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chengbin Dec 5, 2009 11:34 AM

Need a camera under $300
I'm looking for a point and shoot camera and at least a 1GB card under $300 CDN. I'm in Canada BTW, so price and choice is limited.

These are the "musts" I'm looking for

- excellent image quality, macro is very important
- optical image stabilization
- durable (I'm planning to use it for years)
- use AA batteries
- fast start up time. I'm looking for around 1 second start ups)

What should I get?


Biro Dec 5, 2009 12:22 PM

You're right... your price, feature demand and location doesn't give you much choice. Plus we don't really know how you plan to use the camera, which would help.

Black's offers the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS for $249 Canadian... which should leave enough left over for at least a 2gig card. But its wake-up time is about 2.5 seconds, which is typical for megazoom point-and-shoot cameras. Most point and shoots (megazoom or not) are not fast in this respect. Plus the SX120 only goes as wide as 36mm - but it zooms as long as 360mm. Image quality is quite high; the camera offers manual control when you want it, takes AA batteries and has a very flexible zoom range.

Another option would be looking for a decent left-over or slightly used DSLR. Maybe something like an Olympus E-410 (Ritz Camera here in the U.S. was still selling these very recently). But I don't think you'll find anything well under $300. But even these cameras don't use AA batteries.

chengbin Dec 5, 2009 1:12 PM

I had a Fujifilm E550 before I broke it. What I loved about that camera is its incredible start up time (about a second without flash) and excellent macro image quality.

DSLR is out of the question.

By macro I mean it must be able to capture very high detail images from 30cm (1 feet) away.

Excellent image quality just means a camera that takes excellent pictures for the price. They don't sacrifice it for smaller lens and compactness or other things. I use my camera for normal outdoor pictures and taking pictures of textbooks (because I'm far too lazy to bring the textbooks home).

Preferably the camera have good low light image quality. I hated my E550 because the camera was useless under low light (if I use flash, the image is very dark, if I don't use flash, I get camera shakes). All I'm looking for is it can capture low light images at brightnesses similar to what the eye sees and not being blurry from hand shakes.

mtclimber Dec 5, 2009 1:21 PM

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J&R Electronics ( in New York City has a weekend special going on this weekend 05 Dec to 06 Dec, on a Panasonic FS-42 that regularly sell for $(US)149.99 for $(US)99.81. That would give you plenty of room in your budget. I have attached a list of the FS-42 specifications. Good Luck.

Have a nice weekend.

Sarah Joyce

Biro Dec 5, 2009 4:06 PM

Another possibility... a camera that also uses AA batteries... would be the Canon PowerShot A2100 IS, which zooms from 36-216mm. If you don't need that much room, there's the Canon A1100 IS, which is pretty much the same camera but zooms form 35-140mm. Neither of these cameras offers much in the line of manual control, but maybe you don't need it. So these two cameras along with the SX120IS - all of which use AA batteries - might fit the bill. You might also see if you can find a leftover Canon A2000 IS or A1000 IS, both of which sell for well under $200 U.S. (search

Sarah's suggestion of a Panasonic FS-42 is also good - Panasonic makes great cameras - but that camera uses a proprietary Lithium-Ion battery. The one problem you'll have with almost any point-and-shoot is delay on start-up and shutter acutation. But that's a problem that has been overstated very often. All of these cameras are solid entries in their classes.

gjtoth Dec 5, 2009 4:36 PM

I'm selling my Oly SP590UZ. PM for details.

chengbin Dec 5, 2009 5:24 PM

I couldn't care less about manual control. Auto all the way for me.


I need a new camera.

mtclimber Dec 5, 2009 5:30 PM


Yes, we know you need a new camera. That is why we post 6 different posts with suggestion. Were any of those suggestions helpful to you? How else can we help you?

Sarah Joyce

chengbin Dec 5, 2009 5:50 PM

OK, rounding up the choices given so far.

Canon PowerShot SX120 : I like this camera. It seems pretty perfect. It is $299 in Canada (@ BB). A sale should bring it down.

EDIT: A price match would bring the price down to $210. Woot!

Panasonic FS-42: That's in the US, and it doesn't use AA batteries.

Canon PowerShot A2100 IS: I can't get the camera in Canada

Olympus SP590UZ : That's a SLR. Need a point and shoot.

So far I'm eyeing the SX120. Probably the only thing I don't like is that it is 10mp. Not that megapixel count mean much, but a 12mp would be nice, at least psychologically.

mtclimber Dec 5, 2009 6:07 PM

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Many thanks for the excellent feedback. The Canon SX-120 is a really nice point and shoot camera, with 10X optical zoom, and even the ability to use numerically higher ISO settings up to ISO 800 without any problems.

I own a Canon SX-120 myself, and like it a lot. I have attached a photo sample from the SX-120.

Sarah Joyce

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