By 29 September 2010 | Categories: feature articles


Now that a number of digital compact cameras also incorporate HD-ready video recording, your old 5 megapixel shooter is due for an upgrade. Here is our selection of the hottest compact currently available.

Canon PowerShot S95Canon PowerShot S95

Canon's delicious S90 is one of the best compact cameras we've had the pleasure of testing, with Canon now following it up with the very desirable S95.

It continues to be very pocketable, while still incorporating the adjustable ring at the front. This "ring of power" is a revelation, allowing you to assign different functionality to it, for example using the ring to quickly change your ISO, zoom, exposure compensation or speed.

The S95 now incorporates High Dynamic Range for those shots that are difficult to manage on only one exposure; enhanced manual control and Hybrid IS technology to assist getting clear shots while taking macro pics.

With 720p video recording with stereo sound at 24 frames per second now also on-board, we see no reason not to choose this as your new best photography friend.

  • 10 megapixels, 3.8x optical zoom, 3" LCD screen.

FujiFilm Fine Pix REAL 3D W3FujiFilm FinePix REAL 3D W3

3D pictures? And movies? On a camera? Without the need for those stupid glasses? This is exactly what FujiFilm is promising with their REAL 3D W3 camera. The W3 is actually FujiFilm's second 3D cam, with the latest incarnation also promising 3D movie capabilities.

Its 3.5" screen contains a Lenticular sheet that splits the image slightly differently for each eye, resulting in a 3D image. Resulting prints of course will of course nullify the effect (unless printed on FujiFilm lenticular paper), but the effect can be carried over to 3D tellies. Now to find enough blue paint for that home-made Avatar fan film.

  • 10 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, 3.5" LCD screen.

Olympus SP-800Olympus SP-800

If it's zoom you want Olympus' SP-800 provides it in bucket-loads, in fact Olympus claims the 30x wide angle optical zoom (a massive 28 - 840 mm in the old 35 mm standard) is top class.

Going to such extreme lengths of course leads to some serious shaking, so thank heavens for Olympus' 2-in-1 anti-blur solution. Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization teams up with Digital Image Stabilization to send shakes and shivers to the floor for the full-count.

  • 14 megapixels, 30x optical zoom, 3" LCD screen.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX9Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX9

They say dynamite comes in small packages, with this ringing true not only for Gio Aplon, but also for Sony's diminutive TX9.

Its compact body hides an amazing array of features including Sony's powerful BIONZ processor and their back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor with enhanced light-sensitivity.

It also sports a lovely 3.5" touch-screen and is the only camera on our list with full 108i HD video recording capabilities. To top this the TX9 includes 3D Sweep Panorama, which displays your images in 3D glory on compatible 3D televisions.

  • 12.2 megapixels, 4x optical zoom, 3.5" TruBlack LCD screen.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

We've always been a fan of Panasonic's compact offerings, in no small way thanks to the superior glass on offer.

The LX5, the follow-up to the highly likeable LX3, is no different, incorporating an F2.0 LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with a ultra wide angle of 24mm, ideal for landscapes photography.

Panasonic has also upped the light sensitivity and saturation of the CCD sensor, and, like most of the cameras featured here, incorporates 720p video recording. In the premium compact camera segment, the LX5 should definitely be on your shortlist.

  • 10.1 megapixels, 3.8x optical zoom, 3" LCD screen.

Samsung EX1Samsung EX1

Samsung's EX1 is the flagship of the Korean manufacturer's compact camera range. Its stand-out feature?

A 24mm ultra-wide angle Schneider KREUZNACH lens, rated at an extremely speedy f/1.8. It's ideal for portraits where you want the face in-focus, but the background blurred - an effect very difficult to achieve with slower lenses commonly found on compacts.

With RAW support and a robust body, the EX1 looks set to take on the likes of Canon's G12 and Panasonic's LX5.

  • 10 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, 3" swivelling AMOLED screen.

Nikon Coolpix S5100Nikon Coolpix L110

This 12.1 megapixel shooter from Nikon makes light work of shooting in low-light thanks to its ISO that can be pumped all the way up to 6400 - a feat not many other compacts can match.

It can also record HD ready video at a very decent 720p resolution, while recording the sound in stereo. With Nikon's Best Shot Selector you're ensured of at least one decent pic, since the S5100 shoots 10 sequential shots and selects sharpest image - ideal for raucous parties and the likes.

With a zoom lens extending up to a very nice 15x, the S5100 will also come in handy if you need just that little bit of extra zoom.

  • 12.1 megapixels, 15x optical zoom, 3" LCD screen.

Canon PowerShot G12Canon PowerShot G12

No compact camera round-up would be complete with a mention of Canon's exceptional G-series with its rugged good looks and exceptional functionality.

The G12 sports, at long last we might add, 720p video, with the other big news in-camera High Definition Range photos achieved by combining different bracketed shots. Also new is an extra dial at the front that makes it even easier to adjust the settings.

 The G12 is most probably the premier high-end digital compact and its good to see the King return in such good fashion.

  • 10 megapixels, 5x optical zoom, 2.8" swivel-and-tilt LCD screen.


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