Top 10 Cameras – November 2012

11/21/2012 9:16:11 AM

Description: Description: Fujifilm FinePix X10 $555.9

The X10 is the more practical sibling of the retro-tastic X100 – but that doesn’t mean it’s any less awesome or chic, Old-school nods include manual zooming on the 18 – 112mm-equivalent lens, faux-Vulcanite body covering, an engraved top plate, a threaded cable release socket on the shutter button, and an optical eye viewfinder that’s way bigger and brighter than those on its super-compact rivals. It’s also packing a bigger sensor than its competitors – throw in that pin-sharp lens and super-fast autofocus and you have incredible image quality in any given situation

Killer feature

The best image quality of any compact we’ve ever used

Ratings: 5/5 stars

Gorgeous retro styling, a superb viewfinder and fantastic photos make for a compelling package

Canon PowerShot S100 $549 - 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Canon PowerShot S100 $548.9 5/5 stars

Tiny and unassuming, the S100 nevertheless packs an almighty photo punch. RAW shooting, GPS and a plethora of art filters and manual controls are backed up by great photo and 1080p video quality, as well as wonderfully simple ergonomics

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V $452 - 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V $452 5/5 stars

It’s not the most compact of compacts but the 18MP HX20V builds on the success of the HX9V beautifully. The headline-grabber is the 20x optical zoom with serene image stabilization and unrivalled video. A superb compact that’s ready for anything at all.

Nikon Coolpix AW100 $355 - 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Nikon Coolpix AW100 $355 5/5 stars

The 16Mp AW isn’t just one of the nicest looking tough cams out there (check out the fetching camo finish). It’s also one of the best-specced. Want proof? How do a 5x optical zoom, the best geo-tagging we’ve seen and a great panorama mode grab you?

Nikon Coolpix P7100 $557 - 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Nikon Coolpix P7100 $557 5/5 stars

Building on the strengths of the P7000, this advanced compact’s improved controls have finally pushed Canon’s excellent G12 out of the top 10. Amazing image quality is backed up by sturdy construction and enough dials to keep even hardy pros happy

Nikon Coolpix S9100 $266.5 - 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Nikon Coolpix S9100 $266.5 5/5 stars

An 18x zoom is the headline feature here, aided by dual image stabilisation. You can get bigger zooms, but if you want something that’s compact and stylish, the idiot-proof S9100 is the way to go. Shots are sharp with vivid colors and good low-light abilities

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 $274.5 - 5/5 stars

Description: Description: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20

Rocking GPS and manual controls, the TZ20 has an ‘Intelligent Zoom’ that extends the 16x optical zoom to 21x and an easy to use touchscreen. It’s also built like a tank but most importantly, it delivers classy pics. It’s keeping the TZ30’s seat warm ’til we review it

Canon IXUS 125 HS $290.5 - 4/5 stars

Description: Description: Canon IXUS 125 HS $290.5 4/5 stars

A surprisingly powerful camera given its tiny dimensions, the IXUS 125 HS has stripped-back controls, 5x optical zoom and no fewer than 58 different settings in auto mode. It’s not one for enthusiasts, but neither does it compromise on image quality

Olympus XZ-1 $411.5 - 4/5 stars

Description: Description: Olympus XZ-1 $411.5 4/5 stars

With a super-fast f/1.8 Zuiko lens, the XZ-1 thrives in the kind of low-light conditions that would terrify most compacts. Manual controls are easily changed via the lens ring and there’s a wealth of art filters, but its photos aren’t the last word in sharpness

Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium $1372.5 - 4/5 stars

Description: Description: Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium $1372.5 4/5 stars

As with all Leicas, the D-Lux 5 Titanium is a beautiful thing. It also takes very nice pictures and sports that all-important red dot – but you can get more for your money elsewhere. The X2 with an APS-C sensor is now on sale, but it’ll set you back $2542.9

Instant expert

Sophie Charara she’s got lens flair

Faffing about in touchscreen menus is one way to tell the world you’re a photography newbie. We’d always rather have metal buttons, levers and dials, even when squeezed on to skinny compact cameras such as the 10.1MP Panasonic Lumix LX7 ($). So although the LX7’s 3in LCD display won’t respond to your prods, there’s ample compensation to be found in its mode dial, aperture ring around the fixed lens and switches for changing aspect ratio and focusing modes (AF, manual, macro). There’s no optical viewfinder as on the X10 at No.1, but in its favor the LX7 does have a super-bright 24mm f/1.4 Leica lens, which produced impressive shots in the hands-on time we had with it. We’ll give it a full review soon to see if it takes the top spot

“With its super-fast f/1.4 lens, the LX7 might just topped the X10”

What to look for

1.    Resolution

The number of megapixels is rapidly becoming irrelevant. So long as you’re in double figures you’ll be Ok, so move on and focus on the things that really matter, such as…

2.    Picture quality

The only hands-on time you’re likely to get is in an artificially lit shop. This will tell you nothing about picture quality, so read reviews and check out shots taken with your potential snapper on sites such as Flickr

3.    Features

Think about how you’re likely to use your camera and priorities features such as size, style, ruggedness and whether you want in-depth control or an idiot-proof interface

4.    Swapping lenses?

There’s now a middle ground between compacts and DSLRs Nikon, Olympus, Panasonix, Ricoh, Samsung and Sony make ‘compact system’ cameras. The best of these can now be found in our DSLRs top 10 – take a look if you’ve outgrown your compact


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