Gagan GuptaAug 09, 2006 12:11:19 IST
All the cameras below are our best picks in their budgets. Prices mentioned for the cameras are street prices and may vary from location to location.
Best Value Camera: Nikon Coolpix L4
The biggest selling point for the cam is that it offers you 4 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom and video shooting capabilities at a good resolution of 640x480 pixels (without sound) for a great price of Rs. 7250 only.
The L4 offers some pretty good features. It has four shot presets namely Portrait, Landscape, Sports and Night Portrait along with 11 scene modes including Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Close Up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Panorama Assist, etc. Advanced users may consider the flash a bit weak for their liking and the camera may be a bit slow when compared to the speeds offered by the higher-budget cameras. Rest assured, the Nikon Coolpix L4 is a great starter-level cam and a great option for mobile phone cam users looking for better results at a cost effective budget.
Sony Cybershot DSC-S600
If you're looking for a little better option than a complete starter level cam, but not with much of a difference in budget, then take a look at the Sony DSC-S600. It's a 6 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom on a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens.
The camera adds some pretty good features in a little package that costs as little as Rs. 8,750. The camera does a pretty decent noise reduction even at high ISO settings, which makes it great for night shots. It igives the user a pretty good control over what he's shooting with various scene modes like Twilight, Landscape, Beach, Snow, etc. along with presets for white balance under different lighting conditions. Not to forget, it does video at VGA resolution (640x480) with sound for as long as your Memory Stick Pro can support it.
Fuji FinePix A500
The thing with Fuji FinePix A500 is that it may not be the hottest camera in its budget when it comes to the variety of camera features, but it sure does prove itself worthy when it comes to performance.
The camera shoots still images at 5 megapixels, and the results look great for a budget compact camera. The colors come pretty good in indoor as well as outdoor scenarios, but in low light conditions you may experience a bit of noise, due to high ISO settings. Though the camera features video shooting, but that shouldn't be a reason behind your buying decision, as it shoots video without sound at only 320x240 resolutions at 10FPS.
If you're looking for a plethora of features then you should take a look at the rest of the cameras in this list. But if you're looking for a camera under Rs. 11,000 (Street Price Rs. 10,500) that works great at its primary functionality (i.e. taking pictures), then this one's for you.
Best Zoom: Nikon Coolpix L1
Great functionality and an equally good performance makes it well worth its Rs. 11,750 price point. The Coolpix L1 is the best in its budget in features and optical zoom level (5x), but when it comes to pure camera performance it gets a bit sluggish.
On paper the specs of the cam seem brilliant for its price, but the truth is that in real world performance it does have a few minor flaws that keep it from getting our “Best Budget Camera” title. The camera tends to overexpose its results a bit, which makes things appear a bit brighter than usual. That can be excused (or even appreciated) for indoor shots, but when shooting outdoor, that can pose as a problem. The video capture quality too isn't worth boasting about.
With that said, the Coolpix L1 is still a great option for starter-level users. Chances are most people won't even notice the ‘flaws' we mentioned. In the end, it still is a great camera with an unmatchable set of features at its price.
Best Budget Camera: Canon Powershot A530
If you can spend Rs. 12,000 on a camera, then the Powershot A530 stands above the competition. It may not boast the highest megapixel count in its range, or even the best zoom; but when it comes to picture quality and camera performance, you have a clear winner in this one.
The Powershot A530 takes pictures in resolutions up to 5 megapixels and features 4x optical zoom. It's an ideal first digital camera, since it gives the user some pretty good options to control the output quality and at the same time does a great job as a point-and-shoot camera. The pictures taken from the Powershot A530 clearly show an advantage in colors and the overall image quality. The A530 does a pretty good job for video shoots too, with the camera performing well and giving great audio and video under most lighting conditions.
The overall consistency in its high performance is what makes the Canon Powershot A530 our pick as this month's best budget camera.
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