One of the main ways that manufacturers have improved their compacts is by increasing sensor size. While resolution still has a bearing on image quality, it’s generally accepted that sensor size is more important – and in this respect, bigger is better. Whereas 1/2.3in sensors are still used in many less expensive compacts, more advanced compacts often come with a 1in-type sensor that has around four times the surface area. While this doesn’t mean it is four times better, it will offer better low-light performance and a higher dynamic range.
All the cameras in this round- up offer built-in Wi- Fi as standard. This means you can connect them to your smartphone, transfer images from camera to phone, for emailing or uploading to social media. Some apps will also allow you to control the camera remotely using your smartphone.
In essence there are two types of imagestabilisaton (IS) technology: sensor-shift IS, where the camera’s sensor moves to correct shake, and lens-based IS, where the lens makes minute adjustments to compensate. Either way, with IS engaged you should be able to get pin-sharp shots at much slower shutter speeds than you otherwise would. All cameras in this round- up provide IS.
While the megapixel race is mostly over for still-image enthusiasts, for videographers the race to offer the maximum resolution possible is still well and truly on. While virtually all modern compacts can record at least 720p HD and usually 1080p Full HD, 4K video is not yet quite so universal and not all the cameras in this round- up provide it.
Lenses with especially low apertures – typically f/1.4 to f/2.8 – are much soughtafter by enthusiasts for two main reasons. First, they allow you to use faster shutter speeds in low light and, second, they increase the depth of field effect, blurring the background behind an in-focus subject.
All the cameras in this round-up enable you to record still images as lossless raw files, which gives the photographer much more scope to process the image his or herself, using specialist applications, such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.