With digital camera sales slumping, retailers will be going all out to try to move some product during the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Black Friday deals on digital cameras and camcorders have already been announced by a slew of electronics stores, with Best Buy leading the charge with at least 30 cameras and camcorders going on sale at 12:00am, November 25 (and a handful available the day before on BestBuy.com).
Of course, some deals are better than others, so here are my picks for the best digital camera deals so far:
Canon EOS Rebel T3i
This is my current favorite sub-$1000 digital SLR, and since it's ripe for an update early next year (say, February or March?) camera sellers are likely looking to move their stock this holiday season. Best Buy has the best Black Friday deals on the T3i, but to get the biggest savings you'll need to buy the most expensive kit: The T3i, with two lenses (18-55mm and 55-250mm) will sell for $949.99 with an 8GB SD card, 55mm UV filter, and a bag thrown in. The same configuration is currently selling on Bestbuy.com for $1,079.96, which means you'll get a healthy savings of about $130 (Amazon currently sells the camera with those lenses for as low as $999, but you don't get the "freebies" thrown in at that price). Of course, if you don't want all the accoutrements, Amazon currently has the T3i selling for as low as $764 with just the 18-55mm lens (Best Buy will sell the single lens kit plus the SD card, UV filter, and bag for $799 on Black Friday).
Though it's been succeeded by newer models (the Sony NEX-7 and NEX-5N), the NEX-5 is still a fine option among interchangeable lens compact (ILC) cameras, with its larger APS-C-sized sensor, sleek magnesium alloy body design, and full 1080i AVCHD video capability. And it's actually the only ILC I've spotted among the Black Friday announcements so far. Best Buy will be offering the NEX-5 with an 18-55mm kit lens for $499.99--that's a good $150 less than the price at Bestbuy.com (and Amazon for that matter) at this writing. You'll be able to get the camera with an additional 16mm wide-angle lens as well as an 8GB SD card and a bag for $629.99, which is still less than the pre-sale price of the single-lens kit (sans SD card and bag).
Canon PowerShot SX230 HS
This compact megazoom is the camera I recently recommended to my brother as an all-purpose point-and-shoot. I don't mind toting around a slightly bulkier (though still pocketable) camera in exchange for the versatility of a 14x zoom lens, and the built-in GPS technology makes it easy to geotag your images. Staples is currently offering the biggest savings on the SX230, with a Black Friday price of $249.99 ($30 less than the current Staples price and more than $20 less than you can get it at Amazon or Best Buy). If you're a BJ's Wholesale club member, you can also snap it up there for $249.99 and get a bonus 8GB SD card gratis (non-members have to pay a surcharge to buy at BJs.com).
Nikon Coolpix S8100
To get even bigger savings on a compact megazoom, you can opt for the older Nikon Coolpix S8100. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the Canon SX230 (and the 10x zoom lens isn't as wide nor as long), but it's still a good camera at much bigger discount. Best Buy will be selling it for $149.99, which is a whopping half off the current selling price and a good $95 less than the lowest current price on Amazon. Best Buy will also sell the camera bundled with a battery, 8GB SD card, and case for $179.96, which it claims is a $217 savings.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570
For those on a tighter budget, this ultracompact shooter has been one of my go-to recommendations. It's simple to operate, super slim, and it's been selling for under $180 since it was released in February. Current pricing at Best Buy and Amazon is as low as $125, but you can snap it up at Best Buy for just $99.99 on Black Friday. And for another $20 they'll throw in a 4GB SD card and a case.