I want a digital camera for under 10,000 with at least 8X optical zoom and a 15MP image sensor. The shooter should be user friendly and lightweight; Wi-Fi is preferable though not mandatory.
There are several cameras that can be picked up for under 10,000, with very little difference in terms of image quality when you compare their output. All these shooters are capable of good snapshots in daylight, but tend to suffer from some noise in low-light photography. This is because all these devices are equipped with smaller image sensors when compared to what is found in DSLRs and more expensive bridge cameras. Still, all these gadgets are more than capable of good 'holiday' and 'birthday' pictures.
Of the lot, our first choice is the 16-megapixel Nikon Coolpix S6300. It sells for around Rs 9,000. It is a well built device that boasts of good image output, and it even performs decently in low light due to its backlit CMOS sensor (usually, most cameras in this price range use CCD sensors that are a little less sensitive to light when compared to CMOS). The S6300 comes with 10X optical zoom (focal length of 25mm-250 mm). This makes it a suitable travel companion. The camera uses a rechargeable battery pack - and the only noticeable issue, if it matters to you, is the lack of robust manual control. The Coolpix S6300 is best used on auto or its different preset modes. If you like to set your own exposure and shutter speed before clicking an image, this is not the right device for you.
The second camera worth considering is the 10-megapixel Canon IXUS 510 HS. This camera is available for Rs 8,500 (approx). In terms of image quality, this device is clearly the best in its price range, capable of vivid and sharp photographs. Other than image quality, the USP of this camera is its Wi-Fi capability and touchscreen control. Using the latter, for example, users can set their focus area by merely tapping on the screen. The camera is equipped with a CMOS censor and offers 12X zoom (28mm-336 mm focal length). Unlike most cameras, the IXUS 510 HS doesn't support SD cards; it uses microSD cards. And yes, this is another camera that is best used in auto mode, especially since accessing various settings through its touchscreen can be a bit cumbersome.
Our final recommendation is the 16-megapixel Canon PowerShot SX160 IS. It sells for around Rs 9,500. This shooter is not as pocketable as the Coolpix S6300, but it has certain unique advantages: The biggest reason to pick this over the Nikon is that it offers full manual controls, if a photographer wants it. It also has a much bigger reach with its 16X optical zoom (focal range 28mm-448 mm). The only issue with PowerShot SX160 is its battery. The camera uses standard AA batteries, which may turn out to be an expensive proposition when compared to the rechargeable batteries that IXUS 510 and Coolpix S6300 use.