Choosing a Compact Camera
- Sat, 23 Apr 2011
The compact camera market certainly can't be accused of lacking both variety and options of where to direct your hard-earned cash, but what should you be looking for?
Point and Shoot
Most of us want a portable camera that will slot into a trouser or shirt pocket for spur-of-the-moment snaps, and work out for itself the best focus and exposure. Budget models with fewer features such as these tend to have the lowest resolution on offer, but that’s sufficient quality for photo-realistic prints at regular postcard or A4 sheet size. When buying a snapshot camera, opt for a major brand, and don’t spend much less than £100.
If style is important to you then there is a bewildering array of cameras to choose from. The camera’s body will be fashioned to a greater degree from metal rather than plastic, and of course the price reflects this. Still, you’ll typically have a resolution of between 8 and 10 megapixels, often with an internally stacked zoom lens and, increasingly, WiFi capabilities.
Another way in which manufacturers are attempting to differentiate their compacts is by giving them sealed weatherproof or waterproof bodies, while Olympus markets cameras that are also shockproof. So if you like adventure sports or you’re simply butter-fingered – check out those that will bounce back for more.
A camera that may require a steep learning curve for the beginner, but which offers plenty of manual control. It may not feature a huge zoom capacity but is nevertheless stacked with real photographic features. As such, enthusiast models set themselves up as ideal back-up cameras for those who already own a DSLR, but want something more portable for that spur-of-the-moment picture-taking opportunity.
The 10 or 12x optical zoom capability offered by these enthusiast-targeted models will come in handy for those wanting such a range in a small package – the theory being that they offer so much control, the user won’t actually need an SLR. The downside is that superzooms are bulkier than other types of ‘compact’, and ideally need a decent image-stabilisation system when shooting at the telephoto end of the zoom to prevent blurry images.
This article has more pages:
- 1. Choosing a Compact Camera
- 2. Choosing a Compact Camera: Page 2