Buyer's Guide: Enthusiast raw-shooting compact cameras

Christmas is just around the corner and if you're anything like me you'll be worrying about what gifts you need to buy. If you're thinking of buying a high-end compact camera there are a lot of different factors to consider. Do you want the most versatile zoom you can get, or would you be happy to compromise on zoom range for the sake of a faster maximum aperture? Will you be shooting in the camera's raw mode, and if so, how important is operational speed? Are you shopping for someone who loves lots of manual controls, or are you simply looking for the highest quality possible from a point-and-shoot?

We've tested all but two of the cameras in this market segment in detail (the studio and real-world samples you'll see from the Fujifilm X10 and Nikon Coolpix P7100 were shot especially for this roundup, ahead of their own full reviews). This article is not intended to duplicate or replace our normal testing, but to point you towards key differences between the cameras that currently vie for attention at the top end of the enthusiasts compact camera market.

In this article you'll find some of our familiar studio tests, as well as real world comparisons, an overview of the enthusiast compact market as a whole and finally, a concise conclusion, summing up what you need to know, to help you decide which camera is for you. Movie specification and performance is covered briefly, but detailed analysis is beyond the scope of this article. For more in-depth coverage of these camera's movie modes, turn to (or wait for) their full reviews

The Cameras

For the purposes of this roundup, I'm restricting my coverage to those compact cameras which offer full manual control over exposure, are capable of shooting raw files, and have flash/accessory hotshoes. There are six cameras on the market which meet these criteria, and all six are covered, but the fullest treatment is reserved for those cameras which offer optical viewfinders (and arguably the ultimate in enthusiast-friendly ergonomics) in addition to their rear LCD screens:

If you head to page five of this article, you'll see a brief overview, including sample images and useful links, of the other three cameras in this class (all of which we've previously tested in full):

Key Specifications Compared

A resolution of 10MP has been more or less standard for the high end of the compact camera market for a couple of years now, and two of the three cameras in the main part of this roundup (the Canon PowerShot G12 and Nikon Coolpix P7100) share the same 10MP CCD sensor. There are plenty of differences between them though, particularly in terms of their lenses and movie modes. 

 Sensor ISO Range*Lens (35mm equiv)Image StabilizationScreen MoviesStreet Price
Canon PowerShot G12  10MP
7.4x5.6mm
CCD
80-3200 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 Optical 2.8" 461k-dot 720p @ 24fps $379
Fujifilm X10 12MP
8.8x6.6mm
CMOS
100-3200 28-112mm f/2-2.8 Optical 2.8" 461k-dot 1080p @ 30fps $599
Nikon Coolpix P7100 10MP
7.4x5.6mm
CCD
100-6400 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Optical 3" 921k-dot 720p @ 30fps $404
Olympus XZ-1 10MP 8.1x5.6mm CCD 100-6400

28-112mm f/1.8-2.5

Sensor-shift 3" 614k-dot
OLED
720p @ 30fps $419 
Panasonic LX5 10MP 8.1x5.6mm CCD 80-3200 24-90mm f/2-3.3 Optical 3" 461k-dot 720p/i @ 30/60ifps $348
Samsung TL500/EX1 10MP
7.4x5.6mm
CCD
80-3200  24-72mm f/1.8-2.4 Optical 3"614k dot OLED VGA @ 30fps  $328
* At full resolution

Why Shoot Raw?

The addition of raw mode is one of the most obvious things that distinguishes cameras in the high-end, enthusiast, 'luxury' class of compact cameras from more mainstream consumer-oriented models. There are other features, too, which are traditionally the preserve of these higher-end products (like full manual control, a hotshoe, and fast, wide lenses) but raw mode is perhaps the most important. Some consumer-level compact cameras offer raw capture, but slow operational speed in this mode, and sometimes dubious image quality gains often make it much less useful than you might think (or hope).

The benefits of shooting in raw mode, compared to JPEG, are many and various. Raw files contain more data, so you can make more extreme tonal adjustments to them before you start to see a penalty in image quality. You can adjust the white balance of images shot in raw mode easily, and save as many JPEG copies as you like without fear of degrading the original file. 

A classic example of a JPEG gone wrong - shot accidentally using the wrong white balance preset. As you can see from the 100% crop on the right, this image (shot with the Canon PowerShot G12) also exhibits noticeable CA towards the edges of the frame.  100% Crop
As well as sharpening and exposure tweaks, shooting in raw mode has enabled me to correct the white balance, and save a new JPEG with natural colors. I was also able to fix the CA using the chromatic aberration correction sliders in Adobe Camera Raw.  100% Crop

If you're prepared to put the time in, you can get much more detail out of a raw file compared to an in-camera JPEG too, using the sharpening and noise-reduction options in third-party or bundled raw conversion software. 

Taken at ISO 400 in poor light, the Nikon Coolpix P7100 has delivered a neutral, but distinctly uninteresting image of this lakeside scene. Noise reduction has taken the edge off fine detail, too as you can see from the 100% crop on the right. 100% Crop
A few minutes work with the simultaneously-captured raw file in Adobe Camera Raw, and my image has a much more natural white balance, and greatly enhanced pixel-level sharpness. 100% Crop 

The penalties of shooting raw in compact cameras, traditionally, are slower operational speed due to lengthier write times, and the requirement to spend some time manually adjusting the files post-capture. Very often, manufacturers apply distortion correction to JPEG files, too, which makes them much more suitable for use 'straight out of the camera' than raw files, where you'll often need to manually correct for distortion. If convenience rather than critical image quality is key, there is no doubt that JPEGs win over raw files every time, but if you're reading this the chances are that sometimes you find yourself wanting a little more out of your camera than its JPEG engine can provide. 

Click here to turn to page 2 of our enthusiast raw-shooting compact cameras buyers' guide...

288
I own it
108
I want it
56
I had it
Discuss in the forums
61
I own it
26
I want it
15
I had it
Discuss in the forums
198
I own it
19
I want it
46
I had it
Discuss in the forums
188
I own it
34
I want it
53
I had it
Discuss in the forums
246
I own it
19
I want it
70
I had it
Discuss in the forums
53
I own it
5
I want it
25
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 286
12
Alberto Battelli
By Alberto Battelli (Dec 16, 2011)

The lens, I would say. How else can you get 28-112mm f1.8/2.5?

0 upvotes
Flashback
By Flashback (Dec 16, 2011)

I'm not seeing the Studio Comparison Tool. Is this link broken?

0 upvotes
Oveerik
By Oveerik (Dec 16, 2011)

Me too, What happened? Anyone else with this problem?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Dec 16, 2011)

Which page are you having this problem from? (the tool itself is working for me).

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Flashback
By Flashback (Dec 16, 2011)

Works fine with Chrome, but not with Explorer?

0 upvotes
RLPhotoAndImaging
By RLPhotoAndImaging (Dec 18, 2011)

Everyone should be using Chrome now anyways.

0 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (Dec 16, 2011)

The Olympus PEN Mini is $449 right now. Why on Earth would anyone buy one of these tiny sensor cameras over an intechangeable lens model that costs less, has a much larger sensor, supports wireless flash control, 7-frame bracketing, etc., and is much faster?

I'll put the PEN Mini RAW files against any of these things, any time...

