The zoom lengths on compact cameras keep growing and even though this makes more photographic subjects accessible to compact users, it does bring one problem and that's camera shake.
Manufacturers do install modes and features to help combat the issue, such as the shake reduction feature on the Optio VS20
which features a 20x optical zoom, but there are still a number of things that you can do to ensure your images are sharp every time.
1. Use A Support
When you think of a camera that sits on a tripod your first thoughts will probably be of a DSLR but just because you're using a camera with a body much smaller than a DSLR doesn't mean you shouldn't use a support. This can be a tripod, monopod, something smaller such as a Gorilla Pod or even a beanbag.
2. Use Your Camera's Self-Timer
Even when you're using a support the small action of pressing the shutter button can still move the camera slightly and cause shake. As a result, when shooting a static subject you can use your camera's self-timer function so there's a delay between you pressing the shutter button and the exposure beginning.
3. Increase The ISO
As longer shutter speeds mean the camera has to be held still for longer periods of time, shake can be a problem, particularly when working hand-held. To increase the shutter speed you can switch to a higher ISO but do take care when increasing ISOs as noise will be introduced at some levels. Where possible, try to stay below ISO400. If long shutter speeds are a must, always use a support as working without one will just result in shake spoiling your shots.
4. Check The Image On Your LCD
As images can be previewed on the built-in LCD screens available on compact cameras it means that shots can be checked for sharpness before leaving the location you're shooting in. However, it's not always that easy to tell if a shot is sharp by just checking the screen so if your camera has the option, it's always worth using the zoom magnifier when previewing to get a closer look at the shot.
5. Edit In Post Production
You can slightly sharpen images in various pieces of editing software but don't overdo it as the shot won't look right. Boosting the contrast a little can help as well, but again don't go too mad with it. There are ways to reduce noise, too if high noise is a problem.