The Great Camera Edit
Take your photos to a whole new level with these unique cameras and smartphones. BY NG POH HIAN & LIM TSIAO HUI
CAMERAS YOU HAVE TO BUY
If you think your smartphone is all you need to take great pictures, these new cameras will change your mind – you’ll want them to complement your mobile camera.
CANON POWERSHOT N $399, from major electrical stores. 12.1 megapixels, 2.8-inch touch screen, 28mm-224mm zoom lens, 8x optical zoom.
This diminutive model is a dwarf among compact cameras. Squarish in shape, and about as large as a business card, it’s even smaller than a smartphone, so people with larger hands might find it a little too small to handle.
Its simplicity is refreshing: You use it the way you’d use a smartphone camera – there is no shutter button, so tap the touch screen or twist the outer ring on the lens to take a photo. Twisting the inner ring on the lens lets you zoom in and out, while pinching the screen lets you zoom in and out when previewing a picture.
I found navigating the menu intuitive, and viewing and deleting photos easy. The touch-screen shortcuts were useful, too – just a slide of my finger downwards and to the left brought up the “erase” icon. MOST USEFUL FEATURE It has an adjustable LCD screen, which few compacts have. I could take pictures of flowers and children without having to bend down to their eye level. But I wished the screen could be fully tilted for self-portraits. FAVOURITE MODE The Creative Shot mode. By flipping a switch at the side of the camera, a single snap takes six shots and processes five of them with random filters. It was fun to see how the photos turned out, often with unexpected results. PHOTO QUALITY Photos were sharp and clear, even when taken indoors. VERDICT A foolproof ultracompact gadget that takes up little space in your bag – you can carry it everywhere and whip it out when the occasion calls for it. – Ng Poh Hian
NIKON 1 AW1
$999 (includes an 11mm-27.5mm zoom lens) and $1,249 (includes an 11mm-27.5mm zoom lens and a 10mm standard lens), from major electrical stores. 14.2 megapixels, 3-inch screen. This underwater camera is waterproof up to 15m, so you can take it swimming, snorkelling and to the water playground. With its detachable lens and manual functions, it’s almost like a DSLR camera but in a compact body. It’s shockproof for up to 2m, too, so it’ll survive accidental knocks and drops.
I really like the build of the camera – it has a solid metallic body and lens, which isn’t too heavy or cumbersome. It’s non- slip when wet, too. It's only a little hard to press the shutter button underwater, because of the water pressure.
The only drawback, as with mirrorless cameras, is that it’s not as responsive as most compacts, smartphones and DSLR cameras. I had to wait a second to take the next shot. But to compensate for the lag, I used the Best Moment option, which takes five shots at one go. MOST USEFUL FEATURES A shortcut that lets me switch modes simply by tilting the camera – there’s no need to scroll through the menu. Also, there’s an Outdoor Display option that brightens the screen considerably to make it easier to view the photos on sunny days. FAVOURITE MODE There are 10 modes (to add effects or for night shots), and its underwater mode comes with three options (standard, scuba and close-up). But I liked the manual options best. Being able to adjust the ISO, shutter speed and aperture gave me more control over my photos. PHOTO QUALITY Excellent. Whether it was dim indoors, or overcast outdoors, shots turned out bright and clear – even those taken underwater. VERDICT All water-loving families should get this! The photo quality is impressive, the camera is rugged, and it has auto and manual functions for both casual and advanced photographers in the family. – Lim Tsiao Hui