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Dec 16, 2011)

Because they just want a small camera, not an outfit with lenses, accessories, etc. On the other hand, if they do want to build an outfit but for some reason don't want an SLR, I would agree, absolutely.

4 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Dec 16, 2011)

because they don't want any of the things you mention, but are prepared to pay a little more to get what they do want.

5 upvotes
techmine
By techmine (Dec 16, 2011)

And again, you would have to figure out which lens to pick for what occasion. Granted 1 lens approach of all these cameras is not perfect but that is what they are for. I have an E-PL1+kit and X10 beats it all (and I mean all) departments.

0 upvotes
bcalkins
By bcalkins (Dec 16, 2011)

"I'll put the PEN Mini RAW files against any of these things, any time..."

Even when you have to shoot two ISO notches slower with the Mini? The Pen Mini with the 50mm macro looks great in the DPReview test lab, but I found the Fuji performs as well in real life in most scenarios. I didn't like the lack of physical controls on the Mini, nor the lens lock PLUS on switch to get started using it out of the pocket. The Mini is a much better choice if you are heading into an MFT system, and by adding a viewfinder and one or two fast primes you can do a lot more with it - but if you compare it solely as a compact P&S replacement it doesn't offer a whole lot more. It doesn't even offer more depth of field control than the Fuji or Panny/Oly fast lens P&Ss until you add more lenses.

2 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 16, 2011)

Because the "compacts" can fit in a coat pocket, don't require $XXX eXtra for lenses to attain comensurate ranges, and because the PEN's all have bad rolling shutter in video mode.

2 upvotes
iudex
By iudex (Dec 16, 2011)

And does that PEN Mini have a flash? Does it have a viewfinder? How much do they cost extra? And what is it´s kit lens like? f3,5 and worse?

0 upvotes
MainOlyGuy
By MainOlyGuy (Dec 31, 2011)

@Dark goob - Why the XZ-1 over the PEN. simplicity. Some people are not interested in carrying multiple lenses. ALSO the XZ is full capable of working your remote flashes.... I can do all the same work with the XZ-1 that I can with my DSLR E-5! AND as an Under Water camera with the accessory case the XZ-1 is a wonderful option. I've used it and it is a great little camera.

0 upvotes
john Clinch
By john Clinch (Jan 1, 2012)

Because the kit lens is really slow and sticks out

the real killer. These tiny sensor have more dynamic range...

0 upvotes
IEBA1
By IEBA1 (Jan 6, 2012)

I have a GH2.
And I STILL want a compact travel zoom with a lower MP and 12-15x-ish range where the "focus" is on image quality. I want this so I can have it in my pocket, and with one hand holding my son from getting lost in the crowd... I can take the camera from my belt pouch, turn it on, zoom in, assess the shot, change modes, adjust settings, and snap the picture I want... with one hand, in 10 seconds.

Why on earth would anyone want to constantly fumble with interchangeable lenses or want something with 7-frame bracketing, wireless flash support, and a smaller depth of field for more focusing issues? (sic)

0 upvotes
tem00
By tem00 (Dec 16, 2011)

Regarding DR, if you shoot the p7100 with "Active" D-Lighting, in RAW, and develop with Nikon's Capture NX2, you will see a tremendous benefit, perhaps equaling or exceeding Fuji's EXR. I only have a F600EXR, and love it, but I do have a p7000. I have been on the fence about buying x10 for EXR, and after experimenting with the P7000 D-lighting (you turn on Active prior, you cannot activate it after you made the shot) and NX2, I don't see much need.

BTW
If you shoot Nikon RAW, you really need to use NX2. After you learn the features, it will blow you away. All of your edits, versions of edits, and control points, saved in the RAW file without a database, and available for later work is awesome. D-lighting control, from camera settings menu in NX2 allows for very natural DR boost. If you don't like the look, you can always turn it off, but it must be enabled at shot time for the option later. Confusing I know. Also, if you use NX2, try the presentation mode.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
techmine
By techmine (Dec 16, 2011)

Totally agree on your NX2 points. That thing is made for NEF. I loved it while I was using the trial version. Didn't buy it because I think the next version is around the corner.

0 upvotes
alfa
By alfa (Dec 16, 2011)

I picked the X10 out of that lot, despite being an Olympus man and having tried MFT. The mechanical zoom is a killer diller for me. With you all the way on the impenetrability of EXR mode (if you're new to it) as it is counter intuitive, implemented in a user-hostile fashion and badly explained BUT BUT BUT once you get it sorted, wow! You'll get photos you simply can't take with any of the other cameras.

And I know it shouldn't make any difference but it's a bit of a head turner. Feels like a Leica/Rollei 35.

0 upvotes
Rubenski
By Rubenski (Dec 16, 2011)

S100 is better than G12 and fits in your pocket. Dynamic range increase (+2EV) with X10 is just a gimmick and doesn't mean anything when processing RAW. Better to expose for the highlights and post produce for greater dynamic range with 12 MP. IQ is everything, gimmicks are for bloggers.

1 upvote
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Dec 16, 2011)

since when is dynamic range not part of image quality? To me, once you have got focus, exposure and composition sorted limited DR is usually the thing that spoils a picture. It has long been digital's achillies heel - burt out skies, no cloud detail etc. And no, you can't magic up the lost DR in post-processing.
The 'detail' in a picture is not only the x and y axis (spatial resolution), it also DR, the 3rd dimension of detail. I think it is foolish to expand the x and y resolution incessantly without equally improving DR.

4 upvotes
Rubenski
By Rubenski (Dec 16, 2011)

Ofcourse, DR is very important but simply do not pay the price of half your pixel count. It's simply not necessary. Expose for the highlights and you can save up to 4-5 stops with a gradient filter in your darker areas. Remember: only the area you take your metering of is exposed correctly, the rest is incorrectly exposed anyway. There are many methods more to mention to save your 12 MP and get a perfect exposure for the whole picture in just seconds.

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 19, 2011)

There are times when it makes sense to give up half your pixel count. These cameras all have at least twice the megapixels needed to make a nice 8x10 print.

2 upvotes
daza
By daza (Dec 16, 2011)

I hope fuji repair the blooming problem very soon, but i also hope fuji dont listen dpreview and dont change the way the x10 manages iso and dr between diferent shoting mode, why? because if you shot with flash in P mode at iso400 1/30 f2, and you want inmediately more IQ, i just have to turn the dial to M, where i have iso200 1/20 f2, and that is so fast, i dont have to turn down the iso, Im sorry dpreview but each shooting mode needs diferent configuration about iso and dr.

3 upvotes
solsang
By solsang (Dec 17, 2011)

I fully agree, this setting is one of the reasons i am buying the x10, as i have been absolutely frustrated with the lack of saving settings between pasm modes on my other cameras, so looking forward to it!!

1 upvote
Izu
By Izu (Dec 17, 2011)

You know that you can achieve the same thing with user settings? Just make 2/3 user setting/memories available and then you can make the camera work in a normal way: no iso change as program changes, like any camera in the world since film era.

0 upvotes
Eric Boe
By Eric Boe (Dec 16, 2011)

If you can live without a zoom, the Leica X1 and Fuji X100 are both wonderful performers in RAW and JPEG alike. Perhaps I missed the criteria why these were left out, but no worries.

