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Just Tell Me What To Get: Digital Camera Under $300 for Vacation

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33
A reader writes: I'm getting ready to go on vacation, and I want to bring along a small point-and-shoot digital camera. Thing is, I want the thing to be able to do a little bit of everything, so I'm willing to spend around $300. I'm mostly concerned about picture quality, fast movement, and lots of flexibility in terms of lighting situations as I'll be taking pictures both during the day and at night, inside and outside.

Hey reader: There are plenty of $300 point-and-shoot digital cameras out there, so we understand your confusion. Sounds like you need a feature-packed camera that won't break the wallet -- or the fanny pack -- for your vacation.

We recently got to play around with Panasonic's new Lumix DMC-FX33 camera, and despite the crazy confusing name, it's a great little unit. It's super small, has a big 2.5-inch screen and has plenty of scene modes for all your vacation-taking needs.

One thing that really sets this one apart is how easy it is to use. If you want to turn off the flash, just push a button. If you want to take a picture inside and don't want to think about the flash and ISO settings, just put the camera in auto mode and it will adjust everything for you. All that said, if you're a bit of a camera geek like we are, you can manually set just about everything.

What makes this camera stand out is Panasonic's use of 28mm Leica optics, which are some of the best lenses in the biz. Typically, Leica lenses are only available in much more expensive cameras.

Outside of that, this camera has all the standard features you would want in this price range. It does 8.1 megapixels, has a wide 28mm lens, uses inexpensive SD cards, does 4x optical zoom, has a macro setting (for close-up pictures of flowers and what-not), a widescreen video mode and this it's pretty quick when you need to take multiple pictures. Finally, for fashionistas, the Lumix comes in an assortment of colors: black, silver, blue, and the brown seen above.

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Tags: fx33, just tell me what to get, JustTellMeWhatToGet, lumix, panasonic, point and shoot, PointAndShoot, tell me what to get, TellMeWhatToGet, vacation

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