Compact digital camera buying guide

Christmas is just around the corner, and on many wish lists is a new digital camera. Not a huge SLR, not a complex model for the demanding photographer, but simple and affordable notches for snapshots. But the choice is anything but easy: A price comparison service on the Internet lists the range up to 200 € 680 hits. We show in the following pages, what you look for when buying an entry-level camera and must remove all the stumbling blocks out of the way.

Many features that two years ago were still reserved for the high-end compact cameras have now found their way into the beginner class. And so there are now also models with huge 18x zoom, GPS receiver, Wi-Fi, an integrated projector, lightning-fast image sensor, full HD video recording and so on and so forth. However, still applies: you cannot have everything – a fully equipped with all the spectacular features still costs a lot of money. Those who choose a particular selection of features and decide for him to personally unimportant omitted, but can also be tapped for significantly less than 200 € a great compact camera.


Especially in cheaper compact cameras, manufacturers still try, to attract buyers by insanely high resolutions. It brings in private practice for any advantage, if the photos dissolve instead of 10 or 12 now, 14 or even 16 megapixels. Quite the opposite: Higher pixel numbers mean greater amounts of data, and thus more space on the memory card. In addition, cameras with more megapixels tend to slow down – after all, the electronics to process the digicam more information.

And finally, the image quality of compact cameras takes off from a certain resolution rather than increasing. Because of the increasing resolution in spite of the sensors are not bigger – and thus share more and more pixels, the same area. Make every single pixel smaller and thus begins one less light. Less light means that a higher sensitivity is required, which means more noise during readout. This manifests itself in practice, then in more image noise ergo worse photos. Especially in low light conditions, the difference is clear.

More expensive models to inform their prospective customers before purchasing detail, the manufacturers in recent years have even begun to reduce the resolution again. Only at the cheaper digital cameras, which are mostly purchased without prior research, a huge number of pixels is still a powerful argument. But again: 10 megapixels is all you.

Image Sensor

For two years replace the CMOS sensors slowly but surely, the veteran CCD chips. The advantages of CMOS technology to express themselves especially in speed. Thus, the appropriately equipped cameras offer a continuous shooting speed of sometimes more than ten frames per second – so action-packed moments can be easier to hold. In addition, the sensor technology allows various shooting modes, which combines a number of digicam pictures taken in rapid succession with one another to get a better recording. This example brings in high-contrast subjects or in low light conditions distinct advantages. Even with the single CMOS chips deliver photos in low light tend to have better picture quality.

The disadvantage however is the price: the mainly built by Sony, so-called back-illuminated CMOS sensors or BSI CMOS sensors are in fact more expensive than their CCD counterparts, and only slowly slipping from the top down by price range. Nevertheless, the extra cost worth it, and now cameras with CMOS chips already go from around 120 € the owner. Our Price Recommendation is currently the Canon Ixus 220 HS .


For less than € 200 are already four cameras, one to bring the 18-times optical zoom, and all 16 models provide at least 12-fold or more: Good news for fans of powerful zoom lenses. However, applies here also indicate that a powerful lens is expensive, and therefore the equipment in other areas just a few meager fails. And in particular the maximum focal length – so a ‘strong zoom’ – is in practice often less useful than one might assume. The higher the focal length, the lighter is required to come on short exposure times and a shake-photo shoot can be. With most of the mega-zoom cameras in the upper zoom range is really only usable in the blazing sun. Another ingredient is that, often at high magnification and at the same time compact and cheap lenses the image quality is sacrificed. Zoom is usually provided with a description such as 26-224 millimeters. The 26-millimeter case is characterized as much by the motive which brings in the wide-angle camera on the image. Everything below 30 millimeters is OK at least everything is less than 26 millimeters absolutely suitable panorama. There is still remembered: When comes closer not for lack of maximum zoom level to your subject, so you can cut later cope with the high resolutions, the image is still on the computer and so digital zoom. If a mountain view or a skyline lack wide angle does not fit the picture can be here later on to save anything.