Smartphones are good enough at snapping selfies for sharing on social media. But for images worthy of preserving for posterity, a dedicated camera remains a smart purchase. Not only can most take better pictures than the average phone, some can go places your phone can't, or really shouldn't -- like anywhere near water, or in kids' hands.
Point-and-shoot cameras appeal to casual photographers who want to take nice-looking photos without a lot of fuss. They have optical zoom -- not found on phones -- and automatic settings. Even waterproof and "rugged" models are affordable now. For those who want to experiment and take their photography skills to the next level, DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) and mirrorless cameras are bulkier and more expensive but much more capable than point-and-shoots, with larger image sensors, interchangeable lenses, and the option of manual adjustment.
These 14 digital camera picks include point-and-shoots under $200 and DSLR and mirrorless cameras under $500, plus a couple of models that might be worth a little extra for some users. Generally these cameras also shoot video, and many come with wireless connectivity options that make uploading and sharing photos a snap.