For some casual snapshooters, size is really no object. In terms of usage, these users might use a camera very similarly to how they’d use a simple ultracompact – snapping a photo or two at social events, or taking casual photos around the house or room. In contrast to a simple ultracompact, a simple full-size camera doesn’t have portability as its main concern; you probably won’t be able to stuff it in your jeans pocket, and it might even require its own bag. Instead, the larger formfactor of a simple full-size camera often allows for better overall image quality.
Simple Full-size, premium: Pentax K-x with 18-55mm lens
If size doesn’t matter and your budget reaches up to $500 or so, your best bet is a basic DSLR camera that provides superb image quality and quick response times that simply blow away anything you can find on a small-sensor compact or bridge camera, especially in low-light situations. While more advanced photographers appreciate them for their interchangeable lenses and manual controls, all of them still have fully automatic modes for simple point-and-shoot use.
The Pentax K-x is Pentax’s entry-level DSLR, but you wouldn’t know it based on its featureset and image quality. While priced in the same sub-$500 range as Canon’s Rebel XS and Nikon’s D3000, the Pentax K-x’s plethora of features rival many midrange DSLRs, with fast-firing 5fps continuous shooting, sensor-based image stabilization that works with any lens, expansive 11-point autofocus system, and even 720p HD video. Image quality on the K-x, especially in low-light situations, is a bit better than the Rebel XS, and both easily outclass the Nikon D3000.
- 12MP resolution
- 27-83mm (3x) zoom range
- f/3.5-5.6 aperture
- 1280×720, 24fps video
- Sensor-based Image stabilization
- 516g (18.2oz) – not including lens
- 122.0 x 91 x 69.0 mm (4.89 x 3.6 x 2.7 in) – not including lens
- 420 shots battery life (CIPA)
- $490 on Amazon