The end of the compact camera may seem nigh; with the invention of camera-phones and smart devices, this belief may seem understandable. However, many photographers still recognise the importance of these cameras and the role they serve. Many of these photographers own a high-end SLR or CSC, as well as a compact. So, what do these photographers know that you don’t? Together with Clifton Cameras, specialist retailers in cameras, we explore how the compact camera is surviving in 2017:
The quality of the image
One of the main reasons why compact cameras perform better than smartphones is simple — the image quality. Inside a compact camera, even a simple point-and-shoot model, there’s a sensor that is usually larger than the sensor inside a mobile phone and this enables it to gather more light and produce higher quality images.
Compact cameras, such as the Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II and G5X, which have 1-inch type sensors, provide them with a significant edge over smartphones in terms of image quality. There are even models like the Fujifilm X100F (APS-C format) and Sony RX1R II (full-frame) which have the same sized sensors as top-end SLRs and CSCs.
A decent lens
Usually larger than the ones found on a mobile device, the lens quality is superior. As well as enabling them to produce better image quality, in many cases it’s possible to zoom in for tighter composition of distant subjects. With a mobile phone, it’s usually only possible to zoom-in digitally, which means the image is cropped and there’s interpolation going on — an optical zoom that produces better quality images.
With zoom ranges that many SLR users would be envious of, travel zoom cameras such as the Panasonic TZ80 and Sony Cyber-Shot HX90V have large lenses that provide this enviable zoom. They enable you to shoot wide vistas or cramped interiors as well as nice portraits and far distant objects, making them ideal for holidays and away days.
The help of a viewfinder
The Sony RX100 III and Panasonic TZ80 both have built-in viewfinders, and although not all compact cameras include these features, these are models worth paying attention to. That’s especially useful in bright sunny conditions when it can be hard to compose an image on the camera’s main screen.
Some point-and-shoot models can do everything for you with the click of a button, however, some more advanced models allow you to take control of exposure with automated options included if you would prefer to use them. The Sony HX90V, for example, has a mode dial that lets you select from a collection of exposure modes including program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual.
Many compact cameras are small enough to fit in your pocket, which is why they are so attractive to many photographers. They are much smaller than an SLR or mirrorless system camera, which makes them portable and useful in situations where a large camera is not appropriate. That makes them a great choice for travel and days out when you need to travel light but want a proper camera to capture the sights.