Feeds

Ten... pocket compact cameras

When a phonecam just won't do

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Samsung ST30

RH Numbers

Touted as the "world’s smallest optical zoom camera", the ST30, at 82 x 52 x 17mm, is only marginally smaller than the Kodak and, at 86g, only a touch lighter. With power and shutter release on the top plate only and a typical array of dedicated controls at the back, this 10.1Mp snapper is delightfully dinky.

Turn it on and the first thought is: yuk. The 2.4in screen resolution is only 112k dots, so it looks decidedly low-res compared to the other models here. This does lead to an assumption that the images are as grungy as the screen. Thankfully, they’re a pleasant surprise, especially when compared up against the Kodak, which also has a 1/3in sensor.

Samsung’s 4.1-12.3mm, f3.3-5.9 (35mm equivalent 28-84mm) 3x zoom lens performs better than the Kodak too, taking surprisingly good macro shots, as well as proving to be a good all-rounder. It’s also quick off the draw at just under 2.5s from start to shoot. The autofocus response was also within respectable limits and coped well for low light and night shooting.

The MJPEG AVI video recording is standard def but does allow use of the optical zoom. However, like many of Samsung’s compacts, the company 'thoughtfully' kills the audio by default, so your clips aren’t spoiled by the machinations of the zoom. You can turn the mic on in the settings and even choose to mute during zoom, but it’s all just daft. Don’t kill the sound, Samsung, users expect audio on video, and if there is a bit of noise, it can be dealt with later.

As a step up from a phonecam, the ST30 certainly hits the spot, with the low-res screen and Micro SD storage choices being the only things to grumble about. If you’re content with a 10.1Mp resolution, as a point and shoot snapper, the ST30 puts in a thoroughly respectable performance with good ISO choices, spot on exposures and an autofocus that gets it right just about every time.

Samsung ST30

Reg Rating 70%
Price £90
More Info Samsung

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W360

RH Numbers

When searching Sony’s offerings for a small and cheap compact, the DSC-W350 seemed to fit the bill, but it looks like this model is soon to be phased out. However, Jessops has the exclusive on the DSC-W360, which to all intents and purposes is the same camera, featuring a 3in screen and, consequently, a fractionally bigger body at 94 x 56 x 17mm weighing 107g.

This Cyber-shot’s 4x optical lens (4.7-18.8mm, f2.7-5.7), has a 35mm equivalent of 26-105mm putting its wide-angle shooting on a par with the Casio and Olympus. Indeed, it features the same resolution sensor as these models: 14.1Mp. Along the top is just power and shutter release, and the backplate has dedicated function keys, along with a slider to switch modes from stills, panorama and video.

It records 720p HD video as MP4 files at 29.97fps and you get full use of the optical zoom – with some momentary whirring noises thrown in while you do so – making it the most versatile for movie making, although 25fps would be nicer. Power up to capture was good too, at just over 2.5s.

The Sony was easy to overlook during tests because it gave so little cause for concern. Its performance was so consistent, delivering a very low failure rate that was on a par with the Canon and the Nikon. The camera proved a steady shooter with very crisp colours and nicely suppressed JPEG artefacts, although it was inclined to under-expose slightly in challenging lighting, but not too drastically.

Although the sensor seems up to the task, the wide-angle lens performance at the edges loses definition, but nothing like the Kodak. The screen, while large and bright, soon appears washed out if not held directly in front you, so sneaky waist level shots are a bit more of a challenge than need be. But unless you’re going in for poster prints, these imperfections will most likely go unnoticed - this camera does have a high megapixel count, after all. Given its current price, and its consistent delivery as a point and shoot performer, it’s unlikely you’d be disappointed with this Cyber-shot. ®

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W360

Reg Rating 70%
Price £120
More Info Sony and Jessops

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.