Advanced Digital Cameras
This type of digital camera is likely to appeal to you if you see photography as a hobby. The combination of picture quality and range of features also makes this type of camera popular as second cameras for Digital SLR owners.
The number of models you have to choose from is fairly limited with major brands tending to produce one or at maximum two cameras that fall into this category.
Features to Look Out For
You will find that there is usually a wider range of features available than you are likely to find on an entry level Digital SLR. Obviously you get a full set of manual exposure controls. Other features give you a greater ability to fine tune the way your pictures look. For example there are often extra white balance and metering options. You also get the opportunity to save your photos in RAW format. This provides you with greater scope when post processing your photos with packages such as Photoshop.
The amount of zoom on offer is normally limited. This is because manufacturers have placed the emphasis on quality. Most lenses offer wide angle capabilities.
High Definition movies are also standard with some cameras offering Full HD resolution together with the ability to record stereo sound.
Camera Size and Handling
There are two different camera sizes. Neither is especially large. The first type is not much larger than a pocket camera. The second remains compact, but has a bigger body size and carries more weight. Owing to the lack of longer lenses the body size is much smaller than those you find on cameras offering excessive zoom power.
The biggest difference between the larger and smaller sizes is the way the cameras handle. The larger camera body gives manufacturers more space to add control dials and buttons. This helps to make this type of camera handle more like a Digital SLR with extra controls at your finger tips. The smaller cameras handle in a way that is more reminiscent of a digital camera where you need to access the menu system more often to change settings.
The build quality of these cameras is usually very impressive. This is especially true of the flagship model from Canon. Each component used tends to have an extra touch of quality when compared to more basic digital cameras. This extra quality normally includes the LCD screen. The screens tend to have a higher definition than cheaper cameras. This makes the screen a lot easier to view. This can be particularly advantageous when composing images. A small number of these more advanced cameras are equipped with vari - angle LCD screens. These pull away from the body with some being able to twist round at an angle to give you a more comfortable shooting position.
As you might expect picture quality is just about the best you can get from a digital camera. Compared with other cameras you are likely to see a step up in terms of sharpness and colours. There is not a great deal of difference to choose between the different models when it comes to picture quality. They can all take a good quality photograph. There are one or two cameras though that have that noticeable bit of extra quality and stand out from the rest.
Range of Features
Less choice of camera
Suggested Advanced Digital Cameras
This is a selection of my current top rated cameras in this category.
Panasonic DMC LX5 Rating: 91/100
Advanced Digital 10 Megapixels 3.8x Zoom
Attractions of the Lumix DMC LX5 include a full set of manual exposure controls and manual focusing. The maximum aperture of f/2 is likely to make a difference to picture quality when shooting in lowlight. Panasonic have produced a number of options that allow you to customise the camera. These include optional extras such as an external flash unit and viewfinder. There is also a filter ring. A selection wheel or jog dial on the back of the camera makes it fast and easy to change settings.
Guide Price: £399.99 See latest prices: Panasonic DMC LX5 Prices
Related Pages: Panasonic DMC LX5 Review Panasonic DMC LX5 Spec
Nikon Coolpix P7100
Advanced Digital 10 Megapixels 7x Zoom
The Coolpix P7100 offers a range of advanced features if you are looking for a smaller digital camera as an alternative to a Digital SLR. Features include manual control settings – fully manual, aperture, priority and shutter priority, plus the ability to store images in RAW format. For composition you can use an optical viewfinder or a high resolution, 3 inch LCD screen. You also have access to a macro mode that can focus from 2cm away from the subject and a High Definition movie mode.
Guide Price: £529.90 See latest prices: Nikon Coolpix P7100 Prices
Related Pages: Nikon Coolpix P7100 Spec
Fuji Finepix X10
Advanced Digital 12 Megapixels 4x Zoom
The Finepix X10 stands out from the crowd. Fuji have equipped this camera with a wide range of advanced features and given it what it describes as a luxury design. It has a full set of manual exposure controls, manual focusing, a f/2 lens, bracketing, High Definition movies and the ability to shoot at 7 frames per second. In terms of design the controls are made of metal and the camera has a leather like finish with a magnesium top plate and camera base.
Guide Price: £229.99 See latest prices: Fuji Finepix X10 Prices
Related Pages: Fuji Finepix X10 Spec
Digital Camera Types
Straightforward, simple cameras. These are also the cheapest you will find.
The most common type. Most are simple and straightforward.
On similar lines to the pocket camera, but a little larger.
Extra zoom over and above more basic cameras, but retaining a fairly compact size.
Extreme zoom lens. Normally with plenty of manual features.
Contain features normally associated with a Digital SLR, but in a smaller body.
As well as being waterproof many cameras are also drop proof and freezeproof.
Compact System Cameras are a cross between a typical compact camera and a Digital SLR. They offer you excellent picture quality, a wide array features and are a small size.
Entry level Digital SLRs for enthusiasts.
Top of the range for the most demanding professional photographers.