Stick to mainline makers - Canon/Nikon/Sony/Olympus/Fuji/Kodak
as in this price bracket much of the stuff on offer are badged 'generic' from nameless factory's in the far east.
You could also up the value by going for 'last weeks' technology rather than the latest whiz bang on offer
Firms specialize in discontinued models at reduced prices whilst they are still on sale in the catalogues at full price
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