Compact And Tough CamerasGreat for everyday social shooting, compact cameras are ideal for those who want a small, lightweight solution that’s easy to use and provides better image quality than a smartphone.
There is a wide variety of compact cameras available, ranging from basic models to Superzoom cameras with high optical zoom in a compact body, and high-performance models offering larger sensors, high-quality lenses and manual control.
Look out for cameras featuring built-in WiFi if you like the idea of sharing your photographs wirelessly with a smartphone or tablet, or to publish them straight to sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
Tough cameras are specifically made for the outdoors with waterproof and shockproof designs. They often feature built-in GPS, so your camera can go wherever you do - and take the photos to prove it!
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Image quality from compact cameras is determined by two main factors: sensor size and lens brightness. Compact cameras can feature either a CCD or a CMOS sensor.
CCD sensors are often found in basic compact cameras, while CMOS sensors increasingly mirror the capabilities of sensors used in many DSLRs and compact system cameras. Their excellent light-capturing properties result in more detailed, high quality images.
High performance compact cameras feature brighter lenses, which allow more light to be captured by the camera’s sensor. Generally, the more light that is available to your camera, the more detailed your photographs will be.
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Optical zoom determines how close your lens can hone in on a subject without degrading image quality. For example, 10x optical zoom allows you to zoom in ten times closer to what you’re shooting. Compact cameras achieve this by adjusting the lens itself.
Digital zoom brings subjects closer by enlarging a section of the existing image so that its contents appear nearer. This is the same concept as cropping an image, and can decrease image resolution. Some cameras allow you to combine optical and digital zoom for more powerful results.
Superzoom compact cameras all have +15x optical zoom capabilities and allow you to zoom in very close to your subject whilst maintaining high image quality.
Most compact cameras will come with a range built-in effect options, enabling you to get creative with your photos. These could include the ability to alter image colour, perspective, dimensions and other characteristics, so you can make each shot completely personal.
Make action shots or candid snaps more dynamic with a psychedelic fish-eye effect, or give your portraits a retro character with black and white or sepia tones. Cartoon or pop colour filters bring even more fun to photos of friends, while toy camera makes ordinary shots gorgeously quirky. Achieve the perfect landscape shot using HDR imaging or add imagination to your photos using watercolour and other artistic effects.
More advanced models even allow you to perform retouching in-camera – remove blemishes, add makeup or even replace smiles or closed eyes in group shots so that everyone looks their best.
Many compact cameras feature built-in WiFi, which enables you to share your images wirelessly via a smartphone or tablet. If you’re the social type, you can upload photos directly to sites like Facebook and Twitter with certain models.
Some cameras also feature NFC, which will allow you to send images to a device using one-touch wireless pairing. Other WiFi-enabled cameras even give you the option to download apps to your camera, so you can edit shots, surf the web, play games and much more.
Cameras with built-in GPS can automatically register where each photo was taken, which makes for more comprehensive and exciting travel photography. View your pictures by location and create the ultimate holiday or adventure slideshow to wow your friends and family with.
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All compact cameras feature a screen on the reverse which you can use to frame your shot, check out what you’ve just taken and navigate menu options.
Most screens are between 2-3 inches in size but certain models offer larger screens much like those featured on smartphones. Some cameras have easy-to-use touchscreens, which make it easy to apply settings, interact with menus and even zoom. These intuitive displays are often favoured by users familiar with smartphones.
Some models also feature vari-angle or tilting screens, which are great for taking selfies and framing shots from difficult angles. If you’re in a crowd, around a corner or in an awkward position, an adjustable screen allows you to achieve clear results – or you can use your vantage point to get creative with perspective.
Tough cameras are specifically designed for the outdoors, so they’re ideal for hiking enthusiasts, intrepid explorers or generally adventurous types. These cameras typically feature waterproofing up to several metres for use in rain, sea or river, and shock-proofing to safeguard against being dropped from up to two metres.
They feature wide angle zoom lenses that let you capture as much of each scene as possible, and are often capable of rapid frame rates so that you never miss the perfect shot during fast-moving action events.
Most tough cameras are also capable of filming videos in Full HD, so you can fully relive your exploits in high quality on your HD TV or computer screen.
Size and Weight
Compact cameras are the smallest and lightest digital cameras available, making them the best choice for easy everyday use or for taking on holiday. The more basic the camera and its features, the smaller and lighter it is likely to
be. High performance compacts are generally larger due to their added features and capabilities like lenses, adjustable screens and advanced processing.
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