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Compact Digital Cameras

Compact Digital Cameras

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Small cameras, big features

Forget the pixel count and look for the best features in these miracles of miniaturizatoin!

By 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.


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Compact digital cameras with a "WOW!" factor

ArticleBuying Guides Gear Guides & Reviews - by Mason Resnick, January 13, 2015

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Here is a chef's dozen outstanding stand-alone cameras that do what no smart phone camera is capable of. Updated for 2015.

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TAGS: canon,  Fujifilm,  Panasonic,  compact,  sony,  compact digital camera,  compact camera,  system compact,  Nikon Coolpix A,  Panasonic LF1,  Sony DSC-RX1R,  Sony DSC-RX100M2,  Canon G16,  Nikon Coolpix S02 

17 Best Cameras For Digital Low-Light Photography: Tested and Compared!

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ArticleBuying Guides Gear Guides & Reviews - by Mason Resnick, November 25, 2014

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Boosting your ISO is an effective way to capture images in low light—and many digital cameras are getting better at handling low light photography. Here are 17 top low-light high-ISO cameras.

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TAGS: canon,  buying guide,  Olympus,  Panasonic,  pentax,  samsung,  ISO,  buying tips,  high ISO,  hasselblad,  Phase One,  low-light photography 

Capturing Spring with Street Photography

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ArticlePortrait & People Photography Techniques and How-Tos - by Mason Resnick, March 14, 2014

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Use the change of seasons as a reason to go out and capture fantastic street photos.

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TAGS: street photography,  New York,  MILC Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Compact,  MILC,  Fujifilm X100,  candid,  Nikon Coolpix A,  Ricoh GR,  Spring 

Canon Powershot G16 Guided Tour

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ArticleGuided Tours Gear Guides & Reviews - by Mason Resnick, February 19, 2014

Canon has taught its top-line compact G camera a new trick: Wireless communicaiton. What else can it do? Read on and learn what's most important about your new Canon G16.

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TAGS: canon,  compact digital camera,  Canon G16 

Nikon Coolpix P7800: A Easy Upgrade - Product Review

Nikon Brings Back Eye-Level Viewfinder in Its Posh Compact, But Now It's an EVF

ArticleCompact Digital Cameras Gear Guides & Reviews - by Mason Resnick, November 20, 2013

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Posh compact cameras have more competition than ever. What did Nikon do to its flagship compact to keep it at the head of the pack?

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TAGS: review,  compact digital camera,  system compact,  EVF,  Nikon P7800 

Leica M-E Rangefinder: Product Review

Price rollback on a top street camera

ArticleProduct Reviews Gear Guides & Reviews - by Mason Resnick, October 22, 2013

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With more wannabes in the wings, is the lowest-cost Leica M-series rangefinder really a bargain?

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TAGS: Leica,  rangefinder,  full-frame,  Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Compact,  Leica M Monochrom,  35mm sensor,  Leica M,  Leica M-E 

7 Faulty Default Camera Settings You Should Change Right Now

Customize your camera in less than 10 minutes

ArticleDigital SLRs Gear Guides & Reviews - by Mason Resnick, September 16, 2013

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Your camera's factory settings are not necessarily in your best interest. Here are seven that you should change.

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TAGS: DSLR,  digital SLR,  MILC,  Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Compact,  custom 

APS Sensor Compact Digital Camera Shoot-Out

Which Posh Big-Sensor Pocket Camera is Best?

ArticleCompact Digital Cameras Gear Guides & Reviews - by Sandy Ramirez, June 14, 2013

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What do the Ricoh GR, Nikon Coolpix A, and Sigma DP-1 Merrill have in common? Pocket-sized, 28mm (equivalent) lens, and an APS sensor. Which is best...or is it a three-way tie? Let's find out!

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TAGS: compact digital camera,  system compact,  APS,  Sigma DP1 Merrill,  Nikon Coolpix A,  Ricoh GR 

What You Must Know About Optical Viewfinders for Compact APS Digital Cameras

Eye-Level Viewing Is A Necessity For New Serious Compacts

ArticleCompact Digital Cameras Gear Guides & Reviews - by Mason Resnick, June 11, 2013

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A new generations of pocket-size APS sensor compact digital cameras is here. Here's the one gadget that will complete the picture.

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TAGS: optical,  optical viewfinder,  compact digital camera,  compact camera,  system compact,  APS,  viewfinder,  Voigtlander,  Sigma DP1 Merrill,  Nikon Coolpix A,  Ricoh GR 

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