The Best Mid-zoom Compact Cameras 2012: our top five travel compacts of the year...
- Wed, 26 Sep 2012
Top five mid-zoom travel compacts 2012
We list the top five mid-zoom, travel compact cameras on the market:
The mid-zoom compact camera market – or travel zoom compacts as they are widely known – has grown in strength over the last couple of years, with all of the major manufacturers keen to get a foothold in this increasingly popular marlket.
This means that it's now possible to buy a mid-zoom compact camera for just a few hundred pounds. The basic premise of a mid-zoom compact – or travel compact if you like – is that it covers a large zoom range, but within a small, portable body. This gives you the ability to shoot large groups without having to step back too far, but also to fill the frame with faraway objects.
This flexibility has made mid-zoom compact cameras extremely popular. Mid-range travel compacts are an especially good investment if you're off on holiday with plenty of sightseeing planned, but are also especially usfull for regular tooday-to-day shots. Here are our top 5 mid-zoom compact cameras 2012, in ascending price order..
On paper the F770EXR is probably the
strongest of all the travel compacts listed here; it certainly leads the way in
terms of its feature set. Not only does it get Raw capture - the only model
here to do so - it also benefits from Fuji's unique EXR sensor design, which
allows pixels to be either combined or split into two separate groups in order
to make light work of low-light or high-contrast situations where other
compacts might struggle. With a resolution of 16MP, the F770EXR is also capable
of capturing plenty of fine detail too, while on the front a 15x optical zoom
gives the you the 35mm focal range equivalent of 24-360mm. While it may lack
the digital filters of some of its rivals, the F770EXR remains a strong
contender, and as such is one of the best travel compacts of 2012.
See full review of the Fujifilm F770EXR...
Packing a 20x optical zoom that
offers the 35mm focal range equivalent of 25-500mm, the 12.1MP Canon SX260 HS
is a strongly featured travel compact that's also surprisingly compact given
its extended telephoto capabilities. While autofocus and processing times can
feel a little sluggish at times, image quality is very good with accurate light
metering, punchy colour and impressive noise control at higher sensitivities. Add
to this a generous feature set that includes 1080p HD movie capture with stereo
sound, full manual control, built-in GPS functionality, plus a range of
built-in digital filters and some impressive high-speed shooting modes and the
Canon 260 HS is a great travel compact.
See full review of the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS...
The Lumix TZ30 takes over from the
excellent TZ20 as the flagship model within Panasonic's well-regarded travel
compact range. The new model extends the reach of the optical zoom to 20x (from
16x on the TZ20), which gives the TZ30 a focal range of between 24-480mm in
35mm terms. Built around a 14.1MP MOS sensor and with a sensitivity range of
ISO 100-3200, the TZ30 also benefits from Panasonic's ‘light-speed' autofocus
technology for snappy focusing, 1080p Full HD video recording, built-in GPS
functionality, a one-touch panorama mode and a range of digital filters. Image
quality impresses too, with plenty of options available to help shape the look
of your processed JPEGs.
See full review of the Panasonic Lumix TZ30...
The HX20V takes over from last
year's HX9V as Sony's top travel compact, and brings with it a number of
improvements to what was already a highly regarded model. The optical zoom has
been increased to 20x (up from 16x on the HX9V), which gives the HX20V a 35mm
focal range equivalent of 25-500mm. Elsewhere the 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor
also represents an upgrade over the 16.2MP of the HX9V. This being a Sony
camera the HX20V is also generously featured with built-in GPS, 1080p Full HD
video recording, Sony's own Sweep Panorama technology and nine built-in digital
filter effects among the highlights. Build quality is very high and although
there can be occasional underexposure issues, image quality is otherwise
See full review of the Sony Cybershot HX20V...
Just as the Fuji F770EXR is the only camera to offer Raw capture, so the Samsung WB850F is the only camera to offer built-in Wi-Fi functionality. In practical terms, this allows you to upload your images to the internet (or even email them) directly from the camera anywhere you can connect to a working Wi-Fi signal. In terms of the actual camera the WB850F doesn't disappoint either, with the 16.2MP backside-wired CMOS sensor aligned to a 21x Schneider-Kreuznach optical zoom that offers the 35mm focal range equivalent of 23-483mm - the widest of all the travel compacts listed here. On top of this you can expect built-in GPS functionality, a sharp and vibrant AMOLED screen and a range of Smart Filter digital effects. Processing times and autofocus performance could be a little better, but on the whole the WB850F delivers good image quality.