strange_complex: (Hastings camera)
[personal profile] strange_complex
My digital camera (a Canon PowerShot) broke irreparably in the autumn, and I really need to get on with buying another one. In fact, there are two things I want to do this very week which I'd ideally like to be able to photograph - hence suddenly getting off my arse and paying attention to the issue.

I can easily drop into PC World late this afternoon on my way to a meeting, so I spent yesterday evening looking through their website for some likely candidates. I'm looking for a sort of mid-range camera - not one that will cost the earth and require me to know detailed things about lenses, light levels and so forth, but more the kind that will take decent pictures on some simple pre-set settings, while also allowing me a reasonable degree of manual control for when I am interested in making the effort to do something a little bit snazzy.

On that basis, I've whittled things down to a short-list of five (below), and am currently feeling particularly well-disposed to the Fuji Finepix at the top of the list. When it comes down to it, my choice may well be largely determined by what they have in stock in the store I go to - and that doesn't seem likely to include the Finepix. But I'd be really glad of any input that anyone else can offer, particularly since I know I have some pretty serious camera-geeks on my friends list. Does anyone have any personal experience of these cameras or similar models? Are there any obvious reasons why some of them would be markedly better or worse than others which I might have missed?

My shortlist:

Fuji FinePix HS10. 10.3 MP, 30x optical zoom (large lens), 2x digital. Takes the same batteries as my old one, which is easy. Loads of features, looks really cool, good reviews. At the high end of this range for professional-ish features, but also has 'easy' settings too. £274.99 web price, £309.99 in store - BUT doesn't seem to be available in the branch I can get to easily. :-(

SONY Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V Similar to Canons, below. 10.2MP, 10x optical zoom, 20x digital. GPS geotagging. £289.99

CANON PowerShot S95 Small, light, combines simple point-and-shoot with options for more advanced use. 10MP; 3.8x optical zoom, 4x digital, 3" screen. £359.99

SAMSUNG WB2000 Compact Digital Camera. Similar to Canons and Sony. 10.2MP, 5x optical zoom, 5x digital. £309.99

CANON IXUS 1000 HS. 10MP, 10x optical, 4x digital. Much the same as the rest. £309.99

Do let me know if you have any comments!

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 09:18 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you are going to PC World then check their website a few hours in advance and look at the "Collect@Store" option.

So long as they aren't too busy it can save you money (as you get "web prices") and reserve the stock.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 09:18 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't often recommend PC World, but this is their best feature (along with their size and stock)

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 09:24 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The first one is totally different to the rest - if you want a compact, something to stick in a pocket, don't get that one. Saying that, though, it's a good camera and I've seen a couple of people with it. If you want to play with one, Jessops on the Headrow (opposite PC World) has a couple in stock and they're £284.95 (

The S95 is a decent camera. They're all pretty decent, to be honest, although I'd try to find a Panasonic LX5 or Canon G12 myself (but then you're nudging the £400 bracket).

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 09:30 (UTC)
ext_550458: (Penny Bazaar)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I do know that the first one's quite different. It's on the list, and appealing to me more than the others, because I'm actually quite inclined towards something in that vein if I can find one at a reasonable price. The other ones seem fine, but much of a muchness as far as I can tell. And thanks for pointing out how convenient Jessops is - of course I don't have to restrict myself to what is or isn't in stock at PC World, do I, and I hadn't realised that was so very nearby!

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 20:10 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd go with Jacobs over Jessops, if they have what you want. Staff seem better informed, in my experience, and more likely to actually *listen* to you.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 09:27 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Jessops also sells S95s, £329.95 but you'd have to order it in & won't be here before Friday.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 10:13 (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Julie and I recently bought a camera, and we looked at a lot before we came to a conclusion. We ended up with this one - the L110:

It also has one of the best shutter lags:

Oh, and this is a comparison page, that allows you to compare image quality between different cameras taking photos of the same thing:

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 10:50 (UTC)
ext_550458: (Janus)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh, I love that comparison page! Very handy - thanks for that. And thanks for the link to the Coolpix, too - it looks like another one very much of the type I am considering.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 10:38 (UTC)
ext_119234: (BadHairDay)
From: [identity profile]
If you in PCW and the sales person is doing a very hard sell on a particular model, be wary as they get extra commissions on some items, but not others.

I don't know if it's so with cameras, but in the Norwich branch they stuck little, pre-made, gift-wrapping ribbon bows on the display–models of the printers that had a comission, to remind sales staff which ones to push. Also, they'll try very very hard to push accessories and the extended warrenrty.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 10:47 (UTC)
ext_550458: (Sherlock Aha!)
From: [identity profile]
Oh gosh yes about the accessories, warranties etc. I've got very used to fending those off on multiple electronic purchases over the years. Good tip about the ribbon bows, though - I have seen that, but didn't know the secret significance!

