Ultra Compact Digital Camera Buying Guide

Since the introduction of the digital camera  into the photography market, no camera has so entranced consumers as much as the Ultra Compact Digital Camera .  It combines the ease of using a point and shoot  with amazing added features and a sleek and small size.  What more could an everyday photographer ask for?  With these Ultra Compact Digital Cameras, even the most un-tech-savvy of people can take amazing pictures for their photo albums .

Common Features

  • Megapixel (Resolution): a million pixels (short for picture element); the greater the number of pixels, the clearer and sharper the image; if you plan on enlarging your images, invest in a camera with at least 5 megapixels.
  • Optical Lens (Zoom): most Ultra Compacts come with a zoom of 3x to 4x due to their petite size; 3x refers to how many times closer you can get to your subject, in this case, 3 times closer; if you want a zoom of 5x or more, consider Ultra Zoom Digital Cameras which has an increased zoom without sacrificing a compact size.
  • Storage: most digital cameras come with a memory card with a capacity of 16MB but you can now purchase one with up to 32GB of memory; 1GB can store more than 300 photos, depending on the resolution of the camera; some cameras also come with internal memory in addition to the memory card.
  • Batteries: almost all cameras now come with proprietary ion-lithium batteries that are rechargeable and are specific to that camera's model.
  • Screen: the majority of cameras now come with LCD screens, short for liquid crystal display, because of its low battery usage and flat/thin size; most manufacturers boasts of its large LCD display for easier viewing.
  • Mode Settings: can vary from low light, to portrait, to action settings and etc.; used to optimize your photos with automated adjustments in the camera for every situation;
  • Facial Recognition: blurry faces with strangely sharp backgrounds will no longer occur--hurray!
  • Antishake: also called image stabilization; great for when you want a shot of the roadside scenery.
  • Video: now you no longer need a camcorder for simple yet crisp home videos, but a word of caution, don't be surprised if you are pressing the zoom button while recording and nothing happens since most cameras cannot zoom while in video mode so check that feature before buying; if you are looking to do intense recording, such as a school play or a soccer game, a camcorder is still your best bet.

Smallest in the World?

The Sony Qualia 016

At 69.1x24x16.8mm, the Sony Qualia 016  is undoubtedly the smallest digital camera in the world (excluding those silly mini spy digital cameras).  Unfortunately, they are not offered in the UK but it doesn't hurt to be awed by the craziness that the Sony Qualia 016.

Recommended Ultra Compact Cameras

Sony Cybershot W300

Smile Shutter

Fujifilm Finepix Z20FD 

Wireless Communication

Nikon Coolpix S52 

Super Compact

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 

Takes Photos in Widescreen

HP Photosmart R937 

LCD Touch-Screen

When to Upgrade

The popularity and ease of Ultra Compact Cameras is undisputed in the camera market but those photographers out there who find themselves outgrowing these consumer friendly cameras and looking for new challenges, fear not.  The photography world can still offer many different cameras for you to explore and conquer.   If you...

  • want to get up close and personal with your subject but still want to fit your camera into your back pocket, look at Ultra Zoom Digital Cameras.
  • are looking to get back to the basics of photography, to shoot and develop your photos the good old way, look at SLR Cameras.
  • know you are ready to go pro, look at Digital SLR Cameras.
  • feel stifled by the run of the mill digital camera but aren't quite ready for the SLR or Digital SLR, look at Bridge Digital Cameras.
  • get annoyed by this whole digital shenanigan, look at 35mm Cameras.
  • need to record your niece's wedding or other important events, look at camcorders which now come in HD!

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