Small enough to fit in your pocket and a similar standard to some DSLRs, compact cameras offer quality and flexibility. DSLR cameras can be chunky, so compact cameras are the perfect way to take professional-looking shots without having to lug around cumbersome equipment.
Compact cameras are an excellent compromise when you want to travel light, as they have many of the same features as a DSLR, including interchangeable lenses, within the size of a smaller point-and-shoot camera. The compact camera market has grown steadily over the past few years, so we’ve saved you time and research by compiling a list of the top compact cameras on the market right now.
The Samsung NX100 is one of the most affordable compact cameras around that doesn’t scrimp on quality. This camera isn’t exactly new – it first hit the shelves in 2010 – but it still holds up against contemporary, more expensive models and offers an affordable alternative to users on a budget. The camera and a lens kit retail for anything between £200 and £250.
The Sony Cybershot DSC PX100 benefits from simplicity. It doesn’t come with some of the other bells and whistles that other compact cameras and DSLRs enjoy, but it takes excellent pictures – after all, that’s what a camera’s for. The sensor is about four times as large as that found in a typical point-and-shoot camera and, unlike most compacts, doesn’t have an interchangeable lens. The camera retails for around £450 to £500.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 is a sophisticated mirrorless compact. It’s larger than other models, but its light weight makes up for that. The 16 megapixel sensor produces sharp photos and movies in a variety of conditions and the camera has DSLR-style features like zero shutter lag, face detection and multi-area auto focus. The Lumix DMC-G5 starts at around £600.
Olympus PEN E-P3 is for advanced photographers and a comes with a capacitive touchscreen, similar to that found on the iPhone, as well as a 12.3 megapixel sensor. The camera has a number of functions, like a two-axis electronic level, that enable more proficient users to take quality shots. It also has a range of automated modes that will prove helpful to less experienced photographers, as well as a selection of art filters. The Olympus PEN E-P3 retails for around £630.
Starting at over £1,000 just for the body (no lenses included), the Fuji X-Pro1 doesn’t come cheap. It does, however, come with features and specifications that make the hefty price tag worthwhile for anyone who is looking to invest in a top quality compact.
The camera has a hybrid viewfinder, 16.3 megapixel sensor, a new colour filter array that improves picture colouring and a nifty eye sensor, which turns on the electronic viewfinder when the camera is held over an eye. It comes with enough features to keep photo enthusiasts happy, but still manages to avoid those that are unlikely to be useful. The in-camera previewer allows you to see how pictures will look with various settings applied, before you even take a picture. The camera retails between £1,100 and £1,300.