back to article Cameras for hacks: Idiot-proof suggestions invited

The world of journalism is changing fast, and while the image-hungry internet demands ever more photographs, shrinking budgets mean the days of a hack going into the field with a snapper in tow are pretty much over. Much to the chagrin of harrumphing old school journos, editors will now regularly ask them to provide images as …

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  1. Knoydart
    Thumb Up

    Took my Canon Powershot 110 to Svalbard last year and worked well whist wandering around at 78 degrees north in the freezer. It also survived a week on the damp west coast of New Zealand too. Just a bit larger than a cigarette pack so slips into the smallest of journalistic man bags with ease

    1. Buzzword

      +1 on the PowerShot. Perhaps not as rugged as you'd like, but produces great pictures for it's size.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        The PowerShot 95, 100, 110 etc series would once have been a top pick (along with the Panasonic LX 5 or 7) for a 'jacket pocket' camera with reasonable low-light capabilities, but has now been eclipsed by the Sony RX100.

        In non-interchangeable lens cameras ('premium compacts') there tends to be a trade off against zoom range and low-light capabilities, in part due to the fact that a larger sensor requires more glass in front of it.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          That said, the Panasonic LX-7 can be had for around £250 - £300, whereas the Sony RX100 is north of £400.

          The LX-7 is faster in every way than the LX-5, and the widest aperture is now f 1.4. It is possible to blur the background of portrait shots even when using a little bit of zoom. The wide angle is handy for indoor shots of, say, conferences etc.

          1. T.Omoto

            Is this "blurring" real bokeh or just software trickery to compensate the small sensor?

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              That is real blurring - it has a f 1.4 lens against a 1/1.7-inch 10 megapixel sensor. It isn't extreme bokeh, but it certainly softens the background enough to emphasize the foreground subject.

              I wouldn't use any in-camera trickery - that is what Photoshop is for.

              The sensor isn't huge, but it's a lot bigger than that found in travel-zoom or bridge cameras.

          2. Stacy

            The Sony may a little more expensive, but it is the only in pocket camera I have considered buying (actually bought one for a trip to the Christmas markets in Koln) due to the sensor size. It is no DSLR, but it's close enough that my 5D is only brought out for serious shots now and isn't lugged around everywhere I expect to be taking pictures.

            Low light is stunning, but more than that there is zero lag on the shutter, the manual zoom is a pleasure to use when the auto just doesn't cut it, the battery lasts an age and it is tiny!

            I've never taken mine to an extreme environment so can't comment on it's durability in poor conditions, but the cost of the camera was completely worth the pictures that it took and convenience.

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Pint

      Powershot S90 here. Love it, but question its "beer-proof-ness".

      I'd suggest one of the Panasonic "splashproof" P&S cameras. Got one for my wife and she takes it snorkeling.

      1. Peter Simpson 1

        Oh, and "F" the manual -- nobody ever reads it anyways. The UI is almost intuitive. Suggest you get the intern to distill the multipage multilanguage manual that comes with the camera to a single cheat-sheet.

  2. Chet Mannly

    RX100

    On those criteria it would be hard to go past a Sony RX100. Big sensor for a compact and image quality is probably as good as you get outside of an interchangeable lens slr/mirrorless camera.

    Everything but beer proof, but in my experience the picture quality of rugged cameras is pretty, well, rugged...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: RX100

      Yep, the Sony RX100 is the pocket camera to beat at the moment.

      Sony do use the same sensor and lens of the RX100 to make that weird 'module that clip onto your phone' device, the QX100, but reviews suggest that the concept is not implemented perfectly.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: RX100

        >Everything but beer proof,

        You can get fully-waterproof enclosures for the Panasonic LX series, but they add so much to the bulk and price that they wouldn't satisfy the Reg's criteria.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RX100

      Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II review here looks nice, perhaps some UI problems, can get clip on viewfinder, has a Zeiss lens, worth a look.

  3. glen waverley
    Paris Hilton

    Hobbies?

    "We know many readers enjoy a bit of photography"

    Nudge,nudge,wink wink.

    I know what you mean!

