Take a look at the Kodac Z712. I've not used this camera myself but it's worth a look based on specs and price..
MaddogOlympus E-500, Olympus E-510..
Did you mean to say "manual focus" rather than "manual zoom"? I don't know of any point-and-shoot class camera with manual zoom. Would be a nice feature for video mode however..
Even manual focus is a challenge in the P&S market. I just bought a Canon S3, mostly on the strength of it's manual focus feature. Though other "bridge" or "SLR-like" P&S cameras also feature manual focus..
Here is another thread that gets into the basic stuff for selecting a P&S camera -.
The 'usual suspects' are :.
- Fuji S6000/6500 ( very nice ).
- Fuji S9100/9600 ( in some ways more sophisticated, but not to put you off the S6500 ).
-both the Fujis perform very well in low light, although not up to DSLR standards- no IS on the Fujis ( which is not actually a necessity, although useful )..
There is a cheaper Fuji model called teh S700 ( or S5700 in some places ) which is well featured, has no IS, but is a viable option if you are on a budget..
- Canon S3 or S5 - smaller than the Fuji's, generally good, not quite as good in low light.
- Panasonic FZ8 or FZ18- poor at low light and any ISO above 200- good IS and lens, great in good light.
Not a fan of Kodaks myself - reviews seem to indicate issues with image quality the others deal with better. You can check these out yourself..
I have an S9600 and like it. It's a great all rounder. The S6500 is quite similar and not at all compromised. I've not used an S3 or S5, but I have not read a bad review of them. The Panasonics would not suit me as I obsess a bit about noise in images, however, a lot of people are very happy with them, so please balance my view against that. I have not seen a review of the Fuji S700/S5700 so you are on your own there - it gets reasonable comments from the use community..
Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..
There are a bazillion digital cameras to choose from, as you've noticed..
From my thinking, they fall into three very rough categories, each aimed at a particular market..
ONE: Compact (and ultra-compact) point and shoot, designed for people who really couldn't care less about photography in and of itself. They want to take pictures of friends and family, have them printed at walmart, and maybe email them to others. These are usually fully automatic only and perform poorly in even modestly challenging situations..
TWO: The so-called "prosumer" cameras. These cameras offer most of the features that DSLRs offer, but without the removable lens. These cameras are designed for people who appreciate photography as more than a means to take snapshots of birthday parties. These camera give good results, even in fairly challenging situations. They have lenses that are quite versatile, yielding decent wide angle and some with very long telephoto. The biggest downside is sensor noise especially in poor lighting.
An important consideration since you're stuck with the lens that was designed for it. But if you aren't *too* demanding, most prosumer models will satisfy..
THREE: DSLRs. These cameras offer the best quality images, excellent low-light capability, and, of course, any number of lenses of wide ranging quality. The main downside to DSLRs is the cost and weight. All DSLRs have fully automatic modes that make them behave like prosumer cameras albeit with better results due to their larger sensors, superior metrics like low shutter lag, better AF, etc. and if you spring for them, the better glass..
Of course, there's a lot of overlap in these three categories as I've described them. But this is a decent overall categorization of what the market is doing in commonly-available digital cameras. Brand of DSLR isn't that important. Each brand does something better than the next brand..
Before your son can begin to narrow down the field, he must first decide which type of photographer he is from above: one, two, or three..
Well, ok then, I just noticed the under $300 requirement. That pretty much scotches any DSLR and a fair number of prosumer models as well..
The three major categories is till a good starting point for anyone trying to decide what to buy, however..
He's trying to stay under $300.00 and wantsthe ability to use a Manual Zoom feature with a zoom of 10x or more.Any suggestions, advise, etc. would be greatly appreciated!.
I would strongly encourage staying with the manual zoom feature. However, the lowest-priced models I've seen with that feature are close to $450 (Fujifilm S9100, Panasonic DMS-FZ50). Though it doesn't have the zoom reach your son is looking for, the Samsung GX-1S (a DSLR) might be worth considering as it's currently selling on Amazon for $350 (includes kit lens and free shipping)...