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Nikon, Panasonic offer two good cameras for $220

The newly released Nikon Coolpix S230 and old-but-good Panasonic FX500 each can be picked up for $220 or less.

One's an easy-to-use, fashionable point-and-shoot, the other's an advanced shooter with just as many manual-setting options as auto modes. Both have 3-inch touch-screen LCDs and 10-megapixel resolutions--and you can have your pick for $220 or less each from reputable dealers.

From its stylish S series of ultracompact cameras, the Nikon Coolpix S230 is the follow-up to the very popular S210.

Its features are pretty basic, but Nikon adds the requisite face, smile, and blink detection I expect to find on cameras in its class. You also get the advantage of the touch-screen interface for things like a touch-based focusing system and writing/drawing directly on photos. The suggested retail price is $230, but it is in stores for less.

The Lumix DMC-FX500 was once the flagship FX-series compact from Panasonic and carried an MSRP of $399.95. With the FX500 follow-up coming soon, it can now be found for more or less half that price. If you like shooting flexibility and don't mind a little slow performance, this is definitely a lot of camera for the money.

Read the full reviews of the Nikon S230 and Panasonic FX500.