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Best digital camera in the $150-300 range?
I'm taking a computer art class this quarter and a couple of the projects are photo and video based. While I could probably get by without my own camera (borrowing family member's, etc) I feel it'd be best to get my own, plus theirs are not quite as up to date as what I'd be getting and probably don't shoot 720p video, which I will likely use/need.
I'm not much of a photographer, but I was wondering... Are manual viewfinders generally a good thing to have? Many cameras have done away with it in favor of just relying on the LCD screen. Do any experienced photographers here feel one way or another about that? Personally, I'd like to have the option of using either.
So far I've been reading reviews and here are the main ones I'm considering so far:
-Low price, only $160 on Amazon. Cnet's review mentioned it has a lower than average shutter speed for cameras in this price range. Very fast power up/start up time. Also, great battery life.
Panasonic Lumix ZS3 http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-...0179568&sr=8-1
-Has a 12x optical zoom. Also shoots 720p video at 60fps as opposed to 30fps, which could be a very worthwhile feature. I'm not 100% positive if it's worth the hike in price compared to the other options, but the 60fps video capture is very attractive.
I did look at a number of others, including the Samsung TL220/225, but the touch based controls kind of turn me off. I'd rather have primarily manual controls on a camera at this point. These 3 seemed to offer the best feature sets for the price of what I could find, but I'm definitely open to input.
For what it's worth, my prof. is a photographer/digital media artist and he said he prefers Canon for their image and color quality, but said he doesn't have any experience with Panasonic or Samsung.
I'd be great if there were an ultra-compact out there for $300 or under with all the features I'd like: 10x plus optical zoom, 720p video @ 60fps, manual viewfinder, good battery life, HDMI output, fast start up, fast shutter speed, etc. I haven't come across any with all those features, but if it's out there, that'd be good to know.
I'm a bit of a "noob" to cameras & photography, so input will be appreciated.
I just realized that I have that Canon for taking snap shots when I don't want to carry all of my dslr gear.
It takes some great shots I am very impressed with the image quality that they got out of a tiny camera. Of course don't plan on taking any night shots, like most compacts they suffer from lots of noise at oh ISO400 and up.