Top Camera's For Under £300


Photography is such a popular past time; whether you just like taking snapshots of things that take your fancy or holidays memories, studying or if you do it as more of a profession - we'll often have one thing in common; we don't quite have the hefty sums of money needed for top of the range camera's.
If there's one thing that makes me apprehensive about purchasing cheaper camera's (affordable is a better word) it's whether or not they're going to match up to those £2000+ camera's I often see.

Photography isn't all about having the biggest and best camera; no, but if you're going to spending money, whether it be £100, a few hundred or over a thousand pounds, you want to know that what you're going to be buying is quality.

I've taken the liberty of doing some of that work for you; here are my top five camera's available on the current market for under £300.

With a special post focus on DSLR's, as I'm very keen on having strong manual settings on a camera, which I feel a lot of compact system's lack, I'll also show you some competitive digital compact's available.

(I'm sorry but I personally dislike Bridge camera's so I won't be showing you any of them; my general opinion is that it's a compact camera trying to be a DSLR, but that's a rant for another day; let me know if you disagree. Do you have a good Bridge Camera?)

NIKON D3200: 

Nikon D3200 with 18-55mm Lens: £169
Having had regular experience with this camera myself through my college's loaning system, I really appreciate the Aperture settings on this camera. It gives so much range and diversity in playing about with the size of the hole in which light gets in on the camera as well as allowing me to manipulate the focus of the image, giving the user a lot of freedom to experiment with Depth of Field.

Now, I have quite small hands, so having a huge camera really wouldn't work with me. At the same time, I don't want something that's going to feel as thin as a sheet of paper.
Also, something I could not live without in a camera is a screen to actually view the photos I've taken on, and at 3", it gives generously, whilst still giving the traditional eye-piece for the times I want to feel all professional. ;)

Sony A5000
The Sony A5000: £249

Look at it! It's so tiny and cute and ideal for me; it's handbag size!

A complete contradiction to my previous statement: "I don't want a camera that feels as thin as a sheet of paper." - but look at it. It's got a little flippy screen and really high tech settings for such a small dainty system with the added comfort of built-in wifi capabilities. Perfect for quickly sharing new photographs, to Flickr for me personally, but it'd be ideal for uploading snapshots to facebook and other social media too.

Surpassing 20 megapixels and with a great selection of automatic modes as well as the capabilities to be just as good at taking manual photos as DSLR's.
Whilst the price tag of £249 may seem high for a compact, from what I can gather, the A5000 offers a lot more for the user to play about with in terms of manual settings compared to most compact systems.
And, I know I already mentioned this, but it has a flippy screen. ;)

Canon EOS 1200D with 18-55mm Lens

Canon EOS 1200D: £279

As measly as 18 megapixels may sound to some nowadays, this easy to use DSLR is one which offers a lot of space to play about creatively. The 1200D offers a lot of settings on it's mode wheel, as well as ISO manipulation; so everything you'd expect and want from a DSLR is there. 
Again, I love the idea of being able to have the traditional eye-piece view, as well as having an LCD screen of 3" to view back images, as well as capturing via live mode (where the screen takes over the role of the eye-piece).
This camera comes with a lot of online assistance as well, with hints and tips and 'how-tos' so it's ideal for beginners as well as any wanting an easy operatable DSLR camera.

Panasonic Lumix TZ70:

Lumix TZ70 retails at £274

If there's anyway I'd ever want a camera to look; it's like this. I absolutely love the similarities to old style film cameras with the colour scheme here. 
Authentic Looking, whilst at the same time being an affordable, modern piece of technology.
With 30x optical zoom, as well as having manual controls (noice) it really does allow a lot of freedom for a device so hand-bag friendly.
It's macro detailing, focusing down to 3cm, the tz70 whilst not the best in the game, it offers the standard.
As you can see from the presence of a mode wheel there's a host of different mode's you can set the camera too in order to prioritise different aspects of the camera e.g shutter speed, aperture, which you can manipulate, these all help to successfully capture not just a snapshot, but a creative, interpreted photograph.
For some reason, possibly because my first camera was the Lumix FS35 and the same zoom buttons were on that camera, as are on this one, so I've always been a fan of the simple toggle system on the top of the Lumix camera's.
The low pixel count (12.1mp) justifies itself with being ideal for picking up subjects in low lighting. Whether this is the case remains to be seen...

Fujifilm X30

The X30 is priced at £284

Featuring another manual barrel. (as you can guess, manual settings on compacts, to me, is everything) this one at 4x zoom, and boasting the worlds fastest auto-focus at 0.6 seconds, brilliant for capturing those quick spur of the moment photographs.
Not only does it have a host of manual features, it also has built in Wi-fi. Yay! 
This little device just keeps getting better and better, but what's the catch?
With customers claiming the camera is quite difficult to use, it does seem like one for the more budding photographer; but you'll pick it up.
Again,  I love the retro styling on this camera; it reminds me a lot of film cameras I've used wit it's design.

Olympus Stylus SH-2

The SH-2 is price marked at £219, making it the least expensive camera I've shown you.

Marginally less expensive than other camera's featured in this blog post, the olympus stylus still models the same retro-look, hosts wifi capability and has a healthy 16mp to it's name. 
The stylus, despite it's limited mode wheel, claims to take quality low-light pictures using its backlit sensor, and promises less noise in photographs with higher ISOs. Sounds pretty good.
I don't know whether this is me being bias to the fact it doesn't have a manual barrel, but this does seem like a compact, dressed up to look better, but it's not. Slightly brutal, yes, but I like manual barrels. 
Nevertheless, it carries with it a range of focal lengths 25-600mm, making both landscapes and wide angle shots as well as close-ups possible.

that's all,

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