Su­pertest: com­pact cam­eras

These pre­mium com­pacts and in­ter­change­able-lens smart cam­eras are full of fea­tures and ready for your next trip

Australian T3 - - CONTENTS -

Which of these snap­pers de­serves a spot in your carry-on lug­gage?

Hol­i­day snaps are a com­pet­i­tive sport in the In­sta­gram age, with can­did, off-the-cuff shots steal­ing the so­cial light, and “Likes”, from tra­di­tion­ally staged pro pics. For these you need a cam­era that’s small enough to whip out in a flash, but with skills that out­strip your smart­phone.

All of the cam­eras on test here, from fixed lens point-and-shoots to com­pact sys­tem cams, are a half­way house be­tween the phone in your pocket and the DSLR you’ve prob­a­bly left in the ho­tel room. With added GPS for lo­ca­tion tag­ging and Wi-Fi for get­ting pics on­line quick, they’re the ideal travel com­pan­ions.

When on your trav­els, do you pre­fer your most com­plex de­ci­sion to be what fac­tor sun cream to slather on? You’ll be want­ing a cam­era that makes the shoot­ing de­ci­sions for you, then. The SX700 HS does just that, its image-sta­bilised 30x op­ti­cal zoom lens pro­duc­ing shots that are con­sis­tently crisp and clear thanks to its small-ish sen­sor not be­ing un­duly bur­dened with megapix­els (it sticks to 16).

Colours may not be as rich as those de­liv­ered by the likes of Sony (see right), but with a wider than av­er­age fo­cal range – 25mm equiv­a­lent in 35mm terms – it’s ideal for both panoramic land­scapes and pick­ing out de­tail from far away. It’s re­spon­sive, too, trav­el­ling from its widest to clos­est zoom set­tings in two to three sec­onds, with min­i­mal mech buzz.

The f/3.2 max­i­mum lens aper­ture doesn’t of­fer quite the bright­ness of other cams on test and will strug­gle in low light, but there’s a popup flash sunk into the slim­line body. If you’re stay­ing in the sun­shine, your stills and full-HD videos are sure to look good dis­played on the three-inch, 922k-dot LCD screen.

Want to get your snaps on­line straight away? There’s built-in Wi-Fi con­nec­tiv­ity, although with­out a touch­screen the act of get­ting them on­line isn’t quite as sim­ple as upload­ing im­ages from your smart­phone’s cam­era.

What’s lack­ing here is a well-rounded hand­grip, mean­ing that we found our­selves want­ing to steady the Canon with both hands when shoot­ing, es­pe­cially to­wards max­i­mum tele­photo set­tings. Make sure you have a firm hold and the full ex­tent of the zoom can be de­ployed for both video and stills, with its stereo mic record­ing re­al­is­tic back­ground noise. An ex­ten­sive range of dig­i­tal ef­fects is also avail­able to mask any short­com­ings in pho­to­graph­i­cal prowess.

A sim­ple cam, then, with the po­ten­tial to do more as your skills im­prove. It never reaches DSLR-like lev­els, but it’s a point ’n’ shoot plus. Love Size­able op­ti­cal zoom. Com­pact and light­weight. Easy to mas­ter in a hurry Hate Small sen­sor. No touch­screen con­trol T3 Says Un­com­pli­cated hol­i­day side­kick with an im­pres­sive zoom reach

Sen­sor 16.1-meg CMOS

Screen 3-inch Lens 25-750mm zoom 30x op­ti­cal

ISO range 100-3200 Video 1080p at 60fps Stils JPEG only

Con­nec­tiv­ity Wi-Fi, NFC Bat­tery Up to 360 shots

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