Best pocket digital camera for travel or daily use

by Enche Tjin on February 27, 2012

Some people doesn’t like DSLR or interchangeable lens camera system because they are usually big and expensive. So, they asked me about high quality compact that they can carry with them every day. Here are some of the best compacts up to date that are pocketable. Although it won’t compete with DSLR camera in term of image quality, but all of these compacts are lightweight and simple to use.

Nikon P300

Nikon P300 (sharp, best value)

P300 is a small compact that has manual exposure control like in DSLR. It produces clean and sharp images, and quite good in low light condition because of its bright lens (24-100mm f/1.8-4.9). P300 has two dials so that you can change aperture, shutter speed and other function faster. Unfortunately, P300 record only JPG images (good for most of amateurs), and the size of the sensor is a bit smaller than other advanced compact on the list (Canon S100, GRD IV). However, for a serious compact, P300 is very affordable.


Canon S100 (serious amateur compact)

Canon S100 is an advanced but pocketable compact camera. It features fast zoom lens (24-120mm f/2-5.9) lens. It has slightly bigger image sensor compared to many other compact cameras and can record both JPG and RAW images. S100 also has built-in GPS which is popular for travelers. Like other advanced compact, it features adequate buttons and dials to change setting fast. The cons of the camera is the maximum aperture of the lens get smaller very quickly as you zoom. But overall, it is a great companion for lightweight traveler or serious photographers alike.


Ricoh GRD IV (tough and sharp)

Ricoh GRD is unique because it has 28mm f/1.9 fixed lens instead of zoom lens. This zoom lens is very sharp and produce very sharp images in right setting and condition. GRD IV has optical stabilization which allows shooter to shoot in slower shutter speed to let more light in. Combined with the bright lens, GRD IV can tackle most lighting situation.

GRD IV also has very tough but light body made by magnesium alloy body (like in high-end DSLR camera). Hybrid auto focus will help to focus twice faster as regular compacts. There are plenty of dials, buttons that you can customized. GRD IV is popular for street photographers because of its lens quality, AF speed, and inconspicious.


Sony HX9V (fun features for travel)

HX9V is a fun camera to use for travel. It has 16x wide to telephoto zoom lens (24-384mm), isweep panorama which will stich your photos to create one wide panaroma photos. It also has background defocus features which attempt to mimic DSLR camera’s effect. If you like to travel in the middle of the night, HX9V has handheld twilight feature, which will help to get clean images even in high ISO setting. For landscape shooters, HX9V has built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR). Overall, HX9V is a complete compact camera for travel.

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