Cameras, the average, the great, and the cheap


What do you look for in a camera?

  1. Digital Zoom

    0 vote(s)
  2. Optical Zoom

  3. Megapixels

  4. Width of the Lense

  5. ISO Coverage

  6. HD Recording

  7. Survivability (Water proof, drop proof etc.)

  8. Brands

  9. Price

  10. The type of preview screen

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
By ETF Soldier · 21 replies
Jun 24, 2012
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  1. Fellow Techspot members, as of late, I've been doing a fair bit of research regarding what makes a camera good, and I've been looking around for cheap deals. Now many of you would have had different cameras and been told different things, so, a collective summerisation of cameras would really help me decide what one to get coming this July!

    To get this started, I've heard many mixed reviews about Canon, Panasonic and Sony, Canon and Panasonic primarily being camera companies, and Sony being a technological tree branching into everything, what would you say gives them the best experience?
  2. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,672   +413

    @ Todays prices, I can't afford one so I use google or Desktop Nexus for pictures.
  3. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Hi Very difficult to answer in a few sentences, and it depends on how much you want to spend and what you are taking photo's of.
    Not much point in reading the camera maker's websites, as they all claim to be the best.
    It divides down to 4 groups.
    *Compact (pocket) cameras,
    *Bridge, zoom lens cameras,
    *DSLR interchangeable lens cameras
    and *Video cameras.
    All the top brands make very good 'kit' now and all are very similar to each other in each range.
    Any camera with over 6 megapixels sensor is very capable, and a very useful feature is more than 3x zoom.
    Pictures intended for websites need very low specs, and even a 3MP camera is good enough.
    It's the quality of the lens that governs the quality of the photos, and I know several people with Panasonic Lumix cameras who are very pleased with the results they get.
    If you want a camera that is 'power-on and shoot' then you might find many cameras around have far too many buttons and menus. Also the saying that 'you get what you pay for', applies very much to cameras.
    If you will need very close up photo's, (macro) many cameras are poor at that, if you can try a camera, take a photo of a coin at 2cm, look at the image and zoom in, is it sharp?
    I read this site for fair reports;
    Hope that helps.
  4. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Snapsort is a fun site to use for comparing cameras.
  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    I look for cameras with PAS (Preferred Aperture Setting). This almost always gives point
    the Point-n-Shoot automatic as a default but manual controls for those hard shots
    like low light conditions where flash is forbidden (museums and art galleries) and
    a control name Scenes (snow, beach, sports, portraits).

    I recently purchased a Panasonic Z58 Lumix which I took to London in May - -
    easy to use and flip between modes.
  6. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Again, difficult to say what to look for since it depends on type of photography you are interested in.
    I've had my first non point and shoot camera for just over a year now, a Sony Nex 5.
    What I learned quickly is that megapixels isn't everything. I'd say "Sensor size" is a major factor to consider as it can determine image quality more than just "megapixels" alone.

    I'd recommend for detailed reviews and analysis of cameras. And for help picking a camera for your needs...

    As far as brand goes, Sony make sensors for their cameras and Nikon cameras. Panasonic doesn't seem to offer anything in high end (DSLR prosumer cameras) but has a very capable line up of compact and Micro 4/3rd consumer cameras, and Canon make their own sensors and cameras. Most DSLR camera users go Canon or Nikon due to the large availability of a large range of lenses for them, but there are Pentax, Sony and other brands to consider too.
  7. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 463   +136

    What I'M looking for is a digital camera under £100, with a decent optical zoom and 720p+ video capture. What I'm aiming to photograph isn't anywhere near the standards of professional photography, things like messing around with friends, nature walks (A big passion and hobby of mine) and museums, and I guess I'm shooting quite high, but I knew there are some out there! My Dad/family's camera is a Kodak EasyShare C195, 14.1MP, 5X optical zoom and a decent video recording (I'm not sure if it's HD) and I have my sights set on 2 particular digital cameras, the Panasonic DMC-FS40EB-K which meets the criteria I'm looking for, but the chassis of the Camera doesn't look that sturdy, but on a more expensive Sony DSCW630 which looks all round appealing, with a slightly higher 16.1MP, but a smaller 2.7" screen rather than a 3.0 on the Panasonic, and it has a brush metal chassis (From what I can tell) which I know from experience is very good at avoiding environmental mishaps. But I can't decide on either of them, or if anyone knows of a cheaper, or more-your-money model.

