Entry-Level Cameras

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The interesting thing about entry level point-and-shoot digicams is that the simplest, least expensive of the lot is capable of taking wonderfully sharp, angst-free photographs. The costlier, more "'complicated" digicams can perform more "tricks" or have wider or longer lenses  than entry-level digicams, but at the end of the day, each of these econo-cams capture surprisingly fine stills and video.



Nikon

The Nikon CoolpPix L22, available in black, blue, red and silver features a 12MP CCD, a 3.0" LCD and a 3.6x optical zoom (37 to 134mm equivalent) that can focus down to 2" from the front of the lens.  

To better ensure sharp photos when shooting under low light without a flash, the CoolPix L22 also features a three-way VR image stabilization system, which includes Motion Detection and Nikon's Best Shot Selector (BSS), which captures 10 consecutive images, analyzes them in-camera, and saves the best of the lot. 

To optimize your picture-taking efforts, the CoolPix L22 also features a Smart Portrait System, which includes Blink Warning, In-Camera Red-eye Fix and Face-Priority AF, 16 Scene Modes and an Easy mode with Auto Scene Selector. There's also a choice of five special color-effects filters (Standard, Vivid, B&W, Sepia and Cyanotype).

The CoolPix L22 is powered by two AA batteries, records imagery to SD and SDHC memory cards and contains approximately 19MB of built-in memory. In addition to stills, the CoolPix L22 also captures video (640x480 at 30 frames per second), which can be played back on your computer or TV.

FujiFilm

FujiFilm's FinePix JV100  features a 12.2MP CCD and a Fujinon 3x zoom that emulates the field of view of a 37 to 111mm lens on a 35mm camera. Along with sharp JPEG stills, the FinePix JV100 captures 720p HD video at 30 frames per second.

For viewing your efforts, the FinePix JV100 has a 2.7" LCD that displays approximately 96% of the total image area. Other features found on the FinePix JV100 include a six-scene SR AUTO (Auto Scene Recognition), Face Detection, a Panorama Shooting Mode, Tracking Auto Focus, a Natural Light and Flash Mode, a slew of Scene Modes and ISO sensitivity up to 3200.

The Fuji FinePix JV100, which is available in black and blue, contains 24MB of built-in memory, records stills and video to your choice of SD and SDHC memory cards and is powered by a rechargeable NP-45A  lithium-ion battery.

Casio

From Casio we have the Casio Exilim EX-Z16, an angular little number only 0.8" thick that features a 3x (35.5 to 106.5mm equivalent) zoom lens, a 2.7" LCD and is available in a choice of black, red, pink and silver. Designed for ease of use, the Exilim EX-Z16 features an Easy Mode that takes all the guesswork out of snapping pictures. In addition to JPEG stills, the Exilim EX-Z16 also captures AVI video with monaural sound and can be tweaked up to ISO 6400 when shooting under low-light conditions.

The Casio Exilim EX-Z16 contains approximately 14.9MB of built-in memory, accepts SD and SDHC memory cards and is powered by a rechargeable NP-80 lithium-ion battery.  

Canon

From Canon we offer a trio of entry-level digicams starting with the Canon PowerShot A495, a small (3.68 x 2.43 x 1.2"), easily pocketable digicam that features a 10.3MP CCD, a 2.5" LCD and a 3.3x (37 to 122mm equivalent) zoom lens for capturing JPEG stills and AVI video clips with sound.

Available in a choice of red, blue and silver, the PowerShot A495 features a Low-Light Mode, an AiAF 9-point autofocus system, ISO 1600 sensitivity and a selection of Special Scene Modes. The PowerShot A495 accepts SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus and HC MMCplus memory cards and is powered by two AA batteries. 

Next in line is the Canon PowerShot A3000. Available in silver only, this round-cornered digicam features a 10MP CCD, a 2.7" TFT LCD and a 4x (35 to 140mm equivalent) zoom lens that focuses down to 1.2" from the front lens surface. Capable of shooting sharp JPEG stills and AVI video clips with sound, the PowerShot A3000 offers a top shutter speed of 1/1600th-second and a top ISO sensitivity of 1600 that is expandable to ISO 3200 when shooting under dim lighting conditions.

