Choosing a Compact Camera: Page 2
Entry-level models offer 5 or 6MP sensors, which are more than adequate for 6x4in prints and will stretch to A4, while 10 and 12MP sensors feature at the higher end. Pixel count isn’t everything though – the internal processor and lens also have important roles to play, as does the physical size of the sensor.
Most entry-level compacts offer a fairly modest 3x optical zoom, though increasingly larger 10x and 12x zooms have become the norm on enthusiasts’ models. ‘Digital zoom’ is something best ignored, as all this does is crop a central portion of the image to give the effect of having zoomed in, and therefore reducing quality.
Most compacts offer a 2.5in LCD screen for composing and reviewing pictures. Some have larger screens while some even offer touch-screens. The pixel count of the LCD screen determines how detailed the image appears on screen, but has no bearing on image quality itself.
Most compacts only offer an LCD screen for composing images. If a viewfinder is a priority there are certain Canon and Sony models, as well as some from other manufacturers, which offer both.
This comes in three main forms: optical, sensor-based and ISO-based. The first compensates for camera shake by shifting elements within the lens, the second works by shifting the sensor and the third by adjusting the ISO. ISO-based is the least-preferred option, as it gives less control over noisy images.
Most cameras offer an ISO range which can be as limited as 400 or as high as 10,000. Be warned that, in general, the higher the ISO setting, the noisier the image. Sensor and optical forms of image stabilisation will allow you to shoot at lower ISOs without flash or the need for higher ISO settings.
This article has more pages:
- 1. Choosing a Compact Camera
- 2. Choosing a Compact Camera: Page 2