Digital Cameras Under £300

If you have up to £300 to spend on a digital camera then you have a wide range of cameras to choose from. Once you step above the £200 mark you start to get access to top class picture quality as well as a wide range of features.

At this level digital cameras are aimed at people who see photography as a hobby. There are cameras with extreme length lenses as well advanced manual controls. Features such as GPS tagging - so that you know where you were in the world when you took a picture - are available on a small number of models.

You also have access to the best touch screen controlled models. All cameras are likely to offer High Definition movie recording and some will additionally offer the ability to record sound in stereo.

Pentax Optio WG-1

Pentax Optio WG-1

Type: Waterproof

14 Megapixels 5x Zoom

Guide Price: £209.00

You can use the Optio WG-1 in water to depths of 10m. You will also be able to continue to take pictures in temperatures down to -10 degrees centigrade. This camera is also shockproof to 1.5m and crushproof to 100kg. In addition there is a 2.7 inch LCD screen for composing your photos and a High Definition movie mode. To help light subjects in macro mode Pentax have added five small lights around the lens.

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Panasonic DMC FZ62

Panasonic DMC FZ62

Type: Super Zoom

16 Megapixels 24x Zoom

Guide Price: £216.79

The Lumix DMC FZ62 has plenty of features to get your teeth into. As well as the 24x zoom lens there are a set of manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority), Image Stabilisation and a 1cm macro mode. You can shoot High Definition Movies with stereo sound. The LCD screen is 3 inches in size and you also have the option of using an electronic viewfinder.

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Olympus TG-820

Olympus TG-820

Type: Waterproof

12 Megapixels 5x Zoom

Guide Price: £219.99 Rating: 83/100

The Olympus TG-820 is one of the most robust digital cameras you will find. It can withstand depths of 10m, is shockproof to falls of 2m and can work in temperatures as low as -10 degrees centigrade. In addition it is also crushproof to weights of 100kg. There is a 3 inch LCD screen, image stabilisation and a Full 1080p High Definition movie mode. Olympus have also included the ability to produce 3D still photos and battery charging via a USB port.

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Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS

Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS

Type: Waterproof

14 Megapixels 5x Zoom

Guide Price: £221.12

The Optio WG-1 GPS offers GEO tagging so that you know exactly where you were when a picture was taken. It is waterproof to depths of 10m, protected against falls of up to 1.5m, crushproof to weights of 100kg and freezeproof to temperatures down to -10 degrees centigrade. It has a 2.7 inch LCD screen and can shoot High Definition movies. It also has five lights around the lens. These are activated fro close up shots to ensure your subject is lit correctly.

Panasonic DMC FT4

Panasonic DMC FT4

Type: Waterproof

12 Megapixels 4.6x Zoom

Guide Price: £221.99

The Lumix DMC FT4 is waterproof to depths of 12m, shockproof to drops of up to 2m, dustproof and freezeproof to temperatures down to – 10 degrees centigrade. It can capture both full High Definition movies and time lapse movies. Other features include a 2.7 inch LCD screen and image stabilisation. It has GPS tracking and a built in compass.

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Nikon Coolpix S100

Nikon Coolpix S100

Type: Ultra Compact

16 Megapixels 5x Zoom

Guide Price: £228.74 Rating: 83/100

The Coolpix S100 is a touch control LCD screen. The LCD screen is an impressive 3.5 inches in size. Other features include the ability to shoot High Definition movies and to produce 3D still images. Image stabilisation is available to reduce picture blur. The Coolpix S100 is available in red, gold, black and purple. This camera is ultra slim and has a sliding lens cover.

Panasonic DMC LX7

Panasonic DMC LX7

Type: Advanced Compact

10 Megapixels 3.8x Zoom

Guide Price: £229.00

The Lumix DMC LX7 is a small, but very powerful digital camera. A wide range of options have been packed into the compact body. These include manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority), a f/1.4 maximum aperture, a 1cm macro mode and a burst mode that can capture a small number of shots at up to 11 frames per second. Full High Definition Movies can be recorded with stereo sound. High speed videos can also be made for slow motion replay.

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Fuji Finepix X10

Fuji Finepix X10

Type: Advanced Digital

12 Megapixels 4x Zoom

Guide Price: £229.49

The Finepix X10 stands out from the crowd. Fuji have equipped this camera with a wide range of advanced features and given it what it describes as a luxury design. It has a full set of manual exposure controls, manual focusing, a f/2 lens, bracketing, High Definition movies and the ability to shoot at 7 frames per second. In terms of design the controls are made of metal and the camera has a leather like finish with a magnesium top plate and camera base.

