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May 072012
 

Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Group Image: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Group Image: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

If you are the default camera guy/gal in your family like I am, you may get this question a lot. “What camera should I get? I don’t have a lot of money though!”  I actually love this question, because for my friends and family, I like to find what camera is going to suit their needs the best. Of course when they come back to me and say, “Hey, that camera you recommended was great!” I get the “warm and fuzzie’s” all over, but I take it seriously and use it as a challenge for me to find a great fit.

Now considering Mother’s day is just around the corner. You may want to consider getting your Mom a nice point and shoot camera. I know, I know, “you don’t have a lot of money” so I just wanted to help you out and list my top 5 point and shoot camera’s under $100.00 USD and why. Keep in mind that this recommendation applies when mother’s day is over too. So if you or anyone you know is interested in a point and shoot camera, take a look at these.

Qualifications

So my criteria for making these recommendations where as follows:

  • Ergonomics: How does it feel in your hand?
  • Features: Stabilization, Zoom Range, Battery Type, Focusing, Movies
  • Ease of Use: Button Layout

As most of you know “Price” would be at the top of my list, but since we know that all these cameras are under $100 USD I’m leaving it off the list.

5. Nikon Coolpix L24

Nikon Coolpix L24

Nikon Coolpix L24

Ergonomics: The Nikon Coolpix L24 feels nice in your hand. There is a slight bulge in the body that’s just enough for you to get a handle on the camera, but not enough to grip the camera. Features: The features that I like on the Nikon Coolpix L24 is the 3 way Vibration Reduction Stabilization System, the 2.7″ screen, and the fact that it uses AA batteries. Where it falls behind the competition is the Zoom range is 37mm-134mm, which is only a 3.6x zoom, where as most of the competition is at 5x. Also 37mm is not as versatile in group shots or landscape travel shots as is 26mm or 28mm. Even though this is about cameras and pictures the Nikon Coolpix L24 only has standard definition movies, where the competition has HD which is not the standard I feel. Ease of Use: The button layout of the Nikon Coolpix L24 is pretty standard. I like that the buttons are large and easy to read. One of the biggest complaints I get from my mother about cameras, is that she can’t see the buttons and what they do. “As you start to gracefully age, one of the things that goes is your  eye sight”, she told me. “So you better get me a camera that I can see that the button does.”

I ranked the Nikon Coolpix L24 5th because, although this is a great camera with great stabilization, a nice, large screen, and uses AA batteries, and has big buttons. It falls behind in the other technologies. Mainly the Zoom range. I’m giving heavy weight to everyday photo taking not travel or specialty events. I like the versatility of the 26mm or 28mm for family events and group shots. I feel 37mm is difficult to capture a group of 3-5 full body in normal everyday shooting and space considerations.

4. Olympus VG-160

Olympus VG-160: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Olympus VG-160: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Ergonomics: This Olympus VG-160 is very slick-looking and feeling. With my big hands, I wouldn’t feel comfortable without a wrist strap. If you were going to take many pictures, you may suffer from claw hand. Also with the on camera flash being placed right above where your right hand fingers go, you may accidentally cover the flash without knowing it. The camera is fairly light weight and one of the slimmest in its class. Features: I like the large 3″ screen for this camera, which is the largest in its class. It has a 2 way image stabilization, HD video, Face Detection, and best of all 5x Zoom (26mm-130mm). Ease of Use: I like that the buttons are raised slightly, and that there is a dedicated movie record button, and the zoom toggle switch is where it should be. The layout is simple and intuitive.

Honestly, my ranking of number 4 and 3 were really close, and I only ranked the Olympus VG-160 lower by one, because it has slower auto focus, and the Sony has a nice Dynamic Range Optimizer.

3. Sony Cyber-shot W620

Sony Cyber-shot W620: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Sony Cyber-shot W620: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Ergonomics: This Sony Cyber-Shot W620 is a smooth camera also and has the same problem as the Olympus as far as the placement of the flash. It is also a very slim and compact camera that is susceptible to claw hand. For mom’s maybe not so much. They might even like that it’s so thin and portable. Remember to use a wrist strap! Features: It sports a 2.7″ screen, Image Stabilization, Face Detect, Good zoom range (28mm-140mm), and best of all for this camera snappy auto focus. To me the Sony Cyber-Shot W620, is the fast focus champ. It may be just nano seconds but it feels faster. Ease of Use: The simple navigation of this camera is great. The buttons raised slightly and the zoom toggle switch is where it should be. I like that there is a Positive Click Slider for the camera and movie modes, and the labels are very visible.

This camera gets the third spot for is fast focusing. For some this maybe the top camera because of all the features and image quality. I placed a little more weight on ergonomics considering we’re buying this for mom, right!! But if you were to get it for yourself, ergonomics aside this is a great camera.

2. Fujifilm FinePix AX550

Fujifilm FinePix AX550: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Fujifilm FinePix AX550: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Ergonomics: The Fujifilm FinePix AZ550 has a great little bump in the camera to use as a grip, it feels better than the Nikon to me, but that is a matter of preference. As with all of the cameras in this class the camera is light weight. Features: It has a good-looking 2.7″ screen, as will as image stabilization, just like the Nikon and Olympus. Also, a great 5x Zoom range (26mm-130mm). What really starts to set it apart features wise is the in camera red-eye reduction, iFlash (for even fill flash), and focus tracking. It’s a nice feature to have while chasing the grand children around. Plus it takes AA’s. Ease of Use: I like the raised buttons and that is very simple. Two buttons, a toggle for zoom, and a 4 way circular controller. What’s missing is the dedicated HD video record button. I also like that there is a grid of bumps for your thumb to help with holding the camera, a subtle and nice touch.

The Fujifilm FinePix AX550 has great features, great color, and is a top performer. A big plus for you video people, is that with the supplied software it makes posting video to YouTube and Facebook easy.

1. Canon PowerShot A810

Canon PowerShot A810: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Canon PowerShot A810: Top 5 Point and Shoot Cameras for Mom under $100

Ergonomics: This Canon PowerShot A810 has the best ergonomics of the bunch. It has a nice grip that makes the camera easy to hold and navigate. Features: I like that the zoom toggle is where the shutter button is and it has a very large shutter release button, and a dedicated on/off switch. The colors out of this Canon are very well suited to people, optical image stabilization, 2.7″ screen, a good zoom range (28mm-140mm), as well as Face Detect, and built-in help button. (free tech support, you can’t beat that!) Ease of Use: This Canon wins here too, with very large buttons that are clear to read, a help button, and a dedicated movie record button. The focus is very fast also to my liking and maybe only lags the Sony by a little bit. It also has little things I like, such as the flash being on the opposite side of the holding side, and the HD video.

The Canon PowerShot A810 is at the top of my list because it has what the competition has, but out performs in a few key areas. The key areas for me were the larger grip, the snappy auto focus, and the large button layout. The others weren’t far behind so you may want to adjust for your particular needs but hey, for under $100 USD all these cameras are a great buy and you mom’s should be very happy with the choice you ultimately make. Get ready for all the “warm fuzzie’s” you get, when they thank you for your gift!!

Happy Picture Making!!

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You can find the cameras in the review at these following links:
Nikon Coolpix L24
Olympus VG-160
Sony Cyber-shot W620
Fujifilm FinePix AX550
Canon PowerShot A810
What are some of the best shots you’ve taken with a inexpensive point and shoot camera? Use the comments below to let me know!

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