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 Canon Powershot S200 is a great choice for anyone looking for a wide range of features in a pocket sized digital camera.
The Powershot S200 has 10 megapixels and a 5x optical zoom lens. The lens has two specific features that can help you to take better photos. The first is the 24mm minimum focal length of the lens. This enables you to squeeze wide scenes into your shots. You will really appreciate this if you plan to take a lot of landscape shots or you plan to photograph groups of people.
The other impressive lens feature is the maximum f/2 aperture. This allows more light into the camera than most lenses do. The advantage of this is that you can produce sharper photos when the light is not so good. For example, at dusk or when you are taking photos indoors.
Canon have built intelligent IS into the Powershot S200. This also helps to keep your photos pin sharp. The addition of Wi-Fi makes it easy for you to share your photos to your smart phone or tablet.
Other features include HD Movies, a 3 inch, high quality LCD screen and a range of manual and semi-automatic exposure features. A lens control ring gives you easy access to setting aperture, shutter speed and focusing.
The Finepix S2980 has a set of manual exposure controls including shutter priority and aperture priority. It is capable of shooting High Definition Movies. For close up shots there is a super macro mode that can focus from 2cm away from your subject. It has a 3 inch LCD screen, plus the option of using and electronic viewfinder for framing your photos. Power comes from a set of AA batteries.
The Powershot SX500 IS gives you a lot of zoom in a compact sized body. In macro mode the camera can focus from more or less next to your subject. Other features include a 3 inch LCD screen, manual exposure modes and High Definition Movies. Stereo sound can be recorded with a movie. You can also opt to shoot movies in the popular iFrame format.
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 A55V has a great range of features for a mid priced Digital SLR. These include 16 megapixels, shooting at 10 frames per second, Full High Definition movies, GPS tagging, a 3 inch vari angle LCD screen and a sweep panorama mode. The sweep panorama mode has a 3D option. There is also setting to increase the dynamic range of your photos. This brings out extra detail in the lightest and darkest areas of your photos.
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 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 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 SX600 HS gives you a lot of zoom power in a relatively small body. With a wide angle lens (minimum focal length 25mm) the Powershot SX600 HS has the flexibility to help you squeeze in wide landscape shots as well as being capable of zooming in on more distant subjects.
Owing to its smaller body size this type of camera has proved to be very popular with people travelling or taking a holiday. You get the scope to capture more or less any photo opportunity without the need to carry around a big and bulky camera. It is not just holiday makers who like this type of camera though. It is a good all rounder and suits most people looking for a smaller camera with a bit more oomph than more basic models.
In addition to the flexible lens you can shoot Full High Definition (1080p) movie clips. Although the Powershot SX600HS is not necessarily a replacement for a more advanced video camera it does the job if all you are after is capturing the moment.
It has a good sized and good quality, 3 inch LCD screen gives you WiFi connectivity options too. Canon have built in image stabilisation to help you get sharp shots when you are using full zoom power or when the light starts to fade.
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 Cybershot DSC RX100 is small, but powerful. It has many of the features you would expect to find on a Digital SLR. The large f/1.8 aperture is one of the main attractions. This size of aperture is ideal for lowlight photography. This camera has a set of manual exposure controls, a 3 inch LCD screen and Image Stabilisation. In burst mode it can shoot at up to 10 frames per second.
The Lumix DMC FZ200 is one of the most advanced super zoom digital cameras. The 24x zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. This aperture is available right across the zoom range. Other features include manual exposure controls, a 3 inch LCD screen that can be pulled out and twisted round to give you a more comfortable shooting position and an electronic viewfinder. It also has Image Stabilisation, Full HD movies with stereo sound, Image Stabilisation and a macro mode that can focus from 1 cm away from your subject.
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 Finepix X-S1 is an advanced super zoom digital camera. The 26x zoom lens also has wide angle capabilities. Key features include High Definition movies with stereo sound, image stabilisation, a tilting 3 inch LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder. For close up work the Finepix X-S1 is able to focus from 1cm away from your subject.
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 Coolpix S9300 packs a great range of features into its relatively small body. Features include Full High Definition movies with stereo sound, a high resolution, 3 inch LCD screen and GPS tracking. It also has the ability to create 180 and 360 degree panoramas. You can fire off shots at a rate of up to 7 frames per second and image stabilisation has been built in too.
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 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 Finepix F770EXR has an impressive range of features. They are all packed into a relatively small body size. Features include a wide angle lens, High Definition movies with stereo sound, image stabilisation and GPS. For more control over picture taking there are manual exposure settings. There is also a RAW mode. If you are looking for something different you can try the 360 degree motion panorama.
The D5100 has a vari angle, 3 inch LCD screen, the ability to shoot 1080p High Definition movies and an 11 point Auto Focus system. Other features include a High Dynamic Range setting and a series of in camera effects include low key and high key modes.
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 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.