Cheapo camera

Whenever the word "cheap" is mentioned someone will be quick to jump the gun and say "Good things are not cheap and cheap things are no good". Although this statement is true most of the  times but it is not absolutely true. For instance sunshine and fresh air are free therefore cheaper than cheap. Do you dare say they are no good? IT products such as computers, mobile phones and cameras are getting cheaper as technology progresses, so are today's IT products no good?


What about cameras? Are cheap cameras any good or no good at all? Personally I think we should open our eyes and look at cheap cameras with an open mind. Most cheap cameras are good or good enough for most users. If you pay more you will buy yourself more features, longer zoom lens with wider aperture and better camera body. However very likely the cheaper cameras and their slightly better brothers from the same company may have the same image sensor.

Recently I did some checking and compared some of the cheap cameras in the current market. I was surprised how far all these cheap cameras have improved. The cheap cameras of today will out perform cameras of just a few short years ago that cost twice as much.

I was impressed with some of the cheap cameras from Canon's PowerShot A series. The Canon PowerShot A480/A490 and the PowerShot A1200 caught my attention. You can check out the PowerShot A1200 review on Cameralabs.com. The PowerShot A1200 is pretty good value for money and delivers good results.

You may argue that the PowerShot A series from Canon feel flimsy and probably won't last. Yes the PowerShot A series feel flimsy and that is undeniable. However my 6 years old PowerShot A570IS still works perfectly so the "won't last" part is questionable. In any case if you handle your camera like a baseball then the cheap camera is not for you. You will need one of those waterproof, freeze proof, shock proof all-weather camera such as the Tough series from Olympus.

What triggered me to blog this post on cheap camera was a series of video I watched recently on DigitalRev TV  titled Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera Challenge. Presenter and host of DigitalRev Mr. Kai invited 6 Hong Kong based pro photographers to this challenge. He handed out some really cheap and outdated cameras to them and watched how it could be used to handle their professional applications. These videos from DigitalRev are inspiring, interesting and entertaining for those who love photography more than their equipment. It is quite an education watching what a cheap camera can do in the hands of a competent pro and how they overcome the limitations of those cheap cameras with little difficulties. The secret is they know the fundamentals of photography inside out and the camera is just a tool.

There are six videos in the series but I only embedded 3 of them here. These three cover from portrait to still live and sports. If you like to watch the rest please visit DigitalRev website and do a search on "Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera Challenge". All these embedded videos are copyrighted and intellectual property of DigitalRev.com.

This video below shows professional portrait photographer Eric Wong using a cheap Rollei point-and-shoot camera in his studio without using any professional studio lighting for his portrait session. Below is Hong Kong based UK pro photographer Graham Uden taking the challenge with a cheap Pentax compact camera shooting a teenager on the BMX. The third one is professional still life photographer Jennifer Chau creating still life images with the built-in webcam of a notebook computer. If you find the above videos interesting, please visit DigitalRev's YouTube channel or go to DigitalRev website and do a search on "pro photographer cheap camera challenge". You can also find cameras review and other interesting camera related videos there.

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