While advances in smartphone photography continue to threaten the digital camera market, it’s holding strong with innovations and new products that make these stand-alone devices a worthwhile purchase this holiday season.
For those that rely heavily on their smartphone for capturing the moment, Sony’s lens-style cameras can provide an added boost. The DSC-QX10 and QX100 devices do away with the digital camera rear screen and casing, packing everything into a stand-alone mountable lens.
Both devices can be mounted to a compatible smartphone paired using NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity and users can then use the smartphone screen as a viewfinder and to control the camera. The lens itself houses manual controls for the shutter and 10x zoom and can still be operated without use of a smartphone – providing a bit of added mystery because you can’t see what you shot until you slip out the SD card.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 and mount (supplied) with the Xperia Z1
Both lenses house a micro-SD slot and 18.2MP 1/2.3-type Exmor R CMOS sensor supported by a Bionz processor, which is a step up for the majority of smartphones on the market.
The QX10 is available from all Irish retailers for €229, while the more advanced QX100 costs €499.
Since most of our pictures end up on social networks anyway, it makes sense that Canon this year introduced a camera built for instant online sharing. The PowerShot N is a square-shaped point-and-shoot with a 12.1MP CMOS sensor, advanced DIGIC 5 image processor, and Canon’s HS System. It comes equipped with a 28mm 8x optical zoom lens, with ZoomPlus technology stretching to 16x.
The unique design of the PowerShot N allows for operation in any orientation. Users can twist the lens rings to zoom and shoot and see what’s in view with the tiltable 2.8-inch touchscreen. It’s capable of shooting 1080p full-HD video and super slow motion while a ‘behind the scenes’ function will merge four-second clips from every shot taken to create a video diary. And sharing all of that is easy with Wi-Fi connectivity.
The PowerShot N is available in white or black, and has an RRP of €349.
We’ve already highlighted the prowess of the Lumix GM1 in an earlier gift guide, but another mirrorless interchangeable lens camera from Panasonic worthy of Christmas wrapping is the Lumix DMC-GX7.
A pricey offering at €1,080 with a 14-42mm lens (or €980 for the body only), the GX7 packs Panasonic’s latest tech into a retro body. Built for people who like to capture interesting angles, the live view-finder (LVF) on this camera can tilt 90 degrees while the three-inch 1040k-dot high resolution touchscreen can also tilt up and down.
A sensor in the LVF recognises when you look through and starts auto-focusing immediately. There’s also Light Speed auto-focus and touch-based auto-focus using the rear screen even in video recording.
Video can record up to full-HD (1,920 x 1,080) at 50fps with sound recorded via Dolby Digital There’s a Stop Motion Animation mode to play with plus 22 creative filters, Wi-Fi connectivity and an NFC chip. All packed into a magnesium alloy full diecast frame, available in black or silver.
I firmly believe that my dad’s favourite toy of all time was our family camcorder, and home movies are a tradition worth keeping up this Christmas. At €329, the Canon Legria Mini is a super-compact solution that won’t break the bank, either.
Available in black, white and silver, the Legria Mini features an ultra-wide-angle lens, multifunctional vari-angle LCD and built-in stand so you don’t even need a camera operator – just set it up and easily get yourself in the picture.
The pocket-friendly camcorder shoots full-HD (1080p) and comes equipped with a 12MP sensor for still images and powerful Digic processing. There’s also built-in Wi-Fi for easy file transfer.
The Legria Mini is available at Camera Centre, Conns Cameras, PC World and Currys stores.