Best Point and Shoot Compacts

Sections: Cameras for Beginners, Point and Shoot, Professional Cameras

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Sony-DSC-RX100-reviewSony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

This pocket-friendly Cyber-shot acts more like a high-performing DSLR than a point-and-shoot camera, with a 20.2-megapixel, large Exmor CMOS sensor; a Carl Zeiss 3.6x optical zoom lens; full manual controls; JPEG + RAW image capture; and Full HD 1080/60p video recording. Impressive specs!

The camera’s specially developed sensor, which is four times larger than most P&S sensors, captures more light from your scene to reproduce every detail with greater fidelity and low noise in both photos and video—no matter the lighting. It offers a range of sensitivities from ISO 125–6400, and you can select auto ISO mode, where the RX100 will automatically determine the most appropriate setting. Or you can manually expand sensitivity up to ISO 25,600 for greater control.

Its bright Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* fixed lens with 3.6x optical zoom and a wide f/1.8 aperture boasts similar optics as DSLR lenses: its seven-bladed circular aperture will let you capture subjects in sharp focus against an artistically defocused background.

If fast-action photography is your passion, the RX100 complies, with 10 frames-per-sec continuous shooting at full 20.2MP resolution plus high-speed autofocus that locks on in 0.13 sec.

To make composition effortless, you can use the 3.0-inch, 1,229k-dot LCD that boosts screen brightness, while a lens control ring can be used to alter exposure, zoom, creative picture effects, and other customizable functions. And for DSLR-like handling, there’s a range of controls for video and still shooting—from program, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual (PASM) modes for more advanced photographers to iAuto mode for beginners. On-screen prompts help you refine your skills and provide greater creative control. Once captured, you can save your photos as compact JPEG files, ultra-high-quality RAW files, or both at once.

To inspire more creativity, the RX100 has six creative styles and various picture effects, like toy camera and HDR painting, as well as the auto portrait framing function found on Sony’s Alpha A-mount and E-mount cameras. This feature automatically detects faces in a scene and crops the picture to create a tighter, pro-style composition at full res, with both the original and cropped photos saved. $649.99.


Fujifilm-XF1-Review Fujifilm XF1

This premium, compact camera, in Fujifilm’s flagship X series, pays careful attention to detail and offers the company’s latest imaging technology. It combines a fast, 4x manual zoom Fujinon f/1.8 (25–100mm equivalent) wide-angle lens with a 12-megapixel EXR CMOS sensor. And its lightweight aluminum body comes in three designs: dimpled synthetic black leather; smooth synthetic tan leather; and synthetic red leather.

“The Fujifilm X series is known by photographers for their outstanding image quality, precision build, and stellar performance,” said Go Miyazaki, president and COO, Fujifilm North America Corp. “And the Fujifilm XF1 lives up to that reputation, while adding a new level of portability and style with its unique, retractable f/1.8 manual zoom lens along with a lightweight and durable aluminum body covered in synthetic leather for a bold, retro look.”

The camera’s lens has new High-Transmittance EBC coatings on all surfaces to reduce flare, as well as optical image stabilization to produce crisp, clear images. And Fujifilm says the XF1 can shoot in low light without boosting sensitivity, keeping noise to a minimum, by using high shutter speeds to prevent camera shake and stop subject motion, without the need for flash. And with the XF1, you can capture images with a bokeh depth-of-field effect (for sharp subjects set against out-of-focus backgrounds).

For easy handling, a touch of the zoom ring lets you select one of three camera configurations. In portable mode, the lens retracts fully inside the body, minimizing camera size. In standby mode, the lens partially extends but remains closed. Then, with one more touch of the ring, you activate the camera into shooting mode. And, an on-screen menu dial gives you full control of the camera’s manual shooting options. The dial is customizable and enables quick setting adjustments and selections. Plus, you can assign six functions to the E-Fn button, permitting manual control via the 3.0-inch, 460k-dot LCD monitor.

Built for quick response, the XF1 offers fast autofocus, even in dark settings. It boasts a start-up time of 0.55 second, focus acquisition in 0.16 sec, and a minimum shot-to-shot time of 0.8 sec. And its EXR processor provides high-speed processing for hassle-free Full HD movie recording and burst photography.

Other notable features include: ISO 100–12,800; 3cm macro shooting for perfect close-ups; motion panorama 360º; six filter effects with 11 patterns; five film-simulation modes; a 3D shooting option; an in-camera RAW converter; and Full HD movie recording with the ability to zoom and take photos during recording, with automatic scene recognition. $499.95.

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