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:28 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Interesting- went through a similar thing myself last month when I discovered my old camera had broked. Didn't get another in the end because I ran out of cash (and I was looking for something a bit cheaper) but the tips I remember are:
1) Wasn't terribly impressed with the Finepix I got for Cat for her birthday a few years ago, like Canons though.
2) There are some new ones coming out with lots more MP (there was one I was looking at that was ~ 16MP), *but* unless the optics are good enough that's actually a bad thing cos you just get a high-definition blur. MP is no indication of quality...
3) According to my Dad GPS is a bit of a gimmick and not really that useful.
4) Optical zoom is better than digital zoom.
5) A 3" LCD is quite a lot nicer than a 2.7" one
6) A wider angle lens is a lot better than a 35mm equivalent.
7) It's worth checking the viewing angle on the LCD if you ever do things like try to take photos with the camera held over your head. It's easy on some cameras, but you might not be able to see what you're looking at on others.

Erm, can't think of any more right now- dunno if these are all blindingly obvious/ irrelevant at your price point, but I thought they might be useful...

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:29 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh yeah, multiple people have pointed me to to look for views and reviews.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:57 (UTC)
ext_550458: (Lady Penelope)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately my last camera, which is just broken after only five years and not particularly heavy use, was a Canon, so I'm a bit wary of that brand now. I've got a couple of them on my list, obviously, but they're not front-runners for that reason.

I agree about GPS - I only really listed that because it was an unusual feature. I've got very little sense of any meaningful difference between the Canons, Sony and Samsung on my list - hence latching on to whatever differences I can see.

And yes indeed about viewing angles. My last camera had a flip-out-and-twist screen, which was brilliant for taking photos at odd angles, and enabled me to get some good candid shots when people didn't realise I was photographing them because I appeared to be looking somewhere else! But it doesn't seem to be a very common feature any more - perhaps partly because LCD screens now offer better images from a wider range of angles than they used to anyway. I decided not to make it a sticking point, as it would really limit my options - but will indeed have a look at various models in the shop to see what the viewing angle on their screens is like.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 15:26 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
2) There are some new ones coming out with lots more MP (there was one I was looking at that was ~ 16MP), *but* unless the optics are good enough that's actually a bad thing cos you just get a high-definition blur. MP is no indication of quality...

That's true. Very high resolution is useful if you shoot pictures for billboards, but I've got a 10MP camera and a 30 x 20 inch enlargement out of it looks fantastic. I can't imagine ever getting a bigger print.

3) According to my Dad GPS is a bit of a gimmick and not really that useful.

I quite like it, but it's not something you can really do an awful lot with, at least at the moment. If it becomes more common, you could have a bit more fun with it. None of my cameras have GPS built-in, but I've got software that syncs a hand-held GPS track log with the photos I take.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 22:57 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
GPS will also eat into your battery life.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 23:02 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Absolutely - it trashes my phone battery in next to no time.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 15:21 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well...if you're going to be spending that sort of money, you might want to go just a bit further and get a digital SLR, rather than just a compact. It depends on what you really want to do, of course - a DSLR is a hell of a lot bigger, so if it's important that your camera should be small, it may not be the right option.

That leads me onto compact system cameras, a new breed that's appeared in the last couple of years. They're much smaller than SLRs, but have many of the advantages, including interchangeable lenses.

This is, of course, a hardcore camera geek speaking, so feel free to ignore. :)

Only thing about zooms is that a very, very powerful zoom on a compact usually equates to a slightly lower quality lens, and digital zoom is usually very poor indeed compared to optical. Unless you're a spy, you won't need anything that powerful anyway. I tend to find a wide-angle lens is more useful than a large zoom range.

Just a few thoughts there. :)

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 16:43 (UTC)
ext_550458: (Sherlock Holmes trifles)
From: [identity profile]
I'm willing to carry around a slightly larger camera in exchange for better features - but the reason I'm shying away from proper DSLRs is that I'm not a camera geek, and don't think I'll realistically get proper use out of something on that level. I can't really see myself swapping lenses around on a regular basis, for example.

Thanks for the comments about optical zooms, digital zooms and wide-angle lenses, though. That equates with some of what [ profile] edling has said, above, and should help me to make a better choice.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 21:54 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can't really see myself swapping lenses around on a regular basis, for example.

It's a good point. I like to be able to do it, but I shoot about 90% of my images with the same lens. A moderate zoom range on a compact will do most people fine.

Looks like you've got plenty of useful comments to help you make your choice - camera shopping is fun, so enjoy. :)

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 16:15 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i'm a big devotee of the Canon Ixus line (on my second 4 mpix after first was stolen). It does have a long lag after shooting though.

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 20:18 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd recommend Jacobs over Jessops any day.

staff seem to know what they're talking about, and they have some pretty good offers on. Of the cameras you mentioned, I've heard good things about the Canon S95, and they have it for 299 quid.

otherwise, I'd go with [ profile] nalsa and his suggestion of a G12

Date: Tuesday, 22 February 2011 22:36 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been using an Ixus for the last couple of years and would recommend them - lots of settings to play with, but a good automatic mode too. Would also second the coments to avoid PC World and try Jessops instead!


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