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Olympus E-PL1

Olympus E-PL1

Type: Compact System Camera

12 Megapixels

Guide Price: £229.99

The E-PL1 has a 2.7 inch LCD screen, an 11 point auto focus mode and can fire off shots at a rate of 3 frames per second in burst mode. You can capture images in RAW and shoot High Definition movies. Olympus have made four different coloured versions available. These are gold, silver, black and red.

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Canon Powershot D20

Canon Powershot D20

Type: Waterproof

12 Megapixels 5x Zoom

Guide Price: £237.99

The Powershot D20 is waterproof to depths of 10m, shockproof to drops of 1.5m, freezeproof to temperatures as low as – 10 degrees centigrade and dustproof. It has a 3 inch LCD screen and can record both High Definition and slow motion movies. It has GPS tracking and in macro mode can focus from 1cm away from your subject.

Nikon D3100

Nikon D3100

Type: Digital SLR

14 Megapixels

Guide Price: £245.00

The D3100 is an ideal starter Digital SLR. It is relatively small and lightweight and has a guide mode to help you get the most out of the D3100. Features include 12 megapixels and a 3 inch LCD screen. There is a range of manual exposure controls and you can record High Definition movies. It is available in kit form with a wide angle lens.

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Nikon Coolpix P310

Nikon Coolpix P310

Type: Advanced Compact

16 Megapixels 4.2x Zoom

Guide Price: £245.00 Rating: 83/100

The Coolpix P310 is a high quality compact camera. The key feature is the f/1.8 aperture. This makes the Coolpix P310 a good choice for lowlight photography. Other features include Full High Definition movies, image stabilisation and a 3 inch LCD screen with a much higher resolution than you find on a typical digital camera. In macro mode the camera is capable of focusing from 2cm away from your subject. There are also a set of manual exposure controls.

Olympus E-P2

Olympus E-P2

Type: Compact System Camera

12 Megapixels

Guide Price: £249.00

The E-P2 has a 3 inch LCD screen, manual exposure modes, a 3 frames per second burst mode and can shoot High Definition movies. It can also capture photos in RAW, has an 11 point Auto Focus system and has a maximum ISO setting of 6400.

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Canon Powershot SX40 HS

Canon Powershot SX40 HS

Type: Super Zoom

12 Megapixels 35x Zoom

Guide Price: £249.95 Rating: 85/100

The Powershot SX40 HS is a serious piece of kit. It offers extreme zoom power as well as the ability to photograph wide scenes such as landscapes and groups of people. It has an impressive set of manual controls too. The movie mode is one of the most advanced you are likely to find. Other features include a 2.7 inch LCD screen that pulls away from the body and can be twisted round at an angle to provide you with a comfortable shooting position.

Panasonic DMC FT3

Panasonic DMC FT3

Type: Waterproof

12 Megapixels 4.6x Zoom

Guide Price: £249.99

The Lumix DMC FT3 is a robust digital camera. It is waterproof to depths of 12m, freezeproof down to temperatures of -10 degrees centigrade, shockproof to drops of 2m and dustproof too. Features also include a compass, GPS positioning, a barometer and an altimeter. It can also shoot High Definition movies.

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Fuji FinePix X-S1

Fuji FinePix X-S1

Type: Super Zoom

12 Megapixels 26x Zoom

Guide Price: £249.99

The Finepix X-S1 is an advanced super zoom digital camera. The 26x zoom lens also has wide angle capabilities. Key features include High Definition movies with stereo sound, image stabilisation, a tilting 3 inch LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder. For close up work the Finepix X-S1 is able to focus from 1cm away from your subject.

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Panasonic DMC FS45

Panasonic DMC FS45

Type: Simple and Easy

16 Megapixels 5x Zoom

Guide Price: £249.99 Rating: 82/100

The Lumix DMC FS45 has a couple of features that mark it out as a step up on more basic digital cameras. These include a 3 inch LCD screen, image stabilisation and the ability to shoot High Definition movies. There is also a shooting mode for producing square photos for when you would like your shots to look a little different.

Sony DSC HX10V

Sony DSC HX10V

Type: Extra Zoom

18 Megapixels 16x Zoom

Guide Price: £253.77

The Cybershot DSC HX10V has Full High Definition Movies, GPS, a 3 inch LCD screen and a good quality G series lens. Other features include Image Stabilisation for still shots and movies, a macro mode that can focus from 5cm away from your subject and a 3D photo mode. There is a high speed burst mode that can capture shots at up to 10 frames per second, plus a feature that can defocus backgrounds to make your subject stand out more. There is an inbuilt guide and an Easy Shooting mode.

