Hot Shots: 5 Best Digital Cameras to Buy

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“Gosh, who needs a digital camera these days?” you ask. “My smartphone takes all my pictures!” Simply put, you do if you’re thinking of going professional, or if you want to snap family photos that print out well. Smartphone cameras are great for on-the-fly memories that you want to share online, but a dedicated digital camera is what you want to tote around for planned events like picnics, vacations, or graduations. There are hundreds of choices up for grabs at any electronics store in the country, but which models can be considered top picks? It depends on what you need. Here are five of the best digital cameras you can buy, among of the year’s newest and hottest models, including both point and shoot selections and higher-end DSLRs:

Canon PowerShot S100 – The S100 is a 12-megapixel digital camera that takes professional-grade pictures, but was designed with sturdiness and portability in mind. It manages good, clear pictures even with moving targets and/or in low light, and both the hardware and the software menu system is easy to use. The PowerShot S100 also has a built-in GPS that marks the coordinates of a photo’s location. It’s a great choice for families who want to invest in a quality long-term camera. 

Canon PowerShot Elph 310 HS – The 12-megapixel PowerShot Elph 310 HS is also a great choice for a family camera. It’s lightweight, compact, and carries a lower price tag than the PowerShot S100, so if you drop it on the concrete, you won’t panic as much. The Elph 310 HS features an 8x lens, which, when zoomed out, is perfect for landscapes and group shots. 

Sony Alpha 77 – The Sony Alpha 77 24-megapixel single-lens reflex (SLR) camera is a good option for someone who’s thinking of going professional, but can’t really pony up the $5000+ that most professional cameras demand. It has a built-in GPS, and can also record 1080p60 video with continual autofocus. 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 – The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a 16-megapixel interchangeable lens camera. Its weather sealing makes it ideal for shooting during all four seasons and in all kinds of light. It comes packed with a very decent kit lens (essentially, a starter lens), making the E-M5 another good choice for an amateur photographer who’s looking to begin shooting on a more professional level. 

Nikon Coolpix AW100 – If you’re heading into rough territory and you need decent a camera that won’t flake out when the going gets tough, consider the Nikon Coolpix AW100. It’s a compact 16-megapixel camera that can endure quite a lot of jostling, and it also records video. It’s waterproof, so feel free to take it with you to the beach. Its performance isn’t as sharp as most professional cameras, but it won’t go to pieces on you at a vital moment, either. 

For more picks for the top cameras on the market, visit: 

The 10 Best Digital Cameras at PCMag

Best New Digital Cameras at Squidoo

The Best Digital Cameras at CES 2012 at Digital Trends

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About author

Nadia Oxford

Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com's Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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