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

Sigma DP1
The DP1 is unique among compact cameras in that it's the only camera in this class to use an APS-C-sized sensor, the same Foveon X3 used in Sigma's SD14. The Foveon sensor is unlike other image sensors that interpolate colors based on the data of surrounding pixels; instead, the Foveon contains three separate layers of pixels, one dedicated to red, another to green and the third to blue. The APS-C-sensor size also means larger pixels than those in other compacts, and larger pixels translate to better light gathering.

With a fixed 28mm ƒ/4 lens and 2.5-inch LCD, the camera is surprisingly compact given the large sensor size. Image quality is outstanding, even at the higher ISO settings, which range from 100 to 1600.

Quick Specs
Size: 4.5x2.3x2 inches
Weight: 8.8 ounces
Storage: SD/SDHC
File Types: RAW, JPEG, AVI
Estimated Street Price: $699

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50
Looking very much like a compact version of the Sony Alpha DSLR line, the Cyber-shot DSC-H50 sports a 9.1-megapixel sensor and an optically stabilized 15x Carl Zeiss lens (31-465mm). The ISO range of 80-3200 is complemented by Sony's Nightshot infrared mode, which allows you to shoot in the dark.

The three-inch LCD conveniently tilts to give you a clear view at low angles and in bright sunlight. The H50 has a large buffer that lets you capture up to 100 images at 1.6 fps, even at full resolution.

Shooting modes include Scene Recognition and Face Detection, with a Smile Shutter mode that recognizes facial expressions to trigger the shutter. The camera also features a number of in-camera retouching effects, as well as slideshow playback complete with music that's stored on board.

Quick Specs
Size: 4.6x3.2x3.4 inches
Weight: 19.3 ounces
Storage: Memory Stick Duo/PRO Duo
File Types: JPEG, AVI
Estimated Street Price: $399


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