Best Cameras That Fit In Your Pocket - 2012 Edition

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Posted by: Mike Flacy

Publish Date: 09/02/12

Your life is on the go and you need a camera that can go with you.  Often times, you just don't have the space for a purse or backpack.  Other times, cameras are prohibited but you aren't going to let that stop you from taking pictures backstage (honestly, how often do you party backstage with Rush?).  So a camera that is pocket-sized is on your list for what to ask Santa for this year.  Thankfully, the past thirty years and NASA's need to keep technology tiny has had a major influence on the world of digital cameras making it possible for them to slip in effortlessly next to your derrière.  This guide has some examples of the best pocket-sized cameras that take the best pictures.

Before we move on, let's chat for a second.  You need a small digital camera, which has already been made clear.  But you need to know that a smaller camera size does not always mean you have to compromise on picture quality.  As you can see from the examples below, you can still get a great megapixel, LCD screen and quality zoom lenses in a smaller package.  When you are spending a couple hundred dollars on a camera, it better have and do everything you want. 


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX66

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As slim as a AA battery, Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-TX66 is the world's thinnest point-and-shoot digicam. It boasts an 18.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, a BIONZ image processor, 5x optical zoom, a gorgeous 3.3-inch OLED touch screen, Full 1080/60i HD video recording, and full resolution high speed burst shooting up to 10 frames per second (fps). For those with an artistic flair, Picture Effects include HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Toy Camera, and others. Superior Auto Mode is designed to let users focus on the fun while the TX66 does all the work, but if you want more manual control over exposure settings such as brightness, color, and vividness, try out Photo Creativity mode. Both Photo Creativity and Picture Effects can, together or interdependently, be added to pictures before or after they are taken. Sony's TX66 is available now in a variety of colors, and will cost you less than $350.

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Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS

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Canon's PowerShot ELPH 110 HS is a nicely appointed compact digicam with a large 16.1-megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS image sensor, a plethora of body color choices, a wide 24mm lens, a 5x optical zoom, a 3.0" LCD display, full 1080p HD movie recording (thanks again, CMOS), and Advanced Smart AUTO functionality. The camera automatically adjusts for up to 58 varied shooting scenarios and 12-person (on screen) facial recognition. Also new for 2012, this sleek digicam boasts Canon's proprietary DIGIC 5 image processor, which translates into sharper pictures in low light scenarios (ISO up to 3200) as well as faster start up and auto focus timing. The DIGIC 5 also helps this camera's High-Speed Burst mode achieve 5 frames per second (at 4-megapixels). The ELPH 110 HS has an MSRP of $349.99, but you'll be able to pick one up for less than $300.

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Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W650

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The Sony DSC-W650 is a sleek and simple ultra-compact digicam. Automatic shooting modes and an in-camera guide make the W650 a very simple camera to operate. Sporting a 16-Megapixel Super HAD CCD Sensor, BIONZ image processor, 5x optical Carl Zeiss lens with optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization, 720p HD video capture and Sony's Sweep Panorama shooting mode, you would expect this to be a pricy digicam. But you would be wrong. Sure, it's not the smallest or fastest or feature-laden on this Best Pocket Cameras list, but the W650 is priced well under $150 and is available in Silver, Red and Black. Consider the W650 as the budget-pocket-cam!

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Panasonic DMC-SZ5

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Meet Panasonic's LUMIX DMC-SZ5, a GPS and WiFi-enabled compact digital camera. 14.1-megapixel CCD sensor, Panasonic's Venus Engine Image Processor, and 720p resolution HD Video Recording. There are also Special Effects to play with, MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer, for long zooms and smooth video), Face Detection (for perfect focus), and Auto Retouch (when you need a little help). 

Available in black or silver, the SZ5 gives its owners access to LUMIX CLUB cloud storage (so you never lose a memory) as well as the LUMIX Image Uploader. You can also set it to back up full resolution photos, and videos, to PCs and Smartphones on your home's wireless network, or playback photos and videos on DNLA-certified Panasonic HDTVs. Most importantly, you're only a few buttons away from instantly sharing your lives on Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Twitter, or YouTube.

Pricing and availability will be announced 30 days prior to shipping. Stay tuned!


Accessories  

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If you're the kind of person who needs a pocket-sized camera, you're probably the person who needs pocket-sized accessories.  Manfrotto has developed the ultimately convenient tripod for your point-and-shoot.  The ModoPocket claims to be the world's tiniest tripod; we're talking miniature deck of cards size here.  It looks like a door hinge with a screw to keep your camera locked in place.  It's so small that you can actually leave the tripod on your camera or attach it to a standard size tripod.  It can be used to tilt the camera to the front or laterally.  This way, when you need a self-portrait of you and your back pocket, the ModoPocket is there to help. Purchase the ModoPocket here

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Your back pocket isn't the cleanest place.  Lint, dirt and coins make it a dangerous place for your precious new 3.5 inch LCD screen.  Giottos created an explosive new way to clean your screen, camera or computer.  The Rocket Air Blowers are just that: rockets air blowers.  Made of environmentally friendly rubber (bonus!), they are heat and tear resistant.  They stand on their own, attach to neck straps and have a detachable nozzle to make it easy to clean the entire unit after it cleans your unit.  The air inlet valve prevents air from getting back into the rocket preventing you from blasting out dust particles onto your precious lens.  The Cleaning Kit includes a Rocket Air, cleaning solution, a retractable brush, a Magic Cleaning Cloth and ten cotton swabs.  Purchase Giottos Rocket Air Cleaning Kit here

Also, dn't forget LCD screen protectors, lens cloths or spare wrist straps!