0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Dec 16, 2011)

no, I think you just mentioned that criterion in fact.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 16, 2011)

The S100 is not yet widely available, at least not in backward NYC, so not an option for X-mas buyers. But is that the reason it is not included in the comparisons?

0 upvotes
Renard DellaFave
By Renard DellaFave (Dec 18, 2011)

I think it's for lacking a hot-shoe. Pretty lame reason for leaving it and/or the S95 out, IMHO.

0 upvotes
Calvin Chann
By Calvin Chann (Dec 16, 2011)

In my eyes, the X10 is flawed. It presents you with a viewfinder, which you'd obviously want to use, but then gives you no information in the viewfinder. Not even focus point confirmation. So, you're happily composing away without a clue where the camera is focusing.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Dec 18, 2011)

Can't you simply set it to the center focus field?

2 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (Dec 16, 2011)

OK, so the X10 is the best camera here, and even with its pros, and cons. It's also overpriced.

My main point is, even the X10, is not that good of a camera IQ! These sensors are just not cutting it! Other cameras demonstrate clearly, we have the technology. It's just not being combined well; due to competition, with higher ends models. Balance is absent. The X100 (type), is what should be refined here, and less than $400! Not the X10.

Nikon wimped out, and refused to make a better camera (V1). What will Canon do? System, or fixed, they can offer both; that’s not a problem.

What we really need, is the "mirror-less" camera progression of, shot to shot, speeds, faster FPS, and without blackout times, and with a hybrid viewfinder (with an auto on/off sensor). In other words, "sports" abilities unhindered.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Loring von Palleske
By Loring von Palleske (Dec 16, 2011)

In low light - the EX1 cannot be beat. They mention lower ISO but to put things in perspective - Canon G12 ISO 3200 you can still shoot the EX1 at ISO800.

In bright liight it is a wash. We did a blind taste test with the Pana, Canon and our EX1 with some of our vendors - SOC jpgs and the final images were very very close (using a controlled studio environment) - when the hairs were split however - The EX1 came out on top (and convincingly so). I would recommend people get a chance to try them all and choose the one whose user interface matches the way they shoot/think first and foremost and if low light is a consideration head towards the better aperture models and if longer zoom range is more important head in that direction.

Versatility is not just measured in focal length but also in low light capabilities...

3 upvotes
cheenachatze
By cheenachatze (Dec 16, 2011)

You could not at least take the flash photo with the 'other' three cameras? That's just laziness. What was the purpose of this article? For a site that prides itself by its seriousness, this is just amateurish.

0 upvotes
Digital Suicide
By Digital Suicide (Dec 16, 2011)

You don't have to shoot RAW to sharpen up pictures after. It can be done with JPEGs.

1 upvote
bigdaddave
By bigdaddave (Dec 16, 2011)

Yes it can but it's much cruder and you end up sharpening jpeg artifacts as well. RAW is vital for the best quality

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 16, 2011)

RAW is a bit like 4x4 drive in SUVs. You might need it, but usually don't. If you employ it all the time, you use lots of memory space, and lose any hypothetical benefit, when you import into a slide show or video editing tool.

1 upvote
Renard DellaFave
By Renard DellaFave (Dec 18, 2011)

With the low level of compression in "fine" mode JPGs, you can do 90% of what you can do in raw. But you'll be kicking yourself if you needed that last bit. Still, like the 4x4 analogy, I wouldn't leave it on all the time. 2MP is enough for half of my shots, for that matter. But raw is a great option to have. (

0 upvotes
maquillage
By maquillage (Dec 16, 2011)

can't wait to buy this camera, I like the look and feel of the rubber. Hope it will feel great in my hands like the Nikon D200 that I have.

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

yo mean p7100?
there is rubber on almost every second camera on this review

I only wish p7100 had a faster lens.

1 upvote
iudex
By iudex (Dec 16, 2011)

Nice comparison. I used to own a Samsung EX1 and recently have a DSLR, however I miss the small and portable camera sometimes. It made good pictures especially inside, where it´s great f1,8 lens 24 mm wide was very useful. The article says it´s performance at ISO800 and higher is not good; I confirm that. However I hardly remember situations when the camera set higher ISO than 800; for it´s bright lens there was no need for that. Most of the pictures I have are made at ISO 100-400. The performance of this compact in low lihgt was better than my DSLR with kit lens (f3,5). Another advantage was it´s great OLED screen - bright and fully articulated.
The aspect of money is however crucial; if the EX1 is almost for the same money as G12, Canon is a better choice. However here we have EX1 for 260 eur, G12 for 440 eur, P7100 for 410 eur. The difference is big enough to accept some flaws of the Samsung. I wish I didn´t sell it.

1 upvote
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

so which one you using now a days?

0 upvotes
iudex
By iudex (Dec 16, 2011)

I sold the EX1 and bought a Pentax DSLR. If I had to choose from this compacts again, I would go for the Samsung again, since the sensor is the same as in G12, but the price is less than half of the price of Canon. If money did not matter to me, I would buy the X10, which seems to me is the best compact.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Bob Yarbrough
By Bob Yarbrough (Dec 16, 2011)

OK ...from the article we JPEG shooters should try RAW.

We need guidance for an Easy To Use RAW program ! I have a Fuji X10.

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Hubertus Bigend
By Hubertus Bigend (Dec 16, 2011)

My suggestion would be to give the provided RAW converter a real chance before deciding to buy something else.

I'm a (paying) user of Silkypix Developer Studio for years now, with several Olympus, Panasonic and Sony compacts, DSLRs and mirrorless system cameras, and I still think the current version (Silkypix Pro 5 was just issued in English) is the best converter available for my demands. With my latest camera, a NEX-3, most of the images do not need any tweaking whatsoever and can simply be processed to JPEG with one click, while at the same time providing a wealth of postprocessing options which actually are quite easy to use after a short learning phase.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

Lightroom 3

2 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (Dec 16, 2011)

No, no. My opinion, is to simply see the ufraw site. First of all, you do not HAVE to shoot Raw, or rather, not always develop from Raw. Did you know, if you shoot just Raw (setting), that you can pull the camera's finished, JPEG thumbnail (varies size, per camera) right out of the Raw file, and instantly. Raw+JPEG is great, but if it slows you down, or does not get you fine JPEG anyway, you can just shoot as set to Raw. This is why Raw, shoot to shot, speeds per cameras are important. Some cameras are actually faster (buffer and such), shooting just Raw.

Then there's the very tired myth of not being able to do 16-bit, Raw light level correction (better latitude) with the Gimp. Well, ufraw works famously, with the Gimp. You can just save in a PNG work file, or go straight away to the Gimp, from ufraw. Of course, you can also have all you photo's set to load, with the Gimp (one stop shopping), and if it is Raw, Gimp will simply pull-up ufraw first.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (Dec 16, 2011)

Anyway, stop worrying about software. Open software, is not only better, cross platform (Windows, Mac, Lin), more flexible, and upgradable, but just because it's also FREE (like Freedom), makes it no less better. The point is, ufraw may seem foreign to you, at first, but a simply romp through it's online ufraw web site will show you, it's truly for all cameras, and the various sensors. You really, only have to set it up; for you particular camera, one time. Find, or make your cameras color profile, and you can quickly have each auto developed, and/or make quick tweaks to each picture, as they develop. (Just run ufraw, and pick multiple Raw files, in it's file dialog. It will go through, and load up all you raw photos in your grouping, one by one.) Just make fast, minor tweaks, if the photos call for a difference.

