From the monthly archives: "March 2006"

HP Photosmart R927Design Technica have published their review of the new 8 megapixel HP Photosmart R927 – it features a 3x optical zoom lens and a large 3″ screen on the back:

“HP’s top-of-the-line R927, an 8.2-megapixel point-and-shoot camera with a 3x optical zoom. What really sets it apart is its 3-inch LCD screen, one of the largest you can get. The camera has a number of other pluses and minuses. Does the Photosmart R927 offer more plus than minus? Let’s start shooting and find out.”

Sony W50DCResource have published their review of the new 6 megapixel Sony Cybershot DSC-W50, an ultra compact digital camera, it features a 2.5″ screen, an optical viewfinder and ISO upto 1000. Available for £169 from Amazon, it appears to be very good value for money.

“The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W50 ($249) is a compact 6 Megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom lens, 2.5″ LCD display, VGA movie mode, and point-and-shoot operations. One of the other big features on the W50 is its high sensitivity mode, which can boost the ISO to 1000 for sharp, blur free photos (though we’ll check the noise levels later in the review).”

Pentax *ist DLDigital SLR Guide have published their in depth guide to the budget Pentax *ist DL Digital SLR, one of the lightest 6 megapixel digital SLRs available, it features a 2.5″ screen:

“This camera is small and light. One of the problems of owning a digital SLR camera is bulk. Digital SLRs are significantly larger than their compact cousins. Since most people’s idea of a good time doesn’t involve hauling around a 5-pound weight, digital SLR cameras get left at home a lot. If you don’t have your camera with you, how can you take spontanous photos? The *ist DL solves problem, and is a portable solution for anyone who wants the advantage of an SLR without the size and weight.” (via Digital Camera Tracker)

Pentax *ist DS2CNET have published their review of the new Pentax *ist DS2, it features a 6 megapixel sensor, and a 2.5″ screen:

“As Pentax’s top player in the tightly competitive field of consumer digital SLRs, the *ist DS2 is essentially a slightly upgraded and repackaged version of the company’s successful *ist DS. The DS2’s only significant difference from its earlier sibling is a larger color LCD, supersized from 2 inches in diameter to 2.5 inches, the new standard in prosumer digital SLRs.”

Canon A530Steves Digicams have published their review of the new Canon Powershot A540, it’s a 6 megapixel version of the Canon Powershot A520, and features a 4x optical zoom lens, a 2.5″ screen, and ISO upto 800. It’s available for £199 from Amazon:

“Canon introduces two new additions to its affordable line of point-n-shoot PowerShot cameras, the A540 and the A530. The A540 features six-megapixels of resolution together with a retractable 4x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 35-140mm (35mm equivalent) The A540 model incorporates 22 shooting modes from fully automatic to fully manual to achieve optimum results for any photographic application. The A540 is also compatible with optional wide angle and telephoto lens converters, as well as a close-up lens and a wireless flash unit.”

Canon A530Steves Digicams have published their review of the new Canon Powershot A530, it’s a 5 megapixel version of the Canon Powershot A520, and features a 4x optical zoom lens, a 2.5″ screen, and ISO upto 800. It’s available for £155 from Amazon:

“Canon introduces two new additions to its affordable line of point-n-shoot PowerShot cameras, the A540 and the A530. The A530 features five-megapixels of resolution together with a retractable 4x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 35-140mm (35mm equivalent) The A530 model incorporates 22 shooting modes from fully automatic to full manual to achieve optimum results for any photographic application. The A530 is also compatible with optional wide angle and telephoto lens converters, as well as a close-up lens and a wireless flash unit.”

Canon A430Steves Digicams have published their review of the budget Canon Powershot A430 – it features a 4 megapixel sensor, and a 4x optical zoom lens (quite rare for a budget digital camera), it’s available in four colours, and is £138 at Amazon:

“The PowerShot A430 digital camera is geared towards the entry-level photographer, it’s functional as well as intuitive for a beginning photographer. The A430 features a 4.0 megapixel CCD image sensor, 4x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 39-156mm (35mm film equivalent), 1.8-inch LCD screen, continuous shooting up to 2.3 fps, and a new widescreen 16:9 ratio setting facilitates creating panoramic-style prints.”

