The post-holiday mark downs continue:
I spotted my camera — Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3 inch LCD (Black) — $50 cheaper than I paid 3 months ago. (I replaced the Casio Exilim; that 3X optical zoom wasn’t doing it for me).
Look at that giant honkin’ 12X optical zoom — that was the key for me. Its got a big ass Leica lens, nice 3″ LCD screen, and has all the bells and whistles you could want, plus HD video recording.
Its about as nice a point and shoot as I’ve ever seen.
If you want to go even cheaper, drop the video and get the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1. It has all of the same features, but without the video — $199.
I have long said that consumer electronics comes down in price not as a function of deflation (See Hackonomics, section 3), but due to the economies of scale as more consumers adapt the technology. This seems to be a classic example — 3 years ago, this was a $650 piece of hardware.