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Best Inexpensive Pocket-Sized Digital Camera

Updated on May 28, 2013

Why have a small digital camera that fits in your pocket?

While modern phone cameras are getting pretty good, there is still a difference between them and a true small digital camera. People who travel, attend special functions, or just love to have a high quality camera on hand at various times will appreciate the superb quality and high portability of today's pocket-sized digital cameras.

You no longer need to carry a heavy camera in an inconvenient camera bag to take beautiful shots. A camera that is as small as a deck of cards can perform very well, and even has an optical zoom that was unthinkable only a few years ago.

What to expect in a small digital camera

First of all, when we think of inexpensive digital cameras, consider that an inexpensive small camera will cost around $100. You can find cameras cheaper than this, but beware of them. The ones that sell for less than half of this price are significantly reduced in quality. It is amazing what that extra $50 will buy you, and these pictures will look great in a digital photo frame. Don't skimp - get the camera that will make you happy for years to come.

Expect these features

1. optical zoom (better than digital zoom) of 3x or better

2. a generious and high quality color screen

3. a fairly wide angle lens good for indoor pictures of people

4. automatic features that make it simply point and click

You might get these features

1. smile detection for automatic pictures when a subject says cheese

2. the ability to take reasonably high quality video

3. a panoramic mode for landscape pictures

Don't count on these featues

1. the ability to add different lenses or flashes

2. full HD video

3. serious manual setting options that a professional would want

Canon PowerShot A2300 - Great Video!

HD video is not common in an inexpensive digital camera, but the Powershot A2300 delivers it nicely. If great video is high on your list, this is a camera to look at first.

Canon PowerShot A2300 16.0 MP Digital Camera with 5x Digital Image Stabilized Zoom 28mm Wide-Angle Lens with 720p HD Video Recording (Red)
Canon PowerShot A2300 16.0 MP Digital Camera with 5x Digital Image Stabilized Zoom 28mm Wide-Angle Lens with 720p HD Video Recording (Red)

Canon Powershot is a trusted name in small digital cameras, and the A2300 gets you an impressive 16 megapixel image plus the bonus of 720p HD in video recording so that you can make life's great moments come to life. You simply push the movie button and start shooting. It even supports Apple's iFrame video format.

As for the camera, the generous 16 MP image is very rich and the camera is fully automatic so that anyone who can push a button will get a great result. The A2300 automatically detects the scene and uses its 32 built-in shooting situations to adjust settings to take the best picture.

In addition to the great video, important features include a 5x optical zoom, a 28mm wide angle lens, and a rechargeable battery. This awesome little camera is powerful and is so small and light that it will easily fit in your pocket, and is another fine member of the Canon Powershot family of cameras.


Kodak Easyshare Mini M200 - Cheap but Good!

You don't want to spend too little if you want quality, and the M200 is about the lowest you shoud go, but it delivers a very nice picture for the price.

Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 10 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.5-Inch LCD - Purple
Kodak EasyShare Mini M200 10 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.5-Inch LCD - Purple

Kodak Easyshare camerashave been around for a very long time and are a trusted name in digital cameras. These days, the Easyshare fills a niche of a quality camera at a very low price. When you drop in pice below this camer, features begin to dwindle quickly. For basic picture taking needs, however, you wion't be sacrificing qualtiy by buying an M200 now.

The coolest thing about the M200 is it was really made to share pictures. Easyshare means that with a single button click, your photos can be uploaded, emailed, or set to your favorite social networking sites.

The low price still offers 10 megapixel image quality, 3x optical zoom, 28mm wide angle lens, a rechargeable battery and color screen. You can also shoot video with sound, though it will not be as rich as some higher-priced cameras. It is a great little pocket camera.


Sony Cyber-Shot W650

Sony Cyber-Shot cameras have been in existence for many years and are about as simple to use as they come. The W650 is a great choice for quality while still being affordable.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black) (2012 Model)

Like so many Sony Cyber-Shot cameras before it, the W650 comes with fully automatic features that make this a true point-and-click camera. It runs a few dollars more, but the featues that are added for the price are worth it.

The camera offers 16.1 megapixel picture quality with image stabilization, face detection, smile detection, end red-eye reduction modes. It can even reduce visible blemishes on a person's skin! Maybe the coolest feature is for outdoor enthusiasts, as the camera can take a 360 degree panoramic picture as you sweep the lens across the landscape - truly awesome!

The W650 comes with easy 720p HD video that is as easy to use as the camera, and what's great is that you get full use of th zoom when in movie mode - a feature missing on some other inespensive digital cameras. Cyber-Shot camerashave been popular for a long time, and this version just adds to that legacy.


Pocket-Sized Digital Cameras are OK!

You can find great quality in a small pocket-sized digital camers. It can be overwhelming to look at the many options in this category, but consider one of the cameras listed here and you will be headed in the right direction. While you're at it, consider a small camera bag to protect your new gadget for those moments when it's not in your pocket.

Looking for a small digital camera?

Here are some other fine options. You can refine the search yourself and click GO for more choices.

What do you love about small digital cameras?

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