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IT Show 2013 Buying Guide
IT Show 2013 is currently taking place at Marina Bay Sands for the very first time, at level 1 and basement 2. The show is on from the 7th to the 10th of March, and is open from 12 noon to 9pm. One of Singapore's longest running tech shows, IT Show 2013 will feature more than 800 exhibitors and cover over 350,000 square-feet of exhibitions space with products ranging from notebooks and tablets to televisions, automotive accessories and more. As usual, admission will be free!
There will be a ton of products at the show, so in this handy buying guide we'll be giving you tips and tricks on what to look for in a great product. Whether you're buying a new camera, printer, monitor or storage, here's what you need to know before you buy your next gadget.
Buying Guide Index
HardwareZone IT Show 2013 Portal
For more on the IT Show, including maps, brochures and Twitter updates, click on through to our IT Show portal.
Cameras Buying Guide
There are tons of choices today for buying a digital camera, and what you'd like comes down to how much power/quality you want, versus your budget and the amount of gear you want to carry. For example, a DSLR camera will get you more power and image quality than a compact camera, but it'll not only cost you more but is also bigger and heavier to carry.
DIGITAL CAMERAS TODAY
So just to lay it out first; among digital cameras you have roughly three categories: Compact cameras, Mirrorless system cameras and DSLR cameras. Inside each category, you can find subsets of consumer, prosumer and professional models, each better than the last, but also more expensive.
Compact cameras are easy to understand, just point and shoot. The basic models go for around S$200-S$300, better ones hover around S$500. There are also advanced compact cameras, which today can range from S$600 to even S$999. The basic models are mostly automatic point and shoots, while the advanced compacts give you power with manual features.
Mirrorless system cameras come with interchangeable lenses, which can provide you with much more flexibility than the fixed lens in a compact camera. For example, you can mount a wide-angle lens for landscape shots, and then swap out the lens for a zoom lens to shoot wildlife.
Mirrorless cameras give you image quality somewhere between a compact and a DSLR camera (some come with image quality equal to that of DSLRs), but they have the benefit of being smaller and more portable than DSLR cameras. However, their prices aren't in-between, but are similar to those of entry-level to mid-range DLSR cameras, from around S$1000 to S$2000.
To learn more about mirrorless system cameras, check out our Mirrorless Camera Guide.
|DSLR cameras give you superb image quality, but they're bigger than compact and mirrorless cameras. However, you get the best performance, not just in terms of image quality, but also handling and build quality.
DSLR cameras can be divided into two categories; those with APS-C sized sensors and those with full-frame sensors. APS-C sensors are smaller than full-frame sensors, but a modern-day APS-C DSLR can land you very good image quality. Full-frame sensors provide the best image quality but the cameras are bigger and also cost more, starting from around S$3000.
Sensor size can also impact the lenses you can use, some lenses designed specifically for APS-C cameras cannot be mounted on full-frame sensors without some penalty, like vignetting or cropping of the frame.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
So what should you look out for when buying a digital camera today?
Megapixels: Not as important as you might think. Most cameras today will come with 12 to even 24MP, which is more than enough resolution for most people. Megapixels are important for printing large, but at 10MP you can already print up to A4 size with good quality.
Sensor Size: A better indicator of possible image quality than megapixels. Most of the time, a larger sensor size will get you better image quality. Most of the advanced compact cameras have larger sensors than basic compact cameras, mirrorless cameras have sensors larger than compacts, and DSLR full-frame cameras have the largest of all.
Zoom Range: If zoom is important to you, you're in luck. Compact cameras today can zoom all the way from 10 to 20x. More important than the zoom ratio though is how good the camera's image stabilization is, because the further you zoom, the more sensitive the lens is to camera shake. When choosing a camera for its zoom, zoom out to the maximum, take a few shots, and see how good the camera is at helping you get a stable, blur-free photo.
By the way, the important zoom number is the optical zoom ratio, not the ones inflated with digital zooming. A digitally zoomed image simply means the camera has cropped the image and then re-sized it, which results in lower quality photos.
Fast Lenses: The faster the lens, the more it can shoot at fast shutter speeds in low-light, which means better chances at blur-free images with less image noise. The lower the aperture number, the faster a lens is, so an f/1.4 lens is faster than a f/2.0 lens. Fast lenses are only available for the highest-end compact cameras, while fast lenses are available for mirrorless and DSLR cameras.
Auto-focus Speed & Accuracy: When shooting, nothing will affect your experience as much as the camera's handling speed, and a fast and accurate auto-focus is essential for capturing those precious moments. Turn on the camera at the counter, and try capturing a few images, from the very close, to mid-range and to very far. How quickly did the camera find your subject, lock focus and take a shot? Test a few to get an idea of what's fast and what's not.
Lenses: Only for those looking to get mirrorless and DSLR cameras, which can swap lenses. Some people never go beyond their kit lens (the lens which came with the camera), so for them the ecology of lenses isn't so important. But if you'd like to expand your lens collection in the future, then look at the range of lenses available for that camera.
Check out the latest digital cameras and reviews at our HardwareZone Digital Cameras Product Guide.
Camera Deals at the Show
Here are some highlighted camera deals at the IT Show this year. There are a lack of camera manufacturers at the show this year, with only Casio, Samsung, Sigma and Pentax products available.
The Fujifilm X100S is the successor to the popular X100. Even though it may look almost the same, the X100S comes with a new X-Trans CMOS II sensor, based on the one in the X-Pro1, which should improve image resolution and reduce noise. However, the fixed lens and manual handling makes this one for the enthusiast.
Limited to 40 sets at the show.
IT Show 2013 Offer
Level 1, Booth 1309
The Fujifilm X20 is the successor to the X10, but with one major difference: a new X-Trans CMOS II sensor - a smaller version of the one found in the X-Pro1 - which should improve the clarity of its images. Enthusiasts will appreciate its manual controls, while fashionistas might appreciate its retro aesthetic.
Unfortunately, like the X100S, there are no special discounts at the show for these new cameras. Limited to 80 sets.
IT Show 2013 Offer
Level 1, Booth 1309
IT Show 2013 Cameras Portal
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