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (Dec 16, 2011)

What you do not want to miss, is I'm currently developing all manner of cameras Raw, to a NIKON look! It works. Just load up the D40 color profile (ufraw site), set it to all defaults, plus the gamma(0.45), and linearity(0.020) setting, that is recommended with the profile(s). Then just tweak things like saturation, per camera. Everything is save-able, and just before you write out to PNG, you may set it to save all settings, just one time. Now ufraw auto does your Raw files, for that camera. You only need to tend to CA, and noise(I just set ufraw NR low, like 40 to 70), in the Gimp instead(in it's MANY ways).

0 upvotes
SerKol
By SerKol (Dec 16, 2011)

Adobe Raw now supports X10

0 upvotes
RLPhotoAndImaging
By RLPhotoAndImaging (Dec 18, 2011)

The only RAW software I've ever used is ACR which is included in APS that I always have the latest of anyways.

0 upvotes
john Clinch
By john Clinch (Jan 1, 2012)

I think that its well worth trying Lightroom. CS5 and ACR will get you the same RAW conversion but cost more. I think Lightroom is a good balance between ease of use and flexibility

I started my wife on tonight. She seemed to catch on quickly to how its structured. She's working with a jpg only camera at the moment, but its basically the same ibterface for all files

Just try the free trial

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

good article/ roundup overall, selection of these 6 cameras is perfect, they are more comparable to each other than anything else available.

picks in individual categories are more or less correct, but if I have to pick one among these six ... which one I should?

high street price tells Oly XZ-1 is cheapest. (£261 after rebate in UK)
your comparison tool tells its sharpest and fastest lens in smallest of all these bodies.
there are problems in all these cameras and I have used x10, lx5 and xz-1 why I will be keeping XZ-1 and not the other and if its not qualified in any of the category?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
iudex
By iudex (Dec 16, 2011)

The differences in picture quality/sensors are not dramatic, so if you have a chance to buy Oly as the cheapest of them, go for it. In my country Oly is in the more expensive corner.

1 upvote
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

that's what am doing.
one thing I really admire Oly is they dont care about categories and market segment. Their one camera system can totally smash into the other they dont mind. They give their best to the customer, whatever is possible.
Look at E5 and Pens, same sensors and many feature sharing.
Canikon always tries to protect their big sensor and bodies.
Pen E-3 and E-PL3, cheaper and smaller PL-3 offers many more to bigger and more expensive E-3. Similarly XZ-1 is insanely close to Pens with kit lenses and at base ISOs performs exceptionally good with CCD sensor.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Timur Born
By Timur Born (Dec 16, 2011)

Unfortunately chroma runs wild on the Oly XZ-1's sensor, especially on higher ISOs (1600/3200). Most people might not need it, but the combination of fast lense and high ISO is needed for stopping down fast movement (playing kids indoors).

0 upvotes
muski
By muski (Dec 16, 2011)

The XZ-1 may be the cheapest, but I love it for it's spectacular image quality, esp. it's edge-to-edge sharpness. Coming from a Canon 5D MkII this is the single most important feature I look for in a pocketable camera.

Use the Studio Shot comparison page, look at the 100 ISO JPEGS vs the others and you'll see it -- especially when it comes to detail at the image edge. The closest competitor is the G12, but there is noticeable chromatic aberration (click on the edge of the white paper at the bottom of the image).

It also has great auto-exposure, auto-white balance and auto-focus (and a 'track' feature that obviates the need for an AEL/AFL button).

There are many good reasons this camera won a Gold Award -- shame that the reviewer seems to have forgotten them all!

1 upvote
alan e jones
By alan e jones (Dec 17, 2011)

I agree i also shoot a Canon 5D MkII and 50D and am amazed at how good the ZX1 is..It gets my vote !!

0 upvotes
jpr2
By jpr2 (Dec 16, 2011)

it is pretty odd that neither Ricoh GRD nor GXR were
included !!
yes, both series are seriously hobbled by the lack of a built-in, eye-level VF, but RAW is there - so why XZ1, LX5, and TL500, but NOT Ricohs???

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

there can be many reasons but obviously a fixed wideangle lens appeal only a handful of enthusiasts. I saw many comaplaining 4x zoom range on x10 and xz-1 as very limiting :D

0 upvotes
techmine
By techmine (Dec 16, 2011)

I don't know about xz-1 but my X10 gives best (still limited) zoom functionality in that range.

1 upvote
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (Dec 16, 2011)

The sensor sizes used in the article, and in DPR's specs, are not entirely accurate. The 7.89x5.81mm used for 1/1.63" sensors, and the 7.49x5.52mm used for 1/1.7" sensors, don't match with the 4:3 aspect ratio, and if comparing the actual FL and the equivalent FL on for example the Olympus XZ-1 (1/1.63") and Nikon P7100 (1/1.7"), then the crop factor of both cameras are app. 4,67x, meaning that the sensor sizes in practice are the same (app. 7.41x5.56mm on both cameras).

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Dec 16, 2011)

Argh, there was a glitch in my calculations, which I've now found and corrected.

The 1/1.63" sensor in the LX5 and XZ-1 isn't 4:3, it's an oversized sensor to give the LX5's multi-aspect-ratio feature. It's nearer 3:2.

Interestingly the XZ-1 doesn't offer this capability, instead using the middle portion of the sensor that is remarkably similar to a 1/1.7" type sensor. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

0 upvotes
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (Dec 17, 2011)

You're welcome, Richard, and thanks for listening.. and you're right that LX5's 'oversized' multi-aspect ratio sensor confuses things a bit. It's worth to note though, that the active/effective sensor height gets smaller when using the 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios. The LX5 has the largest active sensor size/area when shooting 4:3 images (where the extra width isn't used).

0 upvotes
increments
By increments (Dec 16, 2011)

re: the RAW vs. JPEG comparisons.

I'm presuming the JPEGs were all OOC. If I'm right about that I suspect there's a lot more detail to be got from them.

Also I'm pretty sure that the colour cast in the example shown could be removed.

While there are inherent limiting factors to processing JPEGs, you can vastly improve on a camera's OOC images. RAWs will be slightly better, but usually the differences are only apparent at quite large sizes (IMHO).

If you only view your images at a typical screen size, or upload to facebook etc. JPEGs are probably sufficient.

Of course the argument exists that if you're prepared to PP you might as well shoot RAW, but it's not mandatory and a lot of people do PP their JPEGs.

2 upvotes
Goodmeme
By Goodmeme (Dec 16, 2011)

I'd love to agree with you. The big fly in the ointment is white balance. Correcting white balance and colour generally is not acceptable with jpeg imo, even for snapshots. I really tried to change my raw workflow to jpeg, but gave up after a day for this reason.

I would love all cameras to use an external wb sensor like E1 and older 1 series cams - or perhaps they could shift AWB more radically when they detect orange in the picture. All I know is my 5D/G9 can't cut it on AWB, and in the heat of the moment, I often forget to change e.g. to incandescent.

