Now I won’t tell you which exact camera to get. I mean how could I? Everyone has different budgets and specifications for what they're looking for! So instead I’ll highlight some key questions, concerns and considerations for you to think about when purchasing a point & shoot camera!
Let’s get a bit introspective. No, don’t worry this won’t be some freaky deaky soul searching experience but rather some thoughts you should think about when considering what exactly you want.
What are you looking for?
Let's start by considering some common questions I get asked about point & shoots and see whether any of them will apply to what you’re looking for.
Question - What do I need so I can take photos of my friends at night, photos at a gig or during the night time?
Answer - You want a point & shoot with a flash! Good news! Most point & shoots will have an in-built flash meaning it’s perfect for anyone looking to take photos at music gigs, parties or anywhere where light is minimal.
Question - I want it to be small & compact so I can keep it in my bag/purse/pocket!
Answer - Lucky for you, most point & shoots are generally small! Just double check the sizing of the point & shoot first before buying it.
Question - What do I need so I can be in my own photos?
Answer - Make sure the camera has a self-timer option. Simply set up the timer, and get into position for the photo! Easy.
Question - What do I need so I can take beautiful landscape photos or take beautiful portrait photos?
Answer - So I’ll be honest with you, there’s no real right answer. What is defined as ‘beautiful’ is super subjective. However, understanding elements of composition, framing, lighting, posing etc. is vital in achieving more ‘beautiful’ photos. Point & shoots are simple cameras. They’re mostly fully automatic meaning you don’t have much of an influence with the settings. This is great as it’s super easy to use. The drawback is, you might not be able to achieve certain looks that you would if you used other types of film cameras such as medium formats or SLRs.
However, you can still achieve ‘gorgeous’ photos with point & shoots. A big factor for this is the price of your camera. This leads onto the next consideration which is your price range.
If you’re looking to buy a 35mm point and shoot camera in Australia, I would say the general prices are:
Cheap point & shoots - $30-$130
These cameras are usually quite simple and no-frills. They usually won’t have many features and the image quality generally will be quite poor. Here's an example taken with a $60 Kodak and a $105 Minolta point & shoot!
Medium-priced point & shoots - $150-400
These cameras usually have most of the features you would want and can produce fairly good quality photos. Here's an example of an Olympus MJU 115 for $280.
High-end point & shoots - $500+
These are more of the high-end cameras. They usually have specific reasons why they cost so much e.g. Nishika N8000 takes 3D photos, Olympus MJU II 2.8 has a stunningly sharp F/2.8 lens which makes beautiful bokeh or the Yashica T4 made popular by famous photographers. The lenses are usually spectacularly built and the high quality glass produces gorgeous quality photos. Here’s an example of a Contax TVS for $550.
Where can I buy Point & Shoots?
Okay so now you should have a rough idea of what price you’re comfortable with and which features you might desire! So where can you buy point & shoots? Here are some suggestions:
- You can get yourself a very good deal for a point & shoot if you’re lucky!
- Probably the widest selection of point & shoots you can buy from all around the world
- You’ll come across a lot of listings as ‘untested’ cameras or cameras with defects. You may also come across ‘working’ cameras that are actually damaged so be careful! High chance of burning out with a bad purchase.
- Most sellers won’t offer a warranty or the ability to do returns even if it’s broken. You may get lucky for a refund but usually you’ll have to shout the return shipping.
- Shipping costs can be quite high ($20-$110) depending on which country you buy it from. Also the shipping times can be long (1-12 weeks depending on the location)
- Pretty diverse selection of point & shoots from Australian sellers
- Usually fast shipping since located in Australia
- You can also potentially get very good prices from sellers
- You’ll come across a lot of listings as ‘untested’ cameras or cameras with defects. You may come across ‘working’ cameras that are actually damaged so be careful!
- No ability to do returns/refunds. Payment is usually bank transfers and once you send it, good luck getting it back!
- No buyer protection so a person can easily take your money and never ship out the camera. I have been burnt out a few times with this situation.
Local Film Shops:
- Trustworthy sellers
- Usually have returns/warranty options
- You’re supporting a local business
- More pricier than the other options
- Usually small selection
- Location-based so you might not be able to see their current stock or buy it online
AustralianAnalog (Shameless promotion. Yes I know ;)
- Trustworthy seller (over 430+ cameras sold)
- We have return + warranty on our cameras
- One of the largest film camera selection in Australia
- You’re supporting local business
- Ships anywhere in Australia
- Prices a bit higher than eBay/Gumtree
- Doesn’t have as big of a selection as eBay/Gumtree
So let’s combine your price range, the features you’re looking for and which platform you’ll be buying from! Now let’s go looking onto that site. Do a quick browse and select the cameras which you fancy. Make sure it ticks all your checklists!
Let’s say all of them hit your requirements. You now have 4-5 to choose from. The best way is to decide whether you vibe with the image quality. Generally speaking, medium-priced point & shoots have a similar level of photo quality. Simply do a quick Google search of the cameras so you can see the image quality. For example, on our store, for each camera we show off the images taken by the very same camera so you can get a vibe of the image quality.
Once you see the images, go where the heart desires the most (annoying answer, I know but it’s true). The beauty of point & shoots is that the price of the cameras are either constant or will increase in value over time so if you want to change your camera, you’ll likely get your money back or even make a tiny profit! Buuut before you purchase a camera, let’s make sure the camera doesn’t have any defects which is a common issue with a lot of point & shoots.
What to look out for?
Let’s be honest, these cameras are 10-60 years old and most are battery powered, intricate digital and mechanical machinery. There’s no way of knowing when a fuse or the wiring will blow and they’ll die. However, if you look after them, they’ll have a chance of lasting a long time. Unfortunately, many listings online sell dodgy or broken cameras as new or as ‘untested’ so these are some crucial things you need to look out for! Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions so you avoid buying a lemon.
- Does the camera work? Simple question but make sure there’s a photo of the camera on because quite often, they’ll be selling it as ‘untested’ or ‘unsure condition’ and you could be buying an expensive paper weight. With point & shoots, the more features it has, the more likely things that can go wrong and stop working. Make sure it all works.
- Does the zoom work? A common issue is the zoom getting stuck or not operating at all due to blockages or general internal wiring failures. Make sure you find out if it fully extends and doesn’t get stuck.
- Does the flash work? A very common issue with point & shoots is that the flash doesn’t work likely due to reasons such as the battery contacts have rusted through to wiring issues within the flash.
- Lens quality
- Fungus - this is known as the cancer of lenses. They’re small fungi which spreads across the lens & body & impacts on the image quality, usually making it worse. Heads up, don’t store any lenses or cameras with fungus near other cameras as they can jump ship and infect your other ones.
- Scratches - a simple scratch on the lens can show up on the photo as dark lines and ruin your image.
- Haze - Haze can be anything that settles out of the air inside the lens onto the inner surfaces of the glass to the point that they are dense enough to refract the light themselves and spread it around as a "foggy" look to pictures.
I hope this has helped to give a bit of guidance with buying a point & shoot in Australia. If you have any questions, just message us here if you’d like us to recommend a point & shoot or offer any other advice!