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Aim, click, rejoice!

The festival season is a great time for cameras. And much as we like the sophisticated DSLR cameras, the Dussehra-Diwali-Id period is when we realise how important cameras that are easy to shoot with are. After all, that’s what you need when you hang out with family and friends.

tech reviews Updated: Oct 22, 2012 23:08 IST
Gagandeep Singh Sapra

The festival season is a great time for cameras. And much as we like the sophisticated DSLR cameras, the Dussehra-Diwali-Id period is when we realise how important cameras that are easy to shoot with are. After all, that’s what you need when you hang out with family and friends.

Traditionally, point-and-shoot cameras have not been known for quality but there are now new generation versions that can match expensive DSLR cameras in quality. What’s more, they give shutter and aperture control. We look at three high-end point-and-shoot cameras this week.

Canon Powershot G12 | Rs. 24,995
A 10 megapixel shooter, this is one of the biggest in the line-up, and is also the only one that also offers you an optical view-finder in case you are comfortable using it. It also has a 5x Optical Zoom, is able to capture video upto 720p HD with stereo sound, and features the high-sensitivity (back illuminated) HS system sensor from Canon that works beautifully to capture full resolution images with reduced noise in low light conditions even without a tripod (ideal for Diwali). The focal length can be adjusted between a 28 mm and 140 mm and the aperture varies from f/2.8 to f/8.0. So you get good close up portrait shots and wide landscape shots alike. It also has a tilt LCD that you can fold away if you want to use only the view finder. There is even a hot shoe slot, and like the Nikon P7700 lets you plug in a flash unit, in addition to the built-in flash in case you need one.

Here is a modern camera in which everything is controlled manually from multiple dials that gives it a retro look. I also loved the fact that the G12 can not only take SD Cards, but also accepts MMC cards in case you still have them lying around. I would have loved to have Canon give an f/2.0 instead of an f/2.8.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/10/23-10-12-biz-02.jpg

Nikon P7700 | Rs. 24,950
Slightly smaller than the G12 from Canon, this features an f/2.0 - 4.0 lens, and has a back-illuminated sensor that goes a step further. The sensor is capable of 12.2 megapixels, slightly higher than the Canon, but unlike the Canon G12, the Nikon P7700 does not have an optical view-finder. There is a hot shoe in case you wish to add an additional flash. I loved the design, from an exposure compensation dial on top to the mode rail. The P7700 also has a fold-away screen,that you can tilt and use. The lens can do a 7.1 x zoom and equates to a 28-200 mm lens. Having an f/2 aperture helped portraits and the camera performed great in low light conditions. It also worked nice in macro modes.. Downside: the P7700 saves raw images in NRW format. That sadly did not work for me and I had to shoot in JPEGs.

There are both a front and a rear rotating dial to adjust the shutter and aperture just like you will do in a high-end DSLR, giving you great control on the pictures. The camera can also shoot videos in 1080p, higher than the 720p on the Canon, though it shoots the sound in mono. In case you need stereo sound, you can connect an additional microphone. If you like tagging your pictures with geographical location, you can buy an additional GPS unit.

Sony DSC-RX100 | Rs. 34,990
The most expensive and the smallest of the lot, the RX100 features a 20.2 megapixel sensor, with a 3.6x optical zoom equal to 29-105 mm. But hold your breath, the lens is rated for an f/1.8 aperture and is a pro lens from Carl Zeiss. This camera won hands down when it came to taking pictures in low and tricky light conditions.

It has no hot-shoe or a view-finder. But it is a cute little camera that can be neatly tucked in. It has a built-in LCD that does not swivel. You may find yourself bending down to take that low angle shot, but since it’s small and light you will not mind doing this. It can also do full HD movies in 1080p like the Nikon, and like the Canon, it takes more than one type of card, including SD and memory stick pro cards. Though you will miss the dials on this one, the pleasant surprise is that manual exposure/shutter controls are built into the lens, and you rotate the lens ring to make these settings much like a manual focus on a DSLR. The picture quality is amazing.