7 compact tested
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.
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.
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.