Tech talk: Wi-fi cameras

Out-smart your phone with a new digital camera says David Behrens

Wi-fi cameras like this £90 model from Samsung can send your snaps straight to Facebook
Wi-fi cameras like this £90 model from Samsung can send your snaps straight to Facebook

YOUR holiday luggage isn’t complete without a digital camera, and the latest models attempt to out-smart your smartphone for convenient happy-snapping.

Recognising that for many people Facebook has become the de facto standard for sharing pictures, the big camera makers have been falling over themselves to build it in, doing away with the need to upload via a computer.

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Wi-fi cameras such as the Samsung EC-ST150F can be had for around £90 on the high street and will send pictures to your Facebook or other social networking account the moment you’ve taken them – but only if you’re hooked up to a wireless network.

Many connected cameras also let you bounce pictures to friends’ phones and tablets when they’re nearby, though without a 3G signal they can’t compete with smartphones for always-on connectivity. However, what they lack in social networking they more than make up for in picture quality. No matter how many megapixels your phone may boast, there’s really no substitute for a dedicated camera with a decent lens and a quality light sensor.

Wi-fi apart, the features to look for are a rechargeable battery and an optical zoom lens. The important word here is optical, because it’s still common practice to pass off as “digital zooms” cameras which don’t have zoom lenses at all. Many cameras also shoot video, and you can save money by opting for one that films at 720p resolution, rather than the higher-resolution 1080p.

Other useful features include face detection – the ability to recognise one or more people in a shot and set the exposure accordingly – and a TV-out socket so you can watch pictures on your telly from the comfort of your sofa.

If you take a lot of snaps, you might want to consider a camera with a GPS sensor. This works like a sat-nav and logs the exact location at which each picture was taken.

The number of megapixels determines the resolution at which a camera can capture and store still images – but although it’s usually the headline figure on the box, it’s less important that you may think. The fact is, every digital camera on sale today packs in pixels-aplenty to blow up and print pictures to A4 size.