2 upvotes
Dwight Brown
By Dwight Brown (Dec 16, 2011)

Lightroom processes jpegs exactly the same as raw, including WB slider. You can also process jpegs in ACR.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
increments
By increments (Dec 16, 2011)

@ Goodmeme, I've corrected much stronger WB casts than the one shown in the example on old JPEGs I took before I was into photography.

There is much more flexibility in RAW files, but you'd have to be a long way off before that mattered. Today's JPEGs are often pretty malleable, though there is variation between models.

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 16, 2011)

Dwight Brown, although LR processes JPEGs, the controls aren't exactly the same. The WB sliders are absolute K for raw and relative values for JPEG, since the original WB is lost in a JPEG, and the results are markedly different due to the inferiority of JPEG. Some of the routines are superior in Raw, like sharpening, because they have access to the original data. Just because the controls "look" the same on the surface does not mean you get the same underlying functions or the same results.

1 upvote
alan e jones
By alan e jones (Dec 17, 2011)

Hi Totally Agree i had Proceesd JPG's for the last 8 years without problems..the gain verse time in using RAW isn't worth it in my opinion !!
PS over the years i've seen reviewers that can't get their RAW files as good as the in cmaera JPG's !!

1 upvote
increments
By increments (Dec 17, 2011)

@ Graybalanced, while you're correct about the difference in the controls, if you're within the adjustment range with JPEGs (for WB), you should be able to get good results.

If changing WB is producing blocking or artifacts, I'd say first check that the JPEG is on best quality. If there's still a problem, then the JPEG engine is poor IMO.

Sharpening is the stand out area of superiority for RAW files, but you need large viewing sizes to notice that, and good in-camera JPEG settings will mitigate the difference significantly.

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 19, 2011)

@ increments, as described it sounds like you have to remember to place more restrictions on yourself when correcting WB on a JPEG. Most of that stuff I don't worry about. "...within the adjustment range..." what's that mean? I thought the entire slider was the adjustment range. If there is a smaller "adjustment range" I than that, it's that you can push WB harder in a raw and get an improvement, compared to JPEG where once you hit the end of any one of your blocky 8-bit RGB channels (and that tends to happen pretty soon), you're done for.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
increments
By increments (Dec 19, 2011)

The range in which you can adjust the WB of JPEGs is less than RAW files, but you have to be VERY wrong with your WB for it to matter. Given all these cameras have WB presets there's no excuse for being that wrong other than carelessness.

As stated in other posts the sliders on JPEG WB in Lightroom et al. are relative rather than absolute. (That is what I mean by adjustment range)

Regards getting blocking, you must have serious issues setting WB (is it really that hard?) to be causing blocking.

You are correct that adjusting WB on JPEG is more restrictive than RAW, however you need to be wildly wrong before it matters.

0 upvotes
increments
By increments (Dec 19, 2011)

Bottom line is if you want to shoot RAW that's fine, but if you can't manage decent OOC JPEGs you probably need to work on your fundamentals. The most common arguments I see for RAW over JPEG are the ability to recover lost highlights and the ability to correct WB. Get your exposure right and you'll get better photos in RAW or JPEG. Take a second per lighting environment to choose an appropriate WB and it's not an issue.

0 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Dec 16, 2011)

Why no Pentax Q?

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

i guess bec it got smaller sensor and is an ILC with a very compact form factor. Actually I aggree with the reviewer ignoring Q and S100, no matter how good they are.

1 upvote
BG_CX3_DPREVIEW
By BG_CX3_DPREVIEW (Dec 16, 2011)

biased,

at least mention the others

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

well no, bec they ar different league. I would also complain then, why not F600EXR? I think these 6 should be the one selected, totally aggree on that, though I would chose XZ-1 as winner totally different story though.

0 upvotes
fkauff
By fkauff (Dec 16, 2011)

It's a little strange that Canon, Nikon and Fuji receive a full page in the buyers guide and Olympus Samsung and Panasonic only one together. The preference is already set unequality as well.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
increments
By increments (Dec 16, 2011)

They give the cameras with viewfinders a page each and round-up the ones without.

I'd have been tempted to do 2 separate articles if making that distinction. The Canon S100 must be feeling positively ignored! ;)

2 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

I guess its because there are more features that need explanation in those OVF cameras. Specially x10.

1 upvote
cassano
By cassano (Dec 16, 2011)

Or, because the others have been given in-depth reviews...

0 upvotes
fkauff
By fkauff (Dec 16, 2011)

Also the Canon had a in-depth review

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
evogt500
By evogt500 (Dec 16, 2011)

Edit please : In the X10 specs its say ISO6400 at full resolution but says 100~3200 in the Key features. And it says 1/2.3" in the key features (its 2/3")

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 16, 2011)

Fixed now, sorry about that.

0 upvotes
evogt500
By evogt500 (Dec 16, 2011)

it says 2.3"

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Dec 16, 2011)

Corrected. Sorry about that.

1 upvote
nevada5
By nevada5 (Dec 16, 2011)

Personally, after using the Nikon P7100's "semi-articulated" LCD screen, I would never want to buy a camera with a "fully-articulated" screen.

Try using both shooting from waist level. The semi-articulated screen allows you to hold the camera steady with your left hand - a cumbersome thing to do with the screen hanging out on the end. Same thing when shooting over-head.

Folding the screen in for protection will cause you to lose those grab-quick shots while you fumble with unfolding it. Besides, screens are actually pretty tough - I don't recall ever scratching one.

Self portraits? If that's what you're into, maybe an advanced camera isn't really necessary for your needs.

0 upvotes
VadymA
By VadymA (Dec 16, 2011)

I had the same thought when I tried this kind of screens. However, when you try doing macro shots close to the ground and want to hold your camera in a portrait mode articulated screen wins. That's the only practical advantage I could think of besides self-portrates. Since I like doing a lot of macro shots, I still like the articulated screen better.

0 upvotes
Timur Born
By Timur Born (Dec 16, 2011)

There is one more case. You want to shoot someone who is sitting on a table that is faced to a wall. I just had that situation with my kid and had to shoot "blindly" with the X10. Best thing to do then is to go wide open and fire several shots to pick the best one afterwards.

Fortunately the viewing angles on the X10's screen are rather good, because shooting people of less than 90 cm size can be quite a challenge without articulated screen. ;)

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Mr Mason
By Mr Mason (Dec 16, 2011)

I'd love to see a Canon S100 vs Fujifilm X10 head to head comparison, even though they're slightly different cameras. Love the old-school style and f2.0 - f2.8 bright lens on the Fuji, love the size and hi-tech of the Canon.

Can't afford both!

If a "G13" or whatever had a big bright lens then it might just be a no-brainer...

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

S100 is not bright lens, its just at wide open, slight reach make it dark very quickly and at wide open its soft at corners, thats what you can see on DPR comparometer.

1 upvote
Josh152
By Josh152 (Dec 16, 2011)

Deciding between the X10 and S100 is easy, unless you need an ultra slim, jeans pocket camera, get the X10.

2 upvotes
solsang
By solsang (Dec 17, 2011)

I had both in my hands, and the s100 front ring makes so loud clicks that i would be hesitant to use in quiet settings!!

