I’m going to give my recommendations based on several categories, but invite you our readers to ask questions and hope our other contributors who have other opinions than mine can chime in with their suggestions as well. Please feel free to ask a question in the comment section if you would like more information about which camera is best for you. Add your comments if you have other recommendations as well. We’re here to help!
Best Point and Shoot Sub $200-
Olympus XZ-1 Digital Camera
It has a super fast 1.8 lens and will allow you to capture great photos in low light. This camera for this price is an excellent value. It is limited by a not huge zoom but the picture quality is going to be better than anything else in its class for this price. There are larger zoom cameras out there for this price but these cameras are usually used indoors for birthday parties and such and that fast 1.8 lens is going to capture those moments about 100 times better than a slow point and shoot with a long zoom.
You can get it on Amazon No Tax Here
Best Point and Shoot Super Zoom-
Marty’s Canon SX40 HS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 35x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom
What you get here is a very versatile camera that when you have decent amount of light will get you across the Harbor and into someone’s bedroom. In low light the picture quality will fall apart but for those vacationers who want to zoom in on the action this is a great camera for the price-
Get the Canon SX40 for $349 here
Best All Around Value Sub $500-
Here is a Gallery of Photos I’ve Taken With Mine
The Camera I use is currently being offered for $478 with the kit lens. I bought one for the Mrs I like mine so much. It has a large sensor and a ton of cool features in a relatively small footprint. You can fit it in a jacket pocket but not a jeans pocket. I like it’s light weight compared to a full sized DSLR. The lenses for it can be slightly more expensive compared to the full sized DSLR’s like father Matthew’s Sony A65 (an awesome camera in it’s own right). More lenses are being announced for the NEX series it seems monthly and the prices have been coming down on them.
I would buy the Sony NEX-5N with the kit lens and if I had a little extra pocket change the Sony 35mm 1.8 lens for incredible low light performance in a light weight package.
I paid $689 for mine just a year ago and at the price it is being offered right now, I wouldn’t hesitate a second recommending it.
Buy it here no tax and no questions asked return policy from Amazon-Sony NEX-5N
Best Value DSLR-
Father Matthew’s Sony A65
The Camera Fr Matthew uses takes pictures that speak for themselves. It’s a beast and coupled with the 18-135mm lens you‘ll have an incredibly versatile piece of kit to take incredible photos or video. If I didn’t care so much about keeping things lightweight I’d buy the camera he uses.
You can buy this combo for $1198 at Amazon here or with the kit 18-55 for $998 (I’d suggest the 18-1356 for that much more versatility with that longer zoom.
There are a TON of lens options for this camera and as a second lens I’d buy the Sony 35mm 1.8 (Sony Alpha SAL35F18 A-mount Wide Angle Lens) these small wide primes are soooo much fun to shoot with. You don’t need it right away because the Sony A65 is so capable in low light to begin with, but once you shoot with a fast wide prime you’ll understand what I mean about fun.