When having a tech camera which takes some effort to set up and switch focal lengths it is good to know in advance where to put the camera and which focal length to use. If you're Ansel Adams you use your experienced expert eye and do it right the first time. If you're an amateur like me testing compositions and focal lengths with a compact camera before unpacking the big camera can be helpful.
I have a really outdated compact which I don't like, so I plan to get a new one, mainly for this purpose. So the question is which one to get?
I have 35, 47, 72, 90, 120 and 180mm to my 48x36mm sensor, ie ~24 to 130mm in 135 equivalent terms. The ideal compact would thus have this zoom range, 4:3 sensor format and possibility to set a specific focal length, or at least see what it's at. I'm assuming that I'll have to translate from 135 equivalent to my MF format.
It's quite easy to find a camera with the zoom specs, but many have no possibility to see what focal length it's at or difficult to set a specific length, which of course makes it difficult to use as a focal length choosing tool. Finding out how the user interface for the zooming works on a specific camera just by surfing the web is more difficult.
I'm understanding that reducing the zoom range slightly to say 28-120mm increases the number of choices drastically. 130mm seems to be in the "superzoom" range of cameras, approximating 130mm from 120 is not too hard.