BEST TRAVEL COMPACTS AND SUPER-ZOOMS
BEST COMPACT CAMERAS: TRAVEL COMPACTS
-->NIKON COOLPIX S9300
Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 18x zoom with optical VR, 1080p video, GPS
Nikon has managed to squeeze an impressive 18x zoom lens with optical Vibration Reduction into a slim camera body that is only 30.6mm thick. The Vibration Reduction system will help increase the chance of taking sharp images, especially at the telephoto end of the zoom range, and it will also help steady the image on the 3-inch LCD screen, for easier composition.
A 16MP rear-illuminated CMOS sensor coupled with the latest Expeed C2 image processing chip should provide better quality images at high sensitivities and smoother video than previous processor generations.
Nikon's usual comprehensive array of automatic scene modes and a wide range of special effects will help beginners to be creative. GPS technology can be used to track your location and share where images were taken when uploaded to many popular image sharing websites.
-->CANON POWERSHOT SX260 HS
Specs: 12MP CMOS sensor, 20x image stabilized optical zoom, 1080p video, GPS
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 stabilizer 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.
-->SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-HX20V
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 traveling.
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 Stabilization
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.
-->PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-TZ30/ZS20
Specs: 14.1MP CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom, 1080p HD video, touchscreen interface, 3D still images
The TZ30 (or 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.
-->FUJIFILM FINEPIX F770 EXR
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 optimized to take high resolution 16MP images or images with improved dynamic range at reduced resolution.
By combining neighboring pixels, sensitivities of up to ISO12,800 are also possible, making this camera ideal for shooting with in adverse conditions.
BEST COMPACT CAMERAS 2012: SUPERZOOMS
-->CANON POWERSHOT SX40 HS
Specs 12.1MP CMOS sensor, 35x image stabilized optical zoom lens, 1080p HD video, swivel LCD screen
An impressive 35x zoom lens equivalent to 24-800mm on a 35mm camera adorns the Canon Powershot SX40 HS. Unlike its predecessor, the SX30 IS, this camera uses Canon's HS system, which combines a high sensitivity sensor with the latest DIGIC 5 image processor to provide, clean and sharp images, even in low light conditions.
Both casual snappers and experienced photographers are catered for a comprehensive range of scene program modes, Smart Auto and full manual control. 1080P HD video clips can also be recorded using either the electronic viewfinder of Vari-Angle LCD screen for composition.
-->NIKON COOLPIX L310
Price: £199 (about $320)
Specs: 14MP CCD sensor, 21x stabilized optical zoom, 720p video, smart portrait system
This budget offering from Nikon aims to make picture taking as easy as possible, while providing a raft of impressive features, for not a lot of money.
For starters the 21x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 25-525mm lens on a 35mm camera, and features Nikon's Vibration Reduction technology to tame camera shake. For close up images, the macro facility enables focusing as close as 1cm from the front element of the lens.
The Smart Portrait system uses Smile Detection, Red Eye Fix, Skin Softening and a warning if the camera detects that your subject may have blinked in the picture. This system should make taking pictures of family and friends a foolproof affair.
Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 24x optical zoom, take still images while recording HD video, dual Image Stabilization
As well as including a 24x zoom lens covering a range equivalent to a 26-600mm lens on a 35mm camera, the
SZ-31MR has a few other tricks up its sleeve.
1080p videos can also be recorded, and if you spot an opportunity for a still image, one can be captured while recording video. Standard definition video at frame rates up to 240fps can be recorded for creating slow motion effects.
The dual image stabilization system should tame camera shake in images taken in low light, or at high telephoto settings. Still images can also be taken in 3D, which is a fun addition.
-->SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-HX200V
Specs: 18MP CMOS Sensor, 30x optical zoom, 1080p video at 50fps, GPS
Not to be outdone by anyone else, Sony's HX200V can take an impressive 10 frames per second in burst mode, and its 30x optical zoom should provide plenty of flexibility for many a shooting scenario. The 18MP CMOS sensor provides an improvement in resolution over its predecessor, too.
Panoramic images can be taken by sweeping the camera across the scene, with the camera automatically stitching a sequence of shots together for you, and 3D images can also be taken. GPS information can be recorded for adding to popular image sharing websites.
Price: £270 (about $435)
Specs 12.1MP CCD sensor, 24x optical zoom (25-600mm equivalent), Optical Image Stabilization, manual exposure control
Known as the FZ47 in the US, this mini SLR style camera provides for casual snappers and experienced photographers alike with a wealth of exposure modes - though raw file recording is not possible.
Autofocus speed is faster than the average superzoom camera's, which makes it a good option for sport and action photography - especially coupled with the 3.7fps burst mode.
The pixel count may only be 12.1 million, but this benefits the camera because the low sensitivity images have a decent level of detail. This combines with great exposure and good color reproduction to make the FZ48 a well rounded performer.
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