Small cameras, big features
Forget the pixel count and look for the best features in these miracles of miniaturizatoin!
Mason Resnick -
May 23, 2013
First things first: Don't worry about how many megapixels a compact digital camera boasts. At this point, that number is irrelevant since all compact digital cameras enough resolution for big blow-up prints. 8MP will do you just fine. Since your smart phone already has that resolution, why buy a compact digital camera? There are other features and capabilities to look for in a compact digital camera:
- Lag time: Lag time has been virtually eliminated in premium compact digital cameras. Not so much in cell phones.
- Smarts: Most compact cameras offer a plethora of scene modes, and the newest models have some variation of "Smart Auto," which analyzes the scene and determines which scene mode combination of settings will give you the best exposure--all in a fraction of a second.
- Face recognition: Most cameras can identify faces in a scene and optimize exposure for them. Some will even warn you if your subject blinked!
- Ruggedness: Once upon a time, if you dropped a camera or got it wet, it was dead. Now a new generation of ruggedized cameras are starting to hit the market so if you're a spaz or have an active lifestyle, this is an essential feature that isn't available on camera phones.
- Advanced features: If you already have a DSLR or simply like taking control of the camera from the camera, some models have manual exposure and focus overrides as well as other advanced features, so you can get the benefits of a DSLR without the bulk.
- Bigger sensors: Even the smallest compact camera sensor is bigger than sensors found on cell phones, which leads to better image quality. A new generation of premium compact cameras even have DSLR-sized sensors that produce pro—yes, pro—image quality.
Use this section to find out how compact cameras work, and which one may be right for you. But remember: pixels don't matter any more.