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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Nikon D3100

The Nikon D3100 may only be an entry-level SLR camera, but it's capable of supplying very good image quality and it also has the ability to shoot HD video. It's a comfortable camera to hold and an easy one to use, and its in-built guides allow you to learn how to use its manual features on-the-fly. It's a great model for a novice user.

  • Review Date:
  • Reviewer:
  • Manufacturer:
  • 1st March, 2011
  • Elias Plastiras
  • Nikon
  • Rating:
  • Price:
  • Pros:
  • Very good image quality, HD video capability, compact and comfortable body, built-in guides are useful, excellent high ISO performance
  • Cons:
  • Menu could use more detail, no dedicated ISO button, no microphone jack, screen doesn't swivel
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