Monday, February 4, 2008
Toolbox: Take Me With You
Compact cameras offer quick shooting, easy portability and advanced features
Compacts are great as backup cameras, for traveling lightly and especially for situations where discretion is important, like urban areas where you may not want to call attention to yourself or your equipment. Many compacts do more than just take pictures, too; some feature extras like video recording, in-camera editing, music and media playback and more.
Canon PowerShot G9 The advantage to shooting in RAW is the flexibility the format provides in processing and adjusting exposure subtleties. JPEG files, on the other hand, provide faster review at more manageable file sizes. The G9 gives the best of both worlds, with a RAW+JPEG mode that captures both file types simultaneously. Many compacts eliminate viewfinders to keep dimensions small and LCDs big, but the G9 offers a choice between composition on an optical viewfinder or a large 3-inch LCD screen. The 12.1-megapixel sensor is at the front of the class, and the G9 includes optical image stabilization, a 6x optical zoom and compatibility with Canon accessories like EOS Speedlite flashes and optional wide and tele conversion lenses. List Price: $499.
Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z1080 Higher light sensitivity is a boon for shooting in low-light situations, as well as for getting shots with sharper focus when shaky hands or subject movement is an issue. The EX-Z1080 offers blur reduction based on motion-analysis technology, setting the most appropriate shutter speed and ISO sensitivity (up to a pro-level ISO 6400). Motion analysis also is used with face detection and an auto-tracking AF system to keep sharp focus and proper exposure on subjects' faces when shooting portraits. The EX-Z1080 has a 10.1-megapixel sensor, a 2.6-inch LCD display and a maximum seven-shot-per-second continuous shutter (at 2-megapixel capture). The camera also features high-quality H.264 video capture and a YouTube Capture Mode for users to shoot and upload video at the optimum size, quality and settings of the popular video-sharing site. List Price: $279.
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd On occasion, a compact offers features that many pro level D-SLRs won't have, such as wireless technology. The FinePix F50fd, for instance, can transfer images to any IrSimple-equipped device through infrared technology. Images even can be transferred to other F50fd cameras for immediate sharing with friends. The camera also features a hefty 12-megapixel sensor, full manual photographic control, mechanical image stabilization combined with Fujifilm's Picture Stabilization Technology for Dual Image Stabilization, Face Detection 2.0, Automatic Red-Eye Removal and top ISOs of 6400 (at 3 megapixels) and 3200 (at 6 megapixels). List Price: $279.
Kodak EasyShare Z1275 The manual options of the EasyShare Z1275 allow the user to select aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation values, white balance and flash mode. The camera automatically adjusts to help minimize camera shake by boosting ISO sensitivity up to a healthy 3200, allowing faster shutter speeds. The 12-megapixel sensor captures images that provide prints up to 30x40 inches, and Kodak's Perfect Touch technology automatically enhances images for better, brighter pictures with less shadow. The Z1275 can record video in HD, too, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 30 fps. Frames can be extracted and printed at 4x6 inches. List Price: $229.
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