Oxford School of Photography

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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Landscape Photographer of the year 2013

The winners of this competition have been announced and as usual the quality is exceptional, to whet your appetite here are just two of the winners

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2013 Tony Bennett – Mist and Reflections, Crummock Water, Cumbria, England

Crummock Water Dawn

 

Tony Bennett – Mist and Reflections, Crummock Water, Cumbria, England

A photograph of autumn mists drifting over Crummock Water in the English Lake  District captivated the judges and wins top prize in this year’s search for the UK’s  ‘Landscape Photographer of the Year’. Derbyshire-based photographer, Tony  Bennett becomes the seventh person to win the overall title and the £10,000  prize. His picture was chosen, by the judges, from the thousands of entries that  showcased the richly diverse landscape of the UK.

 

Young Landscape Photographer of the Year 2013

Autumn Colour at Polesden Lacey, Surrey, England

 

Christopher Page – Autumn Colour at Polesden Lacey, Surrey, England

There are many other winners pictures on the Take A View site here

There is an exhibition to go with this competition here are the details

Take a view – Landscape Photographer of the Year 2013 Exhibition

In association with Network Rail

With over 100 beautiful landscape images printed using Epson inkjet technology

Dates: 7th December 2013 – 8th February 2014

Times: Generally open 9.30am – 10.30pm, Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 6pm on
Sunday. Please check National Theatre website for final details.

Venue: Lyttelton Foyer, National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX
020 7452 3400

50 Lessons for Stronger Photographs – The Visual Toolbox

Another book from Craft & Vision, they are coming thick and fast but at only £9.40 for so much useful information and inspiration a bargain

“These are the lessons I wish I’d learned when I was starting out.” – David duChemin  if David says this then it really means something, he is a world beating photography teacher read what this man says and improve your photography

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The Visual Toolbox is packed with lessons about the tools of the photographic language – the camera, the lens, and the more important stuff like visual language, composition, and learning to see. Most of those lessons are accompanied with real-life, honest-to-God assignments to get you out there learning how to make stronger photographs, not just learning to use a camera.
The Visual Toolbox is 201 pages long: a big, gorgeous, PDF eBook, filled from front to back with the stuff that will make you more comfortable with the tools of your craft and more fluent with the language of this art. It’ll take you past images that are sharp and well-exposed, to photographs that are alive and say something.
View the Table of Contents.
Lessons include topics like isolation, scale, balance and tension, abstraction and expressionism, seeing light, understanding visual mass and energy, using negative space, using your lenses more expressively, exploring the effects of perspective on your image, and so much more. Then it’s your turn and if you’re looking for practical hands-on ideas to really solidify this stuff, those are there too.

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Check out more about this book here

With a Conscious Eye

Our great friend David Constantine is taking part in an exhibition with Nick Danziger and Justin Partyka called With A Conscious Eye.

Over the course of his distinguished career, award-winning photographer Nick Danziger has travelled the globe documenting people in unusual or challenging circumstances, from conflict zones to political crises and impoverished inner city communities. His work in the current exhibition captures Hindu pilgrims in the throes of India’s greatest sacred rite, Maha Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering in human history.

Paralysed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair since the age of 21, David Constantine has a unique physical and emotional perspective from which he photographs people in developing countries and communities striving to recover from conflict. His work expresses a dignified humanism; rather than seeking out photographs that are conventionally dramatic, he documents people and places in a direct yet gentle manner, resulting in images that are quietly compelling.

Closer to home, Justin Partyka presents a series of photographs that depict the lives of “the forgotten people of the flatlands” – the remnants of the agrarian community of East Anglia, who live on the margins of modern society in one of the country’s most rural and agricultural regions. His timeless images are the result of many years spent in the farmlands of the area, patiently watching how man and landscape intimately shape each other, offering a glimpse into a disappearing way of life

The exhibition is held between the 4th and 21st December at Osbourne and Samuel   23a BRUTON STREET LONDON  W1J 6QG TELEPHONE +44 (0)20 7493 7939

