Thursday 25 December 2014

The 50 best cameras

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Sony DSC-TX10
Drop it, dunk it or freeze it, the 16MP TX10 will weather it all and has better image quality than many tough cameras. Sony's Sweep Panorama feature, where you continuously sweep the camera sideways to take a huge landscape image, is spectacularly effective.
Where: www.sony.co.uk
How much: £319 (around €355)
Casio Exilim H5
The 10x zoom on the H5 is handy and the 12.7MP sensor is decent enough. It looks a little more cheaply built than some cameras here but it's well made and great value. Controls are limited, so ideal for a beginner.
Where: www.casio.co.uk
How much: £99.99 (around €110)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3
Compact system cameras are the new D-SLRs: they have big sensors and interchangeable lenses but eschew the bulky mirror system of D-SLR. But unlike many models this 16MP model has a viewfinder. The G3 is small but powerful with a touchscreen display and fast autofocus. Its picture quality is particularly strong.
Where www.jessops.com
How much £599 (around €666)
Canon EOS 1100D
This is Canon's entry-level D-SLR. It's a 12.2MP camera that's highly affordable and offers a range of shooting options as well as excellent image quality with limited image noise and decent HD video capabilities. A great first step up from compact to D-SLR.
Where: www.amazon.co.uk
How much: £423.20 (around €470)
Leica V-Lux 30
Superzooms often look like D-SLRs but without the interchangeable lenses - which means there's no danger of dust getting into the camera body. The 14.1MP V-Lux 30 takes amazing pictures and its 16x optical zoom means it's versatile. The continuous shooting mode takes 10 frames a second at full resolution and it shoots video, too.
Where: www.leica-camera.com
How much: £550 (around €611)
Canon EOS 600D
Canon's D-SLRs are deservedly popular and the latest model has a high-resolution sensor (18MP). The 600D is particularly good at shooting HD video and advanced features include a wireless transmitter to communicate with an external flash. Easy to use, too.
Where: www.canon.co.uk
How much: £700 (around €779)
Sony NEX-C3
Sony's 16.2MP NEX-C3, out next month, is simple, light and takes amazing shots. It's a compact system camera so saves on weight by ditching the standard D-SLR mirror system.
Where www.sony.co.uk
How much £499.99 (around €556)
Leica V-Lux 20
The 12MP Leica is a sensation. It's a handsome and well-built camera that is easy and enjoyable to use. Its excellent lens is a big factor in the strikingly good images it takes and there are plenty of extra features and functions.
Where www.leica-camera.com
How much £495 (around €550)
Canon Ixus 115 HS
A small budget can still buy you a decent camera. Like this niftily designed sleek 12MP model with simple controls and exposure smarts to provide strong pictures in a variety of conditions ? the price may have been cut, but performance hasn't.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £130.93 (around €145)
Canon PIXMA MG6150 Printer
Canon's printers are hard to beat and this one offers exceptionally good photo prints. Its wireless capability uses your home Wi-fi network so you can print from your computer in one room to the PIXMA in another.
Where www.canon.co.uk
How much £199 (around €221)
Sony SLT-a55
Sony's 16MP machine uses an all-new approach to SLR photography. The mirror that reflects the light to the viewfinder is translucent so it doesn't need to flip up when the shot is taken, as is conventional.
Where: www.johnlewis.com
How much: £599.95 (around €667)
Samsung NX11
This is a minor improvement to last year's outstanding NX10. It has a 14.6MP sensor and a unique function button on the lens to control some settings. It's simple to use and automatic settings work well.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £459 (around €510)
Canon PowerShot SX220 HS
This neat 12.1MP camera is small enough to take on holiday. It has a wide-angle 14x optical zoom that is great for distance and panoramic shots. It shoots video in Full HD and the 3in LCD is good for framing stills and video.
Where: www.comet.co.uk
How much: £199.99 (around €222)
Nikon Coolpix S3100
The 14MP S3100 has a great design and comes in a range of bright colours. It has an above average 5x optical zoom and offers strong picture quality - though the 2.7-inch LCD is a little small. Good value.
Where: www.amazon.co.uk
How much: £99.99 (around €111)
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS
How big a zoom do you need? This camera has one that's ultra wide-angle, a massive 35x. Such a big zoom could suffer if it didn't have strong image stabilisation, but it does. There are lots of shooting options, too.
Where: www.canon.co.uk
How much: £429.99 (around €478)
Olympus E-5
Olympus also makes Compact System cameras but this DSLR has semi-professional features and lots of options for the more advanced enthusiast. It's a big beast but pretty impressive.
