More Than Point And Shoot

2/28/2013 5:56:38 PM

We are coming across a lot of advanced point and shoot cameras that offer a killer feature set and better image quality than standard cheaper point and shoots

So you’re sick and tired of little cameras that crap out in 5 out of 10 situations (this is an optimistic estimate). You don’t want the bulk of a DSLR or the hassle of changing lenses, but you don’t want to compromise on quality either. Don’t worry. The camera-makers have got you covered. The advanced point and shoot category of point and shoot cameras is designed for people looking for impeccable DSLR like quality, in all kinds of light condition, without the bulk of a DSLR. But these little things cost quite a bit, so choosing the right one becomes important and for that, we’ve got this nifty guide for you.

The camera-makers have got you covered.

The camera makers have got you covered.

Wider is Better

The first and most important feature to look out for on an advanced point and shoot is its aperture number. The smaller the number, the better (f/1.8 is better than f/2.0 and so on). This number essentially means how wide the aperture can open to let in light. The smaller the number, the wider the aperture opens, meaning more light goes in. A smaller number range is better, like f/2.0-4.0 is better than f/2.0-5.6.

Bigger is also better

The second and equally important thing is the size of the sensor. Normally, even advanced point and shoot cameras will have a regular 1/2.3-inch sensor, but some have a bigger one like the Fujifilm X-10 with its 2/3-inch sensor or the Sony RX100 with its 1-inch sensor. The bigger the sensor, the better the dynamic range, color rendition and contrast range of the image captured.

The Sony RX100 with its 1-inch sensor

The Sony RX100 with its 1-inch sensor

Lighting up the Scene

Make sure there is a flash on the camera. We especially like the design of the RX100’s flash, which when raised can be tilted and swiveled in the event you want to bounce the light onto your subject. Another important aspect is the presence of a hot-shoe, onto which you should be able to attach an external flash if you need to. Not all advanced point and shoot cameras will give you this luxury.


The camera is only one part of the equation. Accessories for the camera can add a lot of amazing functionality to it, like an external mic for better audio recording in movie mode, or a wide/telephoto lens attachment to push the optics beyond what they’re capable of. These aren’t absolutely essential, but it’s good to know that the camera you’re investing in has some scope for expansion in the future. These are only a handful of things to look out for when purchasing an advanced point and shoot. There is also the issue of how well sized the camera is. The Fujifilm X-10 cannot be pocketed, even if you’re trying to fit it into cargo pants. The Sony RX100 on the other hand will slip right into most jeans pockets. There is always some trade-off or the other with most cameras, so it will all break down to what trade-offs you’re OK living with. A few other smaller factors to consider are ergonomics (how well the camera feels in your hands), whether it can shoot in RAW or not, and the capacity of the battery. Even though these advanced point and shoots are pretty heavy duty with respect to features, they often come with measly batteries which will die halfway through a shoot. We recommend giving special consideration to battery life, and therefore picking up a few extra slabs of Lions batteries. However, the most important piece of advice is that before you actually buy the camera, go out to a store and use it. Take a memory card with you and shoot off a few test frames which you can examine at home. When you see an image that meets your quality standards, you’ve found a keeper.

Fujifilm X-10 cannot be pocketed

Fujifilm X-10 cannot be pocketed

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