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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Best digital cameras | Expert Reviews

Best digital cameras | Expert Reviews:

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Best cameras to buy in 2013

       
Discover the best digital cameras to buy in 2013. Read our top picks from DSLR, ultra-zoom and compact cameras. Not sure which camera is right for you? We've got something for everyone here, from shiny, easy-to-use compacts that will slip in your pocket, up to the best budget DSLRs. Our always up-to-date list will help you make the right choice. Click through to our full reviews for sample shots and more details.
Expert Reviews Best Buy

Canon Ixus 255 HS


Immaculate image quality is the highlight of this point-and-shoot camera
Canon Ixus 255 HS
Our Expert Opinion There's a been a rush of compact cameras of late with 10x zooms and Wi-Fi – and to be honest all of them are pretty good. This Canon Ixus 255 HS just sneaks out on top for us though thanks to superior low-light image quality.
Its 12-megapixel sensor has impressed us before and continues to do so here. It provides crisp, well-exposed shots on bright days and surprisingly noiseless ones in more challenging light conditions. In our studio test shots it had strong contrast, clean block colours and smooth gradients.
It's a little larger than its main competitor, the Sony WX200 below, and that camera has superior video capabilities and better Wi-Fi features – such as a remote viewfinder. However, if image quality is your main concern, and it's ours, then the Canon just pips the Sony.
Read our full Canon Ixus 255 HS
SPECS
SENSOR SIZE 12.0 megapixels (4,000x3,000)
ZOOM 10.0x optical (24-240mm)
LCD 3.0in (461,000 pixels)
STORAGE SDXC card
BATTERY Li-ion
DIMENSIONS 57x97x23mm, 144g
WARRANTY one year RTB
PART CODE 8204B006AA
DETAILS www.canon.co.uk
PERFORMANCE
Battery life: 220 shots
BUY IT FROM £193 from www.morecomputers.com
Expert Reviews Best Buy

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX200


Tiny compact camera with great features
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX200
Our Expert Opinion It's the smallest camera we've seen to use a standard 1/2.3in sensor, the WX200 still packs in lots of great features such as a 10x zoom and Wi-Fi. The latter allows you to control the camera remotely via a smartphone app and to upload shots to a home network for storage.
Most importantly, image quality is up to scratch as well. With plenty of detail and surprisingly capable low-light shots. Video was also impressive, with crisp footage and virtually silent auto-focus and zoom motors. Performance is good too, taking just two seconds to switch on, and one second between shots.
With a great design, the latest features, quick performance, good video and stills quality, the WX200 is a fantastic compact camera.
SPECS
SENSOR SIZE 18 megapixels (4,896x3,672)
ZOOM 10.0x optical (25-250mm)
LCD 2.7in (460,800 pixels)
STORAGE SDXC, Memory Stick Pro HG Duo card
BATTERY Li-ion
DIMENSIONS 54x92x22mm, 121g
WARRANTY one year RTB
PART CODE DSCWX200S.CEH
DETAILS www.sony.co.uk
PERFORMANCE
Battery life: 220 shots
BUY IT FROM £204 from www.ebuyer.com
Expert Reviews Best Buy

Sony NEX-5R


An inspired update to its excellent predecessor, and an unequivocal Best Buy
Sony NEX-5R
Our Expert Opinion Sony's NEX series has consistently impressed us since its launches. The few issues we had have largely been ironed out, leaving a compact system camera that one step above its competitors where it counts. In this case, that is in low noise performance, with a big 16-meagpixel sensor that generates crisp images in challenging conditions.
This new Sony NEX-5R also benefits from a long list of improvements over its predecessor. There's faster autofocus, better controls with a new Function button, and a flip-up screen for self portraits. There's also Wi-Fi support, so you can share photos directly from the camera, control the camera from a smartphone app and even download additional artistic shooting modes to the camera itself – camera apps so to speak.
NEX cameras now have a good line up of lenses too, with third-party models starting to become available – though in this respect Micro Four Thirds still leads the way. Despite this, the Sony NEX-5R is now our top choice CSC, simply because it takes such good pictures.
Read our full Sony NEX-5R review
SPECS
SENSOR SIZE 16.0 megapixels (4,912x3,264)
ZOOM 3.0x optical (27-82.5mm)
LCD 3.0in (921,600 pixels)
STORAGE (INTERNAL) SDXC and Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo card (none)
BATTERY Li-ion
DIMENSIONS 62x111x100mm, 462g
WARRANTY one year RTB
PART CODE NEX-5RKB.CE
DETAILS www.sony.co.uk
PERFORMANCE
Battery life: 330 shots
BUY IT FROM £469 from http://www.amazon.co.uk
Expert Reviews Ultimate

