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Cheap Digital Cameras Take top quality photos for less.

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This is a rundown of all the current brand-name digital camera and mini camcorder deals. Remember that if you get one, you'll also need to set a few quid aside for an SD memory card as well.

Need help with jargon? Check out the basic digital camera glossary.

Digital cameras

With so many different digital cameras on the market, before buying one you should consider image quality, performance, ergonomics, features, and above all, how much you're willing to pay for it.

Think about the kind of pictures you'll be taking, whether family snapshots or something more elaborate, and decide if you're willing to sacrifice the ability to fiddle with settings manually for a cheaper camera. Most cameras in the low price range will make your decisions for you, but spend a bit more and you can get features which will really help take high-quality photos.

And ask yourself: "Do I really need a camera or camcorder?" You may have a mobile phone that can take pictures or record videos just as well, so there would be little point in buying a camera.

As always, when buying big ticket items, always make sure you've done a full budget to ensure it won't break the bank and see Martin's Money Mantras below.

DOs:

  • For safety, pay by credit card if over £100
  • Protect purchases under £100

DON'Ts:

  • Use unfamiliar sites without checking
  • Let your antivirus run out
Full DOs and DON'Ts

Fujifilm FinePix AX510 - £45 in-store
Top spec 14MP 'point & shoot'

This Fujifilm FinePix AX510 is aimed at those who want to keep their photography simple. It takes decent photos without any fuss, and is only £45 in-store at Argos* (or get it delivered for £3.95 extra).

Fujifilm's range of simple "point and shoot" FinePix cameras are perfect for digital camera novices, as the automatic scene selection modes mean you don't need to be David Bailey to get great pictures.

This model has an impressive 14MP sensor and 5x optical zoom. There's also a video capture feature, which records high-definition clips. As well as blue, the camera is available in silver*, purple*, black* and red* at the same price. The camera gets good reviews from techy magazines and users, and Argos says there is plenty of stock.

What do you get? Megapixels: 14MP Optical zoom: 5x Screen: 2.7in Storage: SD/SDHC memory card Battery: Requires 2 x AA batteries

Nikon Coolpix L25 - £40 in-store
Cheapest digital cam with decent spec

This Nikon Coolpix camera has an RRP of £99.99, but has been around the £50 mark for the last six months. It's currently reduced to £39.99 in-store at Argos* (or get it delivered for £3.95 extra). It's also available in black*, silver* and white* at the same price in Argos.

It has a decent spec, good reviews, and is the cheapest deal we found overall.

It has a 5x optical zoom, so you don't have to worry about a loss of quality on close-up shots, and the scene auto select feature means the camera settings will automatically adjust to take the best pictures, no matter where you are or what you're doing.

Argos says stock is in the thousands, but once it's gone, it's gone, as this is an end-of-line product.

What do you get? Megapixels: 10MP Optical zoom: 5x Screen: 3in Storage: SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards Battery: Requires 2 x AA batteries

Samsung ES9 - £48 delivered
Another top-end camera with good reviews

As an alternative, for a few quid more, the Samsung ES9 is £45 online at Asda* plus £2.95 for delivery. It has a pretty decent spec for such a budget camera, and reviews are all really good.

The ES9 has an advanced "digital image stabilisation" feature, which helps when you have poor conditions. So if you've low lighting, an object that's moving or far away, or just a case of plain old shaky hands, your photos will still come out sharp and clear.

On the downside, the screen is only 2.4in, so looking back on your pictures may be easier on your PC screen.

Asda has said stock is low, so go quick if you want one.

What do you get? Megapixels: 12.2MP Optical zoom: 4x Screen: 2.4in Storage: SD/SDHC or Compact Flash memory card Battery: 2 x AA batteries (included)

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Pocket camcorders

If you want to record videos on the go, but don't want to lug about a fancy camcorder, the new breed of pocket-sized models could be the answer. They're hardly broadcast quality but they pack a decent punch for their money.

Most digital cameras have recording features, so consider whether you need a separate camcorder. If you're only going to make the occasional small movie, a digital camera may be fine, but if you want to make longer movies, because most digital cameras don't allow you to zoom while shooting video, a camcorder may be better.

Kodak Playfull Pocket Camcorder - £43 Cheap budget camcorder

If you're looking for something cheap to take on holiday, you can't go wrong with the Kodak Playfull Pocket Camcorder from the Argos eBay outlet* for just £42.98 delivered.

Videos are high-definition, and reviews are positive, saying the camcorder is small and light enough to carry around, meaning you're more likely to have it with you ready to capture the action as it happens.

You can also take photos, and there's a 5MP digital zoom.

Don't forget to budget for a memory card though, as the internal memory is only enough for a few minutes of video. Buying a 4GB SD card (for around £4), for example, will store approximately one hour of video at VGA quality.

What do you get? Optical zoom: No Screen: 1.5in Storage: SD/SDHC memory card Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion battery included

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Quick digital camera glossary

Megapixel: A megapixel is one million pixels, which is often used to describe the number of image sensor elements in a digital camera. The higher the resolution, the more megapixels (ie, a resolution of 2048x1536 = 3,145,728, or 3.1 megapixels). (Wikipedia)

Optical zoom: This is the level of actual zoom the camera offers by using moving lenses, meaning there's no degradation of the image, just magnification. (Wikipedia)

Digital zoom: Simply zooms into the image after it's been taken, meaning the more you zoom in, the more the quality degrades. It's not really worth considering when choosing a camera. Better cropping can be achieved using photo editing software. (Wikipedia)

Image sensor: This is the bit of the camera that converts an image into an electrical signal. Two main types exist: CCD and CMOS, and there's often little to choose between them. (Wikipedia)

Image stabiliser: The image stabiliser is what keeps pictures blur-free, even if you've shaky hands. As such, it's a very important part of the camera, and shouldn't be skimped on. (Wikipedia)

SD/SDHC card: A roughly postage stamp-sized flash memory card used to store your photos. Various sizes are available, and those over 2GB are called 'SDHC', where the HC stands for High Capacity. It's important to check the maximum size your camera will take before buying these cards; get one that's too big and it won't work. (Wikipedia)

XD picture card: Like SD cards, except this time made by Olympus and Fujifilm. Since XD cards are in far shorter supply than SDs, prices are higher, but thankfully modern Fujifilm and Olympus cameras tend to take both types anyway, so you can plump for cheaper SDs. (Wikipedia)

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WARNING! Please think very carefully before buying one of these

This site is about getting the best deals, but always spending within your means so do, so remember the MoneySaving mantras

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