Buyer's Guide 2007: Advanced Compacts
High-end features in a portable design
Here's one spec where bigger is always better. A large (two inches or more) LCD monitor makes it easier to compose, review and show images to others. Equally important, in particular to eyeglass wearers, is that it's easier to read the camera's command menu on a large LCD. So even if you shoot mostly with the eye-level viewfinder, you'll find that a large LCD is a good thing to have.
Handling & Portability
When shopping for any camera, especially a D-SLR or zoom compact, make sure it fits comfortably in your hands and that your fingers fall into logical locations. Also, you should be able to switch from using the LCD monitor to shooting at eye level without changing your grip.
One of the main attractions of zoom compact cameras is that, compared to heavier D-SLRs, they're easier on the neck. They're lighter—many tip the scales at under a pound-as well as smaller. If you want to travel light, be sure to check the weight.
Batteries & Memory
Battery performance is seldom an issue, but the type of battery is something to consider. Lithium-ion cells lead the popularity polls, but rechargeable NiMH AA cells, such as those found in the Sony DSC-H5 and Olympus SP-510 UZ, are inexpensive, commonly available and, in a pinch, can be supplemented by high-output disposable batteries.
Similarly, consider the type of memory card your new zoom camera uses. If you already own a D-SLR that uses CF cards, try to stick to that type. Whichever card format you choose, purchase as big a memory card as you can afford. This is important if you're using a high-resolution camera and expect to save images as RAW rather than JPEGs.
> Digital Zoom Camera Chart PDF