Where: www.pixmania.co.uk
How much: £1,499 body only (around &eur;1,667)
Olympus Pen E-PL2
The Pen series of cameras has a desirable retro look - modelled on a classic Olympus from the 1950s. The latest 12.3MP model has no viewfinder, so you frame shots on the 3in screen.
Where: www.olympus.co.uk
How much: £470 (around €522)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
Panasonic's compacts are routinely excellent and this 14.1MP model has an outstanding 16x optical zoom. It also has GPS built in so you tag the location at which you took each photo.
Where: www.amazon.co.uk
How much: From £267 (around €297)
Fujifilm Z90
The 14.2MP Z90 has a decent 3in touchscreen with neat extras like Touch & Shoot: tap the screen and the camera quickly focuses where you touch and fires the shutter.
Where: www.fujifilm.co.uk
How much: £110 (around €122)
Eye-Fi Memory Card
This photo memory card creates its own Wi-fi network so it's easy to upload images wirelessly to a computer or tablet. Once that's done, you can save space on your camera memory card.
Where: www.eye.fi
How much: £79.99 (around €89)
Nikon D7000
ThisD-SLR excels at battery life, picture quality and fast, accurate autofocus. Its 16.2MP sensor comes up with the goods. It's pitched between consumer and pro, and offers exceptional quality and versatility. While it's not cheap it has a lot going for it.
Where: www.amazon.co.uk
How much: £1,030.94 (around €1,148)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
A new 12.1MP model, out later this month, this Lumix is well priced, small and cute. It has a touchscreen operating system that aims to be especially user-friendly. But it still has rich, strong image quality. Ideal for the design-conscious snapper.
Where: www.panasonic.co.uk
How much: £499.99 (around €558)
Samsung ST700
This 16MP camera has a great gimmick: a front-facing LCD to complement the 3in touchscreen on the back. The front screen can be used to preview self-portraits, show a visual countdown or to play animations to keep children looking in the right direction.
Where: www.samsung.com/uk
How much: £249.99 (around €279)
Samsung ST95
The 16MP ST95 is great value and super slim. There's a 5x optical zoom, appealing touchscreen interface and sophisticated automatic exposure options so all you have to do is point and shoot. Lots of extra features like face recognition, too.
Where www.play.com
How much £139.59 (around €155)
Fujifilm HS20 EXR
This camera sports a 16MP sensor and a 30x zoom with manual control. Image stabilisation helps when the zoom is extended. A range of film simulation modes adds to the variety of effects so images can be vibrant or soft, for instance.
Where: www.fujifilm.co.uk
How much: £340 (around €379)
Nikon D5100
The latest digital SLR from Nikon is superb. This model's 16.2-megapixel sensor, extensive effects palette viewable on the camera and fast focusing when framing shots on the LCD screen all deliver great results.
Where: www.nikon.co.uk
How much: £700 (around €781)
Olympus Pen E-P2
There's no built-in electronic viewfinder here, though an attachable - and excellent - one is supplied. Otherwise, you set up shots for the snazzily designed EP2 on the 3in LCD. Also boasts built-in image stabilisation. Where: www.amazon.co.uk How much: £849.94 (around €949)
Fujifilm X100
The retro-designed X100 has a 12.3MP sensor that's as big as many digital SLR cameras, so the pixels are bigger and the image quality is much improved compared to a compact.
Where www.fujifilm.co.uk
How much £999 (around €1,115)
Kodak EasyShare Sport
Kodak's compacts have a dedicated Share button that makes it easy to send images to an email address, Facebook or other sites automatically when you connect your camera to a computer.
Where shop.kodak.co.uk
How much £59.99 (around €67)
Joby Gorillapod
It looks weird but it works a treat. The Gorillapod is a funky tripod that wraps round branches or banisters, and stands happily on uneven surfaces. The SLR version even has a spirit level. Splendid.
Where www.firebox.com
How much £13.99-£29.99 (€15-€33)
Pentax K-X
The K-x has been around for a little while so its 12.4MP sensor isn't the most advanced on test, but it's now highly affordable. Unusually, it is powered by AA batteries.
Where www.argos.co.uk
How much £349.99 (around €390)
,b>Sony NEX-5
This was Sony's first compact system camera - it's tremendous. The light and small body fits the hand well, the interface is simple and attractive and the resulting photos are sharp and impressive. Where www.amazon.co.uk How much £479 (around €534)
Olympus XZ-1
This is a solid, effective performance compact that packs a lot into a small case. It has an excellent lens that means you rarely have to resort to flash.
