If you've got someone on your shopping list who wants to learn more about controlling camera shutter speeds and apertures, Canon's PowerShot SX150 IS is a good and inexpensive option. Even more so now that Target has dropped its price to $99.99.
The 14-megapixel camera features a 12x, f3.4-5.6, 28-336mm lens with optical image stabilization, a 3-inch LCD, and full manual to full auto shooting modes. It's also powered by AA-size batteries, so it's a good choice for travelers, too, who don't want to worry about easy battery replacement.
The shooting performance is a bit slow, though, but if you're trying to learn more about changing settings to get your desired results, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
However, if speed is a problem, its successor,, promises better autofocus performance that considerably speeds up shooting. It also has a longer zoom lens: 16x, f3.5-5.9, 28-448mm.
And despite being only a couple months old, it's selling for $80 less than its MSRP at $149.99 from many stores.