After megapixels: 10 new camera battlegrounds

Touchscreens, GPS, Wi-Fi, better image processing and more

5. Image Stabilisation that's worth having

Once Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) was a gimmick that didn't produce worthy results. But now times have changed, and finally it's an inclusion worth having. Canon was the first to produce an OIS lens, while other manufacturers all have their own names for the technology such as Nikon's Vibration Reduction and Sony's Super Steady Shot.

5. Massive ISO figures

The higher the ISO number on a camera, the higher the sensitivity to light - the system originally came from camera film where film was rated by the same system. ISO levels for compacts floated around 400 not so long ago. Now even cheap £99 compacts have ISO levels of 1600 while high-end compacts trounce this – the G11 can be raked up to 3200 at full res.

6. Direct uploading and sharing

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G3 (announced at CES) and the recently-introduced Samsung ST1000 can direct-upload video to YouTube via in-built Wi-Fi as well as Google Picassa Web Albums and Facebook among other services. While these cameras aren't cheap (the ST1000 is £299), expect these functions to filter down ranges soon.

Sony

7. More recognition

First there was face detection – now a standard feature on most compacts – then there was face recognition and smile recognition and then blink detection. New model Samsung cameras even include Beauty Shot. This tech uses face detection to retouch facial skin, making it appear brighter and to give the impression of a smoother skin tone.

8. Geo-tagging for all

The Samsung ST1000 also supports geo-tagging and uploading to Google's Picassa Web Albums automatically places your photos on a map. We'd expect most high-end compacts to include GPS within the next year. Location is the next big thing.

9. Full HD video

With mini-camcorders such as the Flip HD and Samsung U10 now coping well with shooting 1080p HD footage, it can only be a matter of time before we see the same in a compact camera (it's already in SLRs). We've already got 720p. Next we'll get the full whack.

10. Touchscreens more common

At the end of last year, most of the major manufacturers had dabbled with touchscreen compacts and this trend has continued with models like the Canon Ixus 200 IS (below). Touchscreens are now filtering down through the market and are becoming more intuitive than ever, enabling you to focus a shot by touching your subject and even shoot simply by tapping the screen.

Canon ixus 200 is

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Liked this? Why not check out Top 5 compact cameras that give DSLRs a run for their money

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