Wednesday, April 6, 2011

High-Performance Compact Cameras

There are dozens of compact digital cameras on the market in a wide variety of shapes and even colors.
By Mike Stensvold Published in SLRs
High-Performance Compact Cameras



Video: 180/30p
Eye-Level Finder: None
RAW-Capable: No
List Price: $299


Dimensions: 4.1x2.3x1.1 inches
Weight: 5.8 ounces
Casio’s new flagship EXILIM compact, the EX-ZR100 features a back-illuminated, 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, burst shooting of up to 30 10-megapixel images at 40 fps, and video shooting at up to 1000 fps (at 224x64 resolution). In-camera HDR extends highlight and shadow range, while HDR-ART automatically produces HDR “art” renditions. Slide Panorama makes it easy to create 360o panoramas in-camera. Of course, there’s full manual control of exposure and focus along with the automation.

Verdict: The top model in Casio’s high-speed camera line, the EX-ZR100 is hard to beat on a price-per-feature comparison, especially with its incredibly fast burst rates.

ISO Range:100-3200
Sensor: 12.1 CMOS, 1/2.3-inch
Lens: 24-300mm ƒ/3.0-5.9 (35mm equivalent)
Power: Li-ion NP-130<

LCD Monitor: 3.0-inch, 461K
Max. Burst Rate: 40 fps at 10MP



Video: 720/24p
Eye-Level Finder: Hybrid Optical/EVF
RAW-Capable: Yes
List Price: $1,119


Dimensions: 5.0x2.9x2.1 inches
Weight: 14.3 ounces
The hit of the 2010 Photokina show, the X100 features a great-looking retro design reminiscent of the classic rangefinder cameras and packs a big APS-C sensor—the size used in many DSLRs—into a compact frame. It features a unique hybrid optical/electronic eye-level viewfinder and easy manual control of everything along with full auto shooting when desired. Fujifilm’s EXR technology automatically optimizes the sensor for high resolution in good light, wide dynamic range in high-contrast situations and maximum sensitivity in low-light situations. A focusing ring on the lens facilitates manual focusing.

Verdict: It’s pricey for a compact, but the inclusion of an APS-C-format sensor—approximately 10 times the size of a typical compact camera sensor—means excellent light-gathering and low-noise images.

Power: Li-ion NP-95
Sensor: 12.3 MP APS-C CMOS, 23x15.8mm
Lens: 35mm ƒ/2 (35mm equivalent)
ISO Range: 200-6400 expandable to 100-12,800

LCD Monitor: 2.8-inch, 460K
Max. Burst Rate: 5 fps at full res



Video: 1080/30p
Eye-Level Finder: EVF
RAW-Capable: Yes
List Price: $499


Dimensions:5.1x3.6x5.0 inches
Weight: 22.4 ounces
The HS20EXR features Fujifilm’s nimble EXR technology that automatically optimizes the sensor’s resolution, dynamic range or low-light sensitivity as needed—or you can select which option you wish to use for a given shot. There’s also a 30x zoom lens, 8 fps shooting at full resolution (and 11 fps at 8 megapixels), high-speed movies at 320 fps, plus 1080 full HD video, Motion Panorama 360o for easy wide-scope shooting and lots more.

Verdict: The latest EXR technology and a 30x zoom, plus high-speed shooting, make this a well-rounded compact with a lot of versatility. AA batteries are a plus for travelers.

ISO Range: 100-3200
Sensor: 16 MP EXR CMOS, ½-inch
Lens: 24-720mm ƒ/2.8-5.6 (35mm equivalent)
Power: 4 AAs

LCD Monitor: 3.0-inch, 460K
Max. Burst Rate: 8 fps at full res

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