six LED macro lights for underwater illumination. You'll also find that the WG-3 works in 45 feet of water depth and can survive a fall up to 6.6 feet.
Another version with a built-in GPS, the WG-3 GPS, costs about $50 more.
11. Pentax Optio X-5
Pentax has long been famous for its high-end film SLR cameras and now its Pentax DSLR cameras. However, since its acquisition by Ricoh, Pentax has been trying to branch out with a few different models, including some DIL models, as well as some advanced point and shoot models.
One of the latest cameras from Pentax is an ultra zoom model that looks like a DSLR but is actually a fixed-lens camera, called the Pentax X-5.
The X-5 offers a 26X optical zoom, 16MP of resolution, a 3.0-inch LCD that swivels, and 1080p HD video capture.
You'll find the X-5 will offer a pretty good value versus other ultra zooms. The X-5 is available in a black or silver camera body with black trim.