Hot Shots: 5 Best Digital Cameras to Buy

Hot Shots: 5 Best Digital Cameras to Buy

“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

Best High-Tech Gifts for Dads and Grads

Best High-Tech Gifts for Dads and Grads

Dads seem to get the short end of the stick sometime, with Father’s Day coming after mom’s, and often getting lumped together with graduations and June weddings.  But the truth is, many dads would rather not have the attention on them, and certainly don’t want their families fretting over gifts. So what can families get for the guy who usually just goes out and gets everything or wants, or doesn’t think he needs anything?  Interestingly, many are the same things that are also perfect for kids just graduating from high school – the latest high tech gadgets. Here are five of the best high-tech gifts that are sure to be well-received by both groups – we hope that you’ll find some great picks in our dads and grads gift guide for 2012 and 2013:

PowerBag

It’s not uncommon these days to see smartphones and other devices plugged in to outlets no matter where you go.  In fact, some airports, restaurants and other establishments have begun removing or hiding plugs to avoid customers tapping in for free.

So for dads who are on the go or grads who will be out studying without reliable access to power, consider a PowerBag, a complete charging system that’s built into a backpack, briefcase or messenger bag.  Each PowerBag is self-contained, with a battery, USB connectors of all sizes and an Apple connector.  These bags are designed to be stylish and incredibly useful.  PowerBags range from $139.99 and up and can be bought directly from the company’s website.

Gorilla Torch

Resembling a mini-handheld tripod with a powerful light on top, the Gorilla Torch has bendable legs that can be secured to nearly any surface using rubber grip rings.  Designed with outdoor adventurers in mind, they’re extremely lightweight, portable and water-resistant.  But they’re perfect for any dad or grad that needs a hands-free light source, not just campers.  Gorilla Torch’s are available in four different designs, each with different colors. They can be purchased from the company’s web site for $29.95 to $59.95.

Sphero

This illuminating ball powered by BlueTooth is much more than a one-trick pony.  It’s cool enough that Sphero can be controlled via a free app for smartphones or tablets much like a remote-control car.  But there are many more free apps available which provide different ways to use and interact with Sphero.  Download one app and you can program your own Sphero routines, choosing all the precise movements and light changes.  Other apps let Sphero act as a game controller either in the palm of your hand or set on a table top.  As far as new gadgets go, Sphero is as cool as it gets for someone looking for the latest high-tech toy.   Sphero is available for $129.99 directly from the company’s website.

Syma Mini-Helicopter

Mini-helicopters are so nimble, they’re perfect for backyard barbecues, a day at the park, or even flying around indoors.  Syma creates a broad range of sizes and control schemes, including the mini Gyro Helicopter which can fit in the palm of your hand. They’re all designed to be lightweight and chargeable via USB cable, and depending on the model you get, can be controlled with your smartphone or a special controller which takes a couple AA batteries.  Check out the company’s website for helicopters starting from $29.99.

PlayStation Vita

Sony’s PlayStation Vita delivers on the promise of delivering the next generation of portable video game play.  Games are now designed so they can be played simultaneously on both the PS3 at home as well as the PS Vita, and there are other games which can remember your progress on one system and let you pick right up from the same point thanks to cloud based saves.  The Vita sports a large touch screen in the front, as well as a touch pad on the rear on the system allowing for some cool gameplay quirks in games like Little Big Planet.  There’s dual analog controls, motion-sensors and of course Wi-Fi connectivity.  The Vita is the perfect present for any gamer in your family.  You can pick up the Vita wherever video games are sold for $249.99.

Also, those shopping for Dads and Grads would do well to consider a variety of smartphones, tablet PCs and eReaders from the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab to the iPhone 4S, Motorola Droid Razr Maxx and Kindle Fire. Whichever picks you choose, expect all to enjoy their high-tech gifts!

How to Sell Your Old Electronics

How to Sell Your Old Electronics

Do you have old, used-up electronics sitting around your house? It’s a sure bet that you do. Maybe you’ve even accumulated enough old stuff to start building little model cities and tributes to ancient races gone by. Did you know there are ways to get money for your used electronics? It’s a much better alternative to throwing them out, given that many electronic devices contain metals and liquids that are poisonous (often classified as “E-waste”) and therefore shouldn’t be discarded in a typical landfill. 

Given the shortening life span of modern electronics (that brand-new iPhone in your pocket will be fit for a museum in less than five years), it’s not feasible to just let your old stuff pile up in your house. Next time you’re looking to do a spring cleaning, keep these methods of making money off your old gadgets and electronics in mind: 

Bring it Back to Best Buy for Store CreditBest Buy participates in an electronics recycling program for old video games, tablets, computers, smartphones, mp3 players, and more. You can assess the value of your old product online, or you can bring it into a participating store. (U.S. only.) Depending on your item’s worth, you’ll either receive a gift card for trading it in, or if the product has no value, the store will recycle it for free. 

Trade it Back to Amazon for Online Credit (and Free Shipping) – Amazon.com likewise has a trade-in program that rewards recyclers with store credit—and your products don’t even have to come from Amazon to qualify for said credit. You simply look up the value of your item online, print a shipping label to send it off (shipping is free!), and get a gift card for the agreed-upon amount. 

Sell Your Electronics on eBayAnd then there’s the ol’ standby: sell your electronics on eBay. Of course, it’s initially a bit of a hassle to set up your online store, assess the value of your electronics, sell them, deal with customers, then ship them, but you’ll receive actual cash for your items. Moreover, you have far more control over their presentation and pricing. 

ExchangeMyPhone.comAs its name suggests, Exchange my Phone is a website that lets you exchange various models of smartphone for cash. You get a quote based on the condition of the quote, have it shipped to EXMP’s headquarters (shipping is free), and are paid via PayPal or cheque. You can also choose to make a tax-deductible donation to one of several charities. 

Gazelle.comGazelle lets you sell electronics of all kinds, including smartphones, tablets, and pretty much everything Apple has produced since the iMac. Your electronics are evaluated, shipped to Gazelle’s headquarters for free, and you receive a cheque, a PayPal deposit, or an Amazon gift card. 

Consider Donating! – There are tons of organizations that are always looking for older cellphones and electronics that can be re-issued to other recipients. As was mentioned above, ExchangeMyPhone can donate your old electronics and issue a receipt. You can also bring your used electronics to a Goodwill outlet that participates in the Reconnect program. They’ll refurbish and redistribute your items.

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