Jessops, the high street and online camera store, is celebrating 75 years in business – and Which? has taken a look at the key milestones in its 45 years of testing cameras.
First camera recommended by Which?, July 1965
The first camera Which? recommended was the Konica Auto S back July 1965. It cost £14 4s and 10d and was one of 21 models on test.
The Konica Auto S was recommended for the ‘ambitious photographer’ as it provided full manual control.
Its sensitivity was described as ‘outstanding’ but its results were less sharp than those taken on the Minolta Hi-Matic 7. However the Minolta fared less well in the Which? camera endurance tests and was deemed likely to require some repair.
For help buying the best digital camera, check out the Which? digital camera advice
First digital camera tested by Which?, August 1998
Which? lab-tested its first batch of digital cameras in August 1998, and the only model that it recommended members should buy was the Agfa ePhoto 1280.
The other nine models on test just didn’t come anywhere near close enough to the standard of a 35mm camera in terms of image quality, although the Ricoh RDC-300Z was awarded a Best Buy.
The Agfa ePhoto 1280 came bundled with a 4Mb memory card and could take a shot every 19 seconds. It took just six shots before filling up the supplied SmartMedia memory.
Last film camera tested by Which?, August 2007
Some might say that the Fuji Glam Cam, being a disposable camera, doesn’t qualify but it was the last film camera that Which? awarded a Best Buy.
Which? had stopped testing film cameras, but this model popped up in an erroneous batch of single-use camera testing.
We compared the Fuji Glam Cam with 12 other disposable cameras and the Nokia 5300 mobile phone’s 1.3Mp camera. The Nokia offered less lens distortion, but it lacked the resolution of the 35mm Fuji.
Find the best camera by checking out our digital camera reviews
First digital SLR, January 2004
The Canon EOS 300D was the first dSLR aimed at consumers, and launched in 2004 with a price tag of £723 (body only) and £829 with a 18-55mm kit lens.
It impressed our research team with its speed, ease of use and image quality, although shots taken beneath a tungsten bulb had an unnatural orange tint to them.
It’s 6.3Mp sensor would now seem a little dated, but at the time was cutting edge.
Most recent camera tested by Which? April, 2010
The most recent batch of digital cameras lab-tested by Which? includes the Canon EOS 7D, one of the most advanced consumer-level cameras available.
The Canon 7D’s ability to capture eight frames per second is a far cry from the three frames per minute that the Agfa ePhoto was able to snap.
Lab-based, in-depth digital camera reviews
If you’re interested in the Canon 7D then you can watch the Which? Canon 7D first look video here that was filmed at the digital SLR’s launch.
Head to Which?’s digital SLR reviews for the latest digital SLR reviews
Which? digital cameras expert Richard Parris, said: ‘In our time testing and reviewing cameras, Which? has seen a great many changes, and we’ve always adapted our test programmes to keep them bang up to date with the latest innovations. For instance, our current tests cover such technologies as face detection and image stabilisation.
‘From 1965 until the today, we’ve been providing independent expert reviews to help our members find a camera that won’t let them down.’
For more help finding the best digital camera and best digital SLR, check out our in-depth, lab-based reviews
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