The key thing that limits the quality of a Point & Shoot camera photo is the size of the sensor.
Most have a sensor size of about 1/1.8" such as your A540.
Almost yearly, after that they increased the megapixels, which reduced the low light performance and increased the noise.
A few years later the Canon Engineers used a slightly larger sensor (1/1.7)", coupled with a brighter lens (f/1..
They also limited the size of the megapixels to about 12. This produced a better quality photo.
This started with about the camera model G15. Look for a G15 or newer G model.
Nikon (P330) and Panasonic (LX7) also came out with a similar design on one camera model.
If you want to use a Point & Shoot camera, those camera models are about the best bet.
Although I have taken 50,000+ photos for my business (about tomatoes) I am at best an amateur photographer, overwhelmed by all the jargon and seemingly endless choices of cameras.
The camera I have been using for years (Canon PowerShot A540) is 12 years old, worn out, and produces photographs of substandard quality.
This is a lot to ask, but it would be very helpful if someone with far more technical knowledge and experience than I have could help me narrow down my options to five or so models for consideration. I've already spend 20+ hours over the past few months on this task, which I find daunting, frustrating and exhausting.
Here are some parameters:
- Budget range is $250-400 (business is struggling; this is a major business investment which will take up an entire month of income)
- Pretty sure a "Point and Shoot" class is what I am looking for, but am open to suggestions
- Over 98% of my pictures are still shots of garden fruits and vegetables and flowers on the vine or off, so I need sharp focus at distances primarily from about 6" to 3'
- My current camera is 6.5 megapixels, rather grainy by today's standards; 12-20+ would be great
- I don't really need a zoom, though it is handy to be able to take pictures of animals or other subjects from a distance; zoom would be a secondary function
- Ability to take short, good quality videos would be quite helpful - something that I could post on my blog or YouTube without being embarrassed by low quality
- I need to be able to easily and comfortably take photos with one hand while the other is moving vegetation aside and the like - using a cell phone camera is horrible for this.
- Having a tripod, at least optional, would be helpful, as I sometimes take dozens of staged shots in a row and I don't have the steady hands of a surgeon
- On my busiest days, I take up to 500 photos, sometimes more; so I need a camera that is fast with plenty of memory.
- This will be a WORK camera and I need to be very efficient with my time: reliable auto-focus and sensors, no long delays between photos; hopefully I can avoid having to take 5-10 shots for each subject in the hopes of getting one that is in focus
- A decent-sized view screen would be very helpful, as sometimes the camera will be at awkward angles, close to the ground and such, and I cannot put my eye up close to the camera to look through a view finder
- This is outdoor work, so I need a camera that is reasonably rugged and won't crap out when it's 100 degrees or if it gets a bit of rain on it - no, I don't need a camera that can handle underwater shots and the like - just not a delicate, wimpy camera; needs to be a workhorse that can hopefully last for several years
- There will be variable light conditions, from full, bright sunlight to dense foliage, to sometimes even working past sunset; so a good light sensor and auto-flash option is important.
- Hopefully, with a decent camera, my time for processing of photos on my computer will be greatly reduced - I spend several hundred hours every year processing photos to get color, light, etc. suitable for publishing on my website and on my products (labels for seed envelopes)
Here is a link to my latest blog post to give you a rough idea of the range of photos I take:
As for brands, I am leaning towards one of the Canon PowerShot series, as I was mostly satisfied with my old camera. But I am not committed to any particular brand.
People have suggested that I just use my cell phone camera, which I have been doing for the past several months; but it is really not up to the task for a number of reasons I won't detail. This post is already long enough, right?
This little business started as a hobby but has taken over my life and is continuing to grow. I really want to be able to produce high-quality photos and the occasional video so that I can get away from that "second-rate" image.
Thanks in advance for your time and input.