Your smartphone camera is amazing, these fabulous digital cameras will help you take even better pictures
This award-winning camera is a mini marvel, delivering a full-frame
sensor, interchangeable lenses and enough capabilities to go against
more serious DSLR offerings, but in a camera that is a fraction of the
size, and far cooler-looking, too. The A7 offers a great looking camera
with a versatility that lets you shoot landscapes, portraits, candids
and everything in-between. For those looking for 4K, Sony’s just
announced the A7S, but it’s mainly for professionals. ￡1,299, Sony
Pocketable, but still featuring a large 20.2 megapixel sensor, the Sony RX100 II produces stunning pictures that will blow the socks off anything your smartphone can produce. The big sensor, combined with a really good f1.8 3.6x optical zoom lens means that it is great for taking portraits. A quick auto-focus feature ensures you can snap most subjects with little effort, while the lens ring let you also manually control focus for when you want more precision. Wi-Fi and NFC let you share pics quickly. £649, Sony.
Sporting a retro, cool 1960/70s design, the X20 a very pocketable camera. It comes with an optical viewfinder rather than just a display on the back (as so many do) and macro modes letting you get really close to the action. With an f2.0-2.8 aperture it is ideal for amazing portraits with blurred background effects or shooting in low light. The X20 rarely puts a foot wrong. £499, Fuji.
A retro-styled DSLR, this is top stuff from Nikon and marries classic looks with modern technological power. Yes, there are lots of dials, but that means lots of power to take photos how you want to take them. The Df’s images are undeniably brilliant. Sharp, well exposed, full of detail even at high ISO settings, it?s really a wonderful thing to behold. This is one for the nostalgia seekers. £2,749, Nikon.
The excitement with the RX1 is that it features a full-frame sensor in a camera that you can slip into your pocket. That’s exciting because you normally only find that kind of sensor in top of the range DSLR cameras that are big and bulky. It is like the (Japanese) Ferrari of the compact camera world and unlike anything else you can buy today. Expect some temperamental results, but ones that you’ll still enjoy over and over again. £1,950, Sony.
The X100S comes with a fixed 23mm f2.0 lens and retro styling. That retro look and the lack of a zoom will narrow the appeal, but it means you can just get on with shooting without worrying. If you’ve ever shot with a fixed lens you’ll know how liberating it is. We love it. An optical viewfinder will help you take brilliant pictures, too. £899, Fuji.
A compact system camera, this little thing that can fit in the palm of your hand has huge potential, allowing you to swap out lens to suit the photo you are after. A fast autofocus, touchscreen display, and easy to use menu system make this a real winner. Oh and it takes really good pictures too. £599, Panasonic.
Another retro-themed camera, this time taking its cue from the Olympus models of old, but there is nothing old about the cameras innards. Here, a fantastic sensor delivers the goods, while the ability to swap out lenses gives you plenty of choice. Oozing quality, a tilting display lets you snap in awkward positions, while Wi-Fi means you can send pictures elsewhere once you are done. £899, Olympus.
An advanced compact camera, it comes with an electronic viewfinder and big display on the back. You can’t change the lens, but it comes with a 10.7 optical zoom. A “fast” lens means you can shoot at low ISO settings and that means less noise in your pictures – a good thing. Pricey for what it is, but this is a camera that enables, and that makes it worth it. £549, Olympus.
If you really must use your smartphone, Olloclip lenses are available for iPhone 4/4S/5/5S/5C handsets and let you enhance your iPhone camera further by sliding over a better lens. There are a range of options from macro (letting you get a lot closer) to telephone zoom, and a circular polarising lens to reduce glare from the sun. The results, given the cost and easy of use, are fantastic. Android users, Olloclip is looking at making a version for some popular models, but don’t hold your breath at the moment. £69.99, Olloclip.