Nikon D200Steves Digicams have published their review of the new 10.2 megapixel Nikon D200 Digital SLR, it features a 2.5″ screen, and high speed shooting:

“The Nikon D200 is a high performance digital SLR camera designed to satisfy the requirements of demanding photographers. It combines brand new technologies with advanced features inherited from the D2X professional digital SLR camera. The D200 employs a newly developed 10.2-megapixel DX Format CCD image sensor, a sophisticated 1005-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering II system and an advanced Nikon image processing engine to render images with superb clarity and smooth color gradations. With an all new 11-area Autofocus system, robust control of Nikon’s i-TTL Creative Lighting System and advanced Wi-Fi image transmission options it’s a natural choice for wedding, event and action photographers.”

Panasonic LX1Cameras.co.uk have published their review of the 8.4 megapixel Panasonic Lumix LX1, it features a wide angle 4x optical zoom lens, a 2.5″ screen and 16:9 aspect ratio shooting. It’s available from £335 from Amazon:

“The Panasonic DMC LX1 is an eight megapixel digital camera with a four times optical zoom lens. One of the big attractions of the DMC LX1 is the fact its lens is capable of taking wide angle shots. It should be noted that the there are times when the full eight megapixels are not available. These are important restrictions and are covered in more depth in the features part of this review.”

Read my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 Review

Out of FocusSome digital cameras are bad, and you can tell before you’ve even felt one in your hand, for example, you’ve never heard of the brand, and it may have a tiny lens with no optical zoom, although most of the time you will need to see it before you can tell. Some you can tell the instant you pick it up and start taking photos with it, for example, if it seems to take a very long time to focus, or if it takes several attempts before you manage to get a shot in focus, then you can tell straight away that the camera has focusing and speed issues.

In fact, in some cases, you can see before you start taking pictures, you can see on the screen that the colours look wrong, the frame rate of the screen is choppy and the menu system may look basic, or poorly organised. You can see the image quality on screen after taking the photo, and if normal portrait flash photos look washed out then you can tell the camera might be a poor camera.

If you go to a shop you should be able to try out at least one camera, and ideally two or three, while you’re trying these out you should instantly be able to tell which is quicker, which has a nicer screen, which feels more comfortable, which menu system you prefer, and hopefully, if the camera’s screen is up to the task, you should be able to see which camera produces the nicer images during your limited testing in the store. It will be easier to choose the better one if one of them is noticably worse than the other, but if the cameras are very similar, and both high quality then it may be more difficult, and you may need to make your choice based on features, or price.

Using the internet before hand, you can narrow down your ideal camera(s), and view numerous sample images to check whether the image quality is satisfactory for you – if you are likely to print your photos, then print some sample photos from the internet. Even after reading all the reviews in the world, you still won’t know what the camera feels like until you’ve actually felt it in your hands! If there are no reviews available, due to the camera just being released, then a shop visit is highly recommended to check the camera prior to purchase!

Panasonic Lumix LS2Just because a digital camera might be a budget camera, doesn’t mean it has be a bad camera or lack features – take the budget camera from Panasonic, the Lumix DMC-LS2, as an example, it’s just been released and features a 5 megapixel sensor, a 3x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation and a 2″ screen. Recently reviewed by us – we recommend it as the best budget digital camera currently available. Read the full Panasonic Lumix LS2 Review.

If you are on a tight budget, then UK shoppers can have a look at Fujifilm’s Refurb Shop. For more suggestions, have a look at our digital camera reviews by rating, or Top Digital Cameras Reviewed to Date. Once you’ve bought one, why not have a look at How to use a Point and Shoot, or have a look at our guide to digital camera memory cards.