The gear • March 2015
Whether you’re a fervent photographer or simply snapping selfies, a good camera is now as essential for a holiday as your passport. The Club’s gadget man, technology writer Derek Adams, picks seven small wonders in which it’s worth investing
The bridge camera category was created by the photographic industry as a mid-way point between a point-and-shoot compact and a DSLR. The marvellous Olympus Stylus SP100EE Traveller, £210, is equipped with a whopping 50x optical zoom, long enough to capture the eye of a tiger from more than 20 metres. Its widest angle, meanwhile, will easily accommodate the width of the Sistine Chapel or a group of friends in a tight spot.
The humble pocket-sized compact has largely been superseded by the smartphone. But not all compacts are created equal. The Sony RX100 III, £639, yields outstanding images as detailed and vibrant as most consumer DSLRs. It’s not cheap, but right now there isn’t another compact that surpasses this pocket titan for image and video quality.
Super-zoom compacts are popular with travellers, and for good reason – they slip easily into a pocket yet can provide a wide range of focal lengths. The Panasonic Lumix TZ70, £350, in many respects, is the ideal travel camera. It’s small, superbly built and has a focal range suitable for any photographic eventuality.
The DSLR is still the camera of choice for the discerning photographer. It accommodates various lenses and its sensor is larger than most, which means bigger, sharper, brighter images. The excellent Canon 100D, £375, is the world’s smallest DSLR. Comfy and small in the hand, it produces images and video of startling clarity, depth and sharpness.
The Samsung NX Mini, £270, has one of the slimmest CSC bodies on the market and is crammed with clever tech, including a tilting touchscreen and Wi-Fi for transferring images to a smartphone or tablet. Perfect for the point-and-shoot snapper.
Action cameras are all the rage among the extreme sports fraternity. Their small dimensions, ultra-wide field of view and wherewithal to be attached to items such as helmets, bicycles and surfboards help give stills – and video footage – a real sense of drama. The versatile little GoPro HERO 4 Black, £370, is ideal for outdoor pursuits and can be operated via a smartphone or tablet app.
If you plan to spend time by a pool, on the beach or under water, a waterproof camera is essential. The inexpensive Nikon Coolpix S32, £80, has no manual controls so it’s simple for the whole family to use. It’s waterproof to 10 metres – deep enough for snorkelling and shallow dives – and clad in a tough, plastic-like material.