Generous zoom ranges and enhanced controls make these cameras a good option when portability is essential
Basics: The 12-megapixel FinePix S200EXR boasts a 30.5-436mm (equivalent) ƒ/2.8-5.3 optical zoom lens, with built-in optical stabilization. It provides both an eye-level electronic viewfinder and a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD monitor. The S200EXR can shoot JPEG and EXR-RAW format at ISOs from 100-3200 (up to 12,800 at reduced resolution). Dimensions are 5.3x3.7x5.7 inches, weight is 29.4 ounces, and the camera comes with a rechargeable NP-140 lithium-ion battery. Images are stored on SD or SDHC cards, and the camera has 47 MB of internal memory. List Price: $599.
Special Features: Fujifilm’s new 1/16-inch Super CCD EXR sensor can change its electronic behavior, effectively providing three sensors in one. HR (High Resolution) mode uses all 12 million pixels to capture great detail. DR (Wide Dynamic Range) mode captures and combines two 6-megapixel exposures to capture greater dynamic range. SN (High Sensitivity Low Noise) mode bins two adjacent pixels together to increase sensitivity and minimize noise. You can select any of these modes or let the camera use the best one in EXR Auto mode.
The Hook: Some cameras are better at fine detail, others in dim light, still others in high-contrast situations. With its EXR sensor, the S200EXR can handle all of these situations.
Verdict: This is a great camera for those who shoot in a wide variety of challenging lighting situations.
Basics: The 10.1-megapixel V-Lux 1 features a 12x 35-420mm (equivalent) ƒ/2.8-3.7 optical zoom lens with built-in Mega O.I.S. optical image stabilization. It provides both an eye-level electronic viewfinder and a swiveling 2.0-inch, 207,000-dot LCD monitor. The V-Lux 1 can record images in RAW and JPEG formats at ISOs from 100-3200. Dimensions are 5.5x3.3x5.6 inches, weight is 23.6 ounces, and the camera comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Images are saved to SD/SDHC cards. List Price: $1,999.
Special Features: The V-Lux 1’s best features are its Leica lens, quick operation and autofocusing for a compact.
The Hook: The Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens features Leica’s legendary quality, with three aspherical elements and one ED element to minimize distortion and color fringing. The fast maximum aperture provides optimal performance in dim light, with Mega O.I.S. stabilization.
Verdict: Designed for the connoisseur and priced accordingly, the V-Lux 1 should please its target audience.
Basics: The 13.5-megapixel Coolpix P6000 features a 28-112mm ƒ/2.7-5.9 optical zoom lens with built-in optical VR image stabilization. It provides both an optical viewfinder and a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD monitor. The P6000 can shoot JPEG and (with Windows Vista) .NRW (not NEF) RAW images at ISOs from 64-6400. Dimensions are 4.2x2.6x1.7 inches, weight is 8.5 ounces, and the camera comes with a rechargeable EN-EL5 lithium-ion battery. Images are recorded on SD/SDHC cards, and there’s 48 MB of internal memory. List Price: $499.
Special Features: The P6000 has a built-in GPS and can “geo-tag” images as you shoot, recording the latitude and longitude at which each image was made.
The Hook: With the 13.5-megapixel Coolpix P6000, you gain precise control over all aspects of your picture-taking. All the exposure modes you’d expect to find on a D-SLR are found here, nicely configured to a traditional camera dial. EXPEED processing enhances performance and image quality.
Verdict: The P6000 is Nikon’s flagship compact digital camera.
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