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

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Smartshopper Road Test -

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

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