If you need pockeability though, then the s100 is amazingly small compared to the x10, which comparatively feels large and heavy

0 upvotes
munchmeister
By munchmeister (Dec 16, 2011)

I bought the P7100 over these others, so take this with that bias in mind. What I like is the external controls, the image quality and some other small features such as working with a IR remote control. This is not a given for all cameras and is often not mentioned in reviews. Moreover, the P7100 has infrared receivers for the remote on the front AND the back. It has 3 and 5 shot bracketing for HDR and this is a great combo with an IR remote, sitting on a tripod.Ditto for macro mode, great to have an IR remote and a small tripod. It has an intervalometer, although limited, so can shot only every 30 secs, as a minimum. Seems they could fix this in OS update, to allow say, one ever 1 or 2 seconds. I gotta have a real viewfinder, even if not perfect. But a lovely LCD like the Nikon has is also nice to have. And I think the photos, especially macro are tack sharp for a compact. Oh and an ND filter. Not many have that.

http://g3.img-dpreview.com/0883620A09DD4CF38FA29A58E5BE9B40.jpg

3 upvotes
ndf9
By ndf9 (Dec 16, 2011)

I'm with you, thinking the same way

0 upvotes
645D
By 645D (Dec 16, 2011)

Just checked the in-depth reviews, the 3 most popular picks of this group: G12, LX5, and EX1 all have the same magic score of 73%. Pure coincidence?

3 upvotes
RestyF
By RestyF (Dec 16, 2011)

Olymps XZ-1 has the highest score at 74% but not in any of the picks. Consistencies?

7 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 16, 2011)

Scoring is relative to a lot of things, not least when the camera was tested, our expectations at the time, and the competition (again, at the time).

2 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

- Olympus is most economical 300£ with 40£ rebate = 260£
- Got the brightest + sharpest lens (use the drp studio comparison)
- Fast enough operation and excellent IQ on RAW on all ISOs
- and excellent JPEG at lower ISOs.
- Most pocketable (size wise).
- Lens reach is limited but I would only give this advantage to Nikon, Canon reach is not that high.

The only little issues are
- No ISO and Lock buttons
- Flare at the edge of the lens

If I have to pick one out of all of these luxury camera, Oly is an easy pick. Really don't care about EVF on compacts and x10 is still too expensive with its WDS.

1 upvote
Frank B
By Frank B (Dec 19, 2011)

Alberto, I stopped using my DSLR when I bought the Panasonic LX3 and have not looked back. I now am using a Nikon P7100. It is marvelous to use one camera and to always have it with me. I am very happy with the image quality.

0 upvotes
cassano
By cassano (Dec 16, 2011)

typo:
fuji x10: 12.0MP 1/2.3" CMOS (EXR pixel arrangement)

should be 2/3

0 upvotes
edu T
By edu T (Dec 16, 2011)

"the G12 is (...) very similar to the Nikon Coolpix P7000/P7100 and Samsung TL500/EX1 (all four models use the same sensor)"

Which is...?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Dec 16, 2011)

It is very disappointing that this popular segment gets a watered down buyers guide instead of a "group test" complete with conclusions, ratings and most importantly a winner.

3 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Dec 16, 2011)

Patience, patience :-)

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Dec 16, 2011)

The winner depends on your needs and tastes. That's how it was presented. For example, the LX5 is not the winner if you like a viewfinder or a long zoom, but it is definitely the winner if you like to shoot wide and in multiple aspect ratios. I think dpreview assumes their readership can decide what their priorities are and determine the best choice based on their own wants.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 16, 2011)

A group test would simply have taken too long, given that it would have required testing two cameras fully, completely from scratch, and would also have meant performing a significant amount of re-testing of four more. This approach was designed to give you a decent overview of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the field, leaving room for further investigation, both in future full reviews and in previously published reviews.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
xpanded
By xpanded (Dec 16, 2011)

Barney - where have you found the prices in €?
There seem to be quite a deviation between (higher) street prices (and amazon prices) than the ones you give for several of the cameras.
Thanks for the Comparison
Xpanded

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Harold66
By Harold66 (Dec 17, 2011)

Yes but I stil wonder how much is spent testing the cameras since I have no seen ANY preview on the internet that mentions that the X10 also does not write the files on the sd card in the order they were taken if one goes from single shot mode to continuous mode ( that Fuji for unknown reasons calls TOP mode). I do not know of any camera that does that. the user interface of this camera is the worst of every digital camera I have ever owned or used

0 upvotes
thielges
By thielges (Dec 16, 2011)

This article should be subtitled "... and why you should shoot RAW". Great examples included here Barney ! The buyers of this class of camera are more likely to be on the fence regarding shooting RAW and you have provided a great resource to help decide which way to go.

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Dec 16, 2011)

The counter point is that these cameras also allow enough control that you have little excuse for not exposing properly and coming home with ready to use JPEGs. Also, most offer distortion and aberration control automatically to their JPEG files.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Dec 16, 2011)

Who needs excuses when you can have results? And the results are just plain better from a separate computer.

Color, resolved detail, and lens correction are far more advanced in software like ACR and DXO. These little cameras don't currently have the on board processing muscle to do what a desktop can without slowing way down and/or demolishing batteries.

Jpegs are ok for presenting a finished result, but "raw" files contain more information. That's why they're bigger!

So, no, none of these cameras "allow enough control". Can I alter the radius of sharpening? Can I shift the hue of just the green part of the spectrum? Can I use a virtual graduated density filter to bring otherwise blown highlights back into view? Can I correct extreme miscalculations of white balance? Can I manually set a white balance cooler than 2500k?

The answer is: not with jpegs straight from the camera.

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 16, 2011)

Basically the question is, what kind of processing sophistication would you like your photos to go through? The firmware programs inside the limited capabilities of the camera, frozen at the factory...or the constantly upgraded, manually overridable, full-bore big guns of raw processing software on your powerful multi-core computer?

2 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Dec 16, 2011)

I know the benefits of RAW. When I photograph something like a wedding or important event, I always shoot RAW because I can't afford a mistake. However when I take a compact out, I am looking for fun and carefree shooting. If I wanted perfection and exacting results I would take out the big camera. So for me, if I get it close enough in camera, I don't have to spend an hour at home on the computer going through all the RAWs, too. Reduces stress and keeps the hobby from feeling like work.

I guess it depends on your goals.

3 upvotes
HeezDeadJim
By HeezDeadJim (Dec 17, 2011)

Not everyone will see the benefit of shooting RAW when they first get this kind of camera. That's like asking a teenager to learn why a manual is "so much better" than an automatic when he first starts driving a car. You really expect them to remember to adhere to all the signs, rules, pedestrians, AND shift/clutch gears at the same time?

Start with the basics, and then have the option to expand later (if they want to). We all had to learn about ISO, WB, shutter speed, aperture. We weren't going to spend hours on post-pro on photos when we didn't understand why our photos were too dark/bright/warm/cold. That's just too daunting of a task (not to mention some may not have an 8-core, 24GB RAM computer).

