Top 5 Best Cameras Under $100


Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines — Francesca @ 1:51 pm

You can’t really put a price on fond and once-in-a-lifetime moments, but if there’s one thing that you CAN budget, it’s HOW you capture these priceless memories. Most people on a budget aren’t looking for big fancy cameras worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. If you’re the type who’s looking for a simple, affordable (but decent) point-and-shoot camera, then you’re in luck.

Below is a list of cheap cameras that still rank high in reviews, despite their price.

1. Nikon Coolpix S570 – The Coolpix series has been around for quite some time now, and for good reason.  (No, it isn’t Ashton Kutcher.) Not only is it affordable, with a starting price of $74.99, but it’s also proven to be one of best designed cameras in the market. According to CNET, the Nikon Coolpix S570 “is a solid camera” with respectable lens specifications and nice wide-angle lens with 5x zoom for people who really want to get close. The camera is recommended for landscapes and still photographs, and has been found to do well for portraits and pedestrian shooting.

2. Kodak EasyShare M580 – Users are praising this device because of its wide lens (28mm equivalent) with an 8x zoom. It has an image sensor type of 14 mega pixels, and it also has a 3-inch LCD, which is pretty huge for its category. Don’t let these “big” features fool you though, because the Kodak EasyShare M580 is still very compact, being only 4 inches wide, 2.3 inch tall, and 1 inch deep. It’s also pfairly easy to navigate, so you won’t’ have a lot of trouble customizing its settings. The Kodak EasyShare M580 is available at several websites, with a starting price of $79.99.

3. Canon PowerShot A1200 – Despite being labeled as “slow” at times, the Canon PowerShot A1200 is still a worthy contender in the compact digicam market. According to its CNET review, the device is great when shooting still subjects and can produce vibrant and sharp photos at and below ISO 200. The site furthers that, “at ISO 400, a sensitivity regularly used for shooting indoors without flash, photos get softer-looking, but noise and noise suppression are well balanced making 4×6 prints possible.” If you’re looking for a decent point-and-shoot camera that’s easy on the budget, be sure to check out this camera. Pricing starts at $87.00.

4. Casio Exilim EX-Z16 – Looking for a cheap but stylish camera? Then this device could shoot up to the top of your list. The Casio Exilim EX-716 isn’t just all about style, though. According to About.com, this device, albeit being inexpensive, still has a sharp and bright LCD without the screen glare that’s usually found in other cheap cameras. It has a resolution of 12.1 megapixels, has a 2.7-inch LCD, and can produce fairly high-quality photos in decent lighting. Planning to get one? Pricing starts at $69.00

5. Fujifilm FinePix JV200 – For a camera with a starting price of just $84.98, this device sure is packed with a lot of cool features. The Fujifilm FinePix JV200 has a 14-megapixel CCD sensor and 2.7-inch, 230K-resolution LCD. It also allows you to shoot HD video at 720p HD and share it on any HD-ready TV. When it comes to taking photos, Fuji threw in a few cool features including Smile/Blink detection, Red-eye romaval, and i-Flash Intelligent Flash that controls the flash level for a given exposure. It also has a Motion Panorama Mode that “automatically stitches up to three shots to create a panoramic picture.”

Image credit: Shermeee on Flickr

Your Complete Guide to Buying Cheap Eyeglasses


Filed under: Blogroll — Francesca @ 3:46 pm

If you’re required to wear eyeglasses, learning that you need an upgrade probably isn’t the best news. Getting a new pair of eyeglasses from optometrists and well-known lens stores can send you back several hundreds of dollars, and that’s not even counting add-ons like anti-reflective or polarized sun lenses.

If you just found out that you need yet another pair of eyeglasses, don’t reach deep into your pocket just yet. The CheapStuff Team did a little research and uncovered a couple of ways for consumers to buy cheap eyeglasses. Curious? Then put on your glasses and read on.

1. Get them online – Do a little surfing on the Internet and you’ll find that you can get a decent pair of eyeglasses for as low as $20! No, it’s not a scam, and you won’t get second-rate products either. According to Farhad Manjoo of Slate.com, eyeglasses are so affordable over the Internet because of cheap overhead costs. The truth is, a lot of eyeglasses sold in the US are made in China and are sold at really low prices. However, optometrists and lens stores add a lot of fees, which cause that low price to shoot up. Manjoo furthered that when you’re purchasing eyeglasses in these places, “you’re paying mainly for rent, labor, marketing, designer licensing fees, and a huge markup.” Websites don’t need to add these many costs, because online retailers usually work directly with lens and frame manufacturers. Manjoo writes that, “When you place an order, lenses that fit your prescription are cut and molded into your frame, then shipped directly to you. The price competition between online retailers keeps markups low, too.”