    (And so does Paris.)

  4. cookieMonster
    Thumb Up

    Canon S95

    Got one a while back and can't fault it in any way - even allows HD video. Great camera - small, light, tons of features, even allows you to go manual with settings.

  5. cowbutt

    The Canon S9x/1xx compacts seem nice enough, but if you need a lot more zoom and better robustness, albeit with the downside of it being the same size and weight of a consumer DSLR plus kit lens, the Fuji X-S1 might also be worth a look.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fujifilm X-S1 looks good, dpreview give it a burst mode of 10 fps.

  6. elbisivni

    For the last week or so I've been evaluating (ok, playing) with a Nikon Coolpix S9700 for some of our people to use out west.

    It is proving very nice to use and has (as they all do) a full auto mode which will remove need for even a one page manual, as well as a decent zoom.

    Not particularly beer proof, though.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      To be perfectly honest, i'd just buy a bunch of cheap second hand cameras from eBay. For the size of the pictures posted on el reg any camera released in the last decade ought to be perfectly sufficant.

      Spending money on a half day worth of training into using a camera properly (ie, lighting, angles, mini tripod for stabilising the image, when to use the flash etc) will quite frankly get you much much more of a performance increase than a ten year old camera to a brand new, shiny camera.

  7. JDX Gold badge

    A step backwards

    Forcing journalists to take their own photos can't be good for the end product. Unless it's a myth perpetuated by photographers that photography is hard, which I a very much doubt, this seems like a boss saying "my nephew did some graphic design at 6th form, lets pay him £5/hour instead of hiring an expensive graphic designer".

    1. Craig McGill 1

      Re: A step backwards

      You are totally right but this is the way it has been going for a while in the age of 'content' - most places now work to the opinion of 'as long as a picture is good enough, it will do' and the definition of 'good enough' is 90% of the time not actually that good.

      Basically, it's a cost cutting exercise. It's a shame because with the kit and technology available to journalists and others today, we should be in a golden age of reporting but the cuts make that impossible.

      1. rhydian

        Re: A step backwards

        " It's a shame because with the kit and technology available to journalists and others today, we should be in a golden age of reporting but the cuts make that impossible."

        The problem is that its that "kit and technology" that's driving down the revenues of publishing and journalism, both online and in print. There's no point making a beautiful looking magazine if not enough people will pay for it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A step backwards

          Thats spot on and is applicable to so many parts of the media industry from books to invoices.Remember when you had invoices and letterheads designed and printed,now we just print on a £50 wireless connected printer as and when needed,read books on a tablet etc etc.

          Im just waiting for a 3D printer that can print out hot gourmet dinners and a glass of good wine.

    2. Panicnow

      Re: A step backwards

      Gee A Journo that can't write and shoot!!

      Reminds me of the KGB joke...

      Why do the KGB go around in threes?

      One can Read, one can write, the other is there to keep an eye on the intellectuals!

    3. photobod

      Re: A step backwards

      Judging by the quality of most 'writing', they'd be better off asking a decent photographer to add some words to the pictures.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A step backwards

        End product? It's a picture to go with a story. It will have a shelf life of one day. David Bailey is not needed.

        There's already a lot of snobbery being shown in these comments, get over yourselves. A few replies and we can already see "real bokeh" being discussed. Arty farty nonsense dreamt up by people who want to sell the emperor a new set of clothes.

        If there is a downside to not having a dedicated photographer it is that those photographers often went on to become professional photographers in their own right. The stint with the newspaper was effectively an apprenticeship.

    4. Hairy Spod

      Re: A step backwards

      Ah Yes, that feeling you get when someone tells you, "that's a fantastic photo, you must have a really good camera".

      Its a bit like going round to someone's house and saying 'that was a lovely meal, you must have some excellent pans'.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: A step backwards

        >A few replies and we can already see "real bokeh" being discussed. Arty farty nonsense dreamt up by people who want to sell the emperor a new set of clothes.