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3


Highly accomplished for photos and in a league of its own for video
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
Our Expert Opinion The Panasonic GH3 is the best Micro-Four Thirds camera you can buy, and among one of the best cameras you can buy when it comes to shooting video. This Compact System Camera eschews a slender, compact design for something more professional and practical, resembling a lightweight DSLR – though it's far from budget feeling with a weather-sealed alloy body and all the controls you're likely to need – with dual controls dials among others.
There's little lightweight about its performance either. Video is sharper than anything that Canon and Nikon's full-frame heavyweights can provide. Not only is it crisp, but Panasonic back s it up with the controls you need and silky smooth autofocus. It can shoot all the way up to 72Mbit/s with no video compression between the frames for maximum quality. This is the best-looking video you'll get from a camera.
It's the quite so staggering when it comes to stills, but it's still immensely capable. Details were razor-sharp, and subtle textures were handled superbly. It's a match for pretty much anything that doesn't use a huge full-frame sensor – and so requires very expensive lenses to match.
It's not cheap admittedly, and it's more expensive still should you opt for the new 12-35mm F2.8 kit lens. But it's an incredibly powerful tool for those who want to both shoot HD video and take brilliant stills.
SPECS
SENSOR SIZE 15.9 megapixels (4,608x3,456)
LCD 3.0in (614,000 pixels)
STORAGE SDXC
BATTERY Li-ion
DIMENSIONS 93x133x82mm, 550g
WARRANTY One year RTB
PART CODE DMC-GH3K
DETAILS www.panasonic.co.uk
PERFORMANCE
Battery life: 540 shots
BUY IT FROM £1,599 from http://www.parkcameras.com
Expert Reviews Ultimate

Sony NEX-6


The best compact system camera you can buy
Sony NEX-6
Our Expert Opinion Sony's NEX cameras have long impressed us, thanks to incredible high ISO performance, allowing for crisp shots in challenging conditions. The new NEX-6 has a new sensor, which speeds up autofocus times so they're no longer a worry. A new kit lens improves focus sharpness in the corner of the frame.
As well as fixing all our issues with previous models, the new NEX-6 keeps the good stuff too, such as the fantastic electronic viewfinder from the old NEX-7. There's also Wi-Fi built-in and you can download special apps to the camera as well.
It's really easy to use as well, with all the physical controls you'll need - though a touchscreen isn't included strangely. This is the best CSC you can buy, a smallish camera that can go head-to-head with all but the best DSLRs.
Read our full Sony NEX-6 review
SPECS
SENSOR SIZE 16.0 megapixels (4,912x3,264)
ZOOM 3.1x optical (24-75mm)
LCD 3.0in (921,600 pixels)
STORAGE SDXC and Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo slots
BATTERY Li-ion
DIMENSIONS 70x121x70mm, 465g
WARRANTY one year RTB
PART CODE NEX-6L
DETAILS www.sony.co.uk
PERFORMANCE
Battery life: 360 shots
BUY IT FROM £639 from http://www.digitalrev.com
Expert Reviews five stars

Fujifilm Finepix F660EXR


A capable ultra-zoom with a 15x zoom lens
Fujifilm Finepix F660EXR
Our Expert Opinion Sensor size counts for a lot when it comes to picture quality, and the F660EXR is off to a good start with a larger-than-usual 1/2in sensor. Its 16-megapixel sensor provides more than enough detail in good lighting conditions, but cleverly, you can step it down to 8-megapixels in low-light conditions to reduce noise and getter a crisper picture.
There's plenty of controls, including a mode dial for easy switching between exposure modes. There's even a panorama mode that shoots and stitches together images as you rotate the camera. The 15x zoom is pretty impressive at this price, plus decent HD video. However, it's the quality of the still images at this low price that really impresses.
SPECS
SENSOR SIZE 15.9 megapixels (4,608x3,456)
ZOOM 15.0x optical (24-360mm)
LCD 3.0in (460,000 pixels)
STORAGE SDXC card (33MB internal)
BATTERY Li-ion
DIMENSIONS 63x103x33mm, 220g
WARRANTY one year RTB
PART CODE P10NC05970A
DETAILS www.fujifilm.co.uk
PERFORMANCE
Battery life: 300 shots
BUY IT FROM £130 from www.johnlewis.com
Expert Reviews Ultimate

