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The Best AA Battery-Powered Digital Cameras

Last updated on 03/21/2014

Camera manufacturers think that they're doing consumers a favor by releasing, almost exclusively, digicams powered by proprietary rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Li-Ion batteries generally allow for more compact cameras, plus replacing AAs can get expensive. But despite dwindling numbers, AA-powered digital cameras remain very popular, especially among travelers or any avid photographer who might be miles away from an outlet for days at a time. Here are some of the best digital cameras that run on the swappable, buy-anywhere power provided by AA batteries.

Nikon COOLPIX L620
A nice compact zoom gets a speed upgrade
from $135.99
It's quite rare for a budget model to come equipped with speed, yet the Nikon Coolpix L620 is priced under $150 and can take images as fast as 10 fps (up to six images in a row). The L620 uses a 14x zoom with lens-shift stabilization, putting it in our travel zoom category. And of course, it uses AA batteries. It's not the most feature-filled AA-powered camera out there, but sits at an excellent price.
Canon PowerShot SX160 IS
Canon Capable
from $119.95
The travel-zoom category is supposed to appeal to travelers, but very few of these powerful yet pocketable cameras run on travel-friendly AA batteries. Last year's Canon SX150 IS was our choice for this category, and the SX160 IS improves upon it in some key ways. Autofocus speed is reportedly much faster, the sensor has gone up to 16 megapixels, and the zoom range is now a very competitive 16x optical. You get all this in a smaller body, too, which is the main appeal of a travel zoom camera. Nikon has also entered this market with its L610, but with a higher price point and lower zoom range, the SX160 is our choice.
Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR
from $381.98
[Read our full Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR Review] Many extended zooms run on AA's because they have the size to fit two or more commonly four AA's without any unusually large grip stuck on the side. Although the HS20EXR is getting a little long in the tooth, its currently a fantastic value at under $300. That EXR sensor makes for stunning low-light performance as well as great dynamic range in contrasty situations. The lens is also manually operated just like a DSLRs, making for more exact changes without any of the zoom steps you'll find in motored lenses. And with 1080p video, a 3-inch rotating LCD, and an electronic viewfinder, the HS20EXR competes with the best of them.
Nikon COOLPIX L830
from $296.95
The Nikon Coolpix L830 offers a solid 34x optical zoom, considering the price tag. The L830 doesn't have as many features or as good of a battery life as the Fujifilm S9800W, but it also sits at a lower price. The L830 is a basic option, but still includes the elements that will positively effect image quality, like optical image stabilization and a backlit sensor.
Fujifilm FinePix S9400W
from $323.49
The Fujifilm FinePix S9400W has an excellent feature set for the price, particularly for consumers looking for something powered by AA batteries. Chief among these features are the excellent 50x optical zoom, paired with optical image stabilization. Zoom isn't all it can do, however, it has a solid super macro mode for close-ups too. It has a 1/2.3" sensor, the same size as the more expensive S1. A 10 fps burst mode makes it a good option for action shots too. Four AA batteries will get you about 500 images before you need to replace/recharge the batteries.
Pentax K-30
from $771.00
The Pentax K-30 is a bit of an odd beast and stands alone as the only DSLR on the market that can take either a lithium-ion battery or AAs. This is great news for you travelers out there, as the K-30 borrows many things from the K-5: the 100% viewfinder, 16 megapixel sensor, and weather-sealing, and puts them all together in a super stylish and compact body. You'll be hard-pressed to find this array of features for the price anywhere else, although Pentax is becoming increasingly difficult to find in brick and mortar shops.

For those on a smaller budget, the Pentax K-r is still a fantastic deal, too. With 12 megapixels, stabilization, 6fps burst mode, and AA batteries, it's no slouch in the entry-level market.
The Pentax K-5 II includes a lithium-ion battery--but can use AAs with an adapter. The li-ion battery is nice because of the cost of replacing AAs, but AAs are always easier to have back-up batteries for. With the adapter, it's the best of both worlds for the K-5 II. The K-5 II is weather-sealed and follows the Pentax reputation for quality DSLRs.
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