WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

A Camera for A Cyclist

I don't often fall whilst riding my bike, but when I do; it's generally rather dramatic with rips and tears to my clothing, hopping about holding knees or elbows with loads of profanity. I just hate it. It wasn't until I got home that I discovered that somehow I had also landed on the lovely little camera my wife had given me. Now I'm on the market for a replacement.

I have a few opinions about photography, but the most obvious and important one I swear by is; "It's not the camera that takes a great photo, it's the photographer". And I need only point out the image of the "Two Royal Couples" which has been plastered across every newspaper in the UK to validate my point.

Having said that, a shit camera won't do you any favours. But fortunately, the market is flush with technology so it's incredibly easy to get a very good camera for very little quid. The hardest part however, is getting through the morass of product names and the seemingly indecipherable model numbering.

Desired Features
To start, I created a short list of the main features that interest me. It's a pretty basic set covering manual ISO and aperture settings, a big light sensor, and preferably a wide angle lens as my primary concerns. However, I'm also keen to have wi-fi file transfer similar to my smartphone for uploading images directly to the cloud.

  • Point & Shoot; Simple... It's gotta fit in the back pocket of a cycling jersey.
  • 16:9 aspect ratio; Pretty standard fare, but I mostly shoot landscapes.
  • Image stabilization; Again, this is a fairly common feature, but I do need to counter-balance the wind and my natural wobbling about on the bike.
  • Dedicated rechargeable lithium-ion battery; I cannot abide disposable batteries or the rechargeable substitute versions.
  • SD & SDHC memory card compatable; I've got a bunch of these laying around and want to keep using them.
  • Low-light capability; A major drawback with most smartphone cameras and low-end "point & shoot" cameras. I'm hoping for a maximum aperture of at least 3.5?
  • Wi-Fi connectivity; Wi-Fi image transfer is standard fair with smartphones... seems obvious to have it on a camera.
  • Price range; £200. Yeah... that narrows the choices considerably.

Let's look at some cameras...
As I started this project, I found it quite surprising that there weren't more cameras from which to choose, but with smartphones improving their camera technology at every iteration; point & shoot cameras are a quickly diminishing market. Listed below are the cameras I found worthy of further investigation:

  Canon Ixus 285 HS

- List Price; £159.99
- 20.2MP, 12x Optical Zoom, 24x Zoom Plus, Wi-Fi,
   NFC, 3" LCD Screen With Leather Case & 8GB SD
   Card, Silver
- Manufacturer Website: Canon UK
- Review; Tech Radar
- Purchase: £129 at John Lewis

  Canon PowerShot SX620

- List Price; £172.99
- 20.2MP, 25x Optical Zoom, Wi-Fi, NFC, 3" Screen,
- Manufacturer Website: Canon UK
- Review; Digital Camera HQ
- Purchase: £159 at John Lewis

  Canon PowerShot SX430 Bridge

- List Price; (discontinued)
- 20 megapixels, 4x digital zoom, 3in LCD screen,
  24mm wide angle, CCD sensor, Black
- Manufacturer Website: Canon UK
- Review; E Photo Zine
- Purchase: £189 at Argos

  Nikon CoolPix A300

- List Price; £199.99
- 20.1 megapixels, 8x optical zoom, 2.7in LCD screen,
  Nikkor wide angle lens, CCD sensor, Bluetooth,
  multiple colours
- Manufacturer Website: Nikon UK
- Review; PC Magazine
- Purchase: £159 at Currys PC World

  Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT30

- List Price; £129.00
- 16.1MP, Water/Shock/Freeze Proof, 220MB Built-in
  Memory, LUMIX DC VARIO Lens, Creative Panorama,
  multiple colours
- Manufacturer Website: Panasonic UK
- Review; PC World
- Purchase: £108 at Jessups

  Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

- List Price; £299.00
- 12.1 MP, 30x Optical Zoom, High-sensitivity MOS
  Sensor, LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens, Silver
- Manufacturer Website: Panasonic UK
- Review; Tech Radar
- Purchase: £249 at Jessups

  Sony Cyber-Shot WX350

- List Price; £229.00
- 18.2MP, 20x Optical Zoom, Wi-Fi, NFC,
  3" LCD Screen, Black
- Manufacturer Website: Sony UK
- Review; Tech Radar
- Purchase: £149 at John Lewis

  Sony Cyber-Shot (DSC) WX220

- List Price; £200.00
- 18.2MP, 10x Optical Zoom, Wi-Fi,
  NFC, 2.7” Screen
- Manufacturer Website: Sony UK
- Review; Tech Radar
- Purchase: £158 at John Lewis

  Sony Cyber-Shot HX60VB

- List Price; (discontinued)
- 20.4MP, CMOS sensor, 30x Optical Zoom
  Wi-Fi, NFC, 3” Screen
- Manufacturer Website: Sony (discontinued)
- Review; What Digital Camera
- Purchase: £178 at Currys PC World

Next Step:
Let's face it, the camera in my phone is pretty good. Obviously enough, I want better image quality, ie, a better sensor, improved low-light response, and more pixels. Can I get this for just a couple hundred quid?

My next step will be to actually see in-person the cameras I've listed above. I'm interested to checkout their size and feel, as well as inspect the various user interfaces. Plus, I'm curious to speak with the sales clerks and get their feedback.

So keep an eye on my blog. I'll head down to Cardiff to visit a few shops then write up my thoughts on each of these cameras along with anything new I discover. It should be interesting!

Cheers! ~ cm

Some additional online articles to review:

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