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Group test: top 8 digital cameras reviewed

The best compact cameras, tried and tested

A great compact digital camera combines intuitive auto settings with comprehensive manual controls. PC Advisor tests eight big-name models to find the right one for you.

Digital cameras: how we tested

We've kept the upper price limit at £200, and the four older models reviewed here fall below £100. We've tried to balance value against the megapixel rating, which we know many people see as an important measure of a camera's worth. Ease of use and intuitiveness of menu and button layout were also considered.

When it came to the photos themselves, we tried each camera's auto and semi-automated settings for a range of scenes and shots, then compared these with their manually set-up counterparts.

We also tested functions such as image stabilisation - you can edit many aspects of a disappointing photo, but you can't make a blurry shot sharp. This is often an issue where light is low, so we paid particular attention to how well each model fared in the gloom - it's not always appropriate to switch on the flash and hope for the best.

An extensive ISO range doesn't automatically mean a camera copes well with low light; many cameras simply introduce grain and image noise. That's also an issue at the extremes of a camera's zoom capabilities.

We considered intelligent-shuttering features such as face and smile detection, support for video recording and the maximum capacity of the memory cards each camera took.

Each models' looks and build quality, along with battery life, were also considered, as were onboard editing functions and any software that came with the camera.

NEXT PAGE: digital camera reviews

Index:

  1. The best compact cameras, tried and tested
  2. Digital cameras: how we tested
  3. Digital camera reviews
  4. Digital cameras: the conclusion

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