Other features found on the PowerShot A3000 includes a Smart Auto Mode containing 18 different scenes and automatically sets the camera settings to capture sharp, accurate imagery.

The Canon PowerShot A3000 makes use of SD, SDHC, SDXC and MMC memory cards and is powered by a rechargeable NB-8L lithium-ion battery.

The third entry of the Canon lineup is the Canon PowerShot A3100, which is an amped-up variation of the PowerShot A3000. Available in a choice of red, blue and silver, the PowerShot A3100 features a 12.1MP CCD and all of the nifty features found in the PowerShot A3000 including JPEG stills and AVI video clips with sound.

Other A3100 features include a top shutter speed of 1/1600th-second, ISO sensitivity up to 1600 (expandable to ISO 3200), a Smart Auto Mode, compatibility with SD, SDHC, SDXC and MMC memory cards and draws power from a rechargeable NB-8L lithium-ion battery.

Olympus

From Olympus we suggest taking a gander at two models, starting with the Olympus T100, a handsome pocket cam that's available in red, blue, silver and black. Designed around a 12MP CCD and a 3x (36 to 108mm equivalent) zoom, the T100 captures JPEG stills and AVI video with sound, both of which are composed and viewed on the T100's 2.4" LCD.

Other Olympus T100 features include four autofocus modes (including iESP Auto for guess-free focusing), PC Panoramas stitched from up to 10 individual exposures (using included ib software), shutter-speeds up to 1/2000th-second, ISO ratings up to 1600, Intelligent Auto mode that automatically selects the proper settings based on the scene you're photographing, Face Detection for up to 12 faces and Digital Image Stabilization.

The Olympus T100 contains approximately 10.8MB of built-in memory, accepts your choice SD or SDHC memory cards and is powered by two AA batteries, alkaline or rechargeable.

Olympus's FE-47 packs a hefty 14MP CCD and a 5x (36 to 180mm equivalent) zoom lens to go along with it. There's also a 2.7" LCD, a top shutter speed of 1/2000th-second, close-focusing down to 1.2" from the lens, Digital ESP Metering, Face Detection AE, Digital Image Stabilization and PC Panorama that stitches up to 10 still images together using the included software.

The Olympus FE-47 shoots JPEG stills using a choice of 21 shooting modes as well as AVI video with sound onto SD or SDHC memory cards. There's also 18MB of built-in memory. As for power, the FE-47 uses two alkaline or rechargeable AA batteries.

Kodak

We also have two candidates from Kodak starting with the Kodak EasyShare C143, which along with a compact aluminum casing, features a 12MP CCD, a 3x (32 to 96mm equivalent) zoom lens, JPEG stills an AVI video capture and a 2.7" LCD for composing and editing your imagery.

Kodak Smart Capture incorporates Intelligent Scene Detection, Intelligent Capture Control and Intelligent Image Processing, all of which guarantee dead-on, hassle-free stills and video. There's also a selection of Scene Modes and a top ISO of 1600 for flash-free, low-light imaging.

For sharing your images, Kodak EasyShare Software allows for easy uploading to Facebook, Flickr and Orkut. In addition to 32MB of built-in memory, the Kodak EasyShare C143 uses SD and SDHC memory cards.

The  Kodak EasyShare C142 is available in blue, green, red and silver, and is powered by a set of AA batteries (included).

Last but not least, we have the Kodak EasyShare C195, which while similar in profile to the EasyShare C143, features a 14MP CCD, a 3.0" LCD and a longer range, 5x (33 to 165mm equivalent) zoom lens. Like the C143, the EasyShare C195 is a piece of cake to use and makes good use of Kodak's Smart Capture feature, which automatically recognises the key parameters of the scene you're photographing and makes all neccessary adjustments to the camerasettings to ensure optimal color, contrast and exposure levels. 

The Kodak EasyShare C195 is availalble in red, silver, purple and blue, contains 32MB of built-in memory and accepts SD and SDHC memory cards.

For a more comprehensive list of entry-level point-and-shoot cameras, click here.

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