Here is a bit about David from the press release and some of his pictures

David Constantine studied at the Royal College of Art, London and was a keen photographer from an early age, but in 1982, aged 21, a diving accident left him paralysed from the shoulders down, unable to grip or pick up a camera. However, with help from a number of people, in particular Ian Dickens, Head of PR at Olympus Cameras and photographer Keith Barnes, he was able to start taking pictures again just over a year after the injury. Over the last 20 years, Constantine’s work has taken him to many different corners of the world, photographing subjects who are often living in hard, struggling environments. The sense of history in a place is very important to him and he tries to capture people who have lived through or are living through times of great change in their country. In 1991 he established the charity, Motivation, which provides high-quality, low-cost wheelchairs to disabled people in developing countries.  LKWreckCoupleWebMXDosAmigosWebDave-in-India-small

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How the Fujifilm X-Series Made Me Feel Inadequate

Another perfectly balanced article from PetaPixel, well actually it made me laugh so much that balanced was not the first thought that came to mind. This perfectly illustrates how we photographers truly believe in the magical powers of photographic kit. If you have ever bought a piece of gear ‘knowing’ it would improve your photography read on, Irwin Wong just tells how it goes.

xseries

Recently there’s been a fair bit of hullaballoo about these new cameras Fuji has been bringing out – the X-series. X100, X-Pro 1, XE-1 and most recently the X-M1 or something like that. All touted as great cameras – the perfect blend of retro styling and cutting edge sensor technology, paring away anything extraneous to the act of shooting.

The Fuji X series – peerless walk-around cameras that can be adapted for wedding work, editorial work heck, even commercial work. Photography bloggers whom I respect and admire all clambered over each other to shout the praises of these lightweight wonder-cameras. They could do no wrong on the digital camera review sites, and quickly developed a cult following which exploded into a massive fanbase. The Fuji X-series. Messianic……..

With these cameras I would be unstoppable. Invincible. No longer would I balk at the thought of lugging a DSLR around all day – with these cameras I could carry an entire kit in a shoulder bag and never tire. With these cameras I would never miss a photo because I would always have a camera with me – I would become a street photography god and everyone would respect me.

With these cameras I would be stealthy, quick, unobtrusive, silent, a vessel for recording the extraordinary in the mundane of the everyday. My photography would change, my life would change, and happiness was just around the corner…….

And yet the thing is, contrary to all my expectations, having bought these cameras, I did not morph into some Godzilla of street photography, or urban photography, or anything. Quite the opposite actually: I realized that my photos suck, although this didn’t happen immediately either.

I must have been in some gear-wanker denial stage – more in love with the perfect white-balance and skin tones that the X-trans sensor produced, than actually looking at what I was shooting. But slowly I realized – as I eagerly went back through the photos I had taken with these revolutionary new cameras – that I sucked, truly sucked, at photography.

He concludes

There’s a Japanese phrase that goes 「初心に戻る」Shoshin ni modoru, which means to go back and remember the feeling of being a beginner. It means that no matter how far you’ve come you shouldn’t forget the humility of starting out on something new. The Fuji X100s is a camera that will make you live that phrase. It’ll remind you that you still have a ways to go with your photography. The fixed 35mm equivalent lens forces you to get close and shoot, or not even bother. It won’t listen to your excuses. It’s a great camera if you’re hard on yourself and willing to do something about it.

Read the full article here

 

Pictures of the Week: August 12, 2013

It may seem strange that we feature pictures of the week from months before, but great pictures are always great. The news stories that they illustrate, like the story lines in The Archers, just keep repeating themselves. The people, countries, wars, floods, festivals just keep rolling on exchange one natural disaster or war for another and sadly the stories are the same, awful, desperate. It is the images that stay with us and fortunately organisations like the Denver Post show us the very best pictures that inform and scandalise us for not doing more.

The Denver Post  puts together a collection of images, chosen from thousands, of the strongest  from around the world.

An Indian youth dangles from a power line before diving into the floodwaters of an overflowing Ganges river in Allahabad on August 6, 2013. The monsoon, which covers the subcontinent from June to September and usually brings flooding, accounts for about 80 percent of India’s annual rainfall.

A supporter of ’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi chants slogans during a protest outside Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where protesters have installed a camp and hold daily rallies at Nasr City in Cairo, .