        No, it's simply a matter of separating the subject from the background, to draw attention to the actual subject of the photograph. True, it is often overused, but the concept is craftsmanlike, not arty-farty.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A step backwards

          >it's simply a matter of separating the subject from the background

          Exactly, you've proved my point. Photographers have been doing this for ages without having to give it a mysterious name. Maybe I wasn't clear, I didn't mean the effect was arty-farty merely the name and the discussion that goes on about what it is and isn't.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: A step backwards

            @Chris W.

            Fair shout! Thanks for the clarification.

            On the subject of distinguishing background from foreground, our two eyes do this all the time stereoscopically (actually, make that most of the time, since I don't seem to be completely immune from hitting my head on low tree branches in a forest). It might be the desire to accentuate background blurring in two-dimensional images is an attempt to make up the absent information our eyes would perceive in a three-dimensional scene.

            Occasionally, when scrolling through my library of photos, I will skip between two photos that were taken in quick succession but with a slight shift in camera position. This seems to cause my brain too interpret the images as more '3D', and 'pops' the people out from the background.

            There have been stereoscopic cameras sold, as well as the Lytro camera which can achieve the same but by different means, but of course viewing the resulting images is often more faff than it is worth.

  8. Eugene Crosser

    Canon

    is to my experience the best in the class that you describe. I've been using IXUS 80is for several years, recently replaced by Powershot SX280hs. The picture quality is quite good for the size/price, looks very decent on a 30x40 cm print. And especially ixus is quite sturdy.

  9. Bastard-Wizard

    Pentax Optio WG-3.

    Standard and LED flash, and pretty well priced for a ruggedized camera. I'd suggest looking over some reviews to see if the image quality is good enough for you- it's decent, but not top-end by any means. It claims to be shockproof, waterproof, coldproof and crushproof- I can vouch for everything except crushproof and coldproof.

    I can further attest that it's beerproof.

    The fact that it's ugly as sin may also deter thieves.

    In short: It can take a beating and a dunking and is mediocre in most other things. But the lens is in the right spot (unlike many ruggedized snappers.)

  10. Alan Sharkey

    Panasonic TZ60

    A really good small camera - loads of zoom, excellent picture quality for the gutter press (and yourselves) and lots of options.

    Alan

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Olympus Stylus 1.

    Good low light performance, great zoom, great all rounder.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Panasonic TZs

    The Panasonic TZ superzoom range are very versatile. USB charging, albeit from a custom cable and not micro USB, is useful.

    The only drawback with the Panny TZs is the dust getting on the back of the lens and sensor. Its happened so often that I now take a precision screwdriver with me now so I can open the camera up and remove dust from the sensor.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Panasonic TZs

      Yeah, the bellows effect... the lens barrel loves to suck dust in.

      The only company who actively boast about the dust seals on their compact cameras, as far as I know, are Ricoh.

      A £6 'Lens Pen' accessory - retractable brush on one end, carbon cleaning tip on the other - is a must have for almost any camera.

  13. chuckufarley Silver badge
    Coat

    Idiot proof?

    And here I thought they were self evident...

  14. Steve Todd Silver badge

    One page manual?

    I don't think ANY modern camera has a one page manual. You've run out of choices at that point.

    Some of the other requirements are equally silly. Fixed lens? Having the option of exchangeable lenses doesn't mean you have to take it.

    The first rule of photography: use the biggest size of film that is practical for your needs. Forget the fixed compact cameras, their sensors are small and their lenses compromised by the large zoom range that marketing wants them to have. Find one of the latest generation of EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lens) compacts, fit it with the standard kit lens (typically wide angle to short telephoto zooms), switch it to fully automatic mode and you'll get some pretty good pictures. Something like an Olympus Pen or Samsung NX is what you're looking for, and will work in a wider range of conditions (particularly in doors) than a compact.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: One page manual?

      >Forget the fixed compact cameras, their sensors are small and their lenses compromised by the large zoom range that marketing wants them to have.

      That's true of most compacts, but not all. The Sony RX100 has a bigger sensor, as does the Fujifilm X10. The aforementioned Canon S110 and Lumic LX-5 are reasonable low-light performers - much better than the 'Travel-Zoom' class of compacts.

