Choos­ing a... Com­pact sys­tem cam­era

Computer Shopper - - REVIEWS -


If you’re ready to step be­yond the ba­sic con­trols of a com­pact cam­era, or you want greater flex­i­bil­ity than an ul­tra-zoom can of­fer, a com­pact sys­tem cam­era (CSC) is the next log­i­cal up­grade. With in­ter­change­able lenses, man­ual con­trols and stel­lar im­age qual­ity, these cam­eras give proper dig­i­tal SLRs a run for their money.


There are three com­pet­ing types of CSC mount, and the one you buy de­ter­mines the num­ber of com­pat­i­ble lenses and ac­ces­sories you have avail­able. Sam­sung’s NX-mount is ar­guably the most limited in terms of lens se­lec­tion, and the com­pany has con­firmed that it’s shut­ting down its Euro­pean cam­era busi­ness, so it’s best to avoid these al­to­gether if pos­si­ble.

Sony’s E-Mount has a slightly wider range, but Mi­cro Four Thirds of­fers the widest va­ri­ety. Both Pana­sonic and Olym­pus cam­eras use this mount, and the lenses are in­ter­change­able be­tween man­u­fac­tur­ers.


Mi­cro Four Thirds cam­eras are typ­i­cally more com­pact than other types of CSC be­cause the im­age sen­sor is phys­i­cally smaller – with a 22mm di­ag­o­nal, it’s roughly 30% smaller than an APS-C sen­sor. The APS-C sen­sors that Sony and Sam­sung use in their CSCs are the same size as those in tra­di­tional dig­i­tal SLRs.


Like dig­i­tal SLRs, CSCs come at a wide range of prices. Avail­able from as lit­tle as £200, there’s a CSC to suit ev­ery bud­get. Most come with at least one kit lens, but if you al­ready have lenses for a par­tic­u­lar CSC mount, you can buy the body on its own and save money.


Once you’ve set­tled on a par­tic­u­lar mount, you should pay at­ten­tion to a cam­era’s fea­tures. Ar­tic­u­lat­ing screens and in­te­grated viewfind­ers will help you com­pose shots, while ex­tra phys­i­cal con­trols and a hot­shoe mount will give you flex­i­bil­ity for man­ual shoot­ing.

Touch­screens are great, but they’re no re­place­ment for phys­i­cal dials when it comes to chang­ing shut­ter speed and aper­ture. An in­te­grated flash is much more con­ve­nient than a de­tach­able one, as you can never for­get to take it with you.

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