pocketable compact camera with good IQ in the $200 to $300 range

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Blue Egypt New Member • Posts: 11
pocketable compact camera with good IQ in the $200 to $300 range

Hi all,

Here's the situation: I'm reasonably knowledgable and experienced with photo equipment, but essentially have no overview of the market when it comes to compact entry-level cameras, as that's not something I'm interested in. However, I'm looking for a present for my dad that falls into that category.

I've been trying to get him to use one of my old Canon APS-C DSLRs, but it didn't quite catch on. For understandable reasons, he usually prefers to carry a perfectly pocketable compact cam I gave him years ago, and takes all of his photos and some video snippets on that one. I think it's a Nikon COOLPIX L24 (or similar model), to give you a rough idea of what kind of camera and size we're talking about. So, yes, it's really pocketable, with no protruding lense when it's turned off.

That Nikon camera is somewhat old now, and was so cheap to begin with. I almost regret giving it to him, seeing some of the really subpar pictures that it delivers and the many missed opportunities to have a nice photo, especially in suboptimal lighting conditions. So, I'm now looking to replace it with something that isn't just newer, but also definitely one or two quality categories above his old camera.

I think it should be possible to find something in the range of up to $200 or $300 that will do the job. Here are some things that I need and don't need, to narrow things down a bit:

- Good battery life would obviously always be a plus.

- The built-in lens doesn't need to offer a huge focal range (a.k.a. the whole "travel zoom" silliness). I'd rather sacrifice focal range for the sake of image quality and have it be something in the category of a "24 - 70mm" range. If it happens to have a longer focal range, but still good IQ, then so be it.

- Fancy consumer add-on features that are not of photographic nature (e.g. WiFi etc.) are *not* a requirment. I want the focus to be on camera and image quality instead.

- My das has gotten used to and enjoys also taking some little videos with the camera. So, I'd want to keep that as a feature. However, I don't think you'd find a camera in that category that doesn't offer at least some option to shoot a little 720p or full-HD clip. So, this is probably a non-issue, but still wanted to mention it.

- Some people keep talking about the different aesthetics of images coming out of the cameras from different manufacturers, e.g. how current Fujifilm cams already do a bit of in-camera processing magic, resulting in more favorable outcomes without additional post-processing needed. While I would reject this kind of thing for my personal photography, this might actually be a plus for my dad.

- I'm not limited to a specific manufacturer here. While I have good previous experience with both entry-level and more advanced cameras from Canon and Panasonic, it doesn't matter for this choice here. It's going to be a compact cam that's not going to be part of a entire system with additional lenses and equipment. So, anything goes really.

I think that's it. Would be happy to hear what you got. Any particular camera been making waves in the super-compact market in the past few years that I may have missed out on? Let me know. Thanks!

 Blue Egypt's gear list:Blue Egypt's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Fujifilm X20 Fujifilm X30 Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Mark II +14 more
Nikon Coolpix L24
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