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An Indian youth dangles from a power line before diving into the floodwaters of an overflowing Ganges river in Allahabad on August 6, 2013. The monsoon, which covers the subcontinent from June to September and usually brings flooding, accounts for about 80 percent of India’s annual rainfall. AFP PHOTO/ SANJAY KANOJIA

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Hundreds of Indonesians wait to receive “zakat”, or alms, given to poor people during Ramadan at a tabacco factory of Gudang Garam, Indonesia’s biggest clove cigarette manufacturer, in Kediri in East Java province on August 6, 2013. Each person received 10,000 (1 USD) or up to 20,000 rupiah (2 USD) cash from company in a tradition of giving charity to the poor during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO / M. ANDIKAM

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In this photograph taken on August 7, 2013, an Indonesian man with his son pray after offering flowers on the dried volcanic mud for family members who died during a volcano eruption in Sidoarjo in eastern Java island, as Indonesians mark Eid al-Fitr with pilgrimages to cemeteries to remember their dead. The May 2006 disaster killed 12 people, displaced nearly 50,000 and buried 13 villages. AFP PHOTO / M.ANDIKAM

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A Bangladeshi passenger (R) climbs on top of a train as other passengers (R) look on from a compartment window as they rush home to their respective villages to be with their families ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, in Dhaka on August 8, 2013. The Eid al-Fitr, the biggest festive Muslim event, marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN

See all of the images from the first week of August on The Denver Post here

Historic photos of the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus in Denver

From the Denver Post we find this archive of circus pictures. The surprising thing is the innocence of those times.

The   has made many visits to Denver over the years. Here we take a look at circuses past in 49 photos from The Denver Post archives.

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SEP 28 1976 – Youngsters welcome circus animals to Denver. (Ira Gay Sealy/The Denver Post)

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SEP 29 1976 – Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. (Ernie Leyba/The Denver Post)

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SEP 29 1986 – America’s own Wade Burck presents awesome rare white Bengal and gold Siberian tigers in all-new 116th edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. (Denver Post digital archive photo)

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AUG 11 1955 – Ruth, elephant herd leader of the Ringling Brothers Barnum i Bailey circus, does a graceful headstand in rehearsal or Denver performances Friday and Saturday. (Denver Post digital archive photo)

see more of these images here

DANIELLA ZALCMAN . PHOTOGRAPHER

From L1GHTB1TES

52

New York + London 52, 2013
Our lives are surrounded, flooded by images. All of these images have an impact on us, but only a few of them register consciously and give you that ‘aha’ sensation. Daniella’s New York + London did just that to me: there’s some playful immediacy about them, you’re drawn into a game of trying to guess where they were taken. At the same time, many of them take you floating above these cities, showing you the world from a dreamy, lonely, god-like perspective.
GL: How did you discover your method of digital double exposure?
DZ: I basically had no experience with double exposures before this project, outside of accidental composites in my film photography. A few weeks before I moved to London I stumbled across the Image Blender app and thought it was kind of fun, and so when I came up with the idea for New York + London it just clicked.
daniella zalcmann ny:lnd 1All of the photos for my New York + London project were taken very casually — in New York, they were taken with a twinge of nostalgia as I was preparing to pack up and move, and London they were taken through the eyes of a tourist, essentially, in my new home. None of the images were taken with composites or specific pairings in mind — that all happened organically. For this specific double exposure, the New York photo was taken while on an assignment for the Wall Street Journal on the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal, and the London image was taken just around the corner from my flat in Pimlico.
GL: With street and documentary photography we all have our methods of being (almost) always ready to take a picture. How would you compare your own attitudes and strategies when you’re shooting film, digital or on a smartphone?
DZ: My attitudes differ pretty dramatically depending on whether I’m working with film, a DSLR, or an iPhone. With medium format film I’m slow and thoughtful, with my DSLR I’m a little trigger-happy. The iPhone is somewhere in between — because it’s such an informal medium, I tend not to overthink framing and composition, which can be surprisingly freeing.
18My phone is almost always in my hand. It’s a horrible habit (born of spending many years as a spot news photojournalist in New York City and always being on call in the event of… pretty much anything), but it means I’m always ready. For New York + London I was a little less in street photography hunting mode because so many of these images are architectural and, thankfully, buildings are a little more forgiving than people.

