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 Lumix DMC FT4 is waterproof to depths of 12m, shockproof to drops of up to 2m, dustproof and freezeproof to temperatures down to – 10 degrees centigrade. It can capture both full High Definition movies and time lapse movies. Other features include a 2.7 inch LCD screen and image stabilisation. It has GPS tracking and a built in compass.
Canon have excelled themselves with the Powershot S100 when it comes to packing features into an extremely compact body. The specification makes very impressive reading, especially when you consider this camera will fit into a good sized pocket.
Features include a large maximum aperture (f2), Full High Definition movies, manual exposure controls, a wide angle lens, GPS picture tagging, a top shooting speed of 9.6 frames per second, RAW capture, image stabilisation for stills and movie footage, a range of different aspect ratios and a high dynamic range mode. It has a 3 inch LCD screen and the flash unit pops up on top of the camera away from the lens. This can help to reduce red eye.
The Coolpix P5100 offers a stunning amount of zoom. There are plenty of other features available too. These include manual exposure controls, manual focusing, a 5 frames per second burst mode, GPS, 360 degree panoramas and 3D photography. You also have access to a macro mode that can focus from 1cm away from your subject and a 3 inch LCD screen that you can tilt away from the camera body. A viewfinder is available too.
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 Coolpix S100 is a touch control LCD screen. The LCD screen is an impressive 3.5 inches in size. Other features include the ability to shoot High Definition movies and to produce 3D still images. Image stabilisation is available to reduce picture blur. The Coolpix S100 is available in red, gold, black and purple. This camera is ultra slim and has a sliding lens cover.
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 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 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 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 Lumix DMC G3 has a 3 inch LCD screen that pulls out away from the body and also twists around. The screen is touch sensitive allowing some settings to be changed via touching the screen. It has manual exposure controls, a viewfinder and images can be stored in RAW mode. There is a High Definition movie mode. Stereo sound can be recorded to accompany your movie clips.
The Cybershot DSC HX200V is one of the most impressive digital cameras when it comes to the range of features on offer. As well as its 30x zoom lens it has a set of manual exposure controls. It can shoot High Definition Movies and you also have the option to take still photos when you are shooting a movie. For composing your shots you have a choice of a 3 inch, tilting LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder. In addition you can create 3D still images, defocus backgrounds and fire off bursts of photos at a rate of 10 frames per second. It also has GPS.
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.
The TG-1 is waterproof to depths 12m, shockproof to drops of 2m, crushproof to 100kg and can work in temperatures down to minus 10 degrees centigrade. Some settings can be changed by tapping the camera. Image Stabilisation has been built in by Olympus for both still photography and for shooting Full High Definition Movies. The LCD screen is 3 inches in size and you can focus from 1cm away from your subject in super macro mode. The TG-1 is compatible with Eye-Fi memory cards for Wi-Fi transfer and the battery can be recharged by connecting the camera to a USB port.
The IXUS 1100 HS has a wide angle lens. The lens also has plenty of scope for zooming in on more distant subjects. This means you have a great amount of flexibility from a camera that is small enough to slip into a larger pocket. There is an advanced movie mode with the IXUS 1100 HS able to shoot full format HD (1080) movies. Another movie option allows you to shoot slow motion movies. There is also a movie mode for shooting in Apple iFrame format.
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.
The stand out feature on the Coolpix S1200pj is the built in projector. As well as being able to display photos you have taken with the camera you can connect your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® , iPod nano® or iPod® to the Coolpix S1200pj and display images from those sources too. Aside from the projector you get standard point and shoot ease of use, image stabilisation and a 3 inch LCD screen. You can also shoot High Definition movies.
The Cybershot DSC HX20V packs in plenty of features. These include GPS, High Definition Movies, Image Stabilisation for stills and movies and a 3 inch LCD screen. Other features worth a mention are a burst mode that can capture up to 10 frames per second and a mode for throwing the background out of focus to accentuate your main subject. The LCD screen is 3 inches in size and the camera is capable of focusing from 1cm away from your subject in macro mode.