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By 17 February 2014 | Categories: feature articles

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There have been a number of terrific compacts begging for eye-time the past few weeks, with the most difficult decision being which should grace your hip.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II

$800 (R8 800)

Showing that its ready for the big time, the PowerShot G1 X received a Mark II moniker, usually bestowed on pro DSLRs. This premium compact apparently boasts DSLR level image quality, with its 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor billed as being comparable with APS-C ones normally reserved for its bigger brothers. Along with a DIGIC 6 image processor and a 5x optical zoom (24-120mm focal range) the camera also boasts 31 AF points (more than triple the nine points found in the G1 X), a maximum ISO of 12 800, an interesting dual lens control rings setup and a 3” LCD screen. Reminder: this is ‘just’ a compact.

Nikon S9700

$350 (R3 900) 

One of the new ultrazoom compacts from Nikon, the S9700, is rather unique for a number of reasons. Firstly it too adheres to the supermodel diet, with a depth of 34.5 mm. Despite this, the camera still boasts a 30x zoom (25-750 mm equivalent). Even more innovatively, the 16 megapixel camera boasts a built-in world map, upon which location data and route of movement when photographing can be recorded and displayed; along with an electronic compass which displays bearing information. Naturally, you get full HD (1920 x 1080) video as well.

Canon PowerShot SX 700 HS

$350 (R3 900)

To say Canon’s slimmest PowerShot with an ultrazoom has exceptional range is an understatement of note. The 16.1 megapixel camera boasts a stabilised 30x zoom and 25-750 mm lens (yes, you read that right), which protrudes, like Miley’s tongue, out of a ridiculously thin 35 mm frame. Also onboard: a 3” LCD monitor (922k dots), full HD (1080p) video at 60 fps and Canon’s DIGIC 6 image processor. Not content to only bring Wi-Fi connectivity, this little beauty further packs NFC technology to seamlessly interact with compatible Android devices.   

Sony Cyber-shot HX400V

$500 (R5 500)

Upping its bridge camera game is Sony. It should come as no surprise, but it too is courting the long-range zoom loving crowd, as its latest boasts a 50x optical zoom, optical SteadyShot (Sony’s lingo for image stabilization) and, like its competition, full HD (1080p) video. Both Wi-Fi and NFC are onboard (are you too seeing a trend here?) to ‘play nice’ with other mobile devices. More importantly, its sensor sports 20.4 megapixels; a feature that would have been unheard of in small sized cameras a few years ago.

Nikon CoolPix P600

$500 (R5 500)

Not one to rest on its laurels, Nikon has also released a new high-end ultrazoom. Its new CoolPix P600 sees Canon’s SX 700 HS 50x zoom range and with a poker face, raises it to 60x. This means the 16.1 megapixel P600’s lens boasts a 24-1440 mm zoom, which is sure to make paparazzi and those hoping to get a close look at Angelina’s freckles whoop with creepy joy. A 3” (921k) vari-angle LCD monitor, vibration reduction (up to 3.5 shutter speed stops) and built-in Wi-Fi round out Nikon’s latest offering.

Canon PowerShot D30

$330 (R3 700)

Aimed at adventure seekers, the D30 has the distinction of accompanying divers to depths of 25 m underwater, with image quality delivered courtesy of a 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor. Furthermore, the camera boasts a 28mm wide-angle, 5x zoom Canon lens, ideal for capturing that shark sneaking up on you. More reassuring is that while you may freeze at -10 °C, your camera will be just fine (and that was your primary concern, right?). Also onboard is a  3” LCD screen (460 000 dot) and an integrated GPS to ensure your images are geotagged if your camera washes ashore.

While local prices and availability for the cameras – which are expected during the first quarter – are yet to be announced, each send a clear, cohesive message: it’s your move, smartphones.

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