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7


As close to perfect as we've seen from a compact camera
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
Our Expert Opinion It's not cheap, but the LX7 provides amazing image quality from a very compact camera. Its comparatively big sensor and fast lens means you get lots of light captured by the sensor, producing great photos in a wide range of conditions.
There's a myriad of controls, with a mode dial and aperture control on the lens itself. Video and fast continuous shooting modes also impress – it can even shoot forty 5-megapixel shots in a single second. In the majority of situations it's an all-round better camera than similarly priced CSCs using kit lenses. A brilliant buy.
SPECS
SENSOR SIZE 10.0 megapixels (3,648x2,736)
ZOOM 3.8x optical (24-90mm)
LCD 3.0in (920,000 pixels)
STORAGE SDXC card (70MB internal)
BATTERY Li-ion
DIMENSIONS 66x111x50mm, 298g
WARRANTY one year RTB
PART CODE DMC-LX7EB-K
DETAILS www.panasonic.co.uk
PERFORMANCE
Battery life: 330 shots
BUY IT FROM £250 from www.digitalrev.com
Expert Reviews Best Buy

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200


Groundbreaking lens provides excellent quality
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Our Expert Opinion Yet another Panasonic camera, but this one is a full-sized ultra-zoom model with a 25-600mm zoom range. There are ultra-zoom cameras that better that, but the FZ200 is the only one that maintains a fast F2.8 aperture across the whole focal range. This means you can shoot in low-light conditions without too much worry, and you won't find your careful selected exposure settings thrown out of whack if you decide to tighten up your framing.
With 4x the light entering the lens - compared to a typical F5.6 ultra zoom - you can shoot in far wider conditions. The lens also provides nice depth of field effects so you can pick out your subject easily.
In addition to the lens, there's good controls, great-looking video, fast shot-to-shot times and a super-sharp 1,312,000 dot viewfinder. It's the ultra-zoom to buy if you want a great camera but aren't interested in a full-on DSLR.
SPECS
SENSOR SIZE 12.1 megapixels (4,000x3,000)
ZOOM 24.0x optical (25-600mm)
LCD 3.0in (460,000 pixels)
STORAGE SDXC card (70MB internal)
BATTERY Li-ion
DIMENSIONS 87x125.2x110.2mm, 588g
WARRANTY one year RTB
PART CODE DMC-FZ200EB-K
DETAILS www.panasonic.co.uk
PERFORMANCE
Battery life: 540 shots
BUY IT FROM £345 from www.digitalrev.com
Expert Reviews Budget Buy

Sony Alpha SLT-A37


Excellent value from this SLR-like camera
Sony Alpha SLT-A37
Our Expert Opinion Sony's DSLR cameras use a translucent mirror in front of the sensor, allowing them to use phase-detection autofocus constantly. In easier to understand language you get the look, feel and interchangeable lenses of a DSLR, but with far-superior continuous focus – for shooting in live view from the display or for shooting video.
All that aside there's lots to like from this keenly priced camera. An articulated display that can rotate up or down, great image quality and excellent video. All this adds up to the best DSLR-like camera you could buy at this price, and with the current cashback deal it's a real bargain.
SPECS
SENSOR SIZE 16.0 megapixels (4,912x3,264)
ZOOM 3.0x optical (27-82.5mm)
LCD 2.7in (230,400 pixels)
STORAGE SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo card
BATTERY Li-ion
DIMENSIONS 93x124x155mm, 716g
WARRANTY one year RTB
PART CODE SLT-A37K
DETAILS www.sony.co.uk
PERFORMANCE
Battery life: 450 shots
BUY IT FROM £319 (including £50 cashback) from www.jessops.com

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