Cameras are odd, in that you will find a range of options across sub-categories for each price point. So with the right budget, you could buy a point-and-shoot or even a basic ultra zoom. If you aren’t familiar with these categories, here’s a handy guide made by us.

So now that you know what kind of camera you need, we can get down to the price. We have tried to get you the best option based on the price, so you may even find a model where you may not expect it, if the camera deserves a look at. Here are our picks.

Sub-Rs 5,000
Our pick: Fujifilm FinePix JZ100
This Fuji camera stands out from the rest thanks to some nifty extras that really belie its price. Firstly, there’s 8x optical zoom and 6.7x digital zoom, which is very attractive indeed, especially for a market price of around Rs 4,600. This one has a Fujinon 25 mm wide-angle lens with a focal length of 4.5 – 36.0 mm (35 mm equivalent is 25- 200 mm) There’s 8x of optical zoom along with 6.7x of digital zoom and a CCD image sensor with 14-megapixel resolution. There’s a 2,30,000 dot resolution 2.7 inch TFT colour LCD which is also the live viewfinder. It also shoots HD video in AVI format and takes in SD / SDHC / SDXC cards.

Fujifilm JZ100

Fujifilm JZ100

Rs 5,000 – Rs 10,000
Our pick: Olympus Stylus VH-520
With full HD recording under Rs 10,000, the Olympus camera is easily good value for money. It also has a 10X optical zoom lens and a 3-inch TFT LCD monitor which doubles up as the viewfinder. It’s available in a range of colours so clearly the target audience is the young crowd. The VH 520 is quite sleek at 101.8 x 56.8 x 25.3mm and has a14MP CMOS sensor. There’s a LI-50B Lithium-ion battery with a charging port and SD / SDHC / SDXC support. Unfortunately, Ultra High Speed cards are not supported by this camera, but the price of around Rs 9,000 is a great trade-off.

Olympus Stylus VH520

Olympus Stylus VH520

Rs 10,000 to Rs 18,000
Our pick: Nikon Coolpix S9500
According to Nikon, the S9500 is an advanced point and shoot, but with 22x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom, it could very well be a super zoom. The 18-megapixel camera has an f/3.4 – f/6.3 aperture range and the Nikkor lens has a 4.5 – 99 mm (35 mm Equivalent to 25 – 550 mm) focal length range. ISO ranges from 125 to 1600 with Auto Mode cranking it up to 3200. With full HD video recording also on board, it’s hard to pass over this Coolpix when you next go camera-hunting.

Rs 18,000 – Rs 25,000
Our pick: Sony DSC-HX50V
If you are looking for style, you can’t go wrong with the HX50V. Priced at around Rs 22,000, it comes in a classy black exterior that takes a few design cues from retro cameras. The leather-clad grip in particular stands out. But underneath that exterior is a high-end modern camera. There’s a 20.4-megapixel, 1/2.3 inch Exmor R CMOS sensor. The focal length range is a very good 4.3 – 129 mm (35 mm Equivalent to 24 – 720 mm) thanks to the Sony G Lens. ISO range also sounds great on paper going up to 12800. The HX50V supports a wide range of memory cards such as SD, SDHC, SDXC, micro SD, micro SDHC and Sony Memory Sticks.

Rs 25,000 – Rs 30,000
Our pick: Canon PowerShot S110
With a clean, sleek design, the S110 definitely looks like a high-end camera, but it has got the right ingredients in terms of specs too. The 12.1 megapixel sensor is of the CMOS variety is 1/1.7 inch in size. This one too has a great ISO performance and goes all the way up to 12800 in one-third step increments. Full HD video recording is enabled and there’s a 3-inch PureColor II G Touch Screen LCD (TFT) screen that takes up most of the back. At just under Rs 30,000, this camera is the one to look out for in this range.

Sony's RX100

Sony's RX100

Rs 30,000 – Rs 35,000
Our pick: Sony RX100
It may be last year’s camera, but the RX100 remains one of the best performing advanced point-and-shoots in the market, despite its successor, Mark II http://tech2.in.com/reviews/cameras/sony-dscrx100-ii-review/911044. The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 features a 1.0-inch type Exmor CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.2 megapixels. The sensor has an area that is approximately four times larger than the 1/2.3-type sensors in traditional point-and-shoot cameras. The sensor’s larger area helps in taking in a greater amount of light while capturing content. This can help in taking better images as well as videos that feature less image noise. The larger sensor is partnered with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T fixed lens with 3.6x optical zoom range. The camera features a wide F1.8 maximum aperture to let in additional light and complement the larger sensor. The lens features a seven-bladed circular aperture.

Rs 35,000 – Rs 45,000
Our pick: Canon EOS 600D
Despite being launched a couple of years ago, this Canon DSLR is a great performer and comes for around Rs 42,000 with twin kit lenses. That should be a great attraction for budding or aspiring photographers looking to expand their range of skills for a budget. There’s an 18-megapixel sensor with a 3-inch flip-out TFT colour LCD display with approximately 1.04 million dots. ISO sensitivity is capped at 6400, which is a bit low compared to today’s DSLRs, but this represents absolute value for money. You can read our full review here. http://tech2.in.com/reviews/dslrs/canon-eos-600d-dslr-camera/231932

Fujifilm X-M1

Fujifilm X-M1

Rs 45,000 – Rs 55,000
Our pick: Fujifilm X-M1
Fujifilm’s X-M1 has been launched in India for a price of around Rs 48,000 and is one of the best mirrorless cameras in the market at the moment. Like the name suggests, the sensor is of the APS-C X-Trans CMOS variety and is the same 16.3 megapixel unit that’s used in the higher end X-Pro1. As far as optics is concerned, users can add an f/3.5-5.6 16-50mm (24-76mm equivalent) lens with optical image stabilisation to their base body kit. The additional lens will be compatible with the existing XF and XC line-up, which includes a variety of prime and zoom options. The X-M1 features a 3-inch 920k-dot tilting LCD (but no EVF) as well as built-in flash and a dedicated mode dial and on-board Wi-Fi. The EXR Processor II that allows the camera to start up within 0.5 seconds. The processor will also give the camera a 0.05-second shutter lag time as well as a maximum burst shot speed of 5.6 fps for 30 consecutive frames. The sensitivity range the X-M1 offers stands at ISO 100-25,600, which is fairly standard if you compare it with other cameras in the market.

