FOGEY 5 Digital Compact Cameras

Apr 06, 2011 No Comments by

The best five products in their class by virtue of expert and consumer review from at least 10 respected and authoritative websites.

Canon Powershot S90 and S95

Having aggregated across ten websites these two cameras – the S95 is the later version – garnered 16 top ten entries between them. Basically they both make reviewers go all moist and gooey. Part of the reason is a very large sensor for such a physically compact camera. Large sensor = better low light pics and better resolution all-round. Low-light performance is also enhanced by each being fitted with an F2.0 lens. The F-number relates to how wide the camera’s aperture can open when a photo is taken. Weirdly, the smaller the number, the bigger the aperture and the faster the lens. The S90/95 lens also zooms from the equivalent of 28-105mm on a 35mm camera. To reiterate from a previous Fogey 5, these are compacts a pro would carry. If you’re not a pro, therefore, and still take crap snaps with an S90/S95 then it’s definitely your fault. Each can be found on-line for around £350. This might seem a lot for a compact but considering what you get it could also be regarded as a bargain. Launched Q3 2009 and Q3 2010 respectively.
More info here. Buy Canon PowerShot S95 Canon PowerShot S90.

Canon IXUS 300 HS

Please don’t think we Fogies have any sort of affiliation with Canon (or anybody, come to that), it’s just the way things are in cameras and printers – more people seem to like the brand. The 300 HS is top of the Ixus range. When launched in the middle of 2010 it cost an eye-watering £379. Fast-forward 12 months and Amazon UK has it for around £230 (while on Amazon US it’s a paltry $216.99 – around £140 at the current exchange rate) . At either of those prices, it’s now a steal. The 300 HS shares much of the spec of the S90/95 above: back-illuminated 10 megapixel CMOS sensor, F2.0 lens, focal length range equivalent to 28-105mm on a 35mm camera, 3.8x optical zoom and 240 frames per second HD video shooting. There were quibbles among the photo-nerd fraternity about how deep one has to dive into menus to change settings but like any gadget; once you know how it works, you know (if you know what we mean…).

More info here. Buy Canon IXUS 300 HS

Fujifilm Finepix F200EXR

Fujifilm make any number of cheap and cheerful pointy-shooty snappers. The F200EXR is not one of them. This is serious photo-stuff. It was their first camera to feature the super CCD EXR sensor, which “simultaneously captures two images of the same scene: one taken at high sensitivity and the other at low sensitivity. It then merges the two images to generate a photo with increased (up to 800% higher) Dynamic Range. This broadened tonal capability guarantees exceptional rendition of photos with detail in shadow and highlighted areas.” concurred; “The Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR produces fantastic out-of-the-camera JPEG images with low noise and amazing dynamic range,” they said. 12 megapixels resolution and 5x optical zoom add to an impressive spec. The only downside is the price; unlike several of its competitors, the F200EXR started expensive (£329.99) and stayed that way (current Amazon price: £292). Launched Q1 2009.

More info here. Buy Fujifilm Finepix F200EXR

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX700

One of the first compacts to shoot video in 1080p Full HD, the FX700 also features a 3-inch LCD touchscreen, 24mm wide angle lens, 14.1 megapixel resolution and 5x optical zoom. So much for the spec. Which? reckoned it to be, “a great camera to consider if you’re looking for a slim model that can take compelling photos,” while said, “The impressively fast f/2.2 lens is a cut above the rest of FX700’s competitors.” There were some caveats, though; specifically that the picture quality didn’t justify the price and that Panasonic’s 720p, point-and-shoot FX70 model was a better bet if you like the touchscreen experience and the styling. Launched Q3 2010 for nearly £360, the FX700 now sells for around £240.

More info here. Buy Panasonic Lumix FX700

Samsung ST1000

Another compact with a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen, the ST1000 has a ton of features, the relative value of which might confuse the average Fogey. For example, it has wi-fi, GPS and Bluetooth built in, which means (if you’re in a wi-fi hotspot) you can take a snap and upload it instantly to Facebook or Flickr, or send videos directly to your YouTube account. In terms of immediate photo-sharing, therefore, it’s the dog’s nob. In terms of spec it has everything you’d expect from a premium compact; 12.2-megapixel sensor, HD video recording, 5x optical zoom and a focal range equivalent to 35-175mm on a 35mm camera. “If you’re looking for outright picture quality, you can do better than this but if you want 21st century connectivity, the ST1000 rules,” said It’s also a lot of camera for the money. Launched Q3 2009 it now sells for around £130.

More info here. Buy Samsung ST1000