Each year I get asked about cameras as gifts and it’s become a bit of a tradition that I do a quick review of some buying options. The first thing to realise is that even though technology changes, the principles of buying a camera don’t and so you can still read last year’s ‘buying a camera article’ on my blog with confidence.
Rather than go over old ground all the cameras I reviewed last year will still perform well, but I noticed that Lidl are offering a competition to win a Canon Powershot SX530 HS on their facebook page. If you like their Facebook page you’ll have a chance of winning one. You can read my review of the camera Lidl have on offer below.
Before I get to that I’ll offer some sage like advice. Cameras are always great gifts and it’s really worth taking some time to get through your instructions to help you create better images. I’m the sort of person who usually ignores instruction manuals, but when it comes to a new camera I’d say you need to devour each and every page!
Where to buy
Lidl have this model as a Christmas Special at €299, but Conns Cameras in Dublin are also selling them at the same price. I’m sure you’d get excellent customer service from both stores and the postage from Dublin is moderate.
What can the camera do?
The camera will take images that you can print to a decent size. It has a 16 mega pixel sensor, which is a fair size. Don’t be worried about this being too small, its more than adequate - one of my own pro cameras only has 12 mega pixels.
Can I change the lens on it?
No, this is a fixed lens camera that has a zoom built in. One of the weaknesses of fixed lens cameras is that if you do scratch the lens then there isn’t much you can do about it. The cost of repair will be greater than a replacement camera so it is well worth a bit of extra care, if not a moderate insurance premium!
It has a 50x zoom, is that good?
Personally the zoom isn’t a feature that impresses me much, but if you want to capture a detailed image of granddad snoozing on the other side of the room, it will usually serve you well. A general rule is whenever you use a zoom, you will need extra light, to help avoid grainy images.
Personally I would advise all photographers that rather relying on the zoom feature to use their feet and get a little bit closer to the subject. It will help you get much, much better pictures.
What about the flash?
The camera will do a pretty good job of working out when it thinks you need more light and the flash will pop up. This is a double edged sword however. Pop up flash is a huge contributor to 'red eye' in your images, although there are some fairly easy ways to avoid this. If you are interested in learning how to avoid annoying red eye, why not consider one of my photography classes in Kenmare ? These are great fun.
Is it heavy?
No, in fact it’s easy to carry in your hand and small enough to fit in a handbag. If you are a guest at a wedding (and you know how to operate it properly) you’ll be able to create good quality image as long as you find the right light to work in.
Are there any negative aspects to this camera?
One of the weaknesses of fixed lens cameras is that if you do scratch the lens then there isn’t much you can do about it. The cost of repair, will normally be far greater than a replacement camera, so make sure all your photographic gear is insured and keep your lens cap on!
What other options are there?
There are so many camera options that it would be difficult to advise about different models, I would say that these days it’s almost impossible to buy a 'bad' camera.
The smart phones on today’s market are really impressive and I’m sure camera manufacturers like Canon and Nikon are getting worried about Samsung and Apple having a bad affect on their sales.
The reason I think this camera stays ahead of the iphone camera is that generally, people who use them are looking to get a bit more from their images. The desire to take better images is the key ingredient, the camera itself is irrelevant. The reality is that every camera iwill only take the image you tell it to.
If you are interested in a camera like this, you should probably consider the cost of printing images. Whilst sharing digital copies of an image is handy, prints are what really make a picture. Of course when you take a really good image, that looks good as a print. Then it's time to place it in a frame, an image is only finished when it's framed!
If you do buy a camera this Christmas, make sure you get the best of it. I offer photography classes for all skill levels in Kenmare in groups less than 8. You can find out more by emailing me via this contact form or calling my mobile 0879 491 002