DemystifyingDigital is a feature written by Dan Havlik, editor of DemystifyingDigital.com
Ok, face the music. You've procrastinated too long and it's time go get a last minute gift for everyone on your list. If it's people you really care about — friends, family, loved ones — get them a digital camera. There are those who like laptops and those who lean towards MP3 players, but everybody, absolutely EVERYBODY loves a digital camera. To help you make the selection process simpler, below are our "can't miss" picks for the best digital cameras on the market right now. Though they might set you back a few bills, these point-and-shooters are guaranteed to score you points.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
Here's the perfect digital camera if you can't decide whether you want to zoom in on the action or pull back for a wide-angle shot. The 8.1-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 has a remarkable 18x zoom that gives you the equivalent of a 28-504mm lens on a 35mm film camera. The Panasonic FZ18 also has a range of helpful features including Face Detection, Optical Image Stabilization, and an Intelligent Scene Selector which can tell what type of photo you're capturing and automatically adjust the camera to the optimal settings.
Canon PowerShot SX100 IS
The amount of features you can get in a digital camera for under $300 these days is astounding. Take the Canon PowerShot SX100 IS which is actually selling for just under $240 at Amazon.com. This 8-megapixel point-and-shooter packs a 10x optical zoom lens with built-in Optical Image Stabilization; a fast DIGIC III image processor to eliminate shutter lag; and advanced Face Detection which can select and optimize portraits for up to nine faces in a scene; into a camera that will fit in your coat pocket. The perfect last minute gift — if you can still find one in stock!
Check us out discussing this camera on CBS
Olympus Stylus 790 SW
If you're the type of person whose digital camera takes a beating — don't lie! — the Olympus Stylus 790 SW is the model for you. This 7-megapixel, 3x zoom digital camera is shockproof for drops of up to five feet; waterproof for up to ten feet underwater; and freezeproof for up to ten degrees below. The ideal winter camera for taking to the slopes for skiing, or the neighborhood hill for sledding, the Olympus 790 SW will let you get your shots in extreme conditions. Also appealing for the fashion conscious, the Olympus Stylus 790 SW is available in five cool colors — silver, blue, black, green and orange.