Compact Camera Shootout (Part 1) : Canon IXUS125 HS, Fujifilm FinePix F660 EXR, Nikon Coolpix S8200, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1

1/22/2013 4:47:40 PM

With all the advancements in the DSLR and mirrorless category one would've felt that the compact point-and-shoot cameras will be left out. But the adoption and amalgamation of newer technologies, sensors, image processors and user interfaces, among others, has given the modern compact cameras a fair amount of edge over others. Trends usually change the fastest when it comes to the compact camera category, since the products in this segment are usually targeted towards a pocket friendly consumer.

So this year we were in for some surprises as compared to the shootout last year. In this year's shootout we set the price bracket between Rs. 10,000 - Rs. I 5,000. There wasn't much change in the same like last year since the market has seen ups and downs this year due to the economic slowdown.


In the Compact camera shootout, each camera is tested under similar conditions and their resulting images are then compared. For this year these are the parameters that were taken into consideration:

·         Design, user interface and features

·         Shooting on Auto Mode

·         Low light capability (But unlike last year, we shot the low light images handheld)

·         Price and value for money

Canon IXUS125 HS

Description: Canon IXUS125 HS

Price $ 255.2

The 16.1 megapixel IXUS 125 HS was the most compact and sleek camera among the contenders in the shootout. Available in black, pink, red, silver, green and blue, the camera features a matte finish body and has a very simple design with black highlighted buttons from the top.

The IXUS 125 HS features a 5x optical zoom lens along with a 3-inch LCD display at the back. Next to the LCD screen are the playback, menu and video recording button along with a four way navigational pad. The camera has a sturdy build quality but doesn't have any external grip so you may consider using the camera with the supplied hand-strap for safety during use.

The camera also features a mini USB and a HDMI port which allows the user to connect it to a HD television.


·         DIGlC 5 Imaging processor

·         58 Smart Auto scenes and Face ID

·         HD Movie recording

·         Smart Auto

·         High-speed burst (5.8fps)

Fujifilm FinePix F660 EXR

Price $ 283.4

As compared to its predecessor the FinePix F500, which was featured in the last year's compact camera shootout, the F660 has very little or no difference. The I 6-megapixel pocket friendly camera sports a 3-inch LCD adequate for outdoor use. A bulge on the top right corner provides a good resting place for the thumb and a backward slanted shooting mode dial makes accessing and changing the modes very simple.

The back features a dedicated video recording and playback button and also a “F” button which gives quick control over ISO and film mode. This camera is definitely one of the most ergonomically designed cameras in this segment.


·         EXR Processor

·         15x Fujinon lens

·         HD Movie recording

·         Advanced Scene Recognition

·         Dynamic Range Bracketing

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Description: Nikon Coolpix S8200

Price $ 245.9

The Nikon Coolpix S8200 is a pocket-sized ultra-zoom camera with a resolution of I 6.1 megapixel CMOS sensor. The camera lens boasts of a 14x digital zoom range, which shoots continuous shots at 6fps. The design of the Coolpix S8200 has a few changes when compared to the S8 100, the predecessor. The buttons next to the LCD screen are flat and in level with the display. The flash unit is well designed, which is housed in the camera body and pops out when needed.

The body provides a good grip while shooting and has a high quality front face but less flattering plastic rear. The mode dial has the following shooting modes; the scene auto selector mode, scene mode for access to the range of pre-set scene types, night scene, pet scene mode and so on. The LCD reproduces relatively accurate colours. The user interface of the camera is designed for beginners and doesn't feature a manual mode.

The S8200 has a standard video mode that records at 1080p at 30fps. A dedicated button activates the movie recording, which seems smooth in its AF and exposure correction throughout the zoom range. However you cannot shoot stills while recording a video.


·         Full l080pHD movie

·         EXPEED C2 image processor

·         Four advanced VR image stabilisation functions

·         Smile timer

·         High-speed continuous shooting at approx. 6 fps

Olympus SP-620UZ

Description: Olympus SP-620UZ

Price $ 255.8

Olympus sent in their SP-620UZ from its ‘ultrazoom' range for the shootout. The SP-620UZ has a lens covering a 25-525mm equivalent range, mounted in front of a I 6 megapixel stabilised CCD sensor. It features the Magic Art Filters and a multi-shot 3D imaging mode for playback on 3D monitors and televisions, which seem to have become common features in all Olympus cameras.

Compared to its predecessor, SP-6 IOUZ featured in last year's shootout, the SP-620 UZ has a 21 x optical zoom. The lens has a focal length of 4.5-94.5mm (35mm equiv: 25-525mm). The camera had a matte finished plastic body which didn't feel very reassuring. The camera sports a huge zoom lens and the large 3-inch LCD display.

Unlike the other cameras in the shootout, the SP-620UZ is powered by four AA batteries as compared to the more commonly used lithium batteries found in cameras these days. But as a result of this the camera provides a good and well-designed handgrip resulting in a good shooting posture. The shutter button and the zoom ring are perched comfortably on top of the handgrip. The camera features a simple design and button layout on the left of the LCD display.


·         21 x Zoom lens

·         Magic Filters

·         3D photo

·         HD video

·         In-Camera Panoram

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1

Description: Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1

Price $ 182.7

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZI is a sleek camera with a simple design. The point-and-shoot is fairly easy to use, with the controls designed ergonomically. The shutter, zoom, quick movie, microphone and power button are located on the top of the camera. The camera fits well and provides a decent grip while shooting, but it would be advisable to use the wrist strap as well. The movie button is smaller, a little awkward to reach and so tends to slip out of your hand.

The camera sports the LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens with a I Ox optical zoom, a 3.0” LCD screen, I 6.1 megapixels CCD image sensor. The camera's interface is simple to work with and its clear button layout adds to its ease of use. The image stabilisation is one of the cameras strong points, especially while shooting in low light conditions. The macro on the DMC-SZI can focus from 5cm away from the subject.


·         Sonic speed AF

·         New miniature effect mode

·         Built in panoramic stitching

·         HD(720p) video

·         20x intelligent zoom

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