Back to school: Digital cameras

Smartphones may be great, but digital SLRs and quality compact cameras are still better if you're serious about your photos

You may well be able to use your smartphone for most of your photography needs, but sometimes you need a dedicated camera to get optimal results. Maybe you need more zoom, better image quality or simply a more comfortable way to take photos.

In this roundup we'll highlight some of the best all-round cameras we think students should consider, such as the Nikon D3100, which is a great entry-level digital SLR, or the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ150, which is a tremendous 'all-in-one' camera thanks to its massive lens.

The Nikon D3100 is a great entry-level camera that won't cost you a lot of money. And if you buy heaps of lenses for it, then you can use them on a more advanced body when you want to upgrade in the future.

If you want something smaller than a DSLR but something that still offers you the freedom to experiment with different lenses, then try an interchangeable lens camera such as the Olympus PEN Lite or the Nikon V1. Lenses for these can be expensive though.

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Item:
4 / 5
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 camera

The PEN Lite E-PL3 isn't a camera that will blow you away, but it does have a lot of good points: what you see on its LCD screen is what the camera will capture, it performs well in low-light environments and its image quality is very good. However, its video quality is wobbly, its physical controls aren't great and it sometimes missed intended focus points.

  • Review Date:
  • Reviewer:
  • Manufacturer:
  • 17th Jan., 2012
  • Elias Plastiras
  • Olympus
  • Rating:
  • Price:
  • Pros:
  • Vibrant image quality
  • Good handling of auto exposure
  • Decent low-light performance
  • Cons:
  • Physical controls not great
  • Focusing sometimes inaccurate
  • Wobbly video results
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