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Most wanted compact cameras this year

Graham Hadaway - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wherever you decide to go away this year, a camera is an essential companion. Whether you’re a pro photographer or a beginner merely looking to capture some great holiday memories, no one wants to take a bulky DSLR away with them, it’s just not practical. So, we’re here to give you the low down on the best compact cameras this summer, and don’t worry, we’ll be covering all budgets.

 

A ‘compact’ camera, to most people, is one that fits nicely into their pocket or bag. It doesn’t weigh too much, take up too much room, or need an entire kit of tripods and lenses to be carried about with it. Technically though, a compact camera is one with a non-removable lens. When you’ve got luggage restrictions to worry about though, we know you’re unlikely to want to carry a DSLR-style bridge camera around with you, which is why we’ve limited this list to the real compact cameras.

 

High-end – £700

 

The Panasonic LX100 is classic in looks, but has all the essential features a top of the range compact camera needs. Here are the stats:

 

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, 12.8MP

Lens: 24-75mm, f/1.7-2.8

Monitor: 3-inch, 921K dots

Viewfinder: Yes

Continuous shooting: 11fps

Movies: 4K

User level: Expert

 

For an expert photographer it’s very rare they’ll put down their DSLR. They obviously want their photos to be amazing quality regardless of whether they’re trying for a close up of a rare bird or a shot of their best mate acting the fool in a dingy. However, there are some occasions when the big camera needs to stay at home.

 

On these occasions, it usually means putting up with a smaller sensor, but Panasonic have somehow managed to cram a CSC-sized Micro Four Thirds sensor into a tiny, pocket-sized camera body. This really is a professional camera, and although it’s a lot more in terms of price, it’s unique and full of the quality you’d expect from a standard camera.

 

Mid-range - £300

 

The Fuji X30 is small, compact and packed with features, but what’s important is that budget-wise, it’s much more affordable.

 

Sensor: 2/3-inch X-Trans, 12MP

Lens: 28-112mm, f/2.0-2.8

Monitor: 3-inch tilting, 920K dots

Viewfinder: EVF

Continuous shooting: 12fps

Movies: 1080

User level: Intermediate/Expert

 

If you want a top quality camera but don’t have a fortune to spend, this is the model to go for. Although it’s by no means the priciest or the fanciest model out there, it’s a camera that’s solidly made, has an amazing electronic viewfinder and punches well above its weight when it comes to sensor size. Give it a go for yourself, you’ll certainly not be disappointed.

 

Affordable - £70

 

If cost is the biggest factor in the hunt for your new camera then you can’t go wrong with the Sony W800.

 

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20.1MP

Lens: 26-130mm, f/3.2-6.4

Monitor: 2.7-inch, 230K dots

Viewfinder: No

Continuous shooting: 0.5fps

Movies: 720

User level: Basic

 

There is a very fine line between cheap, stylish and functional, and plain rubbish – not to worry, the W800 is very much on the side of cheap and stylish. With more than 20 megapixels and 5x zoom capacity, it produces images that are more than satisfactory for a holiday pocket camera. The styling and quality are a cut above when you consider the price bracket, you really won’t find a camera like this from any other manufacturer.

 

With all of this in mind, whether you opt for the high-end, professional Panasonic or the more budget and family-friendly Sony, you’ve got all you need to know about this year’s greatest pocket cameras regardless of your spend.


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