This market is also swamped, I am not sure how anyone makes a decision, this is particularly the case as it is impossible to get your hands on a selection of cameras to find how they feel to you. The biggest problem I have with this size of camera is that my sausage fingers just cannot work the tiny controls but if you are less digitally challenged you may find these articles useful
Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 12x optical zoom , Full HD video
The Nikon Coolpix S6400 appears to have just about everything you want from a digital compact camera of its class. With a 12x optical zoom, 3-inch 460,000-dot touchscreen, 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, Full HD video recording, a host of direct controls, 20 scene modes, small, lightweight body and a modest price tag, what more could you ask for?
The Nikon S6400 does a number of things pretty well and offers a lot of flexibility, from its wide range of creative filters to its responsive touchscreen, accurate AF system on down to the all-important thing: great image quality.
Sporting a 20x zoom lens offering an angle of view equivalent to a 25-500mm lens on a 35mm camera, the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS should be very well equipped for those who wish to travel light. A 12MP rear-illuminated CMOS sensor, coupled with the latest DIGIC 5 image processor, enables this camera to take great quality images, even in low light. The image stabiliser system will also help with taming camera shake when shooting at low shutter speeds.
Full HD video can be recorded and output via the built-in HDMI interface and global positioning information can be recorded for sharing on image and video sharing websites. Advanced photographers will also appreciate the inclusion of manual exposure options, whereas a wide range of automatic shooting options are also included for those who are less technically inclined.
The Canon Powershot SX260 HS sweeps our Best mid-range compact camera trophy.
Specs: 18MP CMOS Sensor, 20x optical zoom, 1080p video at 50fps, GPS
An 18MP Exmor R sensor promises excellent quality low light images, despite the relatively high resolution. A 20x optical zoom lens providing an angle of view equivalent to a 35-500mm lens on a 35mm camera should cover most photographic situations when travelling.
High quality Full HD 50p videos can be recorded, and a GPS function is included for tagging images with your position. Plenty of artistic picture effects and easy creative options are also included to get your creativity flowing.
Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 12.5x zoom, take still images while recording HD video, dual Image Stabilisation
Although a 12.5x zoom range may seem quite modest when compared to other travel compacts on offer, the 24mm wide angle will certainly be handy for shots in cramped conditions, or large buildings you may encounter on your travels.
Just like many other travel-orientated compact cameras, GPS tracking is included and a rear-illuminated 16MP CMOS sensor should provide decent quality in low light conditions.
Unique to this camera is the ability to take still images at the same time as recording video clips, enabling you to capture high quality stills to complement your high definition video.
Specs: 14.1MP CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom, 1080p HD video, touchscreen interface, 3D still images
The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 (or Panasonic Lumix ZS20 in the US) replaces the TZ20 (ZS10) as Panasonic’s flagship TZ camera and pushes the zoom range from 16x to 20x, with a focal length equivalence of 24-480mm.
In other respects the TZ30 is very like the TZ20 having the same touchscreen LCD display, GPS technology and a raft of automated shooting modes as well as more advanced options for experienced photographers.
However, HD video can be shot in 1080p at 50 frames per second rather than the TZ20’s 1080 interlaced. And, although the sensor is still a 14MP 1/2.33-inch device, it has been redesigned to produce cleaner images across the sensitivity range. There’s a lot packed into this relatively small camera.
Specs: 16MP EXR CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom, ISO 12,800, 1080p video, 8fps high speed continuous shooting
If you’ve ever struggled to capture the perfect shot of Minky The Whale jumping through a hoop at Sea World, then the Fuji F770 EXR has the solution. It is capable of taking full resolution shots at a blistering pace of eight frames per second, and if you wish to share where the image was taken via popular image sharing services, GPS information can be recorded too.
The rear-illuminated 16MP EXR CMOS sensor has a few tracks up its sleeve too. It can be optimised to take high resolution 16MP images, or images with improved dynamic range at reduced resolution.
By combining neighbouring pixels, sensitivities of up to ISO12,800 are also possible, making this camera ideal for shooting with in adverse conditions.
Olympus PEN E-PL3
Olympus PEN E-PL3 front viewStreet price: £249 w/14-42mm lens
The Olympus PEN E-PL3 is just a little bigger than most compacts, but this CSC packs in a Micro Four Thirds 12.3MP Live MOS sensor with an ISO range that tops out at 12,800.
Another Olympus staple is the sensor-based image stabilisation system that also means handshake can be countered whatever lens is attached to the camera.
