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

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-lx5


TOP FEATURES

Video: 720/30p
Eye-Level Finder: Optional EVF & Optical
RAW-Capable: Yes
List Price: $499

SIZE/WEIGHT

Dimensions: 4.3x2.6x1.7 inches
Weight: 8.2 ounces
This popular model features a fast wide-to-short tele Leica DC Vario-Summicron zoom, effective Power O.I.S. (lens-element-shift Optical Image Stabilization) and a large high-sensitivity CCD sensor (for a compact camera), all enhancing low-light shooting capability. Accessory clip-on eye-level optical and electronic viewfinders are available.

Verdict: The update to the popular DMC-LX3 improves on its predecessor with refined contours and a more versatile zoom range with a fast maximum aperture.


Power: Li-ion
Sensor: 10.1 MP CCD 1/1.63 inch
Lens: 24-90mm ƒ/2.0-3.3
ISO Range: 80-3200

LCD Monitor: 3.0-inch, 460K
Max. Burst Rate: 2.5 fps at full res
Media: SD/SDHC/SDXC

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ100


TOP FEATURES

Video: 1080/60i
Eye-Level Finder: EVF
RAW-Capable: Yes
List Price: $499

SIZE/WEIGHT

Dimensions: 4.9x3.2x3.7 inches
Weight: 17.5 ounces
Here’s a compact that can do action—at 11 fps at full resolution (2 fps with continuous autofocusing) and 60 fps at 3.5 megapixels. A handy burst mode button brings up the menu to choose your settings. The 24x Leica DC zoom features three ED elements and two aspherical elements for improved image quality throughout the range. Quick startup, minimal shutter lag, Power Optical Image Stabilization and good battery life help capture the decisive moments.

Verdict: If your subjects are usually moving, the FZ100 gives you speed comparable to the best DSLRs to tackle action photography.

Power: Li-ion
Sensor: 14.1 MP MOS 1/2.33 inch
Lens: 25-600mm ƒ/2.8-2.5
ISO Range: 100-6400

LCD Monitor: 3.0-inch, 460K vari-angle
Max. Burst Rate: 11 fps at full res
Media: SD/SDHC/SDXC

PENTAX OPTIO WG-1 GPS


TOP FEATURES

Video: 720/30p
Eye-Level Finder: None
RAW-Capable: No
List Price: $399

SIZE/WEIGHT

Dimensions: 4.5x2.3x1.1 inches
Weight: 5.2 ounces
Pentax’s only current compact with manual capability is a good one. The new WG-1 (available with and without a built-in GPS unit) is waterproof, shockproof, crushproof, coldproof and dustproof, making it a great choice for use in harsh conditions. Digital Microscope Mode uses five macro LEDs for precise focus and even lighting. The WG-1 comes with a carabiner strap and a macro stand.

Verdict: Satisfy your outdoorsy side with a rugged, go-anywhere compact. Weather protection and a built-in GPS make it ideal for travel.

Power: Li-ion D-L192
Sensor: 14 MP CCD 1/2.3 inch
Lens: 28-140mm ƒ/3.5-5.5
ISO Range: 80-1600 (expandable to 6400)

LCD Monitor: 2.7-inch, 230K
Max. Burst Rate: 2 fps at full res
Media: SD/SDHC/SDXC


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