Best 5 Travel Compact Digital Cameras! by Felix Ng

I have hand picked 5 different digital compact cameras for readers wishing to upgrade their existing gear.

The 5 candidates are: (not in order of preference)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

Pentax Optio W90

Canon Powershot S95

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V

Samsung DualView EX1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 (Best street price $598~$648*) *Prices based on genuine Australian Stock, not grey imports from overseas

Photography enthusiasts who require a compact digital camera that provides excellent build and image quality are naturally drawn to the LX-series. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 is the latest model and sports a 10.1 megapixel high-sensitivity CCD sensor teamed with a new 3.8x optical zoom Leica DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens that ranges from 24mm wide-angle to 90mm at the telephoto end, with a large f/2.0 aperture making it excellent for low-light performance and achieving background blur.

The good: Excellent raw photo quality; sharp, bright lens; compact and comfortable design; complete set of  manual control.

The bad: JPEG processing is a bit weak.

The bottom line: Despite its shortcomings, notably its weak JPEG processing, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 delivers an excellent all-around shooting experience – fastest in its class, fully featured, and capable of shooting very nice photos.

Pentax Optio W90 (Best street price $359*)

As PENTAX’s 11th generation waterproof digital camera, the rugged, adventure-proof Optio W90 is ideal for any environment. Waterproof up to 6 metres, shockproof up to 1.2 metres, dust-proof and freeze-proof (-10 degrees Celsius). It is built to withstand rough treatment wherever you’re shooting. Sporting a 12.1 megapixel sensor and 28mm wide angle 5X optical zoom lens you can capture high resolution images from landscapes to distant subjects.

The good: Outstanding design; excellent feature set and shooting options for its class.

The bad: Short battery life; no optical or mechanical image stabilisation.

The bottom line: The well-designed Pentax Optio W90 offers very good photos and performance at a reasonable price for a rugged pocket camera.

Canon Powershot S95 (Best street price $466*)

Packed full of features, the Canon PowerShot S95 is the next generation in the popular S-series. Featuring a 10.0 Megapixel High Sensitivity CCD Sensor, 28mm f/2 wide angle lens with superb low light capabilities ensures you get true to life shots. Coupled with HD movie recording and full manual controls makes the PowerShot S95 the perfect compact, creative photography tool.

The good: Attractive design; capable of producing very nice photos; complete set of manual controls; solid 720p video.

The bad: slow, with subpar battery life; no low-compression JPEG option.

The bottom line: DSLR shooters looking for a sidekick camera will find the Canon PowerShot S95’s high quality photos and a full manual feature controls a worthy companion.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V (Best street price $361*)

Capture stunning low-light 10.2-megapixel images and sweeping panoramic views with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V featuring an “Exmor R” CMOS Sensor. Catch fast action shots with up to 10 frames per second shooting. Full HD 1920×1080 AVCHD Movie Mode (compatible with PS3™ game system) combined with Optical Active SteadyShot and a 25mm equivalent wide angle 10x optical-zoom G Lens allows you to take captivating images. With inbuilt GPS and compass functionality to map your memories. 

The good: Speedy shooting performance; compact, lightweight design; plenty of fun, useful features; very good low-light photo quality for a compact camera.

The bad: Soft photos, videos; limited manual controls; GPS takes time to power on and off.

The bottom line: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V has shooting options for solving common snapshot camera issues, but some users still won’t be thrilled with the results.

Samsung DualView EX1 (Best street price $400*)

The Samsung EX1 is a very good camera – it takes good images, has a great lens, flexible feature set. Features a 10.0 Megapixel Schneider KREUZNACH 24mm F1.8 Ultra-Wide Angle Lens, Mp4 movie capture and Dual Image Stabilisation (both Digital and Optical). It maintains its go-anywhere, shoot anytime capability when slipped into a jacket or coat pocket.

The good: Large automatic shooting feature set; responsive touch-screen navigation; unique dual-screen design.

The bad: Adapter needed for HDMI output; microSD card requirement; touch-screen interface not for everyone; battery charges in camera; whole screen not used for framing shots at full resolution.

The bottom line: The technology-packed Samsung DualView EX1 is the ultimate ultra compact for those who like to be in front of the camera more than they like being behind it.

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