      If we are confining ourselves to 'jacket pocket' cameras, then yeah, you can put a 'pancake' fixed-zoom lens on a micro 4/3rds camera (or other EVIL camera), but then you wouldn't have the 4x zoom flexibility that a fixed lens 'premium compact' will offer you.

      1. Steve Todd Silver badge

        Re: One page manual?

        A 1" sensor is still tiny, sorry. Nowhere in the spec was jacket pocket size mentioned either. If you want to stick with Sony then the A5000 is worth a look, that's got an APS C sized sensor, comes with a 16-50mm zoom (that's about 25-80mm equivalent) and can be found for less than £300 new.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One page manual?

          We've been given a list of criteria and your response is to tell them what they should be looking for. I call snobbery of the highest order. Silly, and that's your opinion, or not, we can all say, you need this and that but I'm sure a lot of thought went into what was needed and we should at least try to work within that.

          1. Steve Todd Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: One page manual?

            We've been given a list of criteria, which can't be met. Given what was asked for was impossible I've suggested modifications to the list that will give them good quality images from compact and relatively inexpensive cameras.

            If I was going to be snobby about it then I'd be talking about full 35mm SLRs or even Medium Format in manual mode. Instead I've suggested cameras that are capable of being used by novices in full auto mode, that are compact and will produce good results.

            In my personal experience the lens and the sensor size are THE two most important factors in the quality of image you can produce (they don't do anything for the artistic value of the image though). If the spec (such that it was) had emphasised zoom range and portability then I'd have suggested differently, but I've made the best suggestions I can based on actual experience of using a wide range of cameras. Treat that how you will.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: One page manual?

              >We've been given a list of criteria, which can't be met.

              Nonsense. Just about any point and shoot camera will meet the criteria with good enough quality for an image to go with a news story. The deciders are going to be beer-proof and decent battery life.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: One page manual?

                A criterion was: Non-interchangeable zoom lens.

                There have been some very nice 'premium compact' cameras released in the last few years, because vendors have realised that not everybody wants to lug a dslr around with them.

                This is a website that has 700x600 pictures of new products and IT conventions, so why are you specifying cameras for producing A3 prints?

                1. Steve Todd Silver badge

                  Re: One page manual?

                  What about "One page manual", how many meet that?

                  If all you want are 700x600 pixel images then your cellphone will do, heck virtually anything on the market even. If or when they want to show a cropped section of the image though...

                  Stop me if I'm wrong, but the subjects that El Reg covers are mostly indoors. Low light on small sensors is crap, long zoom fixed lenses in those circumstances doubly so. Internal flash limits you to being within about 6-10 feet of your subject (and gives the effect of being shot in a coal cellar), so most of the time high ISO is the way to go. Now if you think that you can get a travel zoom to work well in those circumstances when driven by a novice then good luck to you.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: One page manual?

                    >What about "One page manual", how many meet that?

                    Just about every compact there is comes with a one page quick start guide. If you really need more than that the full manual is usually a pdf on CD.

                    I'd say you are wrong. Most images seem to be from stock or product reviews. The big in-house thing at the moment is LOHAN which is either outdoors or "posed" images of bits and pieces. Long range indoor shots? I don't read every article but I can't remember seeing even one.

                    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                      Re: One page manual?

                      You can't seriously compare a cellphone camera to a high-end compact from Panasonic, Canon, or Sony. There will always be trade-offs between size, image quality, low light performance, weather-proofing and zoom range... so drawing an arbitrary line in the sand against just one of those factors won't help in choosing the best tool for the job.

                      Anyway, I'm sure the Reg staff know which websites provide real-life sample images and controlled studio shots for almost every camera released.

                  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

                    Re: One page manual?

                    @Steve Todd - we weren't talking about Travel Zoom cameras. The Canon s100, Lumix LX-5 and Sony RX100 have around 4x zooms. They are nothing like TZ cameras in low light.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Classic Camera

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1974-Fisher-Price-Pocket-Camera-464-A-Trip-to-the-Zoo-/281327543886

    Pros: Easy to use, waterproof, stylish, lots of fun.