 

Want to read more? Go Here

Best Bridge Camera 2013

A bridge camera is a bit like a dslr but without interchangeable lenses and smaller so more portable

Tech Radar up first

Sometimes you don’t want to lug around a DSLR and an assortment of lenses – you want one camera and one lens that does it all.
This means a feature set that cherry picks the best that a typical DSLR has to offer, including manual control and preferably the ability to shoot in raw format as well as JPEG, along with a lens that offers a very broad focal range, so it won’t matter that it can’t be swapped.
Enter the superzoom camera, also known as an ultra zoom or bridge camera – so called because it bridges the gap between a point and shoot compact and an all bells and whistles DSLR, in terms of handling and feature set, at least.

Buying Guide

For this reason, superzooms tend to closely resemble DSLRs in terms of look, build and – to an extent – handling, but feature smaller image sensors and, partly because of this, afford physically smaller lenses.
While not a replacement for a DSLR then, the advantage here is that the cameras can offer a very broad focal range; one that, if you were to try and achieve similar with a DSLR, would make for a prohibitively expensive and awkwardly unwieldy combo.
The larger physical size of a bridge camera or superzoom when compared with a snapshot camera may deter some, but there’s a lot more creative versatility here in terms of framing choices. A case in point: many models also offer tilt and swivel LCD screens as well as optical or electronic viewfinders. Again, with a bridge camera there is more choice and more options for the photo enthusiast.
So if you are after one jack-of-all-trades digital camera – either instead of a DSLR, or perhaps as a less expensive back up – and you value convenience and flexibility as much as image quality and pixel count, then a bridge or superzoom camera could be your ideal companion. So here we’re shining the spotlight on the best of some recent releases.
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX300

Sony HX300 angle-580-100

Price: £325/US$430/AU$550
Specs: 20.4MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, 50x zoom with 24-1200mm (equivalent) focal length, 1080p video
Best compact camera 2013It’s very nearly brilliant
There’s a lot to love about the Sony. It has a class-leading 20.4Mp image resolution, a fast 10fps burst rate, generous 30-1/4000th-of-a-second shutter-speed range and a big 50x zoom range (24-1200mm equivalent).
It has clever tricks too. For example, as well as a two-speed powered zoom lever by the shutter button, you can also adjust the zoom and focus settings via a control ring on the lens barrel. This alternative zoom method is still motor-controlled but enables greater precision in adjustments.
Further highlights include a high-res 921k pixel LCD that also boasts a tilt facility.
It’s good for shooting from very high or low perspectives, either holding the camera above your head or for shooting from ground level without getting muddy knees. However, unlike some Sony tilt screens, it doesn’t flip over completely to help with self-portraits.
In other areas, the Sony comes up a bit short. It does have an electronic viewfinder but the unspecified resolution seems pretty poor, on a par with the Canon and Panasonic cameras.
A more surprising shortcoming, given the otherwise advanced collection of creative shooting modes and high-end features, is that ‘stills capture’ is a JPEG-only affair, without the ability to shoot in raw. There’s also no hot shoe, so you’re stuck with the fairly minimal power of the pop-up flash.
Back on the plus side, handling is very good overall, with a high-quality build and quick access to plentiful shooting parameters.
Performance
Impressive in most areas, performance benefits from effective autofocus and metering even in tricky conditions.
The optical stabilizer matches those of other cameras in the group, giving consistently sharp handheld images under decent lighting, even at very long zoom settings.
The only real upset is that image noise can be very noticeable in low-light shots, even at the lower end of the ISO range.

