Cameras in TV adverts: are they any good?

Are the cameras featured in adverts this year, actually any good?

As C-Day rapidly approaches, camera companies have naturally upped the budget they dedicate to television adverts. So, in the past few weeks you may have become sick to death of seeing the likes of Samsung, Canon, Nikon and Sony interrupting The X Factor with their advertisement offerings.

But what about the cameras that are featured? Are they any good? We take a look at some of the biggest camera adverts and see whether or not the camera featured is really worth adding to your Christmas list.

We've also happily added a "cheese" rating and a "realism" rating for your viewing pleasure. Let us know what you think in the comments box below, or at our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Samsung MV800

It's the only compact camera in the world to feature such a tilting screen and the advert features a bunch of impossibly good-looking people all putting it to different uses. Unfortunately, however, in our review we found that screen to be a distinct let down, suggesting you wait until the price drops before even thinking about investing in this £200 model.

Cheese rating: 80% - cute dog, though.

Realism rating: 10% - we struggled to get anything near the quality of the images in the adverts from the MV800, and those models look way too happy for our liking.

Read our Samsung MV800 Review

Canon IXUS 220HS

No-one seems to actually be using the camera in this somewhat disturbing video, instead getting up to all kinds of mischief before shattering into several thousand pieces (we think it's supposed to represent pixels). However, the Canon IXUS 220HS scored a whopping 5 stars in our review, with special note going to its value for money. I suppose we can forgive the slighty weird advert in that case.

Cheese rating: 60% - lots of happy dancing, and not much camera usage ups the cheese factor just past stilton in this one.

Realism rating: 50% - what is it with these shiny, happy models all our over our television adverts, that aside the camera really is rather good.

Read our Canon IXUS 220HS review

Olympus PEN

More of a lifestyle choice than a camera purchase, the Olympus PEN advert covers all of the current crop of compact sytem cameras from the manufacturer. Rapidly spinning through a series of photos and really pushing the art filters on board, the only time we see the camera is at the end. Only a cool camera could get away with this, and we think the advert just about pulls it off. The latest PENs have got good reviews, with the top-end E-P3 receiving an impressive four stars in our review.

Cheese rating: 10% - although you may feel a little dizzy after watching it.

Realism rating: 90% - pictures from the PEN series are great, and we find it very easy to believe that everything in the advert was captured on one.

Read our Olympus PEN E-P3 review.

Nikon Coolpix S3100

Nikon's best-selling compact camera, this is another advert showing the amount of fun that fooling around with this camera will open up to you. And that apparently includes playing a gig in front of thousands of other people... who knew? Anyway, pleasingly the Nikon S3100 performs well and is a snip at around £75, a great choice for sticking in a stocking.

Cheese rating: 30% - especially when the cat comes riding in on the turtle, yes really.

Realism rating: 80% - the advert shows some realistic situations, and our tests indicate the camera performs well too.

Read our Nikon Coolpix S3100 review

Panasonic G3

A more aspirational advert, complete with plinky plonk music to set the scene. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could all take a visit to Yosemite National Park with our cameras? Photographer David Eustace has kindly made the journey for us and explains why he likes using the camera, and seems pretty frank with his shock at the quality of it. We like the tagline too. Happily, the G3 also performed well in our tests, combining the best elements of the G2 and the GF2 to produce a winning camera. A great idea for anyone thinking of taking the compact system camera plunge this year.

Cheese rating: 40% - this isn't completely pongy, perhaps akin to a mild cheddar.

Realism rating: 90% - performing well in our tests, the advert manages to convey the bonus of using a small camera effectively

Read our Panasonic G3 review

Sony NEX-5N

Sony has done away with the camera completely in this advert, instead suggesting printed photos magically appear from your hands when using the camera. Perhaps Sony was trying to emphasise how easy the camera is to use, or perhaps its an outtake from a future episode of Tomorrow's World? Either way, the camera performed reasonably well in our tests, although those concerned about looks may find the body a bit of a let down (perhaps that's another reason why it's missing from the advert...)

Cheese rating: 60% - Lots of fun to be had at the fair, once more with cool, good looking models

Realism rating: 30% - Well, last time we checked you did actually have to hold the camera and press the buttons to get it to work...

Read our Sony NEX-5N review


Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.