    Cons: Low resolution, Useless unless reporting on a zoo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Classic Camera

      idiot proof as well!

  16. Roo
    Holmes

    How about a low-end DSLR ?

    A low-end DSLRs could fit the stated criteria... They are fairly cheap these days (compared to decent compacts) and I find the current crop to be light enough to carry around for a day. If you can tolerate the bulk I think they are the best option for fast point & shoot - particularly in low-light conditions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about a low-end DSLR ?

      > A low-end DSLRs could fit the stated criteria...

      What about zoom? I have often wanted the better low light quality of a DSLR but I find a compact zoom with its 20x zoom really useful in a small package. As I understand it to get a similar zoom on a DSLR I would need a couple of lenses? Then it all gets a bit bulky.

      1. Sooty

        Re: How about a low-end DSLR ?

        You might want to look at micro four thirds cameras, they are generally full featured DSLRs but relatively compact. A 'standard' slow zoom kit lens will give a realtively good range, but if you want really good low light performance (wide aperture) on any zoom lens they start to get expensive.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    search for the holy grail continues

    I don't have the answer, however I've got a few comments.

    1 You need a viewfinder. And not a sticky up clip on one. Trying to get a shot with the sun on a screen is hopeless. Electronic viewfinders, ie mirrorless, can be laggy, mirrors work at the speed of light and are mature technology. Failing a mirror a parallax prone viewfinder is fine.

    2 It's got to write to it's medium fast. Partly you need a fast card, mostly you need a fast camera. I have a 'Leica' (ie a panasonic, met a good salesman...) D LUX 3 and it's slow almost to the point of uselessness. In a lot of other respects it's a lovely camera and I use it mainly because it's small. However I miss loads of shots because it's slow and has no viewfinder - squinting at a screen in adverse light with the wrong specs on just doesn't do it.

    3 Buy the lens, not the camera. Well ok, the camera has to be alright - see what this guy has to say. I have a (relatively) cheap Nikon DSLR. Nice camera, fast, but I really don't like the lens. The 'Leica' has a Leica lens and, given sensor size, price and size I think it's a marvellous lens. The Nikon lens just doesn't seem sharp to me. It may be product variability - read this - but whatever the cause, you need to be looking very closely at the specific lens you're buying. This implies you're buying in meatspace, not on Amazon or somesuch.

    4 Auto focus. You need to be able to operate the camera without auto focus. My Nikon does camera says no when auto focus fails, which is super annoying. Ok, use manual focus. Wind the focus ring right out, we're focussing at ∞, off we go. Sadly not, the dammned thing is focussing beyond infinity. Super annoying. Pay attention to the lens.

    5 RAW files can save your bacon, if the auto exposure gets it wrong, you've got plus or minus 4 stops to play with.

    If you're looking for something to takes snaps as you schlep round a trade fair, none of this matters too much, but then you would just use your mobile, no? The one camera I had that nearly fits your criteria was a point and shoot film Pentax from 30 years ago. No zoom, not beer proof, but fixed focus, everything from 4 feet to ∞ in focus, fast, although you did have to wind the film on yourself!

    Good hunting, I'll look at the answer with interest.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: search for the holy grail continues

      The D Lux 3 is effectively the Lumix LX-3. I've had the Lumix LX-5 and the LX-7... and the LX-7 is so much faster in operation than the 5.

      (there is no LX-4 or 6.... quadraphobia)

    2. T.Omoto

      Re: search for the holy grail continues

      The D LUX 3 (that is my Lumix LX3 stuffed with magical Leica pixie dust) uses sensor and processor technology that is almost a decade old. Successors to its legacy are much, much faster.

    3. strum

      You need a viewfinder

      Yep. Screens are useless, all the time, for anyone who needs glasses to see them (but not to see the subject), and useless part of the time, for everyone else - if there's any light source on your side of the planet.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: You need a viewfinder

        >1 You need a viewfinder. And not a sticky up clip on one. Trying to get a shot with the sun on a screen is hopeless.

        Er, how many many Reg photos are taken in bright sunshine?