Fuji FinePix HS50 EXR

Fuji FinePix HS50 EXR front-580-100

Price: £350/US$450/AU$510
Specs: 16MP 1/2-inch EXR CMOS II sensor, 42x optical zoom with 24-1000mm (equivalent) focal length, 1080p video
Best compact camera 2013It’s a bit of a whopper
Compared with some competitors in the group, the Fujifilm is a real hunk of a camera. It’s got a big, beefy body and, unlike some, the lens doesn’t retract when the camera is switched off.
Big isn’t necessarily bad, however, and the camera feels wonderfully natural with superb handling. It can’t quite match the leaders in the group for outright zoom range, but the 42x lens still gives the equivalent of a mighty 24-1000mm span of focal lengths.
Not only does the Fujifilm have an electronic viewfinder, but it’s of considerably better quality than any of the other cameras on test, with a super-sharp 920k pixel display. Composition and manual focusing are all the easier for it.
Along with a plethora of basic and advanced shooting modes, both raw and JPEG quality options are available.
Battery life is similarly impressive, with 500 shots available from a full charge, where most competing cameras only last for about 300 shots.
There’s no power zoom facility but, in practice, the smooth and precise manual zoom and focus rings on the lens enable greater precision, without the constant danger of overshooting the mark and having to yo-yo back and forth. Like only the Canon in this group, the LCD is fully articulated so gives a complete range of pivot functions.
Performance
Autofocus is a bit special; the hybrid phase/contrast system doing better than the contrast-detection systems of competing cameras to track moving targets.
Continuing the speed theme, there’s a fast 11fps drive rate available, which increases to 16fps if you limit yourself to medium-sized JPEG capture.
In the standard sensitivity range of ISO 100-3200, noise is well controlled and there’s excellent retention of fine detail, even at very high ISO settings. Ultra-high sensitivities of up to ISO 12800 are available in expanded mode, if needed.
Nikon Coolpix L820

Nikon Coolpix L820 blue angle right small zoom-580-100

Price: £190/US$200/AU$300
Specs: 16.79MP 1/2.3-inch back illuminated CMOS sensor, 30x zoom with 22.5-675mm (equivalent) focal length, 1080p video
Best compact camera 2013It’s more of a point-and-shoot bridge camera
Photographers who use Nikon SLRs are usually rewarded with a wealth of shooting options and customisable functions, available through almost-endless scrolling menus.
The L820 is an entirely different proposition and really quite basic in operation.
You don’t have to be eagle-eyed to spot the lack of a shooting mode dial and, indeed, there are no aperture-priority, shutter-priority or metered manual modes.
Instead, you’re limited to ‘auto’, ‘easy auto’, ‘smart portrait’, and a number of scene modes and filter options. If you like being in control, it can feel a bit limiting. For example, the only way to get a shutter speed slower than one second is to switch to the ‘fireworks’ scene mode. At the other end of the scale, shutter speed tops out at just 1/1500th of a second.
Sensitivity only reaches ISO 1600 in the standard range, and ISO 3200 in expanded mode.
Other areas which might be disappointing for accomplished photographers are the lack of a viewfinder or hot shoe and the absence of raw capture.
On the plus side, the Nikon is very compact, helped by the retracting lens which tucks away when the camera is switched off. Then again, the 30x zoom range is the smallest in the group.
With an effective 22.5-675mm focal length range, it’s quite generous at the wide-angle end, but loses out for long telephoto shooting. Zooming itself can be a bit hit and miss. Unlike the Canon, Panasonic and Sony cameras, there’s just a single-speed (and reasonably fast) power-zoom mechanism which can make precise adjustments a real frustration.
Performance
The Nikon redeems itself somewhat when it comes to image quality, which is generally very good even under dull lighting conditions.
Autofocus isn’t particularly rapid but it copes better in tricky conditions than Nikon’s high-end Coolpix P7700 compact camera, which we reviewed back in issue 139.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

