Chapter II. What Your Compact Camera Can and Can't Do

What Your Compact Camera Can and Can't Do

Compact cameras are indeed small wonders, delivering photographs that rival those taken with professional digital SLRs .... but not in all situations and conditions and not for all subjects. In this chapter you'll learn about what your compact camera can and can't do—and how to make the best of each and every situation.

What Your Compact Camera Can and Can't Do

Image Quality

From a technical standpoint, a compact camera can't deliver the same quality images as a digital SLR. That's because the size of the image sensor in compact cameras is smaller than those in digital SLRs. That difference can be significant in terms of detail and digital noise (grain) when making big prints, especially if the photograph was taken in a low-light situation. The difference mostly shows up in shadow areas.

However, if you are only interested in making prints up to 16 × 20 inches or sharing your pictures on the web, you may not see any difference. What's more, you can upsize an image without losing detail (to a point) with a plug-in called Genuine Fractals from onOneSoftware (

I took the picture on the left with my compact camera. I took the picture on the right with my pro SLR. While the picture on the left has more digital noise, it's still a nice picture.

Digital Noise Difference ...

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