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Some would say, including me, that 2012 has been one of the most exciting years for the photography and digital camera industry, while the low-end compact camera market has been in decline due to the improvement and adoption of smartphones (such as the amazing Nokia PureView 808), there has been increasing improvements in pocket zoom cameras, ultra zoom bridge cameras, Digital SLRs and mirrorless cameras.

Bang for buck or value for money has been at it’s highest ever, with compact 10x optical zoom lens cameras available for £99 with optical image stabilisation, such as the Panasonic Lumix SZ1. Previous years you were unlikely to get such a high level of optical zoom from a branded camera for under £100.

Canon Powershot SX50 HS

Bridge cameras have reached the highest level of optical zoom ever – first with the 42x optical zoom lens Nikon Coolpix P510 (equivalent to 24 to 1000mm), then with the even more incredible 50x optical zoom lens Canon Powershot SX50 HS (equivalent to 24 to 1200mm!). WOW!

Nikon D800 Front

Digital SLRs have seen a big refresh from all of the major manufacturers, with full-frame Digital SLRs from Nikon (3), Canon (3), and Sony (1), with Nikon and Canon both offering professional high speed DSLRs the Nikon D4 and Canon EOS 1D X, mid-range professional DSLRs the 36.3 megapixel Nikon D800 (and D800E) and Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and new entry level full-frame Digital SLRs, the Nikon D600 and Canon EOS 6D. Sony recently introduced the full-frame Sony Alpha A99 with continuous AF during video.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Black

More mirrorless cameras have been introduced this year than ever before, with models from all the major manufacturers, with very few left out, in fact with those that haven’t joined the market suffered, with Kodak leaving the digital camera market for example. New models have been introduced by Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Fujifilm, Sony, including new weather-sealed models from Olympus, with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic, with the Panasonic Lumix GH3.

Next year should be exciting, with CES 2013 kicking off the year, where it’s usual for a whole new camera range to be introduced, particularly in the consumer of point and shoot range.

Panasonic Lumix S5
ePHOTOzine has reviewed the compact and budget priced Panasonic Lumix S5 – with a curved compact body it looks a lot like a bar of soap – and is available in a number of colours for around £80. It features a 16 megapixel sensor, 4x optical zoom lens and optical image stabilisation. Here’s what they had to say about it:

“The Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 is a budget camera that has Optical Image Stabilisation and auto panorama stitching, two features you don’t often see on cameras in this price range. It is easy to use and image quality is good.”

Read more Panasonic Lumix S5 Reviews: Cameras.co.uk

Nikon Coolpix L310
ePHOTOzine has reviewed the budget Nikon Coolpix L310 bridge camera, with 21x optical zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor, 720p video recording, and 3 inch screen. The Nikon Coolpix L310 is available for £113 from Amazon UK. Here’s what they have to say about it:

“It’s unusual to see a budget super-zoom camera with such good rubber grip, there is also a lens cap and a metal tripod socket, thumbs up to Nikon there.”

Read more Nikon Coolpix L310 Reviews: On Amazon UK

Fujifilm FinePix JV300 WhiteBoots are selling the Fujifilm FinePix JV300 for £59. Alternatively it’s available for £44 from Amazon UK. It’s your bog standard entry level camera with a 3x optical zoom lens, 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 2.7 inch screen, built in flash, etc but it’s available in lots of colours: blue, pink, red, white, black and purple. It’s also got motion panorama, and 720p video, a lithium ion battery and a 5cm macro mode which is pretty good for a budget camera. You can even buy it from Sainsburys for £39 (offer expires on the 23rd of October). Also check out our guide to memory cards – it’s just been updated!

Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm Lens UnitHere’s a roundup of the latest Ricoh digital cameras, along with links to reviews worth checking out:

Ricoh CX Series: (latest at top)
Ricoh CX6, 10.7x optical zoom lens compact – ePHOTOzine
Ricoh CX5, 10.7x optical zoom lens compact – ePHOTOzine
Ricoh CX4, 10.7x optical zoom lens compact – DigiCamReview, ePHOTOzine
Ricoh CX3, 10.7x optical zoom lens compact – DigiCamReview
Ricoh CX2, 10.7x optical zoom lens compact – DigiCamReview
Ricoh CX1, 7.1x optical zoom lens compact – DigiCamReview

Ricoh GR Digital Cameras:
Ricoh GR Digital IV, 28mm f/1.9 lens compact – ePHOTOzine
Ricoh GR Digital III, 28mm f/1.9 lens,  compact – ePHOTOzine
Ricoh GR Digital II, 28mm f/2.4, 2.7inch screen compact – ePHOTOzine, Serious Compacts, ThinkCamera
Ricoh GR Digital I, 28mm, f/2.4 lens, 2.5inch screen compact – DigiCamReview

The Ricoh GXR cameras:
New: Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm f/3.5 – ePHOTOzine (shown above)
Ricoh GXR A12 28mm f/2.5 – ePHOTOzine
Ricoh GXR P10 28-300mm zoom – ePHOTOzine
Ricoh GXR Leica M Mount – ePHOTOzine
Ricoh GXR 24-72, 50mm f/2.5 – ePHOTOzine

Other Ricoh Cameras:
Ricoh PX, budget waterproof – ePHOTOzine, £87 Amazon UK

Fujifilm FinePix S2980The Fujifilm FinePix S2980 is an update to the popular S2950, the S2980’s number one feature is undoubtedly the price – available for just £95 from Amazon UK, it features a black design that makes it look a lot like a mini Digital SLR, it’s other features are:

  • 14 megapixel sensor
  • 18x optical zoom lens
  • equivalent to 28mm – 504mm
  • 3 inch LCD screen
  • Electronic Viewfinder
  • CMOS shift image stabilisation
  • P/A/S/M Manual modes
  • Panoramic shooting
  • 720p video at 30fps

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Here’s a round-up of the latest digital camera announcements over the last few weeks, as well as the latest announcements:

Pentax X-5 Silver FrontPentax:
Pentax X-5 – the 26x optical zoom ultra zoom that looks like a Digital SLR

Canon EOS-M Mirrorless CameraCanon:
Canon EOS-M – Canon’s 18 megapixel APS-C sensor mirrorless camera with new EOS-M mount and 2 lenses, plus an EOS adapter. Due October the 19th and has a 3inch touchscreen – available for pre-order from Amazon UK
Canon Powershot SX500 IS – 30x optical zoom, Ultra zoom
Canon Powershot SX160 IS – 16x optical zoom

Nikon Coolpix S800c Android CameraNikon
Nikon Coolpix S01 – credit card sized, small sensor, 7.3gb internal memory!
Nikon Coolpix S6400 – 12x optical zoom lens compact camera, 3inch touch screen
Nikon Coolpix S800c – Android (2.3) powered camera with Wi-Fi and GPS, allows the use of apps, games etc, pictured above, it features a 10x optical zoom lens and full HD video recording.
Nikon Coolpix P7700 – f2-4 7.1x optical zoom lens, RAW shooting, manual controls
Nikon Coolpix L610 – 14x optical zoom, 16 megapixel sensor, Full HD video
Nikon 1 J2 – Nikon’s mirrorless camera updated with new effects, colour options, a smaller lens and an optional waterproof case.

Olympus SP-820UZ BlackOlympus:
Olympus SP-820UZ – 40x optical zoom
Olympus VH-410 – 5x optical zoom lens, compact, 3inch touch screen, image stabilisation

Casio Exilim ZR300 RedCasio:
Casio Exilim JE10 – 5x optical zoom, multiple colours
Casio Exilim N1, N10, N20 – 5x optical zoom, multiple colours / body designs
Casio Exilim ZR300 – 12.5x optical zoom, high speed shooting, shown above.

Fujifilm FinePix F800EXRFujifilm:
Fujifilm FinePix F800EXR – 20x optical zoom, Wireless image transfer

Here’s a round-up of some of the latest digital camera reviews:

Sony Cybershot RX100

Serious Compact:
Sony Cybershot RX100 – 20.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens.

Digital SLR:
Pentax K-30 – 16 megapixel weather proof DSLR

Mirrorless / Compact System Camera:
Samsung NX1000 – with WiFi

Waterproof:
Canon Powershot D20 – 5x optical zoom lens
Panasonic Lumix FT4 – 4.6x optical zoom
Fujifilm FinePix XP170 – 5x optical zoom with WiFi

Pocket zoom:
BenQ GH200 – 12.5x optical zoom, £105.
Sony Cybershot W690 – 10x optical zoom

Ultra zoom:
Olympus SP-720UZ – 26x optical zoom lens

Compact:
Panasonic Lumix FS45 – 5x with f/2.5 bright lens
Fujifilm FinePix Z1000 EXR – 5x compact with WiFi

Budget:
Nikon Coolpix S2600 – 5x zoom lens, only £69

Fujifilm FinePix S3200This week I thought I’d try something different and post some links to reviews that are particularly interesting, starting with the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 – a budget 24x optical zoom lens ultra zoom camera, available for £140 from Amazon UK, it features a 14 megapixel sensor, a 3 inch screen, 720p video and manual controls. You can read several reviews, from ePHOTOzine, Photography BLOG, as well as view sample videos on YouTube. It’s also the little brother to the Fujifilm FinePix S4000 (you can find a review here) – a very similar ultra zoom bridge camera, except the S4000 has a 30x optical zoom lens and is available for £175 from Amazon UK.

Panasonic Lumix TZ18Another ultra-zoom that’s popped up on the radar this week, is the Panasonic Lumix TZ20 and TZ18 – the TZ18 is available for only £140 from Amazon UK, you can read a TZ18 review here, both pocket-zoom cameras feature a 16x optical zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor, 3inch screen, with the TZ20 featuring built in GPS and touch screen – you can read a TZ20 review here. Both cameras have been replaced by newer models, which means these are available for noticeably reduced prices – the higher spec TZ20 is available for £190 from Amazon UK.

JVC GC-A50 Digital Camera
A stylish compact camera from 2003, the JVC GC-A50 with a huge 1.3 megapixel sensor, 5PCS glass lens, optical viewfinder and it even comes with a stand so you can use it as a webcam. It takes one AA battery, has 8mb of built in memory and on the back an LCD screen showing you the mode and remaining shots. A bit like film, you have to wait before you get to see the photos and the camera has just three buttons, one shutter button, one power button and one menu button.

On the side is the USB socket and battery cover. The camera seems to be partially made of metal with the front of the camera feeling like it’s constructed with stylish silver metal, and the camera comes in a rather stylish black box, which is much more stylish than what many cameras now come in. It’s a shame that JVC don’t make small stylish digital cameras anymore, as anything unique in the market is generally welcomed with open arms. If you are keen, then you sometimes find them on ebay for around £5, but it’s pretty rare. Click more below for more pictures.

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