Once we became more familiar with our camera(s), then we could really delve in post-pro. Some of us found out they'd rather do other things (or don't have the time) than spend hours editing photos. It's perfectly fine for them to shoot just JPEG, then. (I do RAW+jpeg)

0 upvotes
Ray Sachs
By Ray Sachs (Dec 16, 2011)

The X10 lens is 28-112, not 24-112. Although it would be nice!

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Dec 16, 2011)

I've corrected it. Thanks.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 16, 2011)

Sorry about that! It would indeed be very nice...

0 upvotes
HDaRt
By HDaRt (Dec 16, 2011)

I have owned each of these cameras except I had the P7000. With that experience behind me, I was a bit surprised that the X10 didn't fare very well in this advance camera mix. It could be that some of the more quirky aspects I did not experience(except for the on/off issue). P7000 was painfully slow but I have actually longed for the 7100 as a camera to keep with me in my vehicle.
After reading this and knowing of the low prices on this line of cameras(due in large measure to the sinking m43 prices of aging models) I am not sure I would pick up the P7100 over a GF2 with 14mm 2.5 lens that can be had for just under $500. Even better, with the fair 14-42 ilens t is around $379.

2 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

yes but you talking about another market segment, I bought GF3 with both of these lenses you mentioned with rebate under 400£ and is excellent package, but I still want to have one camera from these 6.

0 upvotes
HDaRt
By HDaRt (Dec 17, 2011)

Unlike you, i create my own market segment. Frankly, beyond the novelty of the 6 advanced compacts, they are useless for anything other than flikr or very small prints. The aforementioned limitations doesnt work for many. Advanced compacts are nearing the end of the road.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Dec 16, 2011)

The sharpness of the G12 studio samples is mind boggling. I see no real difference compared to APS-c.

1 upvote
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Dec 16, 2011)

I have an S95 which basically is a G12 in a smaller package and slightly less zoom ratio. It's the reason I forgive Barnie for leaving it out. No reason for two of the same.

That said, I love the Image Quality and in web displayed Jpegs I'm sure it might look as good as an APs-C crop camera, but I promise you when you're working with them, the larger sensored camera has more headroom and is the better image. Don't get me wrong. I love the G12/S95/S100 image. They are wonderful for a point and shoot camera and is the reason I bought it. Just don't get it thinking you will have the same image as a decent DSLR. You'd be dissappointed, especially if you shoot RAW where you're dealing with that headroom.

I only shoot RAW and that is another reason for choosing my S95. I would not consider a camera that couldn't at any price.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Dec 16, 2011)

Don't worry, I will never replace my DSLR with a compact ;). I was just really amazed by the difference with the fuji x10 which has a slightly larger sensor, so you would expect more sharpness.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Walt Bilofsky
By Walt Bilofsky (Dec 16, 2011)

Yes! Canon S100 review or comparison, please!

And I too miss the navigation pulldown (even though geeks can change the page number in the URL).

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

S100 is in stusio comparison tool for already quite a while. I didnt like its IQ compared to S95 at pixel level at 24mm.

0 upvotes
PentaxNick
By PentaxNick (Dec 16, 2011)

I agree that the Ricoh GRD IV should be in here, and probably the GXR. Doesn't the Canon S100 also shoot RAW?

1 upvote
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Dec 16, 2011)

He added the "must have a hotshoe" to exclude it and the S95, but the G12 is so close who cares.

I think there might be an English / American culture thing for some of us. They use the word Roundup in a way we don't and it might be confusing to some. It was to me until I understood it was probably cultural.

To Americans, a Roundup means every single example. It comes from the Cowboy Roundup where all the cowboys came out and gathered all the cattle together for a count,.

I called my Cousin in Guernsey and we talked. He considers a Roundup to be an example of what might be available, not all of them. So when we in the US see Enthusiast Camera Roundup, we wonder why this one or that one wasn't considered and think the whole thing is somehow biased. We just need to remember that different cultures have different ways of expressing things. Think of DPReview's Roundups as being a rough group of examples. Then we won't be concerned when our favorite is missing.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
anthony mazzeri
By anthony mazzeri (Dec 16, 2011)

Guidenet, good explanation, but not so. They are quite specific in saying only six cameras are included and why:

"For the purposes of this roundup, I'm restricting my coverage to those compact cameras which offer full manual control over exposure, are capable of shooting raw files, and have flash/accessory hotshoes. There are six cameras on the market which meet these criteria"

Both the Ricoh GR Digital and GXR S10 meet this criteria, so must be excluded/ignored for some other reason.

1 upvote
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

GXR and Pentax Q are in the league of their own. Good we are not confused comparing them. Pentax Q then what lenses? If GXR then with what module? Then why not Nikon J1 and some cheaper to X10 .. M4/3?? I would say these 6 makes the most sense out of this so called roundup.

1 upvote
anthony mazzeri
By anthony mazzeri (Dec 16, 2011)

Naveed, the GXR S10 is the only enthusiast compact zoom GXR module there is, identical to these others listed. What's confusing?

Why are you trying to introduce interchangeable lens system cameras into a comparison on enthusiast zooms? Only the GXR Mount A12 unit is an interchangeable lens module.

0 upvotes
sphexx
By sphexx (Dec 16, 2011)

I think the reason the Ricoh GRD looks as though it ought to be included but isn't, is that the opening preamble implies that a zoom lens is essential without actually listing it in the criteria

0 upvotes
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Dec 16, 2011)

Anthony, we're not arguing. I just think throwing in the hotshoe criteria unreasonably limited the cameras to some folks, not me. Moreover, I'm not refering to this article in particular, but to the use of "Roundup' and the misunderstandings that word might have between the cultures. I wasn't objecting but more explaining so there might be less people wondering why their camera wasn't listed for whatever reason. The same for future "Roundups."

Everytime the word is used, a lot of people seem to be confused as to why all of whatever it was wasn't included whether accessories or lenses. I was hoping to clear it up. I was confused by the use of that word until I talked to family members in the UK, especially the Channel Islands where my mum was born and where I go around every two years.

Otherwise, Barney did a great job, and I don't mean the otherwise to be contentious. It is a good article and right up my alley. Thanks.

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Dec 16, 2011)

Why expose JPEG incorrectly with a dcam (like G12) that's capable of adjustable fulltime real time live preview of image outcome for:
WB, contrast, saturation, iso (noise), shutter speed, and aperture (dof)???
Meaning, getting the correct JPEG exposure is not just doable, it is right there in your face to either adjust, or ignore?
And only to correct an incorrectly captured image taken by ignoring all of the above options, to 'correct' it after the fact later in RAW???
bizarre...
(ok, i know... 'cos some dcams do not offer such a preview, so making mistakes is a given, and RAW is the usual way to correct for it... yeeesh)
The G12 can be utilized exactly the same way for JPEG as all of its high-end EOS dSLR counterparts (including all pro models with ExpSim LV).
No surprise, JPEGs still favored with a G12 as it would be with 1DIII/IV/1DsIII/5DMkII/7D/50D, etc
i only recently noticed the 60D is even less flexible than G12!!! as it cannot preview WB while adjusting choices 'on the go'.
:\

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
RPJG
By RPJG (Dec 16, 2011)

Someone else made a similar comment here re RAW, and it makes me wonder how often they actually get out and take photos.

