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Best Cameras For Students / Digital Camera HQ Buyer's Guide

Last updated on 01/25/2011

High school and college students want to take great pictures of their salad days and look cool while they’re doing it. The stylish shooters below can create memories to last a lifetime, including the memory of the awesome camera that captured those moments. If you’re camera shopping for a student this holiday season (or even if you’re a student shopping for yourself), start your search below.

[Read our full Sony Cybershot W350 Review] Form, functionality, and a sweet price point all converge at the Sony W350. Sony always makes a good looking camera, and this is yet another example of a thin, attractive, and smart model. The features are typical for a camera in this class, at 14 megapixels and 4x optical zoom, yet the interface is refreshingly slick, with features like smile detection and the popular press-and-sweep panorama function. It's a simple, reliable camera, perfect for a student to fit in a pocket or purse, bring along for a day at the park or a night out, and post the results to Facebook in minutes.
A Canon ELPH is always a wise choice for a well-designed compact, and the Canon SD1400 happens to be one of the best-looking pocket cameras out there this year. Performance and image quality are up to the solid standards of the SD series, while the HD movie mode, optical image stabilization, and 4x zoom add versatility. It's a sleek, reliable pocket shooter from the leader in compact cameras.
Canon Powershot SD4000 IS
Shot In The Dark
[Read our full Canon Powershot SD4000 IS Review] Parties are part of college life (after study time is over, of course), but it’s tough to find a small camera that can take great pictures in a dark setting. Enter the Canon SD4000 IS, a stylish compact that manages to capture good shots in dimly lit rooms, sans flash. The secret is the CMOS sensor and wide f/2.0 maximum aperture. The rest of the spec sheet is respectable too: 3.8x zoom, image stabilization, 3-inch LCD, and 720p HD movie mode to name a few. Dominating the darkness does cost a little extra, as the SD4000 goes for around $300, but if you want solid low-light shots from an easy-to-use, pocket-sized package, accept no substitute.
Nikon D3100
Well-Balanced Entry-Level dSLR
from $399.00
[Read our full Nikon D3100 Review] The Nikon D3100 is for the student who has studied hard, earned good grades, and taken up photography as a hobby. It's an entry-level digital single lens reflex (dSLR) camera, a little cousin to the kind of cameras that the pros use and a great “learning” model. An ultra-compact it is not, but the performance simply cannot be matched by a compact point-and-shoot camera. The D3100 sports full manual control, immediate shutter response, a 14.2 megapixel sensor, a vivid 3-inch LCD display, and an excellent 1080p HD video mode, to name a few features. The recommended price tag pushes $700, but for any aspiring photographer, a dSLR is a must-have and the D3100 is an excellent starting point for a young, amateur shooter ready to step up from the limiting realm of compact cameras.
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