PowerShot SX50 HS FRT-580-100

Price: £350/US$430/AU$475
Specs: 12.1MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, 50x zoom with 24-1200mm (equivalent) focal length, 1080p video
Best compact camera 2013Small but powerful and feature-packed
Slightly smaller and lighter than competing cameras that also feature an electronic viewfinder, the Canon nevertheless boasts a 50x zoom lens, equivalent to 24-1200mm in range.
As one of Canon’s ‘HS’ series cameras, it’s intended to give good performance in low lighting conditions, which is why its image resolution is relatively modest. As such, the camera is fitted with a 12.1MP image sensor, whereas most others in the group are between 16MP and 20.4MP.
The shooting mode dial is packed with wide-ranging scene modes, a full complement of PASM shooting modes, special effects aplenty and two user-defined custom settings. Further direct access controls around the back make it quick and easy to get to important shooting parameters.
Further attractions include a fully articulated LCD screen and a hot shoe for mounting an optional flashgun.
Ultimately, it really does feel like a ‘proper’ camera. By contrast, the low-resolution electronic viewfinder is a bit lacking in clarity.
With the immense telephoto reach on offer, one nice touch is the pair of buttons on the side of the lens barrel. These enable you to instantly zoom out if you lose a target at extremely long focal lengths, reacquire it, then zoom back in again to take the shot.
For normal operation of zoom, there’s a two-stage lever which enables both slow and fast action. The ability to shoot in raw mode as well as JPEG is another plus point for the Canon.
Performance
True to its low-light claims, image noise is well controlled and the longest available shutter speed is better than most, at 15 seconds.
Maximum burst rate is a bit pedestrian at 4.1fps (frames per second) but you can boost this to 13fps if you don’t need autofocus after the first shot in a sequence.
Sharpness is good throughout the zoom range and the optical image stabilizer works well.

This is from What Digital Camera

The Best Bridge Camera of 2013 – our pick of the very best bridge cameras currently on the market
Bridge cameras – P520
The bridge camera remains one of the most popular types of digital camera, owing to their huge zoom lenses, DSLR-esque handling and relatively compact proportions.
There are several factors to consider before buying a bridge camera, including whether in fact a bridge is right choice for your needs. If you’re uncertain we highly recommend you read our in-depth Guide to Bridge Cameras first, just be sure.
But if you’ve done that, or you’re already confident that a bridge camera is for you, then read our round up of the best bridge cameras of 2013…

Best bridge camera 2013 – Canon PowerShot SX50HS
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Street price: £360
Even though it’s by no means the biggest bridge camera on the market the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS it was the world’s first bridge camera to feature a 50x optical zoom, extending from 24mm to an impressive 1200mm.
Paired with Canon’s latest DIGIC 5 processor, the 12MP HS sensor is renowned for its high speed and good high ISO performance. The SX50 HS also offers a full tilt and swivel LCD screen, raw capture and a selection of 58 scene modes, while the hot-shoe allows for Canon EX Speedlite flash guns to be attached.
Best Bridge Camera for: Canon Compatibility
Read more on the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Find the best deals for the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

Best bridge camera 2013 – Fujifilm HS50 EXR

Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR
Street price: £400
The Fujifilm HS50 EXR features the highly regarded EXR sensor technology, which can be optimised to provide High Resolution, Wide Dynamic Range or Low Noise, depending on the conditions. In this case it’s a 16MP chip that also incorporates an array of phase detect pixels to provide what Fujifilm claims is the fastest AF of any bridge camera in the world.
The manually operated 42x zoom lens goes from 24mm to 1000mm with a twist of the lens barrel. Additional features include a high resolution articulated LCD screen, a 1.44 million dot EVF, an impressive 11fps burst rate, full 1080p HD video, raw capture and a range of creative filters and film simulation modes.
Best Bridge Camera for: DSLR styling and operation
Read our full review of the Fujifilm HS50 EXR
Find the best deals for the Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR

Best bridge camera 2013 – Nikon Coolpix P520
Nikon Coolpix P520
Street price: £350
The Nikon Coolpix P520 is one of the smaller bridge cameras of the group. Its 42x lens extends from 24mm to 1000mm, and uses lens-shift VR to minimize camera shake.
Image capture comes courtesy of an 18MP backlit CMOS sensor, while images are viewed on an impressive 3.2in 920k dot vari-angle screen. The P520 also boasts a GPS function through which images can be placed on a map using the supplied ViewNX software.
Although the P520 is a little more plasticky than some rivals this also helps make it quite a bit cheaper.
Best Bridge Camera for: Those with a premium on size
Read our full review of the Nikon Coolpix P520
Find the best deals for the Nikon Coolpix P520

