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Low budget camera for a parent

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by Souffle, May 8, 2014.

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  1. Souffle

    Souffle New Member

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    It's almost mother's day, so I'm looking for a relatively low budget camera for her. To summarize, I'm looking for a sub 200 USD camera that does not pack too many image editing features because she will never use them. She almost only takes pictures of people and buildings, not natural landscapes and mostly in the daytime, both outdoor and indoors. I'm not particularly knowledgeable in cameras myself so some explanation of what sensors/lenses/terms I should be looking for would be great too.

    Budget
    * What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.

    Absolute cap of 200 USD, although around 150 USD is ideal. If you could explain the usual price brackets of cameras and what features to expect out of each bracket as well, that would be very educational too. I looked at a few other threads and I've noticed that most budgets are actually in the upper hundreds. Am I actually aiming too low at my price point and I should be looking at more expensive cameras?

    Size
    * What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?

    Anything close to the average size of a normal camera is fine, give or take a few inches since it's going into a handbag anyways. I would like to note that I don't want the lens to stick out when not in use. So as long as the lens can contract automatically when the camera is off.

    Features
    How many megapixels will suffice for you?
    10-16MP is good enough. As long as the image looks good when viewed on an HDTV, it should be fine. I heard that the sensor is just as important as the MP count in determining camera image quality?

    * What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x)
    Standard 3x-4x is good enough. Maybe to snap a few shots of a building when on a moving car.

    * How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
    Around 7. We won't be printing these on anything larger than a 8x10, or is it a 10x8? But we will be viewing these on an HD TV.

    Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)?
    Nope.

    General Usage
    * What will you generally use the camera for?
    Images of people, buildings, food. Most will be still shots but it maybe be used in a moving vehicle as well. No action or sport shots though.

    * Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
    Very unlikely but I would keep that option open.

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
    It will be half/half indoor and outdoors. Low light capabilities aren't particularly necessary but would be a great bonus. I assume flash is a given. Flash should be settable as on/off/auto.

    Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
    Nope.

    Miscellaneous
    Are there particular brands you like or hate?
    Nope. Maybe not Sony though. As long as it doesn't use any proprietary memory cards. Rechargeable lithium batteries are fine.

    Are there particular models you already have in mind?
    I'm open to any suggestions. I'm fine if you just list all the cameras that meet my criteria as well, as long as it's better than a smartphone camera.

    (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)
    Image Stabilization sounds good. A camera that can record in movie mode is mandatory. If possible, I am also interested in one with Wi-fi capabilities as well, although it's not necessary. I don't know what Wide Angle, hotshoe, and rotating LCD means. Could you explain those to me? Thanks. I've also heard about a GPS feature in newer models. Do they tag the images by where they are taken or is there something else going on with those?

    As I mentioned, I'm perfectly fine with a small list of models I should be looking at that meets the criteria and I don't mind examining those models in more detail. Thank you very much in advance.
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    $300 seems to be a significant price point. If you're willing to spend at least $300 you can purchase a camera with a larger sensor and sharper lens, which will produce better image quality, especially in low light. You could also purchase a camera with extreme telephoto ability (30x) or weather/shock resistance, however these cameras will generally not have larger sensors too. But since your requirements seem pretty modest you probably don't need to spend more than $200.
    Wide angle refers to the width of the angle of view that the camera's lens is capable of. For compact cameras of the type you're looking for anything 28mm or lower is considered wide angle (which covers practically all cameras). A hotshoe is an input device found on larger and more expensive cameras that's usually used to attach a separate flash - not really appropriate for your needs. A rotating LCD is nice to have but it also is found in more expensive cameras and, further, it adds weight to the camera. A built-in GPS is nice as it lets you geo-tag your photos. But there's a trade-off - activating the GPS will shorten your battery life.
    You can find good cameras in the $150 to $200 range from many of the top manufacturers. From Canon I like the Elph 530 HS and the SX280 HS, which are not the latest models but are great buys at their current prices. From Sony I recommend the WX300 and the WX80. From Samsung I like the WB350f and the older WB250f. I also like the Nikon S6800 and the older S6500. All the cameras I mentioned have built-in WiFi, will fit easily into a purse, don't have a protruding lens, and will take good looking pictures in good light and decent pictures in low light without a flash.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  3. Souffle

    Souffle New Member

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    Thank you very much for your help! For reference, I ended up with the Nikon Coolpix S6500.
     
  4. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I'm sure you will enjoy it!
     
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