If you have up to £300 to spend on a digital camera then you have a wide range of cameras to choose from. Once you step above the £200 mark you start to get access to top class picture quality as well as a wide range of features.
At this level digital cameras are aimed at people who see photography as a hobby. There are cameras with extreme length lenses as well advanced manual controls. Features such as GPS tagging - so that you know where you were in the world when you took a picture - are available on a small number of models.
You also have access to the best touch screen controlled models. All cameras are likely to offer High Definition movie recording and some will additionally offer the ability to record sound in stereo.
The Olympus TG-820 is one of the most robust digital cameras you will find. It can withstand depths of 10m, is shockproof to falls of 2m and can work in temperatures as low as -10 degrees centigrade. In addition it is also crushproof to weights of 100kg. There is a 3 inch LCD screen, image stabilisation and a Full 1080p High Definition movie mode. Olympus have also included the ability to produce 3D still photos and battery charging via a USB port.
The Canon Powershot SX520 HS offers you a tremendous amount of versatility when it comes to picture taking. The 42x zoom lens can capture just about any photo opportunity from panoramic views to far away, distant subjects. If that level of zoom is still not enough, Canon have equipped the Powershot SX520 HS with a feature called Zoom Plus. This doubles the zoom capabilities to 84x magnification.
The power of the lens may be the main attraction of the Powershot SX520 HS, but Canon have added in plenty of advanced features. These will appeal to you if you are either an advanced photographer or you are looking to learn and master the art of photography. The list of features available is similar to those you would expect to find on a Digital SLR. The main difference with this camera is that you have the convenience of a lens that does not need to be changed over for different types of photo opportunity.
The features include a set of manual exposure controls. These include fully manual operation, aperture priority and shutter priority. There is a powerful flash unit and you can fine tune colours with a range of white balance settings. In macro mode you have the ability to focus on subjects that are right in front of the lens. If you like the idea of shooting short movie clips with a digital camera, the Powershot SX520 HS can capture Full High Definition Movies (1080p).
You can use the Optio WG-1 in water to depths of 10m. You will also be able to continue to take pictures in temperatures down to -10 degrees centigrade. This camera is also shockproof to 1.5m and crushproof to 100kg. In addition there is a 2.7 inch LCD screen for composing your photos and a High Definition movie mode. To help light subjects in macro mode Pentax have added five small lights around the lens.
The Lumix DMC TZ30 has an impressive range of features. These include GPS positioning, High Definition movies with stereo sound, manual exposure controls, a 3 inch LCD screen and image stabilisation. In macro mode the camera can focus from 3cm away from the subject and there is also a high speed shooting mode that can capture up to 10 frames per second.
The E-P2 has a 3 inch LCD screen, manual exposure modes, a 3 frames per second burst mode and can shoot High Definition movies. It can also capture photos in RAW, has an 11 point Auto Focus system and has a maximum ISO setting of 6400.
The Finepix X10 stands out from the crowd. Fuji have equipped this camera with a wide range of advanced features and given it what it describes as a luxury design. It has a full set of manual exposure controls, manual focusing, a f/2 lens, bracketing, High Definition movies and the ability to shoot at 7 frames per second. In terms of design the controls are made of metal and the camera has a leather like finish with a magnesium top plate and camera base.
The Canon Powershot D30 is a tough, rugged digital camera for use in challenging conditions. It can operate underwater in depths as low as 25m. It can cope with freezing ski slopes with temperatures down to -10 degrees centigrade. In addition, it is dustproof. This makes it a good choice for use on a beach or in a desert.
As well as being waterproof this camera has a special underwater mode. An underwater macro mode is available too. All in all, this camera is ideal if you are looking for a simple, point and shoot camera for scuba diving or use in and around the pool.
The Powershot D30 can survive the rough and tumble of the outdoor life as it can survive drops of up to 2m.
If you are the adventurous type and like to travel, Canon have equipped the Powershot D30 with GPS technology. This logs exactly where you were in the world when a picture was taken.
More standard features include 12 megapixels and a 5x zoom lens. The lens has a wide angle of view, for squeezing in wider scenes. Intelligent IS helps you to get pin sharp photos in difficult shooting conditions. It has a 3 inch LCD screen and can shoot Full High Definition 1080p Movies.
The Finepix HS30EXR is a fully featured digital camera with many of the features you would expect to find on a Digital SLR. Features include a 30x zoom lens. The lens also has wide angle capabilities. There are a set of manual exposure modes and you also have access to manual focusing. There are High Definition movies with stereo sound and manual focusing. You can add extra power by adding an external flash unit via the hot shoe.
The D3200 is an entry level Digital SLR. As well as the high number of megapixels for a camera at this level it has an 11 point auto focus system and can fire off bursts of shots at up to 4 frames per second. One of the big attractions for someone stepping up to a Digital SLR for the first time is the comprehensive Guide Mode. The D3200 can also capture Full High Definition Movies.
For a small digital camera the Canon Powershot S120 packs a punch. This makes it an ideal choice for someone who wants more than point and shoot simplicity.
