30 April 2013 by Permi Krishna
Compact system cameras (CSCs) are the digital cameras which offer the features of digital single-lens reflex (DSLRs) cameras at smaller, lighter, compact and portable sizes. For those photographers who find DSLRs difficult to handle, the best compact system cameras have the potential of meeting their needs of capturing professional photographs with ease and without compromising the quality.
The best compact system digital cameras have support for features found in DSLRs like interchangeable lens, viewfinders, better low-light performance, faster response and manual controls for various settings like aperture and shutter speed.
DSLRs use the prominent 35mm sensor size for excellent quality pictures and the compact system cameras also tend use the similar larger size sensors like APS-C. 35mm and APS-C are among the other standard sensor sizes like 1/2.5, 1/1.8, 2/3 and 4/3. In any digital camera, larger sensor size translates to the better image quality.
One of the main reasons behind the compactness of these cameras is due to the replacement of optical viewfinders with electronic viewfinders - because the optical viewfinders found in most DSLRs use mirror system, and that has been eliminated. Also called as mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, some of the compact system cameras even eliminate the use of viewfinders and rely on the LCD screens or external viewfinders called hotshoe - for image previews.
Optical viewfinders allow you fix your shot by viewing it through the narrow lens, inbuilt in most professional cameras. One of the main advantages of optical viewfinders is that there is no delay between what you see and what you capture, which is due to the technology of mirror system. Hence optical viewfinders find useful in setting the right aperture and exposure. These viewfinders help you in composing shots in broad daylight and also save power by eliminating the need for a display screen as in electronic viewfinders.
Electronic viewfinders are latest viewfinders which project the picture to be shot on the camera's display screen, which consumes power. Electronic viewfinders may have noticeable lags between what you see and what you capture, but these viewfinders show you the complete coverage an image to be captured. Since there is no usage of mirror system, the digital cameras with electronic viewfinders are compact.
Browse through our list of best compact system digital cameras based on various authoritative reviews around the web.