Video: Compact camera or Digital SLR
If you're torn between a compact camera or a digital SLR, let Chris Ruggles shed some light on your options.
Our report also offers:
- A sortable table of all cameras in the test: you choose what's important. You can select by brand, price, overall score, image quality. Specs, prices, features and functions for all models are also included.
- A sortable table of discontinued cameras previously tested: to help if you're looking at the second hand-market.
Brands and models tested
• Canon Ixus 140 (Not in Aus)
• Canon Powershot A2600 (not in Aus)
• Casio Exilim EX-H50 (Not in Aus)
• GE Power Pro X2600 (Not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix AW110
• Nikon Coolpix L820
• Nikon Coolpix S2700
• Nikon Coolpix S31
• Nikon Coolpix S5200 (not in Aus)
• Nikon Coolpix S6500
• Nikon Coolpix S9500
• Olympus Stylus TG-2
• Panasonic DMC-SZ3 (not in Aus)
• Panasonic DMC-XS1
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT25
• Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ60 (also called FZ62)
• Rollei Powerflex 240 HD (Not in Aus)
• Samsung DV150F
• Samsung Galaxy Camera
• Samsung WB 30F
• Samsung WB200F
• Samsung WB250F
• Samsung WB800F
• Sony DSC-H200 (Not in Aus)
• Sony DSC-TF1
• Sony DSC-W710
• Sony DSC-W730
• Sony DSC-WX200
• Sony DSC-WX60 (not in Aus)
• Sony DSC-WX80 (not in Aus)
Note: We regularly test cameras and add them to the list as the results become available. This list will grow over time and cameras that are discontinued will be marked with a
strikethrough like this.
(not in Aus) the Australian distributor tells us this model will not be sold directly in Australia. However, it may be available via a grey importer, or you might be interested if travelling overseas.
How we test
The overall score is a combination of the following scores:
- Image quality: 40%
- Ease of use: 30%
- Monitor: 10%
- Flash: 10%
- Movie quality: 10%
Image quality score
This score is an evaluation of:
- Pictures taken in normal situations (indoor with and without flash in automatic modes)
- Performance in low light conditions (noise, resolution and blur on slow moving objects)
- Resolution (sharpness) for minimum, maximum and normal focal length at ISO100, ISO800 and ISO1600 settings, where possible.
- Vignetting (dark edges)
- Face recognition effects on focus and overall image quality
- Macro performance
- Image stabilisation
Ease of use
A five-person evaluation of each camera’s manual, viewfinder, monitor, data transfer and shutter delay. Ease of inserting and removing its memory card and changing its settings, controls and batteries is also tested.
An appraisal of the monitor's image quality in good and poor lighting conditions. If the camera has a viewfinder we appraise its functionality as well, but this is not included in the overall score.
Tested at one, three and five metres to check the exposure is even across the image.
Cameras that are able to record video were used to make four ‘highest quality’ movies and then scored on resolution of detail, fluency of playback, picture noise and pixelation caused by compression. We also take into account the audio quality when taking video and any noises the camera records from its internal workings.
NOTE: Scores in this test cannot be directly compared with scores in previous tests, because test methods and some scoring models have changed. However, a camera that performs well in previous tests should also do well in this test.
CHOICE independence guaranteed
These independent ratings are only available through membership with CHOICE Online, because no one test products like we do. Arm yourself with our unique and exclusive information to help you make your next purchase with confidence.
For more information about compact cameras, see the Digital cameras section.