An introduction to compact cameras
Today's compact/slim cameras are developed to be thin, small and portable, and are very comfortable to use and to take snapshots quickly. These camera versions are often called point-and-shoot cameras. The thinnest cameras are even less than 15 millimeters thin, these are named the ultra-slim cameras.
Most of the compacts have integrated with a retracting lens allowing a compact camera to have a long enough focal length to have a bigger image taking sensor, and a mechanical lens cover to protect the sensitive lens from scratches or dirt. The compacts usually come with a wrist strap and a lug, helping to reach the camera from your pocket or its sleeve, and thicker models may have two of these for a wrist strap.
These compact cameras are usually designed to be simple to use for anyone, usually skipping out some features and photo quality for compactness, but lately this is only true for cheaper models. In recent years, there have been further developments and most of the compact cameras carry state of the art technologies, specifications and optics, all packed into a compact case. Most of the cameras have a built-in or a pop-out flash, sufficient enough for anyone's use. Many current compacts have 720p video recording, the more costly models come with a FullHD recording feature. They often have a macro features built in also, and powerful zoom lenses. There is an optical image stabilizer equipped on many of the compact cameras, but sometimes the stabilizer is not hardware based.
For a lower price and smaller size, these cameras usually come with image sensors with a diagonal of 6mm, translating into a crop factor around 7. This means they are somewhat weaker in low-light conditions, but have a better depth of field, more advanced focusing abilities, and tinier components to reduce the camera's whole size.
Some of the more costly cameras have a GPS sensor, barometer, altimeter, compass for all sorts of features, and WiFi for easier file handling. Many can manage rough handling and have a waterproof casing.
The year 2011 have introduced some compact cameras that are able to shoot 3D photographs, some cameras do it with software, but some have special hardware to support it - two objects which works out in a very realistic 3D effect. The 3D pictures can be viewed on a 3D TV, a 3D display or any other screen that supports 3D viewing.