        If you don't want a 'sticky up clip on [viewfinder]', then you're either looking at a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera with a bulky prism box, or a dual-lens set up that is tricky to use for macro shots (and also bulky and expensive).

        There is a variant of the LX-5 with integral viewfinder and WiFi, but I haven't heard much about it.

  18. T.Omoto

    Panasonix Lumix LX series

    In particular the latest LX7 one, they are actual pocketable cameras, rather rugged (metal built), and a fast (very fast) lens that will always deliver a nice image even in the murky, dubiously illuminated areas of IT reporting... and can open into a rather wide FoV that works wonders in rooms. Also RAW and manual settings are present that let you fiddle with stuff a bit more. They aren't cheap, but they sit nicely in the Micro Four Thirds and the mid-range DSLR price range...

    I've been using the classic LX3 for 5 years now, took it all over the world. I can attest it will be a camper on the hottest days of Budapest and the dampest nights of Shanghai, and a "point and click" setting is always on hand that will provide at least a decent, if not fantastic picture. If I have to state the downside, is the poor zoom ability, albeit the "4x" magnification you get with the latest models is rather the maximum you should use without a tripod anyway.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Panasonix Lumix LX series

      Agreed, very pocketable, fast, can always get a usable picture in low light without a flash. The LX-7 is faster than its predecessors, has less noise at higher ISOs, the lens is now f 1.4, and they have added a dedicated manual focus physical control.

      It is available for quite a bit less money than the Sony RX100.

      I often carry mine in the inside pocket of my jacket, and forget that it is there until I want it.

      For very quick use, you need to get a £5 Chinese version of the 'Ricoh' automatic lens cap, though do be careful of dust.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Panasonix Lumix LX series

        I'd say avoid. Great little camera. But not very robust. Thin casing dents easily. My missus dropped hers, not from a geat height, she isn't tall, but onto a hard floor. . Lens shutter jammed at top and lens surround dented at bottom. Big repair job.

  19. Ben Liddicott
    1. Ben Liddicott

      Also...

      Also:

      * Wide is more important than Zoom.

      * Aperture is more important than megapixels

      * Speed-to-shot is also very important.

      http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/09/19/nikon-1-aw1-released-as-world-s-first-rugged-waterproof-mirrorless-digital-camera

      Looks great, shoots fast, big sensor, big lens, wide angles, fast shutter, waterproof and shockproof:

      On Amazon

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Also...

        >* Wide is more important than Zoom.

        >* Aperture is more important than megapixels

        >* Speed-to-shot is also very important.

        LX-7: 24mm equivalent, f 1.4, quick to shoot if you turn it on as you remove it from your pocket.

        http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-lx7

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    more on variability

    http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/10/notes-on-lens-and-camera-variation

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Erm, surprised Mr O didn't mention this already

    Lumia 1020, with the clip on camera back. Phone plus camera. One device, one thing to charge, the clip on back has its own battery as well. Oh, and proper Office for writing things.

    Plus you are more likely to be carrying a phone (with or without the back) than a camera anyway.

    1. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: Erm, surprised Mr O didn't mention this already

      Totally agree; I'm a keen amateur photographer (albeit of limited means) and I use a Canon DSLR for most of my photography. I have started to use the Nokia Lumia 1020 a lot as an indoor camera though as it gives fantastic results in low light , and as it now supports RAW image format that's a big plus. Personally I would have specified RAW format as a must anyway, as for one-chance shots it gives you an awful lot more chance of recovery if you don't get it quite right at the time.

      Camera back made a lot of difference to the usability of the camera as well as extending the battery life.

      It's a pretty good smartphone, too :)

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Erm, surprised Mr O didn't mention this already

        The 3rd party sample shots from the original PureView in low light against the Olympus Pen-1 and the LX-5 were very impressive.

  22. Lionel Baden

    was thinking about one of these for my family anyway

    http://www.sony.co.in/product/dsc-qx100

    kind of fills your requests.

    But with an added one of needing a mobile.

    Had a quick look at one in a store and was quite impressed, but i am not a aficionado.

    Would also be genuinely interested to see what you look think as well anyway.