Thinking of purchasing your next pair of eyeglasses online? You have to complete a few steps first. Matthew Haughey of 43Folders.com states that first thing you have to do is to get your measurements. Head to your eye doctor and get an eye exam to receive the most up-to-date prescription. He said to also ask for your pupil distance measurement which involves “looking through a binoculars-like device that measures the distance between your pupils.” Once you get your measurements, be sure to write them down, and keep them handy when you’re shopping.

Additionally, Haughey mentioned that it would be beneficial if you had the exact measurements of the type of eyeglasses that you want.  In his case, Haughey “took millimeter measurements of all aspects of my old glasses: lens height, lens width, length of bridge (distance between lenses), total width of lenses plus bridge, and the length of the side arms.”

Once you have all your measurements, head to an online lens store, and pick the style that you want. Add in your prescription details, and include additional options (i.e. high-index lenses, non-glare coatings, anti-reflective coating, etc). Once you’re done, enter your shipping details and you’re good to go.

2. Try Walmart or Costco – If you’re not comfortable with purchasing eyeglasses that you haven’t touched or tried on yourself, then you could head to the optical department of stores like Costco and Walmart. These shops may be relatively pricier than online retailers, but they’re still cheaper than what your optometrist would charge.

Image credit: GoRun26 on Flickr

Hidden Gems: Where to Find Watches and Jewelry That You Can Afford


Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines — Francesca @ 3:42 pm

Whether you’re looking for everyday-wear jewelry or some bling for special occasions such as weddings, exclusive events, or romantic dates (hey, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner), it pays to know where to shop. A lot of jewelry retailers have outrageously high prices that can leave people with the feeling that they can’t get a decent rock for a good price. However, great deals on jewelry and watches are just around the corner (sometimes literally). You don’t have to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for lovely rings, bracelets, or watches. Simply widen your horizons and think outside the box and you’ll find great bling for low prices. Not sure where to start? Here are few ideas:

1. Wholesale Websites – A quick Google search for “wholesale jewelry and watches” will lead you to a bunch of great websites that offer precious items at cheap rates. Banggood.com for instance, a wholesale based in China, has a wide selection of watches and jewelry with prices starting at less than a dollar! Additionally, the more items you buy, the lower the cost. For instance, one of their products, a copper crown pocket watch has a unit price of $2.99. However, buy 3, 5, or 10 units and the price will go down to $2.70, $2.61, and $2.54, respectively. Of course, a lot of wholesale websites are based overseas, so minimal shipping and custom charges may apply.

2. Jewelry District – Not comfortable with dealing with wholesale sellers online? Don’t worry, they exist in the “real” world as well. In Los Angeles, for example, there’s an area in Downtown called the Jewelry or “Diamond” District wherein several jewelry stores sell their items a wholesale prices. The great thing about this place is that customers can see and touch jewelry for themselves before making a purchase. Trying to determine which shops should you go to and which stores could possibly rip you off? It would be helpful to ask an experienced friend to accompany you. When inside a store, also ask the staff about the business (i.e. how long have they been in business, where they get their items etc.) Better yet, why not bring an independent appraiser with you? That way, you can really know if you’re purchasing the real thing. Does your city have a jewelry district of its own? Make it a point to head over there. You never know what you’re going to find.

4. Neighborhood Jewelry Shops – Every neighborhood has a “jewelry shop around the corner,” and you should really consider paying yours a visit. A lot of independent jewelry stores offer items at prices far below retail. Then there’s the loyalty factor. If you have already an independent jeweler of choice, then be sure to consistently go to them when it comes to your jewelry needs. Let them clean your jewelry on a regular basis. Refer friends. Window shop every once in a while. Once they get familiar with you, they’ll be more inclined to give you a discount.

Indeed, when it comes to affordable jewelry and watches, know that there are a lot of hidden gems out there. It may take some digging, but that effort will surely pay off once you find great pieces that actually agree with your budget.

Image credit: Etereal9 on Flickr