I’ve been a photographer for a number of years, more than I care to think about, right from the days of the Brownie, the Polaroid and had always been a film user until fairly recently. In my every day job, I use Nikon DSLR cameras, but every now and then I see something I would like to capture when I don’t have these bulky cameras to hand. I decided it was time to buy myself a point and shoot camera. Which to buy? There are so many on the market, as we all know, and it’s confusing. Armed with more than the usual little bit of knowledge of photography, I headed out to do a bit of research.
Lens. Talking about lens, this is the most important aspect of a camera that I look for. Without a good lens, the camera really won’t perform very well. A standard compact camera can offer 35mm to perhaps 150mm focal length range. That’s fine for portrait shots but if you want to take landscapes then find a camera offering a wide angle capability of 24mm and an upper range of 200mm so you capture long range wildlife or sports action shots. There are cameras out there that offer a super zoom of 400mm. Another aspect of lens quality is the aperture range. Lower f values like f1.8, i.e. larger apertures, work better in low light conditions. A rule of thumb to gauge lens quality is to check how much glass you can see. The larger glass area suggests a better quality lens.
The Family Camera group is subdivided into smaller feature and price segments. Cameras in the same price range tend to have the same features: Under $175.00 we find 4X zooms. Over $200.00 we will find zoom lenses 5X and stronger. Once the price of the Family Camera approaches $300.00 or more we find that the zoom lenses tend to be 10X and greater.
How Long Do You Plan to Keep The Camera? – If you plan on keeping your camera for a long time, then you can pick any one that will work for you. If you plan on reselling the camera and upgrading to the next model later on, then you will need to do some research into what companies have a high resale value. This way you won’t lose too much money by upgrading.
If you are looking for compact, versatility, and ruggedness, then you might want to look at the COOLPIX AW100, with 16.0 Megapixels / 5x Zoom. This camera can go just about anywhere you go. If you want to go diving, this camera can go to a depth of 30 feet. If you want to go skiing, this camera can go to temperatures as low as 17 degrees F.
The hardest questions where always the ones from people asking which best 360 camera I’d recommend they purchase next. There are just too many variables to a question like this and certainly not something I could get into while working a wedding reception. Hell, I have the cake cutting shoot coming up in 5 minutes.
White balance the camera to your lighting (do not choose auto white balance). Set the camera on manual. The camera can be moved for the metering otherwise, everything must be locked down. To make the test easier to evaluate, you can vary the framing for each of the three tests slightly, so you can tell one from the other easily.
As you can see there are many Nikon compact cameras to suit your needs. All the way from having a camera you can hide in the palm of your hand to one that can go everywhere to one that is not so expensive and yet still takes great pictures. My personal opinion is that Nikon makes the ultimate compact camera.