  23. Rupert Stubbs

    RX100 should be cheaper soon

    Sony are supposed to be bringing out an RX100 mark 3 on the 15th - which sounds like a mashup of the (fantastic) LX7 and the RX100 Mk2: 24-70mm f1.8-2.8 lens, with maybe an integral EVF.

    However, it will undoubtedly be at least £700. On the plus side, the original RX100 should come down a bit more, and is still excellent. Although I love my old LX3 - especially for BW shots - it just isn't as pocketable as the RX100. Go with the RX100 chaps.

  24. Frederic Bloggs

    Read this man's website

    Ken Rockwell

    1. wiggers

      Re: Read this man's website

      That's where I heard about the X100S. He loves it!

  25. Mark Nelson

    Try DroidMaxx, fits in your jacket pocket 24hr under normal use battery, decent phone so you can call that professional photographer if you need one.

  26. wiggers

    Fujifilm X100S

    Worth a look. Pro: DSLR sensor, HDR mode that works well, fully auto or fully manual and everything in between, huge aperture and high ISO (black cats in coalmines no prob), small and discrete. Con: Probably not beer-proof, fixed lens (but you get so many pixels cropping is fine), pricey (but good value).

  27. P.Nutt

    Suggestion

    Find out what cameras the Daily Mail use so you can avoid them at all costs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suggestion

      Most of the images are OK but their cameras do seem to have a problem focussing on nipples.

  28. Frankee Llonnygog

    Graflex Speed Graphic

    And a pocket full of flash bulbs. Oh, and a fedora

  29. mse

    Fuji X10 / X20 / X100s

    Are solid little cameras. They're both made of metal, so can take abuse.

    The X100 is slightly easier to pocket because the lens protrudes less from the body. It also has a (much) bigger sensor (so better low light performance), and the electronic viewfinder is v good once the latest firmware has been installed.

    The X10/X20 are physically smaller, but have an excellent zoom lens that doubles as the on/off switch. Super simple to use- twist to turn on and set focal length. Unlike other compact cameras, there's no electronic zoom mechanism to get jammed/clogged with sand/write off the camera prematurely.

    Re: durability:

    I've dropped my X100 of the top deck of a bus onto a concrete pavement. the viewfinder glass cracked, but it still works perfectly, and the crack in the glass isn't enough of a distraction to get it fixed.

    My dad takes his X10 sailing every week (saltwater environment, sand, etc.) and hasn't managed to kill it in the two years he's had it.

    General use advice:

    1: Get the fastest memory cards you can. I'm using Sandisk Extreme Pro. The make the cameras much more responsive on startup/write.

    2: *Always* use a clear or UV filter. I use them so I don't have to worry about lens caps. It's also cheaper than a new lens/camera when gravity wins.

    3: Keep it on auto iso/auto aperture/auto shutter, and you'll never miss a shot.

    4: Get a couple of extra batteries- you can never have too many.

    Reviews:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/fuji/x100s.htm

    http://www.bythom.com/fujifilm-x100-review.htm

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/fuji/x10.htm

    http://www.gearophile.com/cameras/camera-reviews/fujifilm-x20-review.html

    My experience:

    More than a decade photojournalism/fashion/product photography. Normally a Nikon/Canon DSLR user for work, but I carry my X100 with me everywhere.

  30. burtonash

    Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 or Low-End DSLR

    It might not be the most knock proof of things but I like the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2, having Android and Wifi means that if you need to get the image out to editors, etc. quickly it's a doddle on the free wireless in McDonalds (I'm sure they don't pay you lot enough for a Starbucks). At £330 they're not cheap but they're bloody good.

    That said, I'm an SLR guy myself and you can't beat that level of quality. If you're willing to stretch I'd say a 100D is good (£400 with toilet lens, £480 with less toilet lens), if you have hipster tendencies try the Fuji X20, it's quite tasty for £350.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 or Low-End DSLR

      Another vote for the Galaxy Camera from here. Easy to use, reasonably fast, good low-light performance on auto, solid case, very good battery life, wifi and mobile data links, big screen, huge zoom range, good macro if needed. Potential downsides are the relative bulk compared to some of the others mentioned, and the amount of reflection off that big screen if there is any light source at all within about 170 degrees of the back of the photographer's head!

