Dig­i­tal Cam­eras

7 com­pact tested

Consumer Voice - - Front Page -

If you were born between the 1960s and the ‘80s, you have surely seen a film roll or a photofilm, care­fully cho­sen 36 sub­jects to click and cap­ture on 36 frames, and waited anx­iously for at least a day to see the re­sults (in the form of a pic­ture on a palm-size pa­per). Then some­body in­vented the dig­i­tal cam­era, faded those Kodak mo­ments, and brought the Kodak ver­sus Fuji de­bate to an end. With­out get­ting into the de­bate (and the at­ten­dant nos­tal­gia), we bring to you In­ter­na­tional Con­sumer Re­search and Test­ing’s (ICRT) analy­ses wherein seven mod­els of dig­i­tal cam­eras from top five brands were tested and rated.

Al­most each one of you have aban­doned the roll cam­eras, have al­ready scanned those printed pho­tos and up­loaded them as vin­tage times on Face­book. You now live in a dig­i­tal world where pho­tos mean click, store, share, pub­lish, com­ment, for­get – a process that is com­plete in a few seconds thanks the new-age com­pact dig­i­tal cam­eras. No, you cer­tainly do not talk about dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy’s ben­e­fits over film rolls, as you know it all. How­ever, you surely dis­cuss megapix­els, zoom, stor­age ca­pac­ity and bat­tery life, the stan­dard fea­tures of th­ese dig­i­tal cam­eras. So, be­fore the de­bate of cam­era phones ver­sus dig­i­tal cam­eras gains mo­men­tum and be­fore th­ese dig­i­tal cam­eras make space for some su­pe­rior gad­get, let’s find out a bit more about the pop­u­lar brands in the mar­ket, their best-sell­ing mod­els and fea­tures as also the cons vis-à-vis com­peti­tors’.

A dig­i­tal cam­era (or digi­cam) is a cam­era that en­codes dig­i­tal images and videos dig­i­tally and stores them for later re­pro­duc­tion. Most cam­eras sold to­day are dig­i­tal and they are also in­cor­po­rated into many de­vices in­clud­ing mo­bile phones. Dig­i­tal and film cam­eras share an op­ti­cal sys­tem, typ­i­cally us­ing a lens with a vari­able di­aphragm to fo­cus light on to an im­age pickup de­vice.

Trends

Sales of tra­di­tional dig­i­tal cam­eras have de­clined due to the in­creas­ing use of smart­phones for ca­sual pho­tog­ra­phy, which also en­able eas­ier ma­nip­u­la­tion and sharing of pho­tos through the use of apps and Web-based ser­vices. See­ing the con­ve­nience and flex­i­bil­ity of smart­phone cam­eras, some man­u­fac­tur­ers pro­duced ‘smart’ dig­i­tal cam­eras that com­bine fea­tures of tra­di­tional cam­eras with those of a smart­phone. In 2012, Nikon and Sam­sung re­leased the Coolpix S800c and Galaxy Cam­era, re­spec­tively, the first two dig­i­tal cam­eras to run on An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Since this op­er­at­ing sys­tem is used by many smart­phones, they can in­te­grate with ser­vices such as email at­tach­ments, so­cial net­works and pho­to­shar­ing web­sites, just like smart­phones.

Cam­era or phone

In an in­ver­sion, some phone mak­ers in­tro­duced smart­phones with cam­eras de­signed to re­sem­ble tra­di­tional dig­i­tal cam­eras. Nokia re­leased the 808 PureView and Lu­mia 1020 in 2012 and 2013; the two de­vices re­spec­tively run on Sym­bian and Win­dows Phone op­er­at­ing sys­tems, and both in­clude a 41-megapixel cam­era (along with a cam­era grip at­tach­ment for the lat­ter). Sam­sung fol­lowed with Galaxy S4 Zoom, having a 16-megapixel cam­era and 10x op­ti­cal zoom, com­bin­ing traits from the Galaxy S4 Mini with the Galaxy Cam­era.

The re­port that fol­lows is a com­pre­hen­sive eval­u­a­tion of seven com­pact dig­i­tal cam­eras. While all cam­eras per­formed equally well in their re­spec­tive cat­e­gories – the price points, buy­ers may look at the test re­sults, un­der­stand the fea­tures and cons of each cam­era, and make a pur­chase that meets their needs and fits their bud­get.

Cam­eras Tested

While dig­i­tal cam­eras come in a wide range of sizes, prices and ca­pa­bil­i­ties for sci­en­tific and other pro­fes­sional uses, we ze­roed in on com­pact dig­i­tal cam­eras that are in­tended to be por­ta­ble (pock­etable) and are par­tic­u­larly suit­able for ca­sual snap­shots. Al­most all such cam­eras in­clude an au­to­matic mode, which makes it pos­si­ble for even a lay­man to point and shoot – an­other name for th­ese cam­eras.

Many such cam­eras in­cor­po­rate a re­tractable lens assem­bly that pro­vides op­ti­cal zoom. In most mod­els, an auto-ac­tu­at­ing lens cover pro­tects the lens from the el­e­ments. Most rugged or wa­ter-re­sis­tant mod­els do not re­tract, and most with su­per­zoom ca­pa­bil­ity re­tract only par­tially. Com­pact dig­i­tal cam­eras typ­i­cally con­tain a small sen­sor that trades off pic­ture qual­ity for com­pact­ness and sim­plic­ity; images can usu­ally only be stored in JPEG for­mat. Al­though most of th­ese cam­eras have a built-in flash usu­ally of low power, suf­fi­cient for nearby sub­jects, only a few high-end ones have a hot shoe, a slot for con­nect­ing an ex­ter­nal flash. All pro­vide a live preview to frame a photo on an in­te­grated LCD screen and al­most all com­pact cam­eras have the abil­ity to record videos, though not of high qual­ity.

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