The entry-level digital camera segment is a lot different than what it used to be around a year ago. The best you could buy with a budget of Rs 10,000 was a compact point-and-shoot with 5x or 7x zoom lens. Today, for the same price you have many high-zoom models to choose from. Some of these combine manual shooting modes and full HD video recording. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you’ll be glad to know that you can now own the most basic digital camera for less than Rs 4,000 – the feature set includes at least a 12 MP sensor, 27 mm wide angle lens with 4x optical zoom and 720p video recording, not to mention most vendors include a 4GB memory card and a carry pouch. Now that it’s the festive season, there are many exciting deals going on, both at retail stores and online stores such as Flipkart. Here are five worthy options for under Rs 10,000, spanning the entire price band, to capture the happy moments this Diwali.

Olympus VG-160

Price: Rs 5,499

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 96 x 56.5 x 19.3 mm
  • Weight: 125 g
  • Resolution: 14 MP
  • Focal length: 26-130 mm
  • Optical zoom: 5x
  • Aperture: F2.8-F6.5
  • Shutter speed: 1/2 -1/2000 sec
  • LCD display: 3-inch, 230K dots
  • ISO: 80-1600
  • Video recording: 1280 x 720

The Olympus VG-160 is the successor to the VG-150. Although the older model still retails for Rs 4,000, paying Rs 1,500 more for an improved feature set is completely justified. With the new model you get a higher resolution sensor, greater zoom ratio, improved optics and 720p video recording. The VG-160 is available in four colours – silver and black if you prefer something sober and red and orange for those with funky tastes.

Besides the Auto and Program modes, the VG-160 also features Magic Filters with which you can shoot photos with effects such as Soft Focus and Sketch. The focussing is snappy and the quality of photos and videos won’t disappoint you. If you want a digital camera on a shoestring budget, this one deserves serious consideration.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH6

Price: Rs 7,265

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 96.4 x 55.5 x 19.9 mm
  • Weight: 119 g
  • Resolution: 14.1 MP
  • Focal length: 24-120 mm
  • Optical zoom: 5x
  • Aperture: F2.5-F6.4
  • Shutter speed: 8-1/1600 sec
  • LCD display: 2.7-inch, 230K dots
  • ISO: 100-6400
  • Video recording: 1280 x 720

The DMC-FH6 packs the best feature set among the compact point-and-shoots. What sets it apart from the rest are its superior optics and compact design. Weighing just 119 grams, it’s the lightest and most compact in its segment. The optics of the FH6 offers two big advantages. The 24 mm wide angle lens allows shooting large groups of people and full length portraits without moving too much away from subjects. It also favours shooting wide landscapes and panoramas. Another neat feature is the large F2.5 aperture at the widest end, which should help you capture photos in low light without struggling too hard. This camera would have been a sweeter deal if the zoom ratio was greater and the video recording was at full HD instead of 720p. Pick this camera if you want style and performance in a small package. The FH6 is available in five colours – in addition to the standard silver and black colours, you also have blue, pink and yellow to choose from.

Canon PowerShot SX150IS

Price: Rs 8,725

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 113.3 x 45.8 x 73.2 mm
  • Weight: 306 g (including 2x AA batteries)
  • Resolution: 14.1 MP
  • Focal length: 28-336 mm
  • Optical zoom: 12x
  • Aperture: F3.4-F5.6
  • Shutter speed: 15-1/2500 sec
  • LCD display: 3-inch, 230K dots
  • ISO: 80-1600
  • Video recording: 1280 x 720

The price of this camera has fallen to quite an extent post the launch of its successor, the SX160 IS. The latter only features a higher resolution sensor (16 MP), a greater zoom ratio (16x) and a marginally fast shutter. Considering the steep price difference of Rs 4,000 between the SX150 IS and SX 160 IS, the former is a much sweeter deal. The SX 150 IS is quite different from the rest. Currently, it is the only digital camera that offers full and semi-manual controls in the under Rs 10,000 bracket. This makes it a great option for beginners who want to learn photography and don’t have a very high budget to buy a camera with manual controls. Even those who don’t have any knowledge about exposure parameters will be pleased with the results captured using the Auto mode and scene presets. The only drawback of this camera is that it’s quite chunky and you’ll always have to keep a pair of AA batteries handy. However, at this price, these flaws can be overlooked.

Nikon Coolpix S6300

Price: Rs 9,652

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 93.6 x 57.7 x 36 mm
  • Weight: 160g
  • Resolution: 16 MP
  • Focal length: 25-250 mm
  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Aperture: F3.2-F5.8
  • Shutter speed: NA
  • LCD display: 2.7-inch, 230K dots
  • ISO: 125-3200
  • Video recording: 1920 x 1080

The Coolpix S6300 is an excellent option if you don’t have a high budget for a travel zoom camera. Full HD video recording with 10x optical zoom and 25 mm wide angle lens for under Rs 10,000 is a very sweet deal. This camera is designed to make shooting simple and fun for everyone. There’s no manual mode; instead you have the smart auto mode that analyses the frame and subject, and uses optimal exposure values. In addition to this, there are 19 presets for shooting various types of scenes and subjects such as portraits, landscape, children, low light etc. 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W690

Price: Rs 9,800

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 94.3 x 56.1 x 21.7 mm
  • Weight: 142 g
  • Resolution: 16.1 MP
  • Focal length: 25-250 mm
  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Aperture: F3.3-F5.9
  • Shutter speed: 2 – 1/1600 sec
  • LCD display: 3-inch, 230K dots
  • ISO: 80-3200
  • Video recording: 1280 x 720

If you have a budget of Rs 10,000 at hand, and you want a compact camera that takes great-looking photos, look no further than the Cyber-shot DSC-W690. At 21.7 mm, it’s one of the slimmest in its segment and easily fits in the pocket. Like the Nikon S6300, it features a 10x zoom lens that starts from 25 mm and extends up to 250 mm. Also, there’s no manual mode, but shooting is fun with Picture Effect modes (selective colour, toy camera, pop colour and soft high-key) and Sweep Panorama mode, using which you can capture 360 degree panoramic shots. In addition to this, you get a bunch of scene presets and Easy mode to capture photos without getting into the nitty-gritty of exposure parameters. All of this, along with an intuitive user interface that’s typical of Sony’s digital cameras, makes this clearly one of the best options.

Cover image: Jagdish Limbachiya

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