Sitex 2013 Buying Guide
Sitex 2013 is currently taking place at Singapore Expo, at halls 4B, 5 and 6. The show is on from the 28th November to 1st December, and is open from 11am to 9pm.
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. But before that, check out a video roundup of top 10 new gadgets you might want to have a hands-on at Sitex and who knows, you might get some of them!
Buying Guide Index
HardwareZone Sitex 2013 Portal
For more on Sitex, including maps, brochures and Twitter updates, click on through to our Sitex portal.
Camera Deals at the Show
Here are some highlighted camera deals at Sitex this year. There weren't a lot of fantastic deals, most brands appear to be selling at or near the suggested retail prices. And for some of the smaller discounts the stalls were offering, you could probably match or get better prices out there in the shops.
Nikon's all-weather, all-terrain camera, the Coolpix AW110 is going for a full S$60 off its SRP. The camera comes with a 16MP sensor and 5x zoom, with built-in Wi-Fi. It's too bad that Nikon has stopped the great deal on the Nikon 1 J1, which was going at half-price at the last two shows - guess that was just too good to last.
Sitex 2013 Offer
Hall 5, Booth 5D01
It's not much of a discount at 7% off, but the Sony NEX-6 remains one of our favorite mirrorless system cameras (if you want to hunt down a good deal, call a shop to see if they can match or better the discount). There are two kits available, both come with the collapsible 16-50mm lens which helps you to save space in the bag.
Sitex 2013 Offer
Olympus Stylus XZ-10
The Stylus XZ-10 has fast glass with a wide f/1.8-2.7 lens, but we found it a little laggy for an advanced compact. But a heavily discounted offer price of S$298 makes it worth considering as a standard compact for everyday use.
Sitex 2013 Offer
Hall 5, Booth 5E10
Olympus Pen E-P5
While the Sitex prices aren't exactly a steal, you can get the Olympus Pen E-P5 at SITEX at S$200 less if you trade in an old camera (on the brochure it says "any camera brand & model in any condition"). The body-alone price at S$1388 now comes with a basic 14-42mm kit lens. Plus you get an extra zoom lens with either kit.
Sitex 2013 Offer
Hall 5, Booth 5E10
Sitex 2013 Cameras 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.