I am approaching this differently from previous guides- – Still in DRAFT form
[IMAGE Camera sitting on a wad of cash]
What do I believe is the best camera I could buy at various price points. It is important to note that what is best for me may not be best for you. Personally I rank image quality and manual controls above things like zoom and battery life. Leave a comment about what you like to shoot and what is important to you and I would be happy to recommend what I believe to be the best camera for you. And Finally I’d love for you all to share your favorite camera at any price point – leave a comment or send me an email.
The Challenge – At X Price point,if you could only have one camera with you, what camera would you choose and why?
Final note – prices fluctuate – check with me before you buy if you have any questions –
$100 – Nothing exciting here but the Canon Powershot A1300 does the job. Nicely powered by two AA batteries for operation anywhere, though I do recommend you buy some nice Enloop Rechargeables for long term savings. Easy to use and decent photo quality for $100, even offers 720p video recording.
$200 – Just under $200 is another offering from Canon, the Canon PowerShot Elph 110HS – same Megapixels as the A1300 but offers full 1080p HD video with stereo sound and the lens starts at 24mm as opposed to 28mm in the A1300, for indoor group shots that extra 4mm can make a nice difference. A second option just above the $200 mark is the Sony Cyber-shot WX-150 has a few neat features like sweep panorama and very fast frame rate 10FPS. Overall I personally would go with the safe choice of the Canon.
$400 – Now we are starting to get into a territory of potential exciting cameras, in fact we blew by the well loved Canon G12 and Canon S100 – both excellent with very nice control systems and solid image quality for a point and shoot with traditional sized sensors, we also passed a few superzooms that I like including the Lumix FZ with 24x zoom But I personally would grab the Panasonic Lumix GF3 with 14-42mm lens. A very nice interchangeable lens camera (ILC) that has a sensor a good bit bigger than the traditional P&S cameras and as a result image quality is better, especially in lower light. Eventually I could add other lenses and have a very versatile system that is almost on par with DSLR quality for much cheaper.
$600 – Right at the edge of DSLR territory, one could choose an entry level DSLR like the Nikon D3200 with 24MP and a sensor that ranks higher than any other sensor of the same size currently offers loads of image quality for $650 with 18-55 lens. And when I buy I want to buy into a system that I know will be around, easy to find plenty of lenses and accessories and Nikon fits that nicely. If I wanted something that slipped in my pocket I’d pickup the Sony RX100 with 20MP in a very pocketable camera or the G1 X from Canon that has a bigger sensor stuffed inside a G12 body, excellent low light performance and the lovely flippty out screen.
$800 – Firmly into DSLR territory, I could now pick up a Canon T3i with kit lens and the 50mm f/1.8 for shooting in lower light or an external flash like the EX320 (with a bit more spending). If I really wanted to travel with a more compact camera I’d grab a used X100 from fuji. This is a fixed lens P&S from Fuji with a DSLR sized sensor. outer styling is very retro and internals offers a very nice electronic viewfinder.
$1000 – Canon T4i – There is lots in this camera, excellent photo AND video quality- I have said LOADS about this camera over the last few months and I am still very positive about the camera and love the room to grow it provides with complete manual control and even external flash firing. But in someways with the Canon being the safe and one that I already have, I feel compelled to pick other options and a new X100 or the Olympus OM-D, I personally haven’t touched this camera yet, is very exciting. In photos you see a large, DSLR styled camera but in reality it is quite small with a 4/3rds sized sensor in there and plenty of manual controls on the outside. Reviews are very positive and the styling (quite retro) appeals to me. Additionally the OM-D is weather sealed and offers loads of customizations.
$1200 – Canon T4i with 18-135 STM lens. I have spoken in-depth about this lens and camera combination and at $1200 the pair make a solid value but again if I wanted to be a bit more daring we are into the category of some nice used DSLRs like the Canon 7D, Nikon D7000 with lenses and other older models that have lots to still offer (this actually doesn’t feel like straying much – these are all still traditional DSLRS, I just know they offer excellent image quality and product quality) Ok- Fine I have guilted myself into recommending the Sony NEX-7 – 24MP, all those fun Sony features like Sweep Panorama a bright OLED viewfinder with tons of info overlayed make this an exciting if a bit less safe pick for me.
I think I will stop there – Above this point you have a large variety of DSLRS and Lenses to choose from, you are almost into the terrirtory of full frame DSLRS like the 5D Mark II, in fact if you buy used you can grab a body only for just under $1600 and that is a steal! NOTE: the 5D Mark II is now selling for $1699 NEW – fantastic deal.
None of this is supposed to be a full review of these cameras – just thoughts of what I would buy and why. I hope it gets you thinking about the best camera for you at the various price points and as I started this post – please, email or leave a comment if you have any questions or need help finding the best camera for you.
All product links go to Amazon, clicking through my links earns me a small percentage of the sale and allows me to keep this site running. I love Amazon for two simple reasons – their prices are rarely beat and you have 30 day money back guarantee on just about everything you buy. On a few occasions I have had to return cameras or lenses to Amazon and never had a problem.
Thanks for reading!
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