Best bridge camera 2013 – Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Street price: £400
The Panasonic Lumix FZ200 is the world’s first, and so far only, bridge camera to offer a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout its zoom range.
This is a huge benefit, enabling lower ISOs and/or faster shutter speeds to be used that other bridge cameras in the same conditions, and also affording potentially narrower depth of field. It’s a Leica lens too.
The only downside is that its zoom range is a relatively modest 24x, extending from 24mm to 600mm. The FZ200 also features Lightspeed AF for superfast focusing, 12fps burst shooting, a vari-angle LCD screen and high speed video shooting at 100fps.
Best Bridge Camera for: Wildlife and nature photography

Read more

 

Free Photography ebooks from Craft & Vision

We really do think that the Craft & Vision books are exceptional value, the best way to improve your photography is by learning more about the subject. You probably come on our courses but you might want more to fill the times when we are on holiday, maybe you just don’t live in Oxford (poor you) so our courses are not possible for you. If you want a taste of these really brilliant ebooks there are some which are free for you, go here to grab a couple Have a look at some of the other titles while you are there

 

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Best travel compacts under £300 2013

This market is also swamped, I am not sure how anyone makes a decision, this is particularly the case as it is impossible to get your hands on a selection of cameras to find how they feel to you. The biggest problem I have with this size of camera is that my sausage fingers just cannot work the tiny controls but if you are less digitally challenged you may find these articles useful

From Tech Radar we have this selection

Nikon Coolpix S6400

Price: £160/US$150/AU$230

Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 12x optical zoom , Full HD video

 

Best compact camera

 

The Nikon Coolpix S6400 appears to have just about everything you want from a digital compact camera of its class. With a 12x optical zoom, 3-inch 460,000-dot touchscreen, 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, Full HD video recording, a host of direct controls, 20 scene modes, small, lightweight body and a modest price tag, what more could you ask for?

The Nikon S6400 does a number of things pretty well and offers a lot of flexibility, from its wide range of creative filters to its responsive touchscreen, accurate AF system on down to the all-important thing: great image quality.

Read our Nikon Coolpix S6400 review

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS

Price: £200/US$300/AU$300

Specs: 12MP CMOS sensor, 20x image stabilised optical zoom, 1080p video, GPS

 

Best compact cameras

 

Best compact camera 2013

Sporting a 20x zoom lens offering an angle of view equivalent to a 25-500mm lens on a 35mm camera, the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS should be very well equipped for those who wish to travel light. A 12MP rear-illuminated CMOS sensor, coupled with the latest DIGIC 5 image processor, enables this camera to take great quality images, even in low light. The image stabiliser system will also help with taming camera shake when shooting at low shutter speeds.

Full HD video can be recorded and output via the built-in HDMI interface and global positioning information can be recorded for sharing on image and video sharing websites. Advanced photographers will also appreciate the inclusion of manual exposure options, whereas a wide range of automatic shooting options are also included for those who are less technically inclined.

The Canon Powershot SX260 HS sweeps our Best mid-range compact camera trophy.

Read the Canon SX260 HS review

Sony Cyber-shot HX20V

Price: £250/US$380 (around AU$380)

Specs: 18MP CMOS Sensor, 20x optical zoom, 1080p video at 50fps, GPS

 

Best compact cameras

 

An 18MP Exmor R sensor promises excellent quality low light images, despite the relatively high resolution. A 20x optical zoom lens providing an angle of view equivalent to a 35-500mm lens on a 35mm camera should cover most photographic situations when travelling.

High quality Full HD 50p videos can be recorded, and a GPS function is included for tagging images with your position. Plenty of artistic picture effects and easy creative options are also included to get your creativity flowing.

Read our Sony HX20V review

 

Olympus SH-25MR

Price: £140/US$250/AU$260

Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 12.5x zoom, take still images while recording HD video, dual Image Stabilisation

 

Best compact cameras

 

Although a 12.5x zoom range may seem quite modest when compared to other travel compacts on offer, the 24mm wide angle will certainly be handy for shots in cramped conditions, or large buildings you may encounter on your travels.

