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