Compact Digital Cameras
The Ultra Compact Digital Camera or Lifestyle Digital do exactly
what they say on the tin. Sleek, slim and extremely portable, the
Ultra Compacts combine ease of use with quality photos, allowing
anyone to take professional looking snaps with a pocket sized lens.
Prices range from around £100 to £400 and, with so many different
specifications available, it is important to know what you
The camera’s resolution is one of the most
important features. Ultra Compact’s resolutions usually range
between 5 and 10 megapixels and, whilst a salesperson might like
to convince you otherwise, 5 or 6 megapixels is more than
adequate for printing photos up to A4 size.
is another key factor. Most digital cameras come with a memory
card with a capacity of 16MB, although up to 32MB is available.
Bearing in mind 1MB is roughly equivalent to 300 photos, depending
on the resolution, there’s no need to go wild on the megabytes!
The camera’s optical lens or zoom function is another
thing to consider. Most Ultra Compacts will come with a zoom of 3x
or 4x, meaning you can get up to 3 or 4 times closer to your
subject. For zooms of over 4x it may be worth investing in an Ultra
Zoom Digital Camera that offers increased zoom in a small
Another feature in Ultra Compacts is the
sensitivity or low light functionality. This is measured in ISO
numbers and refers to how sensitive the camera is to light. The
higher the ISO number, the higher the sensitivity, meaning shorter
shutter speeds and less use of flash. A high ISO number will give
clearer images, particularly after dark. A good Ultra Compact will
have a maximum sensitivity of ISO 1600, although ISO 800 is not
bad. The highest available is ISO 3200 although this is quite rare
and not really needed.
The camera’s screen yet
another feature you need to consider when purchasing your UC.
Most now come with LCD screens, which boast low battery use and
thin size. Look out for cameras with a viewfinder that make taking
pictures in bright light much easier than trying to see the LCD
screen. A typical size of an LCD screen is around 2.5 inches or 6.35
centimetres in the latest Ultra Compacts.
Video is now
also available in many Ultra Compacts and, whilst its ideal for a few
short clips of friends or your favourite song at that gig you went
to, longer recordings are still better on a camcorder. Zoom is also
often left out of Ultra Compact’s video mode. Still, crisp home
videos no longer require expensive kit!
include antishake and facial recognition. Antishake prevents blurry
pictures if you’re travelling or on the move. Facial recognition
prevents blurry faces against sharp backgrounds. Both are nice
features that ensure crisp, clear photographs although neither are
worth paying over the odds for.