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Basic digital camera reviews

We compare more than 100 basic digital cameras, including models from Canon, Nikon, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic.
To access this report, which includes CHOICE 'Best Buy' and an interactive comparision table, become a member now. JOIN CHOICE
 
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01.Introduction

Finger clicking on camera.

CHOICE tests 87 current digital cameras, priced from $87 to $749.

Find the best camera for you. Our rigorous testing reveals which digital cameras:

  • have the best image quality
  • are the easiest to use
  • have the best movie quality.

On this page, you'll find:

Camera testing is a complicated and expensive process. To help with the high cost, we share the results between a number of consumer organisations around the world. All the tests are carried out by professional labs in Europe that specialise in photographic testing.

See also our brand reliability survey 2013 to find out how our members rate the reliability of digital cameras over time.

To try to keep up with this rapidly changing market, we report on batches of cameras every couple of months. We only test cameras purchased directly from retail outlets. This means we can be a bit slower than reviewers that take samples from manufacturers, but at least we know we're testing products the average consumer can buy off the shelf. 

Note that digital SLRs and other high end cameras with removable lenses are not included in this test, as they are tested separately.

Video: How we test digital cameras - out-of-the-box

We explain how we set up our test shots to assess digital cameras.

Our report also offers: 

  • A sortable table of all cameras in the test: you choose what's important. You can select by brand, price, overall score, image quality. Specs, prices, features and functions for all models are also included.
  • A sortable table of discontinued cameras previously tested: to help if you're looking at the second hand-market.

Brands and models tested

• Canon Ixus 145
• Canon Ixus 150
• Canon Ixus 155
• Canon Ixus 265 HS
• Canon Powershot D30
• Canon PowerShot N Facebook ready Edition
• Canon PowerShot N100
• Canon PowerShot S200
• Canon PowerShot SX170 IS
• Canon PowerShot SX510 HS
• Canon Powershot SX600 HS
• Canon Powershot SX700 HS
• Casio Exilim EX-H50 - not in Aus
• Casio Exilim EX-ZR400
• Fujifilm FinePix S8400W
• Fujifilm FinePix S8600
• Fujifilm FinePix XP70
• Nikon Coolpix AW110
• Nikon Coolpix AW120
• Nikon Coolpix L27
• Nikon Coolpix L29
• Nikon Coolpix L30 - not in Aus
• Nikon Coolpix L820
• Nikon Coolpix L830
• Nikon Coolpix P520
• Nikon Coolpix P530
• Nikon Coolpix P600
• Nikon Coolpix S02
• Nikon Coolpix S2700
• Nikon Coolpix S2800
• Nikon Coolpix S31
• Nikon Coolpix S32
• Nikon Coolpix S3500
• Nikon Coolpix S3600
• Nikon Coolpix S6500
• Nikon Coolpix S6800
• Nikon Coolpix S810c (not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix S9400
• Nikon Coolpix S9500
• Nikon Coolpix S9600
• Nikon Coolpix S9700
• Olympus Stylus SH-1
• Olympus Stylus SH-50
• Olympus Stylus SP-100EE
• Olympus Stylus SZ-15
• Olympus Stylus SZ-16
• Olympus Stylus TG-3
• Olympus Stylus TG-835
• Olympus Stylus TG-850
• Olympus Stylus VG-180 - not in Aus
• Olympus Stylus VH-520
• Olympus Stylus VR-370
• Olympus Stylus XZ-10
• Panasonic DMC-SZ3
• Panasonic DMC-XS1
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH10 - also called DMC-FS50
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ60 - also called FZ62
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ40
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ8
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40
• Pentax WG-10
• Pentax WG-3
• Pentax WG-3 GPS
• Ricoh HZ15
• Ricoh WG-4 GPS
• Samsung DV150F
• Samsung Galaxy K Zoom
• Samsung ST150F
• Samsung WB 30F
• Samsung WB200F
• Samsung WB2200F
• Samsung WB250F
• Samsung WB350F
• Samsung WB35F
• Samsung WB50F
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 (not in Aus)
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60V
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W810
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX350
• Sony DSC-QX10 plus Sony Xperia Z
• Sony DSC-QX100 plus Sony Xperia Z

