What are the best of the affordable connected cameras?
I can tell you quite a few things about which smartphone camera offers the best imaging quality and then some, but there is something I've been wondering about more and more for a few months. The question might be quite surprising coming from me, but still: what are the best of the affordable connected cameras?
I'm thinking of "connected" cameras since as far as easily sharing what you captured is concerned, these are the next step after smartphone cameras. There are connected cameras running on Android, giving you access not just to email but to all social media - all you need is WiFi. Also, there are Android applications to resize your result easily as well, for the sake of sharing it faster (or using less data when you're using tethering on a smartphone for your WiFi connection).
For instance, Samsung started with the now relatively cheap Galaxy Camera (21x zoom, 5 inch touchscreen) and added the Galaxy NX, an interchangeble lens camera on Android. Now it doesn't have to be on Android of course, but I - being used to smartphones - feel comfortable with the OS and I do like a large touchscreen as well. The size of that Galaxy NX would probably hold me back though. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 offers both a large touchscreen as its dedicated Venus engine, offering "best of both worlds" for me in fact.
There are much more brands offering connected cameras of course, with and without interchangeble lenses. Faithful club member Bigley Ling mentioned a few by Sony in a reaction on my previous post: the Sony RX100 Mark III, A5100 and A7 - the last being in quite a different price category I should add. It was his reaction that inspired me to write this post. After just a bit of surfing I learned there are camera offering WiFi connectivity by Canon, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh, Samsung and Sony.
Again: this is a question to you, reader, club member - I hardly have a clue which I would have to choose. My guess is the list of suggestions might be quite endless, so let's limit the options a bit. Suppose we'd limit the price range to about the same as you'd pay for a good smartphone camera: no more than €800. I know the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 is more expensive, but let's say you'll need some cash to buy a simple smartphone offering tethering for your mobile connectivity.
With the help of a large Dutch webstore, I learned that if I really want a touchscreen, the Samsung WB350F (above) would be the cheapest choice (€169, not offering RAW). Including the option to shoot RAW, the Samsung NX300M would be the cheapest device (€489). If I choose to refrain from the touchscreen but do want at least a 16MP sensor, I'd begin with the Fujifilm Finepix S1 (€349).
At this moment I'd be tempted to start with a second hand simple Samsung NX1000, WB350F (both around €125 second hand) or Panasonic Lumix TZ60 (around €250, but I've read some very critical consumer reviews about this device as well). If I would spend a bit more, the Samsung NX3000 looks interesting, like the NX300M and the Sony Alpha A5000 in the same price range, or the Canon Powershot G7 X. In the highest price range I'm look at the Sony RX100 Mark III and the Alpha A6000 (below).
You can already tell I'm losing my way here, can't you? Looking at different systems and quite an enormous price range. I'm looking forward to read about your experiences. Would a cheap compact camera already offer better quality than the best I get from my best smartphone? Which is the connected camera with which you captured your best shots? Can you name a few pros and cons of the compact or system camera you like best? I'm sure many of the readers here will be interested to learn from your experience.