Editor’s Choice: Compact Cameras
These new compacts boast innovations even a pro could love.
Nikon Coolpix S1000PJ
Coolest Feature: Camera turns into a mini-projector.
Bigger LCDs and Wi-Fi have made sharing digital photos easier, but you still have to pass the camera around to give everyone a look. Nikon’s new 12.1-megapixel Coolpix solves the problem with first-of-its-kind technology. Turn on its tiny, built-in projector and everyone in the room can view VGA quality photos or videos (with sound) at sizes up to 40 inches across, on surfaces up to six feet away. The coolest new Coolpix is lots of camera too, with a 5X zoom that starts out at a wide-angle 28mm (35mm equivalent) and vibration reduction bolstered by a motion-detection system that ups ISO and shutter speed automatically. (Sensitivity goes as high as ISO 6400.) Still not sure you’ll get it sharp? The Best Shot Selector shoots a burst of up to 10 frames and saves the sharpest one.
Buy It: $430; Nikonusa.com
Coolest Feature: Touch-screen is highest-res ever.
This 12.2-megapixel compact takes a cue from Apple’s iPhone. Using its 3.5- inch touch-screen, you can scroll through photos with finger swipes, delete photos by drawing an “X” through them or rotate photos by tracing a circle. The LCD itself boasts the highest resolution of any camera, with an impressive 1,152,000 pixels. Aside from the TL225’s dazzling, user-friendly interface, its face-recognition capability can memorize up to 20 faces that you identify for it – and when it spots one, it bases focus and exposure on it. The Schneider zoom has a nearly 5X range that starts at a wide-angle 27mm (35mm equivalent). Also way cool: a front-facing screen for self-portraits.
Buy It: $350; Samsung.com
Fujifilm Finepix F70EXR
Coolest Feature: Simulates shallow depth of field.
It packs a 10X wide-angle zoom into the smallest body in its class, but Fuji’s new 10-megapixel model has other unique charms. In Pro Focus mode, it shoots a series of frames in which focus is automatically varied from your actual focused distance and reassembles them to create an out-of-focus – and less-distracting – background and foreground. Ideal for portraits, that effect is impossible to achieve with a small-chip, short-lens camera in a single exposure. Likewise, in Pro Low-Light mode the F70EXR shoots a series of bracketed exposures – then reassembles the frames to produce a much smoother, fuller-toned image with greatly reduced noise.
Buy It: $270; Fujifilmusa.com
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX1
Coolest Feature: Makes panoramas without stitching.
Even automatic panorama stitching programs take work during shooting to get a seamless shot. Sony’s 10-megapixel WX1 makes the technique intuitive: Hold down the shutter button in its Sweep Panorama mode and simply pan across the scene, and it fires off 10 frames per second, reassembling them into a sharp, seamless image that measures a considerable 7152×1080 pixels. (Like an old-fashioned swiveling-lens panoramic camera, the WX1 can cover 185 degrees.) Taking it all in is made easier by a crisp Zeiss 4X zoom that starts at a very wide 24mm equivalent.
Buy It: $380; Sony.com