10 Compact Camera Specifications To Understand Before Buying

Once you're armed with knowledge of these 10 compact camera specifications, you'll be in a much better position to read reviews and choose the right model.

Firstly, What Is A Compact Camera?


10 Key Specifications

1. Sensor: The more megapixels (MP's) the better the detail of your photos and so the larger you can print them successfully.

If you like to print out good quality pictures - perhaps even produce a poster for your wall - this is important for you.

2. Lens: The range of focal length determines both how wide an angle of view you can have, as well as how close up on your subject you can get.

Do you like to take pictures of landscapes? Make sure you have a wide angle of view (small first number). Will you take your camera to sports games? Make sure you can get in on the action with a large focal length (high second number).

3. LCD Screen: The bigger the better! A nice clear screen helps in composing a shot, reviewing it after it’s been taken and also reading the menus.

4. ISO: The higher the ISO number goes the better the camera will be able to produce shots in low light. (It's a measure of sensitivity to light).

Bit of a party animal!? You'll need a nice high ISO for those after dark snaps! Maybe you like shooting indoors but aren't a fan of flash? ISO's important for you too.

5. Material: The best compact cameras have a strong metal build. Plastic is a bit vulnerable and can easily break when dropped.

If you like to be able to take your camera with you everywhere, or are a bit of an adventurer, look out for a strong metal camera body.

6. Manual Modes: There's more to cameras than just the auto mode! Some compacts offer various degrees of control over aperture and shutter speed. 'Manual' mode gives full control over both. 'Aperture Priority' lets you specify the aperture and 'Shutter Priority' lets you choose the shutter speed.

If you like to experiment with different effects - like motion blur and depth of field - it's essential to have some manual control. So if you want the chance to get a bit creative, this is an important specification for you to look out for.

7. Video Mode: The best compact camera for most people would feature a video mode. Fortunately most models do provide this. It's incredibly easy to use and lets you take fun little videos.

So if lots of funny, memorable or exciting stuff happens when you've got your camera with you, make sure you're able to film it!

8. Weight: The major benefit of compact cameras over DSLR's is their convenient size and weight.

Frankly, unless you're stupendously weak, no compact will be a problem to carry around! But it's handy to have an idea of the actual weight, so my compact digital camera reviews will provide this information.

9. Rechargeable Batteries: I would always recommend choosing a camera with a rechargeable battery. Using disposable double A's simply ends up being way more expensive and quite infuriating!

10. Flash: Most people have need for using a flash at some point. The best compact cameras have a built in flash that can be switched on or off. This is an important specification for everyone!

Check out these reviews of my favourite compact cameras!


Hopefully now you'll find it a bit easier to work out what the best compact camera for you would be.

When choosing, simply bear in mind a handful of specifications you need, and search the cameras within your budget. The many customer reviews at Amazon are a great way to see what people think of the cameras they have bought. I've reviewed 5 models that really stand out for me.

Not sure whether you need the best compact camera or a DSLR? Here are some reviews of Canon and Nikon cameras.

Where Next?

Finding the Best Digital Photo Printers

How to Use Photoshop

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