Just like many other travel-orientated compact cameras, GPS tracking is included and a rear-illuminated 16MP CMOS sensor should provide decent quality in low light conditions.

Unique to this camera is the ability to take still images at the same time as recording video clips, enabling you to capture high quality stills to complement your high definition video.

Read the Olympus SH-25MR announcement

Panasonic Lumix TZ30/ZS20

Price: £240/US$270/AU$330

Specs: 14.1MP CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom, 1080p HD video, touchscreen interface, 3D still images

 

Best compact camera

 

The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 (or Panasonic Lumix ZS20 in the US) replaces the TZ20 (ZS10) as Panasonic’s flagship TZ camera and pushes the zoom range from 16x to 20x, with a focal length equivalence of 24-480mm.

In other respects the TZ30 is very like the TZ20 having the same touchscreen LCD display, GPS technology and a raft of automated shooting modes as well as more advanced options for experienced photographers.

However, HD video can be shot in 1080p at 50 frames per second rather than the TZ20’s 1080 interlaced. And, although the sensor is still a 14MP 1/2.33-inch device, it has been redesigned to produce cleaner images across the sensitivity range. There’s a lot packed into this relatively small camera.

Read our Panasonic TZ30 review

Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR

Price: £180/US$200/AU$260

Specs: 16MP EXR CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom, ISO 12,800, 1080p video, 8fps high speed continuous shooting

 

Best compact cameras

 

If you’ve ever struggled to capture the perfect shot of Minky The Whale jumping through a hoop at Sea World, then the Fuji F770 EXR has the solution. It is capable of taking full resolution shots at a blistering pace of eight frames per second, and if you wish to share where the image was taken via popular image sharing services, GPS information can be recorded too.

The rear-illuminated 16MP EXR CMOS sensor has a few tracks up its sleeve too. It can be optimised to take high resolution 16MP images, or images with improved dynamic range at reduced resolution.

By combining neighbouring pixels, sensitivities of up to ISO12,800 are also possible, making this camera ideal for shooting with in adverse conditions.

Read the Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR review

What Digital Camera Recommends these

Olympus PEN E-PL3
Olympus PEN E-PL3 front viewStreet price: £249 w/14-42mm lens
The Olympus PEN E-PL3 is just a little bigger than most compacts, but this CSC packs in a Micro Four Thirds 12.3MP Live MOS sensor with an ISO range that tops out at 12,800.
Another Olympus staple is the sensor-based image stabilisation system that also means handshake can be countered whatever lens is attached to the camera.
The metal finish delivers a quality feel, the AF is pretty fast (in Single AF mode at least) and unless you’re going to be shooting at high ISOs a lot, the 12.3MP chip delivers pleasing results. Even though it’s been superseded by the E-PL5, the E-PL3 still has a lot going for it.
Best for: High-end performance in a compact body

Compacts
Sony Cyber-shot WX300
Sony Cyber-shot WX300 front viewStreet price: £229
Fractionally larger than a pack of cards, the Sony WX300 manages to cram a 20x optical zoom lens within an ultra-petite body. The zoom range is equivalent to a 25-500mm focal length in 35mm terms – making it ideal for anyone who fancies a small, but powerful camera that’s capable of zooming right in to the heart of the action.
Thankfully there is Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation built in to reduce hand shake and another neat feature is the 10fps frame rate.
Overall, the Sony WX300 packs in a lot within an extremely small body and is a very attractive option for those wanting a long zoom from a camera that’ll slide into a pocket or bag with ease.
Best for: The ultimate in pocketability

Canon PowerShot S110
Canon PowerShot S110 front viewStreet price: £299
The Canon PowerShot S110 is one of our favourite pocket-sized compacts that’s perfectly suited for those looking for a quality compact with creative control.
The Canon Powershot S110 sports a 12.1MP sensor and DIGIC 5 image processing engine. The 5x optical zoom covers a decent range of 24-120mm, with a four-stop lens-based IS system.
The Canon Powershot S110 delivers just the right balance for colour, and exposures are pretty consistent.
There’s no doubt the Canon Powershot S110 is one of the most polished true pocket-sized compacts available.
Best for: Compact size with advanced functionality
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