It's because you don't always have time to make the required adjustments, especially if you're moving about in changing lighting conditions with spontaneous action around you. In those cases, getting almost *any* shot in RAW means you'll have something to work with later, compared to a possibly-compromised JPEG. But you already know that. So it seems that you're making invalid assumptions, e.g. that everyone takes photos in relatively-static conditions, or that everyone is blindingly quick at correctly changing camera settings, etc.

Given how simple it is to batch-process the RAWs into JPEGs at home, the cost of shooting RAW varies from basically zero to not much, even if you *are* able to correctly set aperture/WB/etc for *every* shot. But when you get that one amazing shot that didn't turn out for some reason, then you'll be grateful you have it in RAW.

Yes?

4 upvotes
KimTeo
By KimTeo (Dec 16, 2011)

Agree with you on the getting the setting correct in the first place. Thinking about exposure, WB, contrast, etc ahead of time is

1. A excellent photographic skill and habit to master.
2. Automatically makes you think of the image you want. This results in a better 'photograph', than simply taking images without thinking.

I accept that this may be different for professional photographers who must produce results every time.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 16, 2011)

Also, bear in mind that something which might look completely fine on the rear LCD, might look a little dull when you see it on a computer screen. I'd rather capture a flat, dull original image with room for 'livening up' in post-capture than a punchier original which might not contain so many tones.

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 16, 2011)

Sometimes you can tell when somebody is a tripod landscape photographer with a whole hour to compose the picture and get it right in camera, as opposed to a real world guy who has to take pictures of kids running from dim compact fluorescent light in the hallway to bright daylight by the window in 5 seconds. I'd like to see some of these "get it right in camera, you fool" people constantly pressing the white balance and ISO buttons on their cameras as they follow the subject, at sporting events yelling "will you football players stand in one place, when you run down the field I can't change the white balance fast enough, dammit!"

There are so many situations where "wait until you get it right in camera" is another way of saying "be a total photo nerd while you miss the shot."

Raw capability can be *more* critical in P&S cameras than in SLRs, simply because P&Ss get pulled out of the pocket in non-ideal shooting conditions. I'd sure rather try to recover a raw than a JPEG.

5 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

Well sometime .. you want good photo with JPEG .. but sometime you want a bad photo, because you want it. RAW will give you all the options to do good or bad with your photos at later stage and with more headroom to exposure.
This should not be stopping you taking your perfect photo, though, with all the available in camera tools, histogram etc while shooting RAW.

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 16, 2011)

Right. The reason I own a raw P&S is that if I have the time to get it right in camera, I have the manual controls I need, and if I don't have the time, I have maximum opportunity to fix it later. Win win.

1 upvote
perry rhodan
By perry rhodan (Dec 17, 2011)

Baffled! That's what I am. Entirely sorry piece of bandwith pollution this round up.

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
ELLIOT P STERN
By ELLIOT P STERN (Dec 16, 2011)

I am not sure I understand why Ricoh never makes to a dpreview group. Does it have something to do with favortism. I would take a GXR over a Nikon V1 or Canon G12, Samsung As a matter of fact GRDIV will give them a run for the money.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 16, 2011)

The GRD-IV will be covered in a future article, but please appreciate the difficulties of testing, and meaningfully assessing, a camera with a fixed, wideangle lens next to long and medium-range zooms. We have to keep things relevant.

5 upvotes
Pangloss
By Pangloss (Dec 15, 2011)

Neat writeup and I agree 100% that this segment is particularly competitive. There certainly are enough different cameras to suit different tastes and styles of photography at different price points. Good for us, consumers.
BTW I bought an LX3 more than 2 years ago and still enjoy using it, particularly for the bright, 24mm wide end of its Leica branded zoom. Panasonic is rumoured to be working on the LX5 successor to be released in 2012 and at the time I will look again at what the competition offers.

1 upvote
Prognathous
By Prognathous (Dec 15, 2011)

I'd take Ricoh's GXR/S10 over all of these cameras, mostly for user interface, ergonomics, tele-macro and scalability for different needs (via front mounted converters and lensor modules).

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Dec 16, 2011)

It's a rather different market - being a lot more expensive. But I agree with you entirely about the user interface - I'm not alone in the office in thinking it's probably the best designed for enthusiast shooting on an LCD-based camera.

2 upvotes
sedentary_male
By sedentary_male (Dec 16, 2011)

Richard, was the GRDIV too late to be included ??

0 upvotes
hongkongprof
By hongkongprof (Dec 16, 2011)

I agree, the GXR with S10 should have been in this list. Features and performance fit the range, and price as well. Expandability is icing on the cake.

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Dec 16, 2011)

Ricoh are good, and may be even better for many reasons, but they are simply not in that league .. come on guys, whats so difficult to understand.

1 upvote
anthony mazzeri
By anthony mazzeri (Dec 16, 2011)

"It's a rather different market - being a lot more expensive."

According to your own Amazon pricing, it's actually cheaper:
GXR + S10 kit = $579.00
Fujilm X10 = $599.95

1 upvote
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Dec 15, 2011)

"but the P7100's glacial raw write times and laggy menu system could be genuine show-stoppers."

should that be 'P7000'?

1 upvote
Pangloss
By Pangloss (Dec 16, 2011)

Yes, that seems to be a small typo that escaped editing.

0 upvotes
Scott Everett
By Scott Everett (Dec 16, 2011)

Thanks for the catch, we've updated the page. :)

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 16, 2011)

Thanks guys (and Scott for the fix).

0 upvotes
WT21
By WT21 (Dec 15, 2011)

I'm in a hotel with a slowish bandwidth connection. Can't say I appreciate the missing page nav drop-down. I have to go page-by-page to get to the conclusion. Yuck.

1 upvote
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Dec 15, 2011)

Click on Next page link to get onto the second page, notice the '2' at the end of the URL, replace it with '6' and skip pages 3-5.

1 upvote
Graystar
By Graystar (Dec 15, 2011)

Click on "Print view" at the bottom of the content, just before the comments. You get it all on one nice looking page.

1 upvote
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (Dec 16, 2011)

Agree fully! Why should we need to hack URLs in this day and age, to get to the last page?!

Definitely made DPReview less of a favourite of mine, as I normally read the conclusions first, and work backward!

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
1 upvote
WT21
By WT21 (Dec 16, 2011)

I agree with all three posts! Thanks for the helps, but I still do like the old drop-down navi from the old review format. But thanks for the workarounds!

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Dec 16, 2011)

this isn't a review... but we are working on a drop-down navigation system for our articles.

1 upvote
Sgt_Strider
By Sgt_Strider (Dec 16, 2011)

Is Dpreview still going to review the Fujifilm X10 after posting this guide?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 16, 2011)

Yes, it's on the list for early 2012.

1 upvote
abijake
By abijake (Dec 16, 2011)

Why no sigma DP? Why no Samsung? Why no Leica ? You have omiited some of the best compacts

0 upvotes
lolopasstrail
By lolopasstrail (Dec 17, 2011)

Sorry for the aside, but after reviewing and trying to catch up, I have a couple questions:

1) When did fast lenses start being called 'bright' lenses? Wasn't 'fast' a good enough photographic word for 150 years?

2) Why is the word 'raw' so frequently capitalized in these discussions as "RAW?'

Thanks,

0 upvotes
Total comments: 286
12