I’ve gained a rather unfortunate reputation amongst friends and family for being a little careless with small electrical items. It’s not entirely unwarranted since I have managed to put two phones in the washing machine (and proving that Nokia’s are infact the best phones money can buy, the N73 survived and still worked) and managed to drop a very expensive camera (although in my defence I was being chased by a 7ft Neanderthal across a very slippery surface). I’ve also misplaced countless memory cards which is unfathomable because there is not enough places to lose the amount that I have.
Oh yeah, and then there was that incident with the beer and my beautiful baby laptop 🙁
So anyway, business has been good recently, so I thought it was about time to buy a new digital camera, and maybe some insurance to go with it 😀
Before I go ahead and buy stuff over £100, and especially electrical items, I become a super nerd, slightly obsessive and research things thoroughly before making a decision. In this case I became a temporary expert on compact digital cameras. Although I would quite like a digital SLR and think they are really cool, they are a) out of my budget b) ridiculously large c) probably slightly overkill for taking pictures of all the tigers and elephants in and around Chennai.
So, after lots and lots of research I decided that I wanted a compact digital camera that did the following:
- 5x Optical Zoom – all my other cameras have been 3x and it’s just not good enough
- Optical anti-blur – if you are anything like me then you have hands which shake more than Muhammad Ali so need all the help you can get to take sharp photos, especially with a 5x zoom. There are two types of anti-blur, the cheapest is done digitally and is mediocre at best, but the choice for people like me is optical anti-blur, which if my understanding is correct, places gyroscopes on the actual sensor to remove all the blurs. The result? Professional, sharp photos even when fully zoomed.
- Very high ISO – I’m still a bit fuzzy on this, but I think it has something to do with light sensitivity and how much light you need before you have to resort to a flash. In this case, I decided I wanted a camera with an ISO of 3200, which I think means it will take good quality photos with little light.
- Megapixels – this is an interesting concept, to the layman (such as girls, mums and sisters), the more megapixels, the better the image quality. This isn’t entirely true because the quality of the lens and the quality of the light sensor plays a bigger role in the quality of the photo. Also, I read that the higher the megapixels the less light you can get on the sensor, or something like that! So you can quite easily have a 6 megapixel camera take better photos than a 10 megapixel one simply because it has a better lens, hardware and processing software inside.
- The memory card – I prefer a camera with an SD Card, because the Sony Memory Stick Duo is stupid in that it needs an adapter to be put in to most card slots on laptops.
So with those stringent requirements, I set about researching for the right camera. I checked Amazon, Argos, Curry’s, numerous specialist camera sites. It seems that even supermarkets, traditionally the place to buy food, are now pedaling overpriced digital cameras to the masses as well now.
Spreadsheets, comparison charts and a mind full of user and editorial reviews later (we don’t talk about OCD around here), eventually I settled on the Sony DSC-W270, it met all the requirements except for the memory card one. However, I know that the Sony Cybershot cameras take very good photos in low light, so it’s a bit of a trade off. I also looked at some Panasonic ones and Canon but they were a little pricey and didn’t have as good reviews.
So Sony it was.
True enough, it doesn’t win any prizes on styling and beauty, but a camera should take good photos, not look good, right?
After more research on the price, I headed over to eBuyer who I used last year to buy my incredible Asus eeePC Netbook (which has to go down as my best ever purchase). If you haven’t used them before, I’ve found them to be cheaper than everyone else for electronic items and were £20-£100 cheaper than elsewhere – for the exact same camera. Sony, for example, sell this camera in their Sony Stores for a massive £199.99, whereas I paid just £142 for it.
Update: I just noticed that the price has gone up by £30 since I wrote this, so maybe it was an error on their site which is why it was so cheap?!
Anyway, I ordered the free delivery option (I ordered on the Sunday) and they said it would arrive by Friday, which is fine, I’m in no hurry, however this morning there was a knock at the door and they delivered it to me – something I could have paid £4.99 for to have it guaranteed by Tuesday. Result!
I thought I’d include a photo (taken with the new camera of course, you can’t write about a new camera without posting some sample shots) of the stupid packaging that the memory card, which I also purchased, arrived in…
(The photo was taken indoors with no flash)
Doesn’t it just seem a little over the top for a memory card? I even had to add a helpful little arrow (and pushed the boundaries of my photoshop skills to uncharted territories) to point out to readers where the memory card was in relation to the packaging. Even the box that the camera arrived in was a quarter of the size of this envelope.
I’ll try and remember to post some sample photos tomorrow of the winter landscape outside my house.