Canon PowerShot A1200
12 megapixels; CCD sensor; 4x optical zoom; 28mm wide-angle; 720p HD video; Optical viewfinder; 2.7-inch LCD monitor; Captures to SD/SDHC memory cards; Powered by AA batteries;
It might seem odd that we're excited about a $100 entry-level camera, but the Canon PowerShot A1200 is exactly what we wanted to see in a cheap compact this year. Old-school shooters, rejoice: the A1200 has an optical viewfinder and takes AA batteries, a magical combination for many folks. Two years ago, in the wake of proprietary lithium-ion batteries and expansive LCDs, nobody thought that viewfinders and AA's would make a comeback. But LCDs are terrible in sunlight and proprietary lithium batteries are worthless without outlets; heaps and heaps of casual users would pay extra money for a viewfinder and AA power. Kudos to Canon for taking a step backward and giving them a camera they can get excited about. The lack of optical image stabilization is a let-down, but otherwise this PowerShot really deserves attention.