The best sub 200 pounds compact camera for Christmas.
(And tips on how you should actually buy something..)
I am going to say that after a good few hours going over all the specs reviews and videos on you tube I have done my usual thing and ended up buying a slightly different model than I thought I would. Lets back up a moment though.
What are you going to REALLY use the Camera for ?
I asked myself if I was going to REALLY game on my laptop and when I answered that question it changed the whole choice buying game for the better. If there is something that I want you to take away (ooo get me all high and mighty) it's that point. Applying that to myself now I asked what will I do with this camera and the following main use cases emerged..
- 1.Video Logging – vlogging – I wanted 1080p though I am being unfair to 720p video which would look great on many big screen TV's in many houses so don't think you need 1080p. If that's your game then you can spend around 70-80 pounds and get a very capable camera. My main use case – I got really annoyed using my LG GPAD 8.3 for making the video logs I make and I deserve better, you get what you tolerate. And I wanted stereo sound.
- 2.Macro shots of products for reviews
- 3.Travel – I did experiment using my iphone and GoPro hero 4 and I got some decent results but at times I was disappointed.
- 4.Home use family events etc..I was so disappointed with a gun style camcorder I bought one year for video use that I returned it – its indoor performance was shockingly bad worse than my iphone – and making video was the single only task this £100 lump was asked to do. Christmas morning is a low light difficult need to just point and shoot time.
Why did I need a new camera the trusty OLD IXUS 800IS with its ground breaking 6MP and 4x optical zoom ? It has not accepted my latest media card and my ex lost (borrowed infinitely) the higher density one so I was left with a camera that fills with photos fast. The other reason is the video is not high enough quality for my vlogging needs.
I will still use this camera as its smaller and roughed up perfect for some events. I even took shots of the Sony DSC HX60V – to give some idea of the quality of this against an iPhone 4 I took some with the iPhone 4 too. Please see the images later down the page. I also bought an underwater housing and took this camera scuba diving.
Onto the choices for 2015 for best small camera under £178
The price range I was looking at was falling in the 109 pounds upwards to around 139 across two models the canon ixus 275HS [superseded with this one ](same as PowerShot ELPH 350 HS in some markets) available on the high street and at amazon. I was drawn to this model originally and there is always that first model that you find and you think is the one then you dig out a review and someone says xyz is better and so it goes…I don't want to add to the confusion you clearly have -I want to come at this from my own amateur angle and tell you why I did not go for this very capable camera. And I nearly DID go for it on the basis that it may be the best value smallest point and shoot model out there at the moment.
I started to look at the Sony dsc WX350 at £139
This Camera for me has the edge over the ixus in its optical zoom it's main feature perhaps in such a small body at 20x and it has maybe little else over the IXUS see here one comparison
At this point for me I flipped back and forth but for a whole evening I was going the Sony route – that extra zoom is hard to resist – the video capabilities were both fine for my vlogging needs. I also wanted to try a SONY as I had had the IXUS before. The Sony also has faster burst shooting.
However in the end I bought neither of these. During the research I started to look at others such as
the canon sx610 and sony hx50. The latter deserves a mention because its one of those really good cameras at the time so good the US market didn't get a refreshed model while in the uk we now have the hx60. Crucially Argos down the road had a hx50 in stock and because it's an older model it was priced one pound different to the wx350.
This was a turning point for me – I started to compare the wx350 to the hx50. It was on release perhaps best in its class and at 139 pounds from Argos is a bargain. What I discovered was much more versatility it was not so much the 30x optical zoom (I am not sure I will use that but at times I did want more zoom on my old IXUS though 12 that the ixus 275HS has is probably enough for me) it was more the modes and ability to capture more kinds of picture. In short I can learn more about photography – it has to be said that the cheaper sony and ixus models seem very limited in settings on looking at the controls – you probably have more than enough in reality. I decided to buy from Currys the newer version of the hx50 the hx60v (why has he just started to add the V – this is GPS function and the 50 is missing this in the uk markets as well). It has a newer Bionz processor mostly and talk is that they did improve the hx50 in almost all areas even if its marginal to the reviewers out there many saying go for the hx50 ! To get the later HX60V model I had to pop into currys and hand over my plastic to the tune of £178 - yes I shop less online these days as the main retailers are competing finally with the likes of Amazon and delivery charges are annoying. So this could be the best compact camera at this price point and I will get the review made up as I go along.
So there we have the buying psychology of myself and I hope it has made your decision easier. I could throw more cameras in the mix and if you have more money then it gets ever more complicated if you want the best compact and have a lot of money then the canon G7X is your starting point.
The cameras discussed here are reviewed below on various other websites as well as Style Review:
After an initial play I got a few photos as the winter light was fading in my park. You can see the album here - https://flic.kr/s/aHskmZmubf I notice the aspect ratio is a little square first thing. This is all default settings and shooting on auto. It took some doing as the instructions are not so clear but I now have the flickr app working and can upload from wifi direct to there. Have noticed there is no video mode for controlling from my iphone - will try the android app soon, this means I cant shoot video logs easily as I cant see my face in the frame - its probably something thats not such an issue in reality. Lets try the android app.
An example of the apps can be found on the official sony page here - http://discover.store.sony.com/playmemoriesapps/
After some updating that was not so easy (drivers and app on my laptop and phone (mac based both)) I am now able to see the video frame on my phone at least so that allows me to frame myself for video logging..I am sure this is going to get me back casting again