Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10 great point and shoot cameras under $200

Okay, so now I'm starting to post some new kinds of topics. Today, I have a list of really good point-and-shoot cameras, also called 'compact cameras' by some, for people on a tight budget. Also, I say that you check the date this article was published, since it could be out of date if you are a reader from the future. Hello, reader of the future! This is 2010.

10. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S2100:

The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-S2100 is a pure entry-level compact, with very few features, but it is worth its price though, as it does take some decent-quality pictures.

One drawback is that it uses AA size batteries, not rechargeable ones, but because its AA, it's still fine, as it is available everywhere. However, this camera is only for the very casual, maybe beginner photographer, who doesn't need to take that many pictures. Also, be ready to feel the strong lack of any features beyond the very, very basic ones.

12.1 megapixels is fine, but resolution is not the only thing you should be considering when buying a new camera.

9. Canon PowerShot A495:

This PowerShot is really good at taking high quality photos, but doesn't have as many features. Still, it's perfect for its price. This is what a cheap compact camera should be. Another notable thing about the PowerChot A495 is that its auto mode is very reliable. Thus, this may be a perfect camera for a beginner photographer, or just someone who isn't that good at taking photos.

However, this camera doesn't have a very good, high-resolution LCD screen. But what's the matter, it's just the screen that'd bad you can live with it. The A495 apparently doesn't even have a very good battery life too, and its shutter is slow too.

Thus, go for the PowerShot A495 if you are on a budget, plus you want excellent photo quality in a pocket camera, and also being easy to operate, but only if you can live with the low-res screen, short battery life and slow shooting.

8. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20:

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20 packs together a good design (also being available in various snazzy colours), and fantastic photo quality along with superb zoom and a mediocre to high feature set. The auto mode on this Lumix is very reliable too. Plus, it is available from Amazon at just $135 (though maybe it won't be visible in the link on the right). I was really surprised.

There are not many cons in this camera too. The only minus point, which probably is the one bringing the price down, is the basic feature set. For some people, like photo enthusiasts, the features on this killer budget point and shoot may be too limiting. Plus, there is no HDMI out on this one. 

Go for it if you are looking for a perfect compact camera for your pocket for casual picnic shooting, which has amazing photo quality and bang for the buck.

7. Nikon Coolpix L22:

This Coolpix is a perfect, casual photo companion. Talking about bang for the buck, reliable and mediocre though bearable images, this is a good camera for you, on a budget.

The camera has lots of cool colours and a perfect design that allows you to hold it pretty easily. Plus, it's made almost entirely of plastic and doesn't have a very cheap feel to it. It is easy to use. The menus are navigable by anyone, right out of the box and the buttons on the top are pretty accessible and easy to operate.

Shutter speed is pretty good for a budget camera, and it has some advanced features hiding in there. It has smile and face detection, and it focuses real fast, provided that lighting is good. The movie recording mode is very bare, and despite selection between video sizes, there is no HD here. Apparently, indoor photos are not of optimal quality.

6. Canon PowerShot A3100 IS:

Canon's PowerShot A3100 IS is a camera with notable image quality being a point-and-shoot. Moreover, it is a budget camera, designed to be pocketable. It even has an optical photo stabilization, not the fake digital one, so say goodbye to blurry photos, on such a cheap camera.

Anyway, this PowerShot is not so great when speaking about features, and  it also has a bit of a cheap feel to it, even compared to its low price. It has abandoned the requirement of AA batteries from the series and uses a good rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

It has no optical viewfinder, which is not a problem, though. And it is designed to be an idiot-proof camera that is easy and fun to use. This PowerShot has some good photo effects. Using it may be a bit hard at first, but it has a negligible learning curve. It can be operated fast and easily by anyone after a little use beforehand.

5. Kodak EasyShare C182:

This Kodak camera is really, really cheap. But still, it is getting really positive reviews. It is a great camera, for anyone, actually.

It doesn't have a rechargeable battery included, but comes with a 4GB memory card. It takes amazing photos, has loads of settings to take almost any kind of photo, and is easy to carry around.

It has a big screen, but unfortunately, it does not play the sound in a video on the camera. You can hear everything only after you put the videos onto your computer. It is not that stylish, but it's a real bang for the buck.

This Kodak even has a panorama stitching feature. But it is not as good as the one on my CyberShot DSC TX-5. You take three photos and it stitches them together, unlike my CyberShot which automatically clicks over 100 snaps as it is swept across the scene and automatically stitches them together.

4. Sony's CyberShot DSC-W370:

This one's a bit pricey, but does stay within the $200 as in the title. As understood from the price, this one's fantastic. It's a good camera in terms of ease of use. Really. Note that. Plus, it has a 7X zoom, which is amazing. All these specs in so less a price? Yes, it's a real value for money.

The only problems: It is not good at shooting in low-light conditions. And, it also does not shoot very fast. 

But overall, it's a cheap camera with some killer features. Apart from the megazoom, it has HDMI output, so you can instantly connect with an HDTV, plus it even shoots video in HD. It has amazing video quality, with a perfect mic placement for perfect audio capturing. The intelligent auto-mode detection, good burst mode, among other features I won't cover here account for some really positive reviews.

3. Panasonic Lumix DMC-F2K:

Panasonic's Lumix DMC-F2K is a good camera, not at all pricey, and has tons of features packed into it. It takes really good-quality photos, at 10 megapixels.

It does not have a big zoom, just 4X, but the other features really compensate it. It has good shutter speed, and also fast focussing. 

The body has a good design, comes in good colours, and is easily pocketable, being slim and light. It's a perfect camera for everyone. And it saves your pocket from getting too light.

2. Samsung SL40:

Another notable camera for its features and quality packed in such a low-price pack. It has a rather simplistic design, and doesn't come in as many colours as a Sony Vaio laptop, but still, the features and photo quality compensates very well.

This camera's slim, and light too. It has a standard resolution video shooting, and no HD. But really, it's worth saying that the photos are really clear, vibrant, crisp and sharp.

Advanced photo shooting features include digital (oh, no optical) image stabilization, and face detection.

1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR3:

Panasonic's Lumix DMC-ZR3 is certainly a notable camera. Though it is a bit pricey, it is worth it. Note that this camera may go way out of $200 at most retailers, but Amazon is giving it away at $199, so I include it in this top-10.

This Lumix is a 14 megapixel beast, with a 7X zoom. It also has a really wide range of shooting modes, a 40 MB of internal storage and reliable auto-mode. It detects any scene in front of it. It has 720p HD video recording, plus the menus are very easy to use. Some users may find a bit of a learning curve here.

The Lumix DMC-ZR3 even has a travel mode, which allows you to program the location of where you are travelling to, so that it does not mess up the date and time.

It has a great design, comes in fabulous colours, and it's really slim, at just an inch. It even comes with HDMI output.

So that's it for this top-10. I hope you have a good buying experience. Do subscribe to my blog as a token of appreciation. See this page for your options.