Compact digital cameras have always been great for photography starters as well professional photographers who use DSLRs but need a tough compact for a casual day out.
Following the ongoing trend of photography junkies acquiring interchangeable-lens cameras, let us take a look at some compact cameras for those who opt for something fuss-free and simpler.
Panasonic Lumix LX5
An updated version of the much sought after Panasonic Lumix LX3 would be the 10.1 mega-pixel LX5. With a quick auto-focus (approximately 0.4seconds in good light), the LX5 produces excellent raw photo quality with its sharper lens as compared to its predecessor.
The newly developed super bright f/2.0 Leica DC Vario_Summicron wide-angle lens allows for more versatility, twice as bright than the usual f/2.8 lens. At just 271g, the LX5 is also extremely compact for the power to deliver pristine images.
The only downside would probably be its weak JPEG-processing, but is all and all a top quality compact camera to own.
Canon Powershot S95
The perfect camera for both professional and amateur photographers, the Canon Powershot S95 has great image stabilization, a 720p video-capture, and top-notch image quality for a compact camera.
Although there's no low-compression JPEG option and a short battery life, you can expect clean and sharp images under bright light. There's also a full manual feature for any photo enthusiasts looking to shoot with your own preferred settings.
At a very handy weight of 193g, the Powershot S95 supports 26 languages and has fast shutter speeds with big aperture from its F2.0 bright lens.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V
This outstanding piece of compact camera is built in with a 16.2 mega-pixels and 16x optical zoom lens. It has a GPS tracking complete with a compass, full 1080p high-definition video recording with stereo sound and HDMI output, not forgetting 3D still images as well as sweep panorama effects.
Rest assured that you will not have shaky images or video (unless you have really unsteady hands) with its Optical SteadyShot with Active Mode.
Fujifilm FinePix X100
A first look at the Fujifilm FinePix X100 gives you a cool retro feel, but is no where near retro when it comes to the mechanics of it. It somewhat reminds you of a Leica, with distinct features of the X100 include the APS-C sized image sensor and hybrid optical viewfinder.
The 12.3 mega-pixel X100 is really more suited for professional users who wants to opt for a light-weight alternative. There's a dedicated RAW button, which activates or turns off RAW capture at the press of the key.
Nikon Coolpix P300
This 12 mega-pixel looks very similar to the Canon Powershot S95 at first glance, but its offers a higher resolution and also a full HD video (1080p). Although it is unable to record RAW files, it does provide great image quality and high-speed operation, even under low light.
A highlight would be its Motion Detection's ability to identify moving objects in frame, adjust shutter speed and ISO, and freeze the subject to create sharp images. Its Best Shot Selector automatically records up to 10 images as well and selects and saves the best image.