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03. 12. 2011

Gift Guide: Compact Cameras and Video Cameras

It'd be incredible if we were able to carry top of the range cameras with us everywhere we went, along with maybe a tripod and extra lighting to catch that memorable moment on film.

But unfortunately most of the time we're either in a hurry, pushed for space or can't afford all the necessary accessories we really need.

Luckily there's an increasing market of small cameras and video cameras that are not only compact and lightweight, but they're practical for everyday use, travel or even special occasions.

From the tough and expensive, to the bright, cheap and cheerful, we've collected together some new and old favourites:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2

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The Lumix DMC-FT2 model from Panasonic is waterproof, freeze-proof, shockproof and dust-proof. If that wasn't enough, it also comes with a removable silicone case. Wow, it really is the tough guy of compact cameras!

As you'd expect from most good quality digital cameras nowadays, it has HD video recording capabilities, so there's no need to buy a separate device if you want to capture both photos and movies.

Still photos are 14.1mp and the device boasts 4.6x optical zoom. The camera also has Intelligent Resolution, which means that it removes the image degradation caused by the zooming process.

It comes in a choice of three different colours, yellow, orange or electric blue.

Dimensions approx. (W x H x D): 99.3 X 63.1 X 24.3 mm.

Ideal for travelling, those into extreme sports or anyone with a small child who likes to play with shiny things! Available from $253.29.

Pentax Optio S1 Kit

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The Pentax Optio S1 Kit hasn't hit the market yet, but can be pre-ordered for release in the next month. The Pentax website calls it "the digital camera with a sense of style" and with its simple, smooth design and choice of black / red and aquamarine blue hues, there's no arguing with that.

Like the Panasonic, photos are 14mp and it can capture 720p HD video, so Pentax hasn't cut corners on quality in order to give us a device so small.

Dimensions approx. (W x H x D): 90mm X 54mm X 20mm.

Ideal for anyone who wants a great looking and good quality digital camera that's actually affordable. It's my favourite by far so I'll also add that it's perfect for women in their twenties! Unfortunately this device isn't available to buy yet, but can be pre-ordered for around $199.95.

Nikon Coolpix S3100

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From the small Pentax Optio S1 to the truly tiny Nikon Coolpix S3100, the fact this device is only 18.4mm in depth makes it one of the slimmest on the market.

It also looks very sleek and stylish, with a shiny metallic finish and the choice of colours from pink, purple and lime green to standard silver and black.

This camera records movie in 720p HD and shoots still images in 12mp. However, there's a general consensus among online reviewers that the image quality isn't up to the same standard as other devices in this price range.

Dimensions approx. (W x H x D): 93.5mm X 57.5mm X 18.4mm.

Ideal for anyone who wants a camera that's really easy to carry, looks good, but isn't bothered that the image quality is pretty average. Available for around $139.95.

Fujifilm FinePix Z70

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Another ultra compact digital camera, the Fujifilm FinePix Z70 comes with a sliding front and stylish metallic finish.

The device can capture still images in 12mp and as with all the other devices on this list it's able to shoot movies in HD.

One of the main focuses of this product is that videos and images can be easily uploaded to Facebook and YouTube.

Dimensions approx. (W x H x D): 91mm X 57.1mm X 20.1mm.

Ideal for someone who wants to use the camera to upload images to their social networks and doesn't mind that the quality is average. The fact that it has a sliding cover to protect the lens and is cheap at around $89.99 means it's also ideal for partying and travel, when you wouldn't want to be worrying about damaging a more expensive model.

Panasonic HX-WA10 Upright DC Camcorder

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Earlier this year, Panasonic announced the release of a range of camcorders designed to shoot movies in HD with 16mp still shots.

The HX-WA10 Upright DC Camcorder is just one model from this collection and shoots 1080p video while still being one of the most compact on the market.

It's not like older models that you have to hold with both hands, but the unusual "flip-out" design along with the bright choice of colours means it stands out from others on the market.

Dimensions approx. (W x H x D): 92.0 X 123.7 X 41.2 mm.

Ideal for travel because it's so compact, great quality and has waterproof casing. Unfortunately this device isn't available to buy yet, but will be here in time for summer and cost around $484.

Cisco Flip MinoHD

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The Flip has become synonymous with easy, on-the-go video recording and the Flip MinoHD is tinier than the original UltraHD model, with dimensions of 100mm X 50mm X 16mm. So, it's no surprise that it's being marketed as "the world's sleekest HD camcorder".

One of my favourite features of the Flip is how easy it is to transfer your files, whether you're using the USB arm that can be plugged directly into a computer, or the special software that enables you to upload directly to your social networks.

The 4GB capacity model allows you to record for 60 minutes and the 8GB capacity model allows you to record for 120 minutes, so the higher price tag does mean double the capabilities.

There are black and silver standard models, but judging from the Flip website, there's a big focus on coloured and patterned devices which you can generate yourself or use your own images to create.

Its sleek design obviously makes it ideal for anyone that must have something small and compact, yet still wants to catch quality HD video. It'd also make a great gift if you took the time to personalise it with images and photos. There are two versions, the 4GB is available for around $179.99 and the 8GB is available for around $229.99.

Images via Panasonic, Pentax Web Store, Flip Video, Nikon and Fujifilm.

Posted by Becca    Category: cameras
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