*** Note : £1 = $1.30
The way camera technology is progressing these days makes it possible to get fantastic technology in cameras that are classed as budget. In fact, if you have around £250/$325 to spend on a camera, you can get your hands on some pretty decent kit. Take a look at our ten suggestions below.
1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 isn’t brand-new but it’s still a cracking compact that’s well-worth considering. At 1p under our £250 mark, it just scrapes into our list where it takes the top spot. Why? Well, there aren’t many pocketable compact cameras that have both a 30x optical zoom lens, and an electronic viewfinder, or LVF as Panasonic call it. The TZ70 has all the features you’d want from a travel camera and doesn’t disappoint in terms of its image quality. The camera has full manual controls, and shooting RAW didn’t slow the camera down. The LVF is a handy extra that you don’t see on many compact cameras and its addition will appeal to many, as there are many photographers who much prefer to compose shots using a viewfinder rather than the screen. Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 offers plenty, for a reasonable price.
The TZ60 is also still available but as it’s only £10 cheaper, you might as well purchase the TZ70. If you have a slightly bigger budget, the newer TZ80 is priced at around £316.
2. Panasonic Lumix FZ72
Panasonic also takes our second spot in the top ten but this time, it’s a bridge camera. The Lumix DMC-FZ72features a 60x optical zoom,16.1-megapixel MOS sensor and is priced just over our top budget at £254. Don’t let its age put you off as for its price tag, you get a lot of features and decent image quality. The camera is also well built and the battery life is excellent.
If you have more cash to invest, take a look at the newer FZ80 is available for around £300.
3. Nikon Coolpix B500
The Nikon Coolpix B500 is an ultra zoom bridge camera and for its price point, it has a lot going for it with a wide-angle 40x optical zoom lens, tilting screen, and Full HD video recording with stereo sound. On top of this, there’s Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth for quick and easy connection to your smartphone – something that’s becoming more and more important in today’s market. We weren’t overly impressed with the image quality when using the full optical zoom, but if you’re sharing photos to social media, then colour and exposure were both reliable, and the camera should keep most people happy, particularly at this price point (around £219).
4. Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4
Tough cameras are incredibly useful pieces of kit as they can survive in water, are resilient to drops, dust doesn’t cause problems and they still work in really cold temperatures. There are quite a few tough cameras available now but the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-4 stands out as it goes beyond what you would expect from a less expensive compact camera. If you purchase the TG-4, you’ll find advanced shooting modes built-in along with a bright f/2.0 4x optical zoom lens, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. The TG-4 is currently available for around £358 but if you have £50 more to spend, you could also have a look at the TG-5 which is the newest version of Olympus’ Tough camera.
5. Canon PowerShot SX720 HS
The Canon Powershot SX720 HS is a great little travel/pocket zoom camera that features a 40x optical zoom. With built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, it makes it quick and easy to share photos from your smartphone, and images should look great on social media websites. If you’re simply looking for a good travel zoom camera, with the most optical zoom, then the Canon Powershot SX720 HS certainly delivers. It’s currently priced at just under £250 but if you did want to spend a little less money, you could take a look at the SX710 HS.
6. Fujifilm FinePix S9900W
The Fujifilm FinePix S9900W is a reasonably priced ultra zoom bridge camera that features a 50x optical zoom and useful features such as built-in wi-fi. The camera is capable of producing bright colourful images, although when using the full optical zoom images are quite soft. The S9900W can shoot at 10fps and full HD video is recorded at 60fps. For those who want a lot of zoom in a DSLR style camera, then the S9900W offers compelling value for money at just over £250. If you don’t need wi-fi in a camera, the S9800 is also a good option at around £185.
7. Canon IXUS 265 HS
The Canon IXUS 265 HS is the older brother of the IXUS 275 HS but when we tested both cameras, the IXUS 265 HS actually scored slightly better. At just under £130, the Canon IXUS 265 HS is a stylish, pocket-sized compact camera, equipped with a 12x optical zoom lens, and is available in a range of colours. Plus, images can be transferred via WiFi or Near Field Communications to a smartphone for ease of sharing. Images are good quality for a camera of this type, even if the corners can be a little soft when using the wide angle end of the zoom range.
If you do want to invest in the newer version of the camera, the IXUS 275 HS is available for around £140.
8. Nikon L830
The Nikon Coolpix L830 offers plenty of features – highlights include its 36x optical zoom, hybrid VR and the tilting screen which has a 921k dot resolution. With the amount of optical zoom on offer, some users may prefer a camera that has a viewfinder, which is lacking on the L830. Overall, the Nikon Coolpix L830 offers plenty of zoom and decent image quality for a very reasonable price (just over £250).
9. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400
If zoom is an important factor, then the H400 from Sony is still worth considering. With a 63x optical zoom lens, it certainly offers plenty of reach but it does lack the features cameras with slightly smaller zooms offer such as Full HD video and wi-fi. However, it is available for under £220 so it won’t break the bank.
10. Samsung WB1100F
The Samsung WB1100F is capable of taking some pleasing photographs, however, the competition tends to offer full HD video, or additional features, including an electronic viewfinder. However, if you simply want to be able to share your photos straight to Facebook or other social media sites, then the Samsung WB1100F could make a good choice for those on a budget, particularly as the cameras available for around £140.