Ask Adrian: Our tech editor tackles your trickiest technology problems
Q: I have two children going through communions and confirmations this month. While my phone camera is pretty good, I'd like something with a bit more quality to take photos on the day. I don't want it to be too expensive or complicated. Could you recommend something?
A Yes. Try a Panasonic Lumix TZ70 (€340, pictured) or a Canon G9X (€400). The Panasonic has a remarkable zoom while the Canon maximises image quality with a short zoom. Both come in pocket-friendly compact sizes and are easy to use on automatic mode.
If this seems a bit steep financially, try Nikon's value-oriented Coolpix 500 (€275). This is a little bulkier, but has a great zoom.
And for the very budget-conscious, Canon's pocket Ixus 180 (€180) gives good picture quality at a zoomed-in level that no phone can compete with.
On the other hand, if your budget can stretch the other way to over €500, I would trade up to the super-compact Sony RX100ii (€550), which takes amazing photos for its small size.
And if your wallet is even deeper, Panasonic's FZ1000 (€700) is probably the best quality do-it-all superzoom camera that's geared toward novices. I used this for a while and was delighted with the photos and the zoom range.
If you're thinking of a DSLR camera - those classic chunky black models from companies like Nikon and Canon - tread carefully. For most casual snappers, I'd caution against them unless you want to get into photography as a hobby. While these cameras are brilliantly flexible and can be used right up to professional level with amazing (separate) lenses, they're big, heavy and are arguably wasted on someone who just wants high-quality snaps a few times a year and on holidays.
However, if that doesn't put you off, Canon's entry-level 1300D DSLR camera is hard to beat for value. For €375, you get an 18-megapixel camera that's relatively beginner-friendly and can also take any of Canon's huge range of lenses if you get a taste for photography. It comes with an 18-55mm lens as standard, which is a modest zoom, but sometimes you'll see it on sale with an extra-long 75-300mm zoom for around the same price. For those with a bit more money looking for a DSLR-equivalent camera that's powerful and stylish, Fuji's excellent new X-T20 model costs €1,000 with a standard zoom lens (16-50mm). This is an amazing-looking camera and produces superb photos, but it may be aimed a little more at someone who's interested in photography beyond a few casual snaps once a month.
Rest assured that virtually any camera you buy these days has Wi-Fi transfer built in. That means you can send photos from your camera to your phone or tablet right away over the air. To do this, you have to download the relevant app (Canon, Nikon, Panasonic or whatever.) You can then view photos on your phone and download the ones you want.
As for where to buy your camera, I strongly urge going to a standalone camera shop such as Conns Cameras or The Camera Centre in Dublin, Whelan's in Limerick and others. The prices here are almost always the same (or cheaper) than larger retail multiple stores. You also always get much better advice on which model to pick and which model you really don't need.
RECOMMENDATION: Panasonic Lumix TZ70 (€340 from Conns Cameras)
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Two to Try
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Microsoft Surface laptop
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