Each of the following offers an excellent value for quality/features. If you are looking for specific features ask me on twitter @camerarec or send me an email and I would be happy to recommend something specific to your needs.

A note about Mega Pixels (MP). No longer should you choose one camera over another because it has more MP. Recently some camera manufacturers have reduced the number of MPs in order to increase low light performance. The SD400 and S95(both listed below) are two10MP cameras that offer excellent low light performance and image quality for a P&S.

Super Budget

Panasonic Lumix LZ8K 8MP 5x Zoom Lots of features, easy to operate and image quality is excellent.

Budget

Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Silver) Lacks some of the frills of the other cameras but provides the Powershot reliability and excellent image quality in a variety of situations

Mid Level

Canon PowerShot SD1400IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Black)

Panasonic Lumix ZS7 12 MP 12x Zoom 3.0-Inch LCDHuge Zoom, HD video recording and excellent image quality in a form factor that slips into a pocket.

High end

Canon PowerShot SD4000 10MP 3.8x ZoomVery similar to the S95 below but inside a more traditional P&S body. You lose the slick control scheme and a tiny bit of low light performance. Neat feature: Super slow-mo videos. If you are looking for a traditional P&S form factor with excellent quality in video and stills.

Canon PowerShot S95 10 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch inch LCD
Extremely high quality images with very little noise, even at higher ISOs, almost DSLR like quality. Genius control scheme lets you have as much or as little control over manual shooting. This updated version includes HD Video.  Save and buy the S90 if you don’t care about HD video.

Waterproof

Pentax Optio W90 12.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Pistachio Green) You always sacrifice a bit of image quality but the trade off is a go anywhere do anything P&S that you don’t have to baby and can jump right into the pool with you.

Hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions.

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 Untended yards are still beautiful yards in Trogir, Croatia
 Box Canyon Tunnel on the descent from Paradise, Mt Ranier National Park Captured with the #GH5 and 12-35 f/2.8
 My niece giving me that look. From early morning family adventures in Saguaro National Park, Arizona


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