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Panasonic DMC GX1

Panasonic DMC GX1

Type: Compact System Camera

16 Megapixels

Guide Price: £255.59

The Lumix DMC GX1 offers manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority), Full High Definition movies and the ability to store images in RAW format. There is a 3 inch LCD screen. The screen allows you to change some settings by touch. There is also the option to purchase a viewfinder. This is attached to the Lumix DMC GX1 via a hot shoe.

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Sony DSC TX20

Sony DSC TX20

Type: Waterproof

16 Megapixels 4x Zoom

Guide Price: £259.95

The Cybershot DSC TX20 has a wide range of features packed in. These include a 3 inch touch controlled LCD screen and the ability to shoot Full High Definition Movies. It is also waterproof to 5m and shockproof against small drops. For close up shots it is able to focus from 1cm away from your subject. It also has a skin softening mode for more flattering portraits.

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Panasonic DMC GF3

Panasonic DMC GF3

Type: Compact System Camera

12 Megapixels

Guide Price: £269.99

The Lumix DMC GF3 is a compact size even for a compact system camera. It has a set of manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority) as well as the ability to store images in RAW format. Some settings can be accessed through a touch sensitive LCD screen. The Lumix DMC GF3 is also capable of recording High Definition movies.

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Panasonic DMC G3

Panasonic DMC G3

Type: Compact System Camera

16 Megapixels

Guide Price: £269.99

The Lumix DMC G3 has a 3 inch LCD screen that pulls out away from the body and also twists around. The screen is touch sensitive allowing some settings to be changed via touching the screen. It has manual exposure controls, a viewfinder and images can be stored in RAW mode. There is a High Definition movie mode. Stereo sound can be recorded to accompany your movie clips.

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Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200

Type: Digital SLR

24 Megapixels

Guide Price: £278.00

The D3200 is an entry level Digital SLR. As well as the high number of megapixels for a camera at this level it has an 11 point auto focus system and can fire off bursts of shots at up to 4 frames per second. One of the big attractions for someone stepping up to a Digital SLR for the first time is the comprehensive Guide Mode. The D3200 can also capture Full High Definition Movies.

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Nikon Coolpix P510

Nikon Coolpix P510

Type: Super Zoom

16 Megapixels 42x Zoom

Guide Price: £279.94 Rating: 84/100

The Coolpix P5100 offers a stunning amount of zoom. There are plenty of other features available too. These include manual exposure controls, manual focusing, a 5 frames per second burst mode, GPS, 360 degree panoramas and 3D photography. You also have access to a macro mode that can focus from 1cm away from your subject and a 3 inch LCD screen that you can tilt away from the camera body. A viewfinder is available too.

Olympus E-P3

Olympus E-P3

Type: Compact System Camera

12 Megapixels

Guide Price: £283.76

The EP-3 has a range of manual controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority). It is touch screen operated through a 3 inch OLED screen. Image stabilisation has been built in and the camera is capable of shooting High Definition movies with stereo sound. There is a 35 point Auto Focus system and images can be stored in RAW mode. The E-P3 has a metal finish and is available in white, black and silver.

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Fuji Finepix HS30EXR

Fuji Finepix HS30EXR

Type: Super Zoom

16 Megapixels 30x Zoom

Guide Price: £289.99 Rating: 86/100

The Finepix HS30EXR is a fully featured digital camera with many of the features you would expect to find on a Digital SLR. Features include a 30x zoom lens. The lens also has wide angle capabilities. There are a set of manual exposure modes and you also have access to manual focusing. There are High Definition movies with stereo sound and manual focusing. You can add extra power by adding an external flash unit via the hot shoe.

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Type: Ultra Compact

12 Megapixels 12x Zoom

Guide Price: £299.99 Rating: 85/100

The IXUS 1100 HS has a wide angle lens. The lens also has plenty of scope for zooming in on more distant subjects. This means you have a great amount of flexibility from a camera that is small enough to slip into a larger pocket. There is an advanced movie mode with the IXUS 1100 HS able to shoot full format HD (1080) movies. Another movie option allows you to shoot slow motion movies. There is also a movie mode for shooting in Apple iFrame format.

Sony DSC TX55

Sony DSC TX55

Type: Ultra Compact

16 Megapixels 5x Zoom

Guide Price: £299.99 Rating: 85/100

The Cybershot DSC TX55 is one of the slimmest digital cameras around at just over 13mm wide. It is touch controlled, with a large 3.3 inch LCD screen. It can produce 3D still images as well as 3D panoramas. The Cybershot DSC TX55 is able to shoot High Definition movies and is available in red, black, silver and violet.

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