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Best digital cameras for under $150 (roundup)

Not all cheaper point-and-shoots are crap, and here are six cameras that prove it.

Canon's PowerShot A1200 offers a lot--including an optical viewfinder and HD movie capture--for barely $100. Sarah Tew/CNET

With cameras, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. In the world of point-and-shoots, that generally means you get few features, poorer-quality lenses, slower performance, and more than likely mediocre photo quality. However, there are a few exceptions.

These models were selected because they offer more than you'd typically get for the money. In some cases that means extra shooting options or an optical viewfinder, in others it's a longer lens or good low-light photos. So, whether you're just looking for an inexpensive camera for the occasional snapshot, something with the optical zoom that your smartphone camera doesn't have, or want an ultracompact with a little wow factor, these are worth checking out.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH25
The FH25 is a simple, straightforward point-and-shoot with a nice wide-angle lens with an 8x zoom that still fits easily in a pants pocket. Read the full review.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9
The only camera in this roundup with a backside-illuminated CMOS sensor for better low-light photos and faster shooting performance, the WX9 is an outstanding value. Read the full review.

GE Power Pro X500
GE's probably not the first--or sixth, even--name you think of when it comes to digital cameras, but the X500 is something of a standout. For as low as $130 you get a wide-angle lens with a 15x zoom, manual and semimanual shooting modes, an electronic viewfinder, and power from AA batteries. Read the full review.

Samsung SH100
Few cameras have built-in Wi-Fi, let alone cameras available for less than $150. The SH100 lets you do some pretty cool things with that wireless, too, and it's packed with fun shooting features. Read the full review.

Canon PowerShot A1200
The A1200 is a $100 camera with an optical viewfinder and very good photo and HD movie quality, and it's powered by AA batteries. Read the full review.

Canon PowerShot A800
Canon's first sub-$100 camera, the A800 doesn't have a lot of features, but you'd be hard-pressed to find better photo quality at its price. Read the full review.


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570
The W570, like its predecessor, the W350, offers a lot of camera for the money. It started off at around $180, but for previous generations the price got significantly smaller heading into the new year and I expect this one to do the same, too. Read the full review.

Looking for specs and pricing? Compare this group of cameras head-to-head.

And if none of these do anything for you, drop by CNET's digital camera page for more roundups and reviews.

Editor's note: You're not having déjà vu. This was originally posted on 11/1/2011 and updated on 11/21 with the W570.