Budget Camera Grouptest - Verdict
Although it's necessary to lower expectations somewhat when faced with a number of lower-priced cameras, that isn't an excuse for them to underperform. Fortunately none of the models tested were completely beyond hope, and the Panasonic FS25 in particular proved that you needn't spend a ridiculous amount of cash to take some impressive photos.
The likes of the optical image stabilisation, which prevented the focus from being troubled too much by the motion of the camera, and the 3in LCD, were above what's normally offered at this price range, and the image quality was consistently outstanding. Although the build wasn't the most solid out of the six models there were no major issues with the casing, and the Lumix styling made the FS25 look far pricier than it was. One of the biggest surprises of the test was the Canon PowerShot A495, which on the surface seemed to spell a below-par performance due to some underwhelming specs.
In actuality the image quality was such as to elevate the camera above a number of better built and better-looking models. The Fuji Z70 showed that impressive aesthetics needn't lead to poor image quality, although the results weren't to the level of its rivals. Both the Samsung PL80, which produced some excellent colours from slightly unreliable focus, and the Sony W310, which tended towards excess image noise far too often, were underwhelming, as was the Nikon S3000 despite having a 27mm lens.
This test showed that, at the very least, the choice for photographers on a budget isn't as meagre as previously expected.
|Pros|| Excellent images
||Great looking, decent images
||Excellent design and handling
|Impressive image quality, looks expensive
||Slim and easy to use
Feels ‘cheap', limited zoom
||Overly aggressive post-processing||Lack of tone||Slightly dark tones
|Stars||5 & 1/2
||3 & 1/2
||2 & 1/2
||5||row 2, cell 2|
This article has more pages:
- 1. Best budget cameras: Group test of cheap digital cameras
- 2. Budget Camera Grouptest - Verdict
- 3. Budget Camera Grouptest - Performance and Value
- 4. Budget Camera Grouptest - Canon A495
- 5. Budget Camera Grouptest - Fujifilm Z70
- 6. Budget Camera Grouptest - Nikon S3000
- 7. Budget Camera Grouptest - Samsung PL80
- 8. Budget Camera Grouptest - Panasonic FS25
- 9. Budget Camera Grouptest - Sony W310