Compact Digital Cameras

Often Called Pocket or Point & Shoot Cameras

Compact cameras are a type of digital camera made to be small and portable while being particularly suitable for snapshot and casual uses. As such, they are often called pocket cameras or point & shoot cameras. The smallest, typically under 20 mm in thickness, are labeled subcompacts or as "ultra-compacts" with some being only credit card size.

Most, except for water-resistant or ruggedized versions, use a retractable lens assemblage which allows a rather thin camera to feature a reasonably long focal length which can fully take advantage of image sensors larger than the ones in smart phones, plus there's a mechanical lens cap which covers the lens when it's retracted. The capped and retracted lens is thus protected from hard objects such as keys and coins, making for a thin package that fits in a pocket. Subcompact cameras typically have just one lug plus a wrist strap which helps in removing from a pocket. Thicker compact cameras may feature two lugs which allows for an attached neck strap.

Compact cameras are typically designed for easy use, sacrificing some picture quality along with advanced features to allow for simplicity and compactness; images can typically only be saved using JPEG (lossy compression). The majority have a flash built-in most often of low power, good enough for subjects nearby. Live preview is nearly always used for framing the image. The majority have limited movie picture capabilities. Compacts most often feature macro capability plus zoom lenses although zoom ranges are typically less than zooms on DSLR and bridge cameras. Focusing is typically done by a contrast-detect autofocus system, which uses the image data taken from live preview feed from the main imager. Generally, these cameras feature an almost silent leaf shutter included in their lenses.

To keep the cost down and keep the size small, these cameras most often use image sensors having an approximately 6mm diagonal which is an equivalent crop factor of approximately 6. This provide them with poorer low-light performance, more depth of field, closer focusing ability, with smaller parts than cameras with larger sensors. Beginning in 2011, a few compact digital cameras started capturing 3D still photos. These compact 3D stereo cameras can acquire 3D panoramic photos which play back on 3D TVs. Several are waterproof and rugged, while some contain a GPS, barometer, compass, and altimeter  to learn more about Compact Digital Cameras

As of 2012 a point & shoot camera, or compact camera, is a small camera primarily created for simple operation that can shoot both stills and videos.. Most of these use autofocus, automatic systems for adjusting exposure, while the flash unit is built in. Point & shoots are by and large the best selling camera type. They are purchased by people who do not think of themselves as photographers but want a camera that's easy to use for family events, vacations, reunions, parties and other events.

Point & shoot cameras are different from DSLR cameras in several ways: The image that a photographer sees when through a point & shoot camera's viewfinder isn't the identical image that reaches the camera's image sensor). Rather, the image seen in the viewfinder goes through a totally separate lens. In contrast, DSLRs have but a single lens, while a mirror reflects the image through the lens to the viewfinder; the mirror then retracts out of the way when as the image is acquired allowing the image to be recorded onto the image sensor. It is due to this method for diverting the image to the viewfinder that images are unable be previewed upon the LCD monitors of the majority of DSLRs, although most manufacturers have discovered ways around this limitation. Digital cameras preclude any need for the DSLR layout to some latitude, as the LCD image is thus projected using the lens, and not with a separate viewfinder. A great many of the newer point & shoot digitals even entirely omit the optical viewfinder.

With DSLRs, it is crucial that the image seen in the viewfinder is the identical image subsequently recorded by the sensor, allowing the effect of any additional lenses and filters to be viewed by the photographer. Point & shoot cameras typically don't have changeable lenses, and they most often cannot accept filters for creating optical effects.

The point & shoot" term may also used for camcorders, most often the inexpensive digital variety based upon DVD or MiniDV media, to describe them as being full automatic operation ( automatic gain control, autofocus, and auto white balance, etc) featuring minimal interaction with the photographer except for the recording buttons and zoom control .

The low-end point & shoots are close to disposable cameras, although they are digital. These cameras feature focus-free lenses, along with with having a fixed aperture. They may not even contain a light meter. Because of the apertures being fixed versions with flash offer no way to control the exposure resulting from the flash. Therefore flash photos have to be shot within a narrow distance range from the subject.

More Advanced versions use automatic focus along with variable apertures. All of them have light meters. They are more adaptable than the lower-end versions. They are also more likely to employ zoom lenses, along with advanced auto-focus functions, exposure systems featuring manual controls, bigger apertures and lenses that are sharper. They may also have special lighting or pre-flash operations engineered to diminish red eye within flash images of humans.  New Article - Mar 17, 2012

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