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Photography has become more and more popular a hobby, and it's no wonder: Cameras just keep getting better and better, yet remain surprisingly affordable in a great many instances. From Olympus to Sony, we've fixed our deal-finding telephoto lens on five cameras you won't want to overlook. If you're not finding a model to fit your needs, you can also check out our daily digital camera deals for more options.
Is It Worth It?: Costco's an amazing place for bargains, and this Olympus bundle is no exception. Though non-members will pay an additional $19, this Editors' Choice Olympus PEN E-PL1 12.3-Megapixel Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera bundle is at the lowest price we could find. Features include a 2.7" LCD, 720p video, face detection, image stabilization, SDHC card slot, HDMI, USB connectivity, and more. Plus, it comes bundled with two lenses — the Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens and Zuiko 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 Lens — and a SanDisk 4GB SDHC Secure Digital High-Capacity Card, and a camera case. Not sure a mirrorless digital camera is right for you? Learn more here.
Is It Worth It?: Sony has a well-deserved reputation for fine consumer electronics, and this features a 10x optical zoom with optical image stabilization, 3" LCD, Memory Stick Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC slot, 720p HD video recording, HDMI output, and more. The 16.1 megapixels pack a lot of digital punch for a camera this small and inexpensive. A 90-day Sony warranty applies.
Is It Worth It?: While now almost two years old, PCMag originally deemed this model an Editors' Choice and recommended it as one of the top 10 digital cameras for consumers to buy. It has since been bumped from the list in place of newer models, but that's also why it's now available at an amazing price. Features include a 3" LCD, 1080p video recording, 3.7 fps continuous shooting, mini HDMI output, SDHC/MMC card slot, and more.
Is It Worth It?: Like the aforementioned Olympus E-PL1 12MP Micro, this is an "SLR-like" camera, which combines features of both a digital SLR and a point-and-shoot camera. This Olympus PEN E-PL2 12.3-Megapixel Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera in Red comes bundled with the Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens. This model features a larger LCD than the E-PL1 at 3", faster shutter lag and max speed, better ISO, and continuous video focus. (To learn more about how it differs from the E-PL1, click here.) It also features 720p HD video, image stabilization, SD/SDHC card slot, miniHDMI port, and USB.
Is It Worth It?: We saw this camera bundled with a lens earlier this week, but the refurbished body is also a steal. A CNET review notes that "it doesn't rank first based on any individual aspect of the camera, [but] the Nikon D5100 delivers a solid combination of image quality, performance, features, and design." It features a 3" Vari-angle LCD, 1080p video recording with sound, 4 fps shooting, HDMI output, and more. A 1-year warranty applies, although it's unclear who backs it.
Front page photo credit: Piccsy