Cameras have become more and more affordable over the years. With time, they’ve also shrunk in size from large and bulky devices to the sleek compact works of art they are today. Moreover, camera manufacturers are moving away from the standard plastic body to more robust metal frames and all cameras now include the standard SD card slot and slimmer and more efficient Lithium Ion batteries. Even with their diminishing size, some cameras still manage to fit in a decent 3-inch screen. However, with all these features packed in, such cameras always make some sort of compromise; maybe average image quality, poor battery life or issues with the overall functionality.

Eleven of the best – and cheapest.

We have tested many point-and-shoot cameras over the years; from entry-level to high-end. For this group test, however, we chose 11 cameras that fell within a budget of Rs 8,000. Since these are basic cameras, the user will not get options to manually adjust the aperture and shutter speed. However, they do come with a number of predefined shooting modes that do all the thinking for you. Surprisingly, these entry-level cameras featured apertures as large as f/2.7, which basically allows you to capture a wider view of the subject.

Other than their ability to capture still images, video recording can also be considered as an added advantage. Cameras that feature high definition video recording over standard definition offer much higher value for money, but the quality of the video recording is equally important. The Fujifilm AV100 was the only camera in this group that was capable of capturing high definition (720p) video.

With a plethora of cameras available in various sizes for every budget, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of information. So if you’re looking to pick up a compact digital camera this holiday season, read on to help make your decision a little easier.

Test Process

These are the parameters we used to evaluate the various cameras under the scanner.

Parameter Weightage

Features: We allotted better scores to cameras with better specifications
Build Quality: We evaluated the quality of construction and the firmness of the moving parts.
Ergonomics: The overall design, size, spacing of buttons and user interface were taken into account.
Performance: We evaluated the overall replication of color, contrast and details produced by each image.
Warranty: We made note of the number of service centers in the country, the number of cities in which these centers are present and the warranty period each camera offered.
Value for Money: We pitted all of the above parameters against the price.

Publish date: December 14, 2010 1:30 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 7:00 pm

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