The number of shopping days left before the holidays are quickly ticking down, and you still haven't gotten that present for your gadget fanatic, have you? Fear not, fellow shopper: there are still plenty of great gift options, like these point-and-shoot cameras, ready for anyone to pick up and start snapping.
We've rounded up five cameras suitable for just about anyone, regardless of skill level, that won't cost you an arm and a leg. There are plenty more options out there for the DSLR enthusiast, but if your giftee is looking for something they can pick up take on a weekend away, or grab at a moment's notice to snap their little one's first steps, then check these out:
(A word to the frugal: while many of these cameras have a suggested retail price of over $200, this is a great time of year for camera sales, and you can find many discounted by $100 or more if you take the time to look!)
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS (MSRP $269.99)
This highly-portable camera packs a lot into a little package, with a 20x optical zoom and 25mm ultrawide-angle lens. Reviews of the camera will quickly tell you that this small package packs in sharp picture quality, full HD movie-shooting capabilities and a high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, to let you take great pictures even in low light conditions. Those who don't want to mess around with different modes and settings can leave the camera set to Intelligent IS, which automatically chooses from six different modes and stabilizes the image if necessary without you having to intervene. You can also take advantage of the speedy 10.3 frames-per-second burst shooting mode, while maintaining full 12 MP resolution.
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 (MSRP $199.99)
If you're looking for a lot of lens in a portable package, then the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 may be just the camera you're looking for. With 12x optical zoom and 14-megapixel resolution, this camera is quick off the draw, taking only a little over 2 seconds from off to taking your first photo. Between shots, it takes about 0.7 seconds, which is very quick for a point-and-shoot camera. You can also take burst shots at a rate of 9.7 frames-per-second — which, combined with its long lens, makes it ideal for getting that perfect shot at sporting events when you're not courtside.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX50 (MSRP $199.99)
You can take the tiny DSC-WX50 with you just about anywhere and record all the action in full 1080p HD while you're at it. This camera takes nice quality photos at a 16-megapixel resolution, with a bright wide-angled 25mm lens. It doesn't rank as high in optical zoom as some of the other cameras on this list at 5x, but it makes up for it with plenty of features to capture the best pictures of your friends and loved ones: it includes face detection, an anti-blink function, soft skin mode and motion detection, making sure whoever your subject is appears at his or her best in your photos. And with three different auto modes (Easy, Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto), you can let the camera do the heavy lifting when it comes to making your photos perfect.
Canon PowerShot ELPH 320 HS (MSRP $349.99)
It's the priciest camera on the list, but that's because it becomes with the bonus of built-in Wi-Fi, making connecting to your computer that much easier. Through Wi-Fi, you can back up wirelessly to your computer, upload photos and videos wirelessly to the Canon Image Gateway cloud service, and use the iOS app to transfer photos from the camera to your iPhone or iPad. As for the camera itself, this ultra-compact has a 16-megapixel resolution and 5x zoom, with a touchscreen display.
Nikon Coolpix S600 (MSRP $299.95)
Nikon offers photographers a sleek-looking little camera, weighing in at only 5.3 ounces, making it a lightweight addition to a purse or trouser-pocket when you're off to a night on the town. It has a wide 28mm, 4x zoom lens that stabilizes pictures as you go. Reviews indicate it's a great choice for taking outdoor shots, with sharp images from edge to edge. You'll get nice bright photos with good colour and minimal noise. And there's no squinting at tiny pictures, trying to make out the screen on this camera: the back 3-inch display is bright and clear, letting you review your pictures instantly and easily.