    Kodak EasyShare C195 -

    Panasonic DMC-DS40EB-K -

    Sony DSCW630 -
  8. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Hi, The only camera I can find with these specs is the Lumix S5, in fact there are many similar but not at the £100 limit.
    In fact I was surprised how few cameras of any type are under £100, excluding budget 'no frills' cameras.
    This is on sale 29 June 12 for £99 and the specs are all there,
    It's probably worth trying out a few of these in a shop, and one important point to look out for is the type of battery, and how many photo's it will take, on one charge. Take the maker's figure and divide by 3 for real world use.
    (I only use cameras with AA NiMH, and I get the 2700mA types too.)
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    If you want something good without the complicated learning curve of a DSLR then I really recommend one of the Canon SX IS line. I have a 6MP S3IS which is probably 6 or 7 years old now (before they went to the sx line, but same family), and it has a 12x optical zoom and it is fantastic. I have a 12MP much slimmer Sanyo that is maybe 3 years old, but if you compare pictures of the same thing between them, the Canon looks much better even though its half the MP. A good lens, and like Arris said, a good sensor make all the difference.
  10. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 463   +136

    It would be very helpful if any of you could post a picture of something you've taken with your camera, and list the model, just so I can get a good feel of it?
  11. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Do a search on for the model number and you'll find loads of pictures taken with that camera :)
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I don't want to do that with mine, because mine is old and there are far better cameras out now. But it does seem a bit lazy of you to ask. Arris already pointed you to which is a very thorough site and has sample images, and thats on top of him recommending you use flickr too.
  13. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Hi, I don't own any of the cameras you are interested in, as I use Fuji cameras only.
    Here is a photo I took in 2009, it was taken at 7MP, but I won't upload the original file, this is a reduced size, to 800x600 pixels.
    ( I believe you can click on the thumbnail to get the full image.)
    The camera is my spare, an S5700. This camera is a 'bridge' type, so has a better zoom lens than the compact type, and will go to 10x if needed. Pitts_spl.
  14. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Unfortunately don't seem to be much on Flickr from either of those cameras but this one ( ) from W630 looks very good for a compact CCD sensor camera. Just noticed that there is a new W690 with 10X optical zoom on sale at Amazon at the moment for £130. Maybe worth the £30 for the newer, better tech/lens camera.

    I have to say, the sweep panorama is excellent for capturing views when out hiking/nature walks. I have the feature in the Sony Nex camera and although I don't use it as much as I should it's a nice feature to have available.
  15. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 463   +136

    I checked Flickr, and it really wasn't that great, and I've done a lot of independent research beforehand.
  16. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Here is a review of the Panasonic FS40, with sample photo's.

    Here is a review of the Sony with some sample photo's.

    My cameras are Fuji S5700 & HS10 which both use 4x AA which give over 10 amps of battery life, and from previous experience, it's the battery which is the weak point in many cameras. It would be a really good idea to have a charged up spare to carry around, aside from the laughable prices that LI-ON batteries cost now.
  17. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 463   +136

    I'm pretty much settled on the Panasonic Lumix FS35 :)
    Arris likes this.
  18. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Looking forward to seeing some pictures once you, hope it's everything you were looking for in a camera ;)
    ETF Soldier likes this.
  19. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Got the camera yet ETF? Any feedback?
    Been looking to pickup a replacement for my fiancée's old Panasonic which was dropped a while back and recently died.
    Looking at FS35, SZ1 and SZ7. I'd opt for the SZ7 with a MOS sensor over CCD sensors but have a feeling she would prefer the lesser sensor and the camera in purple :)
  20. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 463   +136

    Thank you for your interest :)
    It is my birthday today, and I ordered it on amazon's express delivery, should be here tomorrow, but it may come while I'm out, so I'll definitely have some pictutres and feedback by tomorrow!
    Arris likes this.
  21. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    ETF Soldier likes this.
  22. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 463   +136

    Just uploading some pictures of my new puppy that we got out of the blue 2 days after I got my camera! :D
    Arris likes this.

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