Where www.olympus.co.uk
How much £399 (around €445)
Pentax Optio M90
The 12.1MP M90 is a straightforward compact with a 5x zoom. It fits the hand nicely and has 20 scene modes to ensure you get strong pictures.
Where www.pentax.co.uk
How much £69.99 (around €78)
Nikon Coolpix P500
Nikon's latest superzoom handles like a dream and the 36x zoom - the biggest on test - delivers the goods. An efficient, powerful camera.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £303 (around €338)
Sony a390
Sony's 14.2MP a390 is geared to first-time D-SLR users, so it's extremely accessible and has decent features, though no HD video recording. It has fast autofocus in Live View mode (when you frame your shot on the LCD screen instead of the viewfinder).
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £359.99 (around €402)
Samsung Lumix DMC-NX100
The 14.6MP NX100 is a stylish little number, though there's no viewfinder but the 3in AMOLED screen looks great. It does have the highly useful Samsung i-Function lens that lets you adjust shooting options quickly.
Where www.samsung.co.uk
How much £249.95 (around €279)
Casio Exilim EX-ZR100
If you're shooting sports, wildlife or a fast-retreating celebrity, the high-speed continuous shooting feature on this 12MP Casio - up to 30 frames per second - helps capture the moment you're after. And the 12.5x zoom gets you right into the action.
Where www.johnlewis.com
How much £299.95 (around €335)
Olympus VG130
Another bargain snapper, the 14MP VG130 takes reasonable quality photographs despite its near credit-card size. It looks good in its metal body and the one-touch video record button is a bonus. It also has a 5x optical zoom.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £73.49 (around €82)
Film 2 SD Negative Scanner
Do you have a drawer stuffed with slides and negatives? This neat gadget turns them into digital files. Suddenly your analogue collection goes digital. The LCD screen means you don't even need a computer in the equation as it saves images to an SD card.
Where www.firebox.com
How much £109.99 (around €122)
Nikon D3100
This is Nikon's entry-level D-SLR and it offers exceptional ease of use but still has strong manual overrides for those who want more advanced control. It has a 14.2MP sensor and a Guide mode that will suit D-SLR newbies.
Where www.comet.co.uk
How much £449.99 (around €502)
Samsung NX5
Because there are more recent models, the NX5 is now cheaper, and it includes an electronic viewfinder. The screen isn't as bright as on the NX11 and it lacks the i-Function lens but some features are similar.
Where www.jessops.com
How much £299.95 (around €335)
Fujifilm XP30
Another ruggedised camera, the 14MPXP30 comes in lots of colours to help you find it if you drop it. Its GPS feature helps you remember where you took your photos, and it's great fun to use.
Where www.marksandspencer. com
How much £139 (around €155)
Sony W530
Sony's 14.1MP W530 is very cute, with a great lens and 4x optical zoom. Although this camera is cheap, it still includes Sony's highly enjoyable way to shoot landscapes, Sweep Panorama, and is also easy to use.
Where www.sony.co.uk
How much £119.99 (around €134)
Olympus SZ30MR
The 24x optical zoom is built into a case not much bigger than many compacts. This is a competent, lightweight 16MP camera. You can take still images while shooting HD video, though it's easy tomake the camera shake.
Where www.olympus.co.uk
How much £300 (around €335)
Pentax K-5
The 16.3MP sensor on the K-5 is enhanced by an image-processing engine that adds to sensitivity and helps improve picture quality. Plus, it's weather-proofed.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £1,079 (around €1,205)
Panasonic Lumix GH2
The 16MP GH2 is Panasonic's flagship camera for video, and is outstanding for still shots, too. It also includes scene modes and impressive auto settings. It doesn't come cheap but it's very good.
Where www.jessops.com
How much £799.95 (around €893)
Kodak EasyShare M583
The 14MP M583 has an impressive 8x zoom, much higher than most compacts. It uses a high-quality Schneider- Kreuznach lens and has many scene settings.
Where www.shop.kodak.co.uk
How much £149.99 (around €167)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-F3
This affordable 12MP camera from Panasonic crams a lot in to its slim case. Picture quality is generally good, though low light doesn't help and the smallish (2.7in) screen could be better.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £74.99 (around €83)
Kodak ESP Office 2170 Printer
Kodak printers have exceptionally low ink replacement costs. This printer includes wireless printing, copying, scanning and even a fax capability.
Where www.shop.kodak.co.uk
How much £119.99 (around €133)

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