Discontinued, or models not available from Australian distributors

• Canon Ixus 132 (Not in Aus)
• Canon Ixus 135
• Canon Ixus 140 (Not in Aus)
• Canon Ixus 255HS
• Canon PowerShot A1400 (not in Aus)
• Canon PowerShot A2500 (Not in Aus)
• Canon PowerShot A2600 (not in Aus)
• Canon PowerShot A3500 IS (not in Aus)
• Canon PowerShot SX270 HS (not in Aus)
• Canon PowerShot SX280 HS
• Casio Exilim EX-H50 (Not in Aus)
• Casio Exilim EX-N5 (Not in Aus)
• Casio Exilim EX-N50 (not in Aus)
• Casio Exilim EX-ZS30
• Fujifilm FINEPIX F850 EXR (Not in Aus)
• Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR (Not in Aus)
• Fujifilm FinePix S4800
• Fujifilm FinePix S8500 (Not in Aus)
• Fujifilm Finepix S9200 (Not in Aus)
• Fujifilm Finepix S9400W (Not in Aus)
• Fujifilm FinePix SL1000
• Fujifilm FinePix T500 (Not in Aus)
• Fujifilm FinePix XP200
• Fujifilm FinePix XP60
• GE Power Pro X2600 (Not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix AW110
• Nikon Coolpix L27
• Nikon Coolpix L30 (not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix L330 (Not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix L620 (Not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix L820
• Nikon Coolpix P520
• Nikon Coolpix S2700
• Nikon Coolpix S31
• Nikon Coolpix S3500
• Nikon Coolpix S5200 (not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix S5300 (Not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix S6500
• Nikon Coolpix S6600 (Not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix S9400
• Nikon Coolpix S9500
• Olympus Stylus SH-60 (not in Aus)
• Olympus Stylus SZ-15
• Olympus Stylus TG-2
• Olympus Stylus TG-630
• Olympus Stylus TG-830
• Olympus Stylus VG-180 (Not in Aus)
• Panasonic DMC-SZ3
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ60 (also called FZ62)
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 (not in Aus)
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ35 (Not in Aus)
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ56 (Not in Aus)
• Ricoh HZ15 (not in Aus)
• Ricoh WG-20
• Rollei Powerflex 240 HD (Not in Aus)
• Samsung DV150F
• Samsung Galaxy Camera
• Samsung ST150F
• Samsung WB 30F
• Samsung WB110 (Not in Aus)
• Samsung WB1100F (not available in Aus)
• Samsung WB200F
• Samsung WB2100 (Not in Aus)
• Samsung WB250F
• Samsung WB800F
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX400V (not in Aus)
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX220 (Not in Aus)
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300
• Sony DSC-H200 (Not in Aus)
• Sony DSC-TF1 (not in Aus)
• Sony DSC-W710
• Sony DSC-W730
• Sony DSC-WX200 (Not in Aus)
• Sony DSC-WX60 (not in Aus)
• Sony DSC-WX80 (not in Aus)

Note: We regularly test cameras and add them to the list as the results become available. This list will grow over time and cameras that are discontinued will be marked with a strikethrough like this.

(not in Aus) the Australian distributor tells us this model will not be sold directly in Australia. However, it may be available via a grey importer, or you might be interested if travelling overseas.

How we test

Our experts assess image quality, ease of use, the monitor, the flash and movie quality as follows.

Image quality 

We evaluate:

  • Pictures taken in normal situations (indoor with and without flash in automatic modes) 
  • Colour reproduction (technical tests and test scenes evaluated by our expert panel, in automatic modes)
  • Focusing and sharpness in low light, with and without flash including image noise levels and ability to resolve detail
  • Resolution (sharpness) in daylight conditions
  • Face recognition effects on focus and overall image quality
  • Macro performance
Ease of use

A five-person panel evaluates each camera’s manual, viewfinder, monitor, data transfer and shutter delay. Ease of inserting and removing its memory card and changing its settings, controls and batteries is also tested.

Monitor

We appraise the monitor's image quality in good and poor lighting conditions. If the camera has a viewfinder we appraise its functionality as well, but this is not included in the overall score.

Flash

We test at one, three and five metres to check the exposure is even across the image.

Movie quality

Cameras that are able to record video are used to make four "highest quality" movies and then scored on resolution of detail, fluency of playback, picture noise and pixelation caused by compression. We also take into account the audio quality when taking video and any noises the camera records from its internal workings.

CHOICE independence guaranteed

These independent ratings are only available through membership with CHOICE Online, because no one test products like we do. Arm yourself with our unique and exclusive information to help you make your next purchase with confidence.

For more information about cameras, see our Digital cameras section.

 

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