Packed inside the camera body are an advanced set of manual controls giving you greater creative control over the way your photos will look. As well as being able to control shutter speeds and aperture size you also get access to enhanced white balance controls, plus manual focus and additional auto focus settings.
Other impressive features include Wi-Fi connectivity, a 3 inch, touch controlled LCD screen and the ability to capture full resolution images at a rate of 9.4 frames per second. You also get access to a RAW mode. This gives you more flexibility when it comes to post processing your photos.
Canon have equipped the Powershot S120 with Full High Definition movies. The ability to record at 60 frames per second gives you smoother 1080p movies.
Canon’s HS system helps to produce better quality photos in lowlight. A lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 is another key feature to help you with lowlight photography.
All in all the Powershot S120 offers a lot of power and control to someone who sees photography as a hobby or would like a convenient alternative to a larger Digital SLR.
The Lumix DMC FT3 is a robust digital camera. It is waterproof to depths of 12m, freezeproof down to temperatures of -10 degrees centigrade, shockproof to drops of 2m and dustproof too. Features also include a compass, GPS positioning, a barometer and an altimeter. It can also shoot High Definition movies.
The Lumix DMC FS45 has a couple of features that mark it out as a step up on more basic digital cameras. These include a 3 inch LCD screen, image stabilisation and the ability to shoot High Definition movies. There is also a shooting mode for producing square photos for when you would like your shots to look a little different.
The Lumix DMC G5 is one of the most advanced Compact System Cameras. It has a range of manual controls including Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority. You can store images in RAW mode. You can select the auto focus point by touch through the 3 inch LCD screen. An electronic viewfinder is available too. You can shoot High Definition Movies with stereo sound.
If you are looking for lens power the Lumix DMC FZ48 has a 24x zoom lens. The lens also has wide angle capabilities and image stabilisation. If you need even more zoom you can opt to decrease the number of megapixels you are shooting at in return for extra zoom up to 46.9x. Other features include a set of manual exposure controls and manual focusing. In addition to the 3 inch LCD screen there is also a viewfinder available for composing images. There is a special mode for shooting 3D still images. You can also record Full High Definition movies with stereo sound.
The Lumix DMC GF3 is a compact size even for a compact system camera. It has a set of manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority) as well as the ability to store images in RAW format. Some settings can be accessed through a touch sensitive LCD screen. The Lumix DMC GF3 is also capable of recording High Definition movies.
The Lumix DMC LX7 is a small, but very powerful digital camera. A wide range of options have been packed into the compact body. These include manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority), a f/1.4 maximum aperture, a 1cm macro mode and a burst mode that can capture a small number of shots at up to 11 frames per second. Full High Definition Movies can be recorded with stereo sound. High speed videos can also be made for slow motion replay.
The SH-21 has a wide angle lens, can shoot Full 1080p High Definition movies and can produce 3D stills photographs. Olympus have equipped the camera with image stabilisation, plus a mode for increasing the detail showing in the darkest and lightest areas of your shots. The LCD screen is 3 inches in size and the battery can be charged via a USB terminal.
The D3100 is an ideal starter Digital SLR. It is relatively small and lightweight and has a guide mode to help you get the most out of the D3100. Features include 12 megapixels and a 3 inch LCD screen. There is a range of manual exposure controls and you can record High Definition movies. It is available in kit form with a wide angle lens.
The Canon Powershot G16 is an advanced digital camera with many features you would expect to find on a Digital SLR. These include a range of manual exposure controls, plus the ability to shoot in RAW mode. This set of features makes the Powershot G16 the ideal choice for an enthusiast who is looking for a camera that is much smaller and lighter than a Digital SLR.
Other features that stand out include the 5x, 28mm, wide angle lens. One of the main attractions of the lens is that it has a maximum aperture of f/1.8. This means that the lens lets in a lot of extra light when you are taking a picture. This comes into its own if you are taking pictures in lowlight situations such as indoors or at dusk. Your pictures should be noticeably sharper and brighter in these conditions.
If you are looking for more zoom power from the Powershot G16 it also offers a 10x zoom plus feature, allowing you to zoom in when needed.
High speed shooting is catered for with a burst speed of 9.3 frames per second at full resolution. This is a very handy feature if you are shooting any kind of action.
In addition to the features above the Powershot G16 has a high quality, 3 inch LCD screen. This gives you clear viewing for composing images as well as reviewing them. You also have access to Wi-Fi for sharing your photos and video clips.
When you want to shoot movie clips you can switch to movie mode. This produces HD quality movies with a capture speed for 60 frames per second. You can also record sound in stereo.
The Powershot SX260 HS packs a wide range of features into a relatively small body size. These include GPS tracking, a 20x wide angle lens, a 3 inch LCD screen and manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority). It can shoot High Definition movies with stereo sound as well as slow motion movies. It has image stabilisation for both still photos and movies.
The Lumix DMC GX1 offers manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority), Full High Definition movies and the ability to store images in RAW format. There is a 3 inch LCD screen. The screen allows you to change some settings by touch. There is also the option to purchase a viewfinder. This is attached to the Lumix DMC GX1 via a hot shoe.