Some predicted that in this millennium we'd all be wearing jetpacks and shiny jumpsuits. Well, that hasn't happened yet, but one thing we do have that tells us we're getting our futuristic on is the touchscreen. The iPhone has shown how a well-executed touchscreen can create a great user interface, and touchscreens are now showing up on digital cameras.
Compact cameras are, in theory, a perfect fit for touchscreens. They need to balance easy controls with large screens without increasing the overall size so much that they get too big for your pocket. The obvious way of doing this is to combine screen and controls.
Touchscreens work by adding icons to your camera screen, which call up menus or options when you tap on them with your finger. You can then scroll through menus or adjust the options you want to change. The beauty of touchscreens is that they provide context-specific options for each adjustment. So while a button can only be pressed, a touchscreen can call up a menu, or a slider, or a range of options. When adjusting parameters like exposure, dragging your finger up and down a slider is much more intuitive than clicking a button. A more practical factor is that the illuminated controls can be seen in the dark, instead of having to peer at the labels on buttons.
Some people are still ambivalent about touchscreens, however. They need to be fast and precise for users to trust them. There is also a fine line between icons being large enough to comfortably tap, and small enough to not clutter up a screen. Then there's the eternal complaint about finger-marks on the screen! But as we know that all our Crave readers have nice clean hands, we've rounded up four of our favourite compact cameras that have that special touch.
Edited by Cristina Psomadakis