Black Friday Deals: Digital cameras offer few exceptional bargains

Consumer Reports News: November 22, 2010 03:27 PM

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The Canon EOS Rebel T2i SLR
Photo: Consumer Reports

Many retail outlets have slashed the prices of some digital cameras ahead of Black Friday. But judging by the sales we've seen, don't expect to save big on most of the best, most highly rated models.

Still, if you look hard, and consider some "package" deals—cameras combined with accessories—you might find some bargains. Here are some we found:

Retailers seem to be discounting lots of Canons, which is good news for consumers: Canon is one the brands that generally performs better than others, model to model and year after year, across a wide range of prices, according to our analysis of such trends among point-and-shoot brands we regularly test.

A good package deal on an SLR:

Best Buy is offering a package that bundles our highly Rated Canon EOS Rebel T2i with two lenses (18-55mm and 55-250mm zooms) and accessories (an 8GB SDHC memory card and camera bag), for just under $1000 (Ratings available to subscribers). The T2i has across-the-board very good image quality, plus excellent quality in low light. The bundled lenses are a plus: With an SLR generally, the more lenses you have, the better.

We found some good deals on point-and-shoots, too:

The Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS is available at Best Buy and Sears for $150. It has mostly very good quality and performance across the board. For a large touch screen, consider Best Buy's offer: Nikon's Coolpix S70, which is an older model, but has a large touch screen LCD and offers mostly very good image quality.

If you need more zoom, try Sears or Office Max: They're offering the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS for $180, which is $50 cheaper than the price we quote in our Ratings. It has a 12x zoom, wide-angle capability, and manual controls and focus, and it's very good at shooting video and accepts AA batteries.

Two deals to consider if you're shopping for a child or teen: Staples is selling the rugged Olympus Stylus Tough-3000 for $150 (originally $210). Since it's waterproof and shockproof, it should be able to withstand some common mishaps. And if you're looking to spend as little as possible, consider Office Max's deal: The Kodak C122 is on sale for $50 (originally $100). It's truly a budget camera, with no optical zoom, just a 2.4-inch LCD, and it doesn't take HD movies. But it does capture 8-megapixel images.

One word of advice: Go to a brick-and-mortar store and try out the camera before you buy. This will give you that all-important hands-on experience. And for more digital camera buying advice, check Consumer Reports Online.

—Terry Sullivan

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