Panasonic DMC-ZS40K Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD
The latest in a long line of best-in-class travel zoom compacts, the Lumix DMC-TZ60 once again combines a long ranging zoom with a small form factor and a collection of surprising controls. Perhaps a little more plastic than previous models in the TZ range, the TZ60 is none the less well built and it fits nicely in the hand. A definite selling point is its viewfinder – a rarity in a compact these days – and perhaps too that the viewfinder is an EVF that is able to follow the zoom and display shooting information all at the same time. With such a long lens, that offers 24-720mm of optical zoom, holding the camera to the eye will provide an extra element of stability that arm’s length shooting cannot – even with the lens-based optical image stabilisation system.
Fitted with an 18.1-million-pixel sensor that can turn out raw files as well as JPEGs, the camera will appeal as much to the enthusiast as the beginner, as it offers a customisable lens-based control-ring to operate the zoom, apertures, shutter speeds, white balance and even to scroll through the multitude of special effects and shooting modes. Video shooters will appreciate the 60p 1920×1080 capability and perhaps the slow-motion mode that shoots at up to 100fps and which can yield stills from the footage in-camera.
Wi-Fi with NFC and GPS conclude an excellent feature set.
Purchasing Information: Panasonic DMC-ZS40K Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
Fujifilm X100T 16 MP Digital Camera
Fuji’s X100 series has been immensely popular since it was first released, and has only gained fans on its passage through the X100S and now on to the X100T. Small, neat, stylish and highly effective machines, the X100 models produce images as good as the bodies look.
At the heart of these cameras is the Holy Trinity that comprises a high-class 23mm f/2 Fujinon lens (that delivers an angle of view similar to that of a 35mm lens on a full frame sensor), the well-respected APS-C –sized 16-million-pixel Fuji X-Trans sensor and a viewfinder that combines both optical and digital views – sometimes simultaneously.
The X100T brings the standard features we’d expect, but improves the viewfinder experience with a 2.3-million-dot resolution digital display and more complex information overlays when it is used in optical mode. The camera’s famous split-image manual focusing method can now be used with the optical view as well as in digital display mode, and even the 3-inch rear screen has undergone a refresh to now feature a much improved 1.04-million-dot resolution.
Other significant changes include a new electronic shutter mode that allows completely silent shooting and a top shutter speed of 1/32,000sec, extended exposure compensation of +/-3EV, the addition of the Kodachrome-alike Classic Chrome to the film simulation modes, and an improved AF system that offers face detection.
Purchasing Information: Fujifilm X100T 16 MP Digital Camera
Sony DSCRX10/B Cybershot 20.2 MP Digital Still Camera
Sony’s Cyber-shot RX10 marries the 20MP 1″-type BSI-CMOS sensor from the RX100 II with a 24-200mm Zeiss Vario-Sonnar zoom lens that has a constant maximum aperture of F2.8. Although relatively expensive (despite a recent drop in price) it’s a cut above conventional smaller-sensor ‘super zoom’ cameras, and represents an impressively versatile, albeit not strictly speaking ‘compact’ package for both still and video capture.
The RX10 is the first Sony camera to feature a ‘Direct Drive SSM’ focus motor, which uses piezoelectric materials to position the focus element, rather than linear motors. This translates to snappy, accurate focus and in terms of image quality the RX10’s 1-inch sensor delivers excellent images even at high ISO settings, which rival entry-level mirrorless and DSLR cameras.
Purchasing Information: Sony DSCRX10/B Cybershot 20.2 MP Digital Still Camera with 3-Inch LCD Screen
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III
The Sony RX100 lll is one of the best compact cameras on the market, following on from excellent performances from the previous two models. Equipped with a 21-million-pixel 1-inch sensor (that’s a good deal larger than those in most compact cameras) this newest version brings the additional attraction of a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 Zeiss zoom – a super-fast lens that’s ideal for low light work and for creating shallow depth of field. It is the combination of the fast high-quality lens and that larger sensor that really helps this camera to stand out from the crowd, and to produce images that simply don’t look as though they were shot with a compact.
The other surprising addition to this tiny body is a built-in pop-up electronic viewfinder. The new SVGA OLED 1.44-million-dot viewfinder is useful for getting a clear view of what you are shooting and menu systems in bright conditions, when the camera’s built-in neutral density filters will also come in handy for allowing those wide apertures to be used in full sunshine – and when recording video.
Other significant features include a 3-inch tilting LCD screen with 1.23 million dots, full HD 1080/60p video recording, clean HDMI output and a customisable lens ring for changing apertures, focal length, exposure compensation and focus.
Purchasing Information: Sony DSC-RX100M III Cyber-shot Digital Still Camera