If you’re looking for a great blend of performance and portability, then you can’t go wrong with any one of our pick of the top 5 compact cameras.
Panasonic Lumix FT3 ($599.00) Copes with everything from beach sand to scaling the heights of Everest! Designed to be submerged in water to 12 metres, this camera will withstand blows and falls to 2 metres, is freeze-proof to 10 C, and dust/sandproof. GPS receiver labels your shots with geotagging, you get a compass for navigation, plus an altimeter and barometer - all for the active photographer. Lens specifications are 28mm wide-angle and 4.6x optical zoom in an internal folding design. `Intelligent automatic’ is included, with motion deblur.
Nikon Coolpix P100 ($370.00) A high-performance digital camera (P = Performance Series - look out for S for Style /L for Life cameras with different features), centred around a high-speed 10-megapixel CMOS sensor married with a very long 26x zoom for a digital compact camera, - great if you’re into landscape photography. It’s a very compact, well-designed camera (black only) and capable of doing really interesting things photographically. Like high-speed continuous photo shooting (at the max size of 10 megapixels at 10fps), plus very good video quality with 1080p HD movie recording and playback functions.
Samsung EX1 ($350.00) It’s their flagship advanced compact camera. An impressive 24mm ultra-wide angle lens with fast f/1.8 aperture and 3x optical zoom, perfect for landscapes or large groups of people. Wide aperture also offers shallow depth-of-field with blur the background, while still focusing on the subject - handy for shooting portraits. The high-performance 1/1.7″ CCD sensor, larger than a standard camera, produces better photos in low-light. 3″ swivelling AMOLED screen allows you to shoot from just about any angle you can imagine.
Olympus XZ-1 ($699.00) Designed for those who doesn’t mind paying the price for very high performance, but wants the pocket fit of a compact! The 10-megapixel resolution CCD sensor performs extremely well, and it comes with the fastest zoom lens of any camera in this category. The user interface flicks between PASM (Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, and Manual + Auto). There is also the very necessary (for novices) `intelligent auto’ mode, plus great art filters, scene modes and a low-light setting.
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS ($599.00) Image quality is very, very good - particularly for a sub-$600 price tag. Powerful and versatile, thanks to 14-megapixel resolution and 28mm-equivalent wide-angle lens with 14x zoom. This means you can get closer to whatever you’re shooting without a large professional lens - much better for portability. If you need the PowerShot SX210 IS to function as a fully automatic point-and-shoot camera, it has a smart auto mode. Full manual control has plenty of options - including control of shutter speed, apertures and focus.
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