  31. ecofeco Silver badge

    Compact Cameras

    Almost any compact camera by a brand name will give you damn good pictures these days. Nikon, Cannon, Leica, Hasselblad, and Olympus still make the best lens. Samsung and Sony are about equal in quality.

    But no matter the camera, it still takes a person who understands the rudiments of composition and basic light to take good pictures. No cameras can change that.

  32. Chris G Silver badge

    A little bigger

    Than some of the above suggestions but one of the cameras I have is the Panasonic FZ72

    it has a Leica lens as all or most Panasonics do and the zoom, image stabilising, and most importantly the IA intelligent auto are all exceptional. The FZ bridge cameras alway get top reviews and in many ways lead the field, if you want to get technical then you can read the 80 plus page manual, if you don't just turn it on and leave it on IA, providing you are savvy enough to get the subject you want in the screen or EV viewfinder you should have a photo.

    Failing FZs go for LX as suggested or one of the cheaper G series 4/3s Lumix cameras with a fairly standard lens Like a GF5 or 6.

    So far, for value for money performance I find Panasonics hard to beat and they all seem to have good battery life, I have a DMCFS 45 which very pocketable, I just leave in the bag I take to work every day. When I remember to check the battery it is usually not lower than half. For more money but extremely good are any of the Olympus 4/3 cameras just try to forget you can take the lens off.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: A little bigger

      The FZ series are very good for what they are intended to do- flexibility from macro to 24+ X zoom. To achieve the same with a DSLR would require several lenses.

      However, the trade-off for this zoom flexibility with a lens that doesn't break your back is a fairly small sensor- which is fine for daylight shots.

      The LX series - or Canon S95+, Sony RX100 - are better suited to indoor shots of conferences, or of new gizmos at trade shows.

      It is possible to pick up a micro 4/3rds camera(Olympus PEN, Panasonic G) for a bargain price form time to time, but to get the same compact size you'd want a fixed-zoom 'pancake' lens. This will give you a wide angle for indoor shots,. and good low-light performance too.

      You might also want to look at a Sony NEX series camera with a similar 'pancake' lens. They seem to differ on their approach to the UI - some of the NEX are all touchscreen-driven, some boast more physical controls. The first generation were considered an enigma, since they cost a lot yet seemed aimed at people who just wanted to push the shutter button.

      There is also the Canon G1 X (not to be confused with the rest of the G series) which can be had for around £350... http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong1x/19 Its shortcomings - slow continuous shooting, slow AF - might not be an issue for the types of shots that Reg hacks need to take.

  33. Nick Pettefar

    Canon Powershot SX260 HS

    I love my Canon Powershot SX260 HS camera, it was reasonably priced, is easy to use, small, light, has a good battery life, a small charger, a wonderful optical zoom and, best of all, comes in green!

  34. Piloti

    Panasonic Lumix TZ 60/61

    I have the 61 version. 30x optical zoom, solid as bricks, as simple or as complicated as one wishes.

    Smallish, lightish, a rubber grip on the front.

    I'm more than happy with it.

  35. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Late Entry:

    The Lumix LF-1.

    Same sensor as the LX-7, but with a longer (7x), slower lens (f.2.0 still good, though)... good trade-off for many people. The WiFi could be handy for quickly getting images back to Reg HQ in a hurry. It has a little electronic viewfinder, said to be handy to get you out of a jam on a sunny day. And it can be had fairly cheaply, for just over £250.

    The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 is a surprisingly well-realised premium compact camera, offering excellent still image and video quality complete with RAW support, built-in wireless and NFC connectivity, fast burst shooting, a longer lens than the main competition, and that rarest of things, an electronic viewfinder.

    http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/panasonic_lumix_dmc_lf1_review/

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the camera is not important

    So long as you have one that works ok in low light levels your sorted.

    However its like having a car,if you cant drive it its of no use regardless of make.

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