Rs 55,000 – Rs 70,000
Our pick: Canon EOS 700D
The 700D is a worthy consideration for someone who wants to move a step higher than the EOS 1100D or EOS 550D and already has Canon lenses and accessories. This allows ISO sensitivity higher than 6400 and also has a fully articulating display, touchscreen and DIGIC 5 processor. A an MRP of Rs 59,995 (with the brand new EF-S 18-55 IS STM kit lens), this one is very good value for money and a good upgrade for second-time buyers. 1080p video is a given and the continuous autofocus tracking is useful. The EOS 700D has an impressive sounding18.2 megapixel APS-C sensor and 9-point autofocus.

Canon EOS 700D

Canon EOS 700D

Rs 70,000 – Rs 85,000
Our pick: Nikon D7100
Despite the with-lens price of this camera going well above the budget restraint, we are basing this choice on the assumption that you are serious about photography and might have compatible lenses to use with the D7100. It has a body-only price of around Rs 84,000. Its large 24.1-megapixel DX-format CMOS and precise 51-point autofocus system are professional-grade additions. This newly developed CMOS is combined with the legendary EXPEED 3 engine. For maximum sharpness when capturing highly detailed subjects, the D7100 does not employ a low-pass filter. D7100's glass pentaprism viewfinder offers 100% frame coverage at 0.94x magnification. There’s a 3.2-inch 1,229k-dot resolution TFT LCD monitor with wide viewing angles and RGBW alignment technology.

Rs 85,000 – Rs 1,20,000
Our pick: Canon EOS 7D
Priced at around Rs 115,000 along with an 18-135 kit lens, the 7D is one of the top-performing cameras in the world. the EOS 7D features an 18.0 Megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor and Dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors, capturing tremendous images at up to ISO 12800 and speeds of up to 8 fps. The EOS 7D has an all cross-type 19-point AF system with improved AI Servo AF subject tracking and user-selectable AF area selection modes for sharp focus in most situations. The EOS 7D's Intelligent Viewfinder provides 100% coverage and displays user-selected AF modes as well as a spot metering circle and on-demand grid lines. The EOS 7D also captures Full HD video at 30p (29.97 fps), 24p (23.976 fps) and 25p with an array of manual controls, including manual exposure during video shooting and ISO speed selection. The EOS 7D features a magnesium alloy body that is dust and weather resistant and shutter durability of up to 150,000 cycles. It is compatible with over 60 EF and EF-S lenses as well as with EOS accessories.

Rs 1,20,000 – Rs 1,80,000
Our pick: Sony SLT A99V
With a full-frame sensor, the A99V is the professional shutterbug’s dream. There’s the 24.3 megapixel 35mm full-frame Exmor CMOS Imaging Sensor and the first ever Dual AF implementation that delivers 19 + 102 points. Sony says the 19-point (11 cross-point) phase detection AF sensor provides high-precision focussing and depth detection, while the 102-point focal plane phase detection AF sensor offers the advantages of wider depth and width coverage. The processing is handled by the BIONZ Image Processing Engine and Sony’s professional movie recording technology. It also shoots Full-HD videos at 60p and features a High-Resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder. This one is priced at around Rs 1,70,000 for the body only.

Rs 1,80,000 – Rs 3,00,000
Our pick: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon once again takes a high-end spot in our list with the 5D Mark III, an elite full-frame DSLR in the world. Special optical technologies like the 61-Point High Density Reticular AF and an extended ISO range of 100–25600 (expandable to 50 (L), 51200 (H1) and 102400 (H2) deliver great images in most situations, but greatly improve still photography results. This one has professional-level HD video capabilities that can be used to cinematic-level videos in Canon’s signature EOS HD quality. There’s a newly designed 22.3 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, Canon’s highly-acclaimed DIGIC 5+ Image Processor, and shooting performance up to 6 fps. Additional technological advancements include an Intelligent Viewfinder, Canon's advanced iFCL metering system, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Multiple Exposure mode-all of which that help make the EOS 5D Mark III the perfect multimedia tool. The price is around Rs 2,20,000 for the body only.

Nikon D4

Nikon D4

Above Rs 3,00,000
Our pick: Nikon D4
Priced well over Rs 3,00,000 the D4 is the reserve of the very few who can afford it and also make best use of it. There’s a very exclusive FX-format 16.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor running the show along with Nikon’s EXPEED3 image processor. A 91,000-Pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering III sensor partners with Nikon’s Advanced SRS for world-beating colour accuracy. There’s even a more responsive 51-point AF system along with Nikon’s FX-format (36.0mm x 23.9mm) CMOS image sensor. The sensor has 7.3-micron pixels, which are designed to collect maximum light across the broad ISO range of 100 to 12,800 (expandable down to 50 and up to 204,800). There are dual memory card slots on board too.

So there’s our list. Think we missed on any camera? Let us know in the comments and join us for the live buying guide at 3pm.

Tags: , , , , , ,