Home Cameras Compact Buyer's Guide 2009: Best Of Compact Cameras
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buyer's Guide 2009: Best Of Compact Cameras

Top-of-the-line pocket cameras make pro features more portable

This Article Features Photo Zoom

The best photos are those you actually take. Chances are, you don't carry your D-SLR with you every time you leave the house, but you never know when a good photograph will present itself. That's when a compact camera that you can slip into your pocket really pays off.

Compact doesn't mean sacrificing features today. The cameras listed here can do double duty as a backup for your D-SLR or an alternative when you want to travel light. Each has unique features that make it worthy of consideration, from an APS-C-sized Foveon sensor to built-in GPS and underwater shooting ability.

Canon PowerShot G10
The Canon PowerShot G10 is the brand-new successor to the PowerShot G9, a compact camera so feature-rich that it's even popular with professionals. The G10 changes a few things, starting with a wider 5x optical zoom, covering 28-140mm, which includes Canon's Image Stabilizer. Also new in the G10 is a 14.7-megapixel sensor and the DIGIC 4 processor, which enables advanced face detection, servo AF (for the first time in a point-and-shoot), intelligent contrast and red-eye correction, and improved noise control at higher ISO settings, which now range up to 3200.

The G10 has both a large, three-inch LCD and an optical viewfinder. A shortcut button that can be customized to store several often-used settings like white balance and focus lock is a handy feature. Special modes include a Macro mode that focuses down to 0.4 inches and Stitch Assist for capturing panoramic images.

Quick Specs
Size: 4.3x3.1x1.8 inches
Weight: 12.3 ounces
Storage: SD/SDHC
File Types: RAW, JPEG, AVI
Estimated Street Price: $499

Nikon Coolpix P6000
Nikon's latest flagship compact camera, the 13.5-megapixel Coolpix P6000 has a 4x optical zoom with a 28-112mm range. The lens uses Nikon's Vibration Reduction, allowing you to shoot handheld up to three shutter speeds slower than normal. A distortion control in the camera corrects for barrel distortion often seen at the wide end of zoom lenses.

Along with the 2.7-inch LCD, the P6000 has an optical viewfinder and three aspect modes—3:2, 16:9 and 1:1—the last with optional black borders. The P6000 also includes a built-in GPS to "geotag" your shots and a wide ISO range of 64-6400. Other features include a wireless remote, Face Priority AF, Nikon's D-Lighting system and five movie modes, including a time-lapse feature. The P6000 also brings Nikon's Picture Control System over from its D-SLR line, letting you apply adjustments to RAW images in-camera.

Quick Specs
Size: 4.2x2.6x1.7 inches
Weight: 8.5 ounces
Storage: SD/SDHC
File Types: RAW, JPEG, AVI
Estimated Street Price: $499


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