Advanced Digital Compact Cameras

Bridging the Gap Between "Point and Shoot cameras" and DSLRs

These cameras look good and feel good in the hand. As the term "advanced digital compact" suggests, you have tons of manual controls at your fingertips. Features such as shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual.

Advanced Digital Compact-Camera Fujifilm X-T4

Advanced Digital Compact

Bridge and mirrorless cameras have a lot of the advantages of more professional cameras. However, they come without the expense, bulk or need to carry around loads of accessories.

The right camera here could offer:

  • Powerful zoom lenses
  • Manual override for aperture or shutter speed settings
  • Different ISO's
  • Higher pixel count with a larger CCD or CMOS sensor
  • Built-in image stabilisation
  • Face recognition
  • Smile detection

Note: If you are a relative "Newbie" to photography, go to my Terminology page for explanations on wordings.

Why would I need manual control?

Having the ability to set camera controls manually or even semi-automatically is where photography really starts to become fun. The possibilities are endless but for starters:

  • Slow Shutter speeds for creative night photography and blurry images
  • Fast shutter speeds for action photography (Sport, wildlife etc)
  • Aperture control to alter depth of field (you control how much of the background is blurred)
  • External or off-camera flash (Flashlight or studio) for different and endless lighting effects
  • Large files for bigger prints
  • Large zoom lens for wildlife, weddings and sports photography

These cameras are for the enthusiasts that have a creative "Itch" they need to scratch. The beauty is that they can also act as a simple point and shoot. That is great for family parties, events and weddings.

I have read many of the forums and comments online in my time. It would appear that after a year or two of using one of these advanced digital compacts, many users upgrade to a Digital SLR. That is not to suggest that you give these a miss, I carry one with me as a back-up at all times. I even use my Panasonic GH5 mirrorless camera as a professional tool.

It is a great way to get on the digital photography learning curve without breaking the bank!

What is the image quality like?

For most photography whether shooting at a wedding or a family event, the quality is very good indeed. However, some bridge cameras have a sensor which is so much smaller than a typical DSLR. This means that the quality in many cases doesn't come close to that of say the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Some of the later cameras such as the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III produce excellent quality. Even some of the older cameras produce great results like the G11 or G12 (which actually had a smaller sensor than its predecessor).

This is great news because it means that the manufacturers are concentrating more on image quality and other features rather than simply trying to increase the pixel count with each new model. The quality of images produced by an advanced digital compact camera is not always good enough for the more professional photographic pursuits such as stock or paid wedding photography.

How do I choose the right camera?

Smaller compact digital cameras have now been phased out with the improvement of Smartphones like the iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S10. Unlike the smaller compacts in the past, there are fewer of these digital compact cameras to choose from. The manufacturers now spend a lot more time, money and effort in producing them and have now even started producing the more "retro" style cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III.

This means that the majority of cameras produced over the last couple of years will be of excellent quality. My advice? Budget permitting, get the best you can afford in relation to pixel count (or quality), lens quality and features combined.

Ergonomics play a part too. Some of these cameras are of very strange design and need to feel good in your hand. Some look like their smaller counterparts and others look more like the Digital SLRs. You will know what is right for you when you see and feel it. Just make sure it has all the features you need before you buy, don't go for looks alone.

My personal favourites, and which also get top marks from professional photography magazines, are the Panasonic GH5 (still great in 2021) and the Nikon COOLPIX P1000. Go to Amazon using the links provided, read the customer reviews and make your own mind up. The minute you have one of these advanced digital compact cameras in your hands, you just won't stop shooting, trust me.

Advanced Digital Compact Cameras Panasonic GH5

Panasonic GH5. Still one of my favourite cameras in 2021 and the most exciting camera of 2017/2018.

Now learn how to use it!

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