The metal finish delivers a quality feel, the AF is pretty fast (in Single AF mode at least) and unless you’re going to be shooting at high ISOs a lot, the 12.3MP chip delivers pleasing results. Even though it’s been superseded by the E-PL5, the E-PL3 still has a lot going for it.
Best for: High-end performance in a compact body
Sony Cyber-shot WX300
Sony Cyber-shot WX300 front viewStreet price: £229
Fractionally larger than a pack of cards, the Sony WX300 manages to cram a 20x optical zoom lens within an ultra-petite body. The zoom range is equivalent to a 25-500mm focal length in 35mm terms – making it ideal for anyone who fancies a small, but powerful camera that’s capable of zooming right in to the heart of the action.
Thankfully there is Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation built in to reduce hand shake and another neat feature is the 10fps frame rate.
Overall, the Sony WX300 packs in a lot within an extremely small body and is a very attractive option for those wanting a long zoom from a camera that’ll slide into a pocket or bag with ease.
Best for: The ultimate in pocketability
Canon PowerShot S110
Canon PowerShot S110 front viewStreet price: £299
The Canon PowerShot S110 is one of our favourite pocket-sized compacts that’s perfectly suited for those looking for a quality compact with creative control.
The Canon Powershot S110 sports a 12.1MP sensor and DIGIC 5 image processing engine. The 5x optical zoom covers a decent range of 24-120mm, with a four-stop lens-based IS system.
The Canon Powershot S110 delivers just the right balance for colour, and exposures are pretty consistent.
There’s no doubt the Canon Powershot S110 is one of the most polished true pocket-sized compacts available.
Best for: Compact size with advanced functionality Read more
This new Nikon compact camera is aimed seemingly at the advanced amateur or pro market. It has features and functionality that require an understanding of photography and dpreview concluded with this: The Coolpix A offers DSLR-standard image quality and an excellent 28mm equivalent lens in a well-polished, pocketable camera. Its user interface will be immediately familiar to Nikon shooters and its results are dependably good. It’s not the only game in town, though, and while solid in most respects, it’s not class-leading in any respect.
The review by Jonathan Eastland in the BJP is, I think, more useful. Jonathan is a photographer of many decades and his understanding of the process of photography has been honed by years of shooting on land and at sea. External appearance is minimalist; some might say it’s sleek and neat. At almost 300 grams and just over 11cm long, its thick matt black (also available in silver chrome finish) aluminium and magnesium alloy body cover and top plates exude a sense of robustness and lasting durability. A thin leatherette grip strip on the front face seems almost like a nod to secure handling, and while I would have preferred the grip featured on Nikon’s Coolpix P7700, this narrow strip works in combination with a small rubber thumb pad on the back of the camera.
Jonathan concludes: My view after several weeks of use is that the Nikon A falls short in some areas of handling. Sleek and neat may be a good selling point, but in practice there is simply not enough substance to the front grip to endow a faultless feel-good factor. The freely rotating control wheel works, but would have been better click-stopped and incorporated into a front grip. Minor grumbles aside, image quality, white balance and colour renditions are hard to fault; the camera produces files evenly matched and graded to those of larger Nikon models. Good enough reasons to get the A.
So not a ringing endorsement, in fact he has said enough to put me off buying one but the review is exactly full of the things you want to know before buying. Camera reviews are so often full of technical specifications but so light on what it is like to use the camera and hands-on experience by someone who knows. Read the rest of Jonathan’s review here
The Point-and-Shoot market has evolved substantially within the past few years. Pocket-sized models can shoot better in low light, are faster with up to 10fps full resolution burst modes, have enhanced optics and focusing capabilities, to name a few general improvements. But it wasn’t until the end of last year that we began to see a major shift in the point-and-shoot market: the bigger sensor. Up until then, even advanced point-and-shoot models were saddled with smaller sensors, but that’s not the case anymore. While manufacturers continue to crack the code that enables them to outfit portable, fixed lens models with sensors from DSLRs, we’re only in the beginning stages of the point-and-shoot revolution.
That’s why it’s harder to buy a point-and-shoot now than it ever was. I guarantee in a few years, most serious point-and-shoots will have DSLR sensors inside of them. But for now, I’ve rounded up my top point-and-shoot models to prevent you from a bogus buy. These are models that have raised the bar time and again. Some models I’m in the midst of testing, but they are proving themselves worthy adversaries. So, if you need to buy a decent point-and-shoot before the summer, have no fear! Heed my Best Point-and-Shoot list and all will be well...Read the reviews here