Priest in the Church of England. Father, husband, son. "Small acts of Good change the world."

Help find me a new camera

Since I’ve been bombing around the world my Casio Exilm Z850 has been a constant companion. I rate it really highly (must write a review soon) – it’s constantly dropped from the height of my motorcycle tank bag, it’s been soaked by sea-water on at least two occasions and still it ‘just gets on with it’ and takes photographs that when I got the camera I thought were awesome and now, think are pretty good.

The time has come to replace this stalwart of my gadget armoury and I need your help. I’m totally stunned every month when Lonely Planet Images release the photos that have been added to the library over the past few weeks – and I want to take photos that make people go wow.

Some background – when I was in school I desperately wanted to be a Photo Journalist – I worked for the local paper for free and I badgered my Dad until he bought me an Olympus OM-10 from the local second hand stor

e – complete with ‘manual adaptor’. It had a light metre inside but other than that I was totally on my own. After months of paper-rounds and being paid to take my friends band photos I managed to scrape enough money to ‘upgrade’ the the Olympus OM-2n .

It made a big difference to my shots, as did the purchase of a 2x adaptor and, at great expense, a 75mm Olympus lens.  I held onto the dream of becoming a Photo Journalist right through my engineering apprenticeship (where the camera managed to earn me some money on the side in Caerphilly town centre of a Saturday morning) and right into University in Swansea, where finally, the dream died and I sold the camera for much needed rent money.

Since then I’ve had a succession of crap compact cameras that just didn’t cut the mustard. The Casio has rather re-ignited that old desire to take wonderful photographs and I find myself slipping it into manual as much as the fully automatic settings – I’ve even bought an old Konica Minolta 35mm SLR to mess around with (it’s been out of the bag once).

My composition needs a little work , I need to get my head out of snapshot mode, but I feel the old juices still flow and can’t wait to get back into thinking through a shot properly before I take it. So now the tough part – I need a new camera.


  • Tough
  • Light
  • Compact
  • Decent video mode
  • Solid lens support
  • Easy to charge (I’m running this from the motorbike / powermonkey)
  • Easy to transfer images (no propritary connectors – worst case – SD cards are good)

Let’s ignore the money side of things for the moment and work the ‘perfect world senario’.

What do you suggest? I have a totally open mind and no legacy kit to support.

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  1. Jack

    I really like the Canon IXUS range, the new 970 looks great and does video, has image stabilization, and does SD cards. Connectors are mini-USB and you can charge through the USB as well. I have a 3 year old IXUS 55 that’s still going strong and giving me nice photos like this photo of Pigeon Point lighthouse in California.

    • mattcashmore

      Cool – thanks Jack… I wonder if I should go for something in the SLR range so I can play with interchangeable lenses?

  2. mark

    If you are after a DSLR, then I have always been a big Canon fan, but you might want to consider the Panasonic G1 if size is a big priority. DP Review have a typically comprehensive review here:

  3. Frank Wales

    If you’re going to consider a Canon camera, consider getting one that this hack can be applied to — it adds lots of useful features, and (if I remember correctly) also lets you program your own:

    I can also offer a thumbs-up for the Ricoh Caplio R6 (and presumably later models); it’s clearly been designed by people who want to make taking interesting pictures easy. It also has a fab 7x optical zoom, and a macro mode that’s almost like a pocket microscope (you can focus down to within 1cm of the lens).

    • mattcashmore

      Thanks guys- Mark LOVE the G1 – looks like a stunning entry – I shall be researching it in much more depth. Frank – how very interesting! Who knew? Ricoh – is it wrong I’ve dismissed it purely because I can’t change the lens?

  4. Rain

    If I was a looking for a new camera, I’d want it to be a hybrid of my Canon G7 and Sanyo Xacti HD1000 cam. This is because I love having the huge selection of settings on the G7 (tho I want to do a CHDK hack so I can have RAW) and with the Xacti I <3 recording video straight to MP4 as I can top, tail and upload in a jiffy 🙂

  5. Frank Wales

    Nope, you’re not wrong to dismiss the Ricoh because you can’t change the lens, but the cost of that is not being able to find a camera that fits into a BSI-standard fag packet (which the Ricoh does, with room to spare).

    The Ricoh’s lens is roughly equivalent to a 28-200mm zoom on a 35mm camera, and it’s not one of those water-droplet lenses either, but a decent diameter for a small camera (about an inch at the objective).

    Re: CHDK, I’m only slightly disappointed that it doesn’t yet support some of the more recent dirt-cheap Canons (such as the A470, which is available at retail in the UK for about £50 at present), but I guess that’s the cost of having to wait for generous geeks to reverse-engineer the camera.

  6. Happy Hotelier

    Check out the Lumix DMC-TZ5 10X Zoom and Leica Lens. Always in my pocket. You can also check my photostream at Flickr All pictures with a P in it are from this camera.


    • mattcashmore

      Very very nice photos… yesterday I went for it and bought the G1 at John Lewis. Enjoying it so far – first pic I took is up on my flickr stream. I have the weekend to play with it and remind myself of all those interesting things like depth of field and shutter speeds!