Posted by David Court 12 February 2014
Don't buy a compact camera: Get one of these instead!
OK, once upon a time it did make sense to buy a compact camera. They were once the only way of taking decent enough digital photos without the need for a fully blown big lens beast. However, that was true more than ten years ago, skip forward to 2014 and technology has changed a lot. See The 7 best CSC: the best sub-£500 compact system cameras you can buy in 2014.
A quick look on the usual internet retailers suggests that a cheap compact camera will cost you £89. In return you get a loyal 16MP digital camera that will take stunningly average pictures - which is great if you want to document your night out, or capture your dog/cat [insert pet here] sleeping on its bag looking cute. Not so great for when you want to take actual pictures when you're sight-seeing or if something is more than 10 feet away. Cameras in this price range are usually terrible and come with even worse feature sets – no inbuilt Wi-Fi for example. Take a look at the 7 best SLR cameras 2014.
So what's the answer? Double your money and get a decent compact camera that comes with a good lens, Wi-Fi and more than 20MP. Now we're talking close to £200 and its likely to be out of date in a couple of years. Megapixels are just numbers anyway, the real quality of a camera is in its lens and sensor, which defeats the whole point of compact cameras. See also: 6 ways Back to the Future Part II really did show us the future...
Ok, here's the solution don't buy a compact camera. You can either buy a DSLR, which can cost as little as £300 these days, and as long as you don't buy the Fisher-Price brand you're going to get a camera that takes stunning pictures from day one - even using autofocus!
Or you can do one of the following...
Just buy a good lens
Take a look at the Sony DSC-QX10W Lens Style Camera for smartphones. For some reason this product still hasn't caught the imagination of the public...maybe because it's a one of a kind and it takes a tiny bit of working out. What it is in an excellent value camera that uses the Wi-Fi, storage and social media functions of your already excellent smartphone to give you a cost effective solution to the "good camera" problem. It cost £129, boasts 18.9MP a 10x optical (not digital) zoom, a great sensor and works with Android and iPhone smartphones. It's genius.
A fixed lense for your iPhone
Got an iPhone? Excellent, then use that £89 you were going to spend on a god awful digital camera and buy the Olloclip attachment for iPhones. This is a 4-in-1 lens that lets your iPhone take wide angle, fish eye, 10x macro and 15x macros. You'll have £10 spare to buy sweets on your journey home from the shops then too (but you should do all your shopping online anyway, but that's a rant for another day).
Call in a favour
Last suggestion: borrow someone else's or make do with the pretty awesome pictures your smartphone can take. Seriously, how often do you need to take pictures that your iPhone of Android can't handle? If you're going on safari in Kenya or something else that is equally a once in a lifetime trip you need to take amazing pictures on, there is bound to be someone crazy enough to trust you with their expensive camera. And if there isn't you really need to take a long hard look at yourself and figure out why everyone hates you so much they won't lend you a poxy camera for two weeks.