Dpreview Recommends: Top 5 Compact Cameras

'What camera should I buy?' That's a question we get asked a lot here at dpreview, and it's a tough one to answer. We use a lot of cameras, from simple point-and-shoot models to professional workhorses, and everything in-between. We review as many of the interesting models as we can, but we can't cover everything, and our reviews are spread out across the year, which can make it hard for you to make buying decisions.

In this short article, we've selected five of what we think are the best zoom compacts on the market right now, spanning the market from point-and-shoots to Raw-capturing high-end cameras. By 'zoom compact camera', we mean cameras with non-interchangeable zoom lenses, regardless of size. Of our top 5 selection we've summarized their major strengths, with links to previously-published content, including samples galleries. Here are the cameras we've selected (in alphabetical order). You can click to go directly to the camera you want to read about or just start at the top:

Canon PowerShot G15

$499 / £499

Canon's PowerShot G-series is one of the most iconic lines of digital compact cameras, with the original G1 having debuted back in September 2000. The latest model, the G15, features a 28-140mm zoom with a fast maximum aperture of F1.8-2.8 mated with a Canon-made 12.1MP 1/1.7"-type CMOS sensor. The G15 features an ISO range of 80 to 12,800 and full HD movie recording at a frame-rate of 24 fps, with stereo sound from the built-in microphones.

Canon PowerShot G15 key features

  • 12 megapixel 1/1.7" CMOS sensor (7.4 x 5.6mm)
  • 28-140mm (equivalent) F1.8-2.8 lens with 4-stop 'Intelligent IS'
  • 3 in, 920k dot PureColor II G screen
  • ISO 80-12800
  • Raw + Raw+JPEG capture
  • 1080p video recording
  • Optical viewfinder

In our testing, we found that the G15's long but impressively bright lens is a real selling point compared to both its predecessor, and indeed most of its competitors. Having a maximum aperture of F1.8-2.8 combined with a useful 28-140mm (equivalent) zoom means that you've got a lot more flexibility in poor light, allowing you to set either a lower ISO sensitivity for cleaner images, or a faster shutter speed to avoid camera-shake or blurring due to subject movement.

The Canon PowerShot G15 offers an abundance of external controls, and an unusually fast lens, with a maximum aperture of F1.8-2.8 across its 28-140mm (equivalent) zoom.  Unlike its predecessor the G12, and some competitive models, the G15's rear display is fixed, not articulated. This makes for a smaller camera than the G12, despite the faster lens.

In other respects, the G15 is a very solid performer, firmly in the G-Series tradition. This latest model is fast and responsive in use, offers about as much direct manual control as you could hope for, but isn't as bulky as previous G-series compacts. This is partly due to Canon's decision to go with a fixed LCD screen on the rear of the camera, rather than an articulated model. This makes the G15 less flexible when shooting from awkward angles, and when shooting movies, but the increased portability compared to earlier models, and competitors such as Nikon's Coolpix P7700 is very welcome. 

As far as image quality is concerned, the G15 doesn't disappoint. Detail capture is high at the low end of its ISO sensitivity scale, and its 28-140mm lens is excellent, aided by a very effective image stabilization system that we've found can deliver sharp images at shutter speeds as low as 1/15sec at full zoom. The G15 gets noisier at its higher ISO settings but even at ISO 3200 and 6400, image quality is good enough for small prints or web use, and for critical use, shooting in Raw mode will allow you to get the most out of the camera. All in all, the G15 is a great performer and a pleasure to use. The G15 is highly recommended for anyone that needs a general-purpose compact with lots of manual control that can deliver great quality images. 

What we like: Excellent 'hands-on' ergonomics in a small, relatively portable body, optical viewfinder can be handy on occasion, very nice image quality, good, responsive operation. 

What we don't like: We miss the G12's articulated screen, and the lack of any meaningful manual control in video mode will frustrate budding filmmakers. 

Links

Olympus XZ-2

$599 / £423

The Olympus XZ-2 is the successor to 2011's XZ-1 and offers a lot of improvements. The XZ-2 incorporates a more modern 12MP CMOS sensor, a screw-in hand grip, tilting touch-screen and a two-mode control dial around the lens. Although the XZ-2 features the same lens as its predecessor, the 28-112mm equivalent range is useful and the F1.8-2.5 maximum aperture is still impressively fast, promising greater versatility in marginal light than some of is competitors. 

Olympus XZ-2 key features

  • 12.1 megapixel 1/1.7" BSI CMOS sensor (7.4 x 5.6mm)
  • 4x 28-112mm (equivalent) F1.8-2.5 lens
  • ISO 100-12800
  • 3.0 in, 920k dot LCD screen
  • JPEG, Raw, Raw+JPEG capture
  • 1080p video recording 
  • Customizable stepped/stepless front control dial
We haven't tested the XZ-2 yet, but we've been using it a lot since it arrived in our office, and in an incredibly busy year for new products, it's one of the cameras that we've been getting most excited about. The XZ-1 was a great camera that earned our gold award when we reviewed it in early 2011, thanks to its excellent lens, high-quality display, effective ergonomics and good image quality. The XZ-2 improves upon the older model in several key ways, and incorporates a lot of the same customization options that we've seen in Olympus' PEN-series interchangeable lens cameras, but leaves the essentials alone. This is the best kind of upgrade.
The XZ-2 is reasonably large for a compact camera, but an optional screw-in grip provides a nice solid hand hold. The control dial around the lens is customizable.  The rear of the XZ-2 is dominated by a 3 in, 920,000-dot LCD screen. In this view you can also see the mechanical catch for the XZ-2's small built-in flash. 
Whereas the XZ-1 offered 10MP resolution from a CCD chip, the XZ-2 is built around a 12MP CMOS sensor. Not a huge boost in pixel count, but with the new sensor comes 1080p video, and a wider ISO sensitivity range (up to ISO 12,800). This is probably the same sensor that Nikon uses in its Coolpix P7700. In terms of ergonomics, the XZ-2 has the same dual control-dial interface to its predecessor, but the front control dial can be customized, and boasts a mechanical switch to go between stepped rotation (ideal for inputting exposure changes) and stepless rotation (much nicer for zooming or manual focus). The XZ-2 doesn't offer the OLED display of its predecessor, but its 920,000-dot LCD is one of the best in its class, and now it's tiltable, too.  
 
Although we haven't been able to run the XZ-2 through the full gamut of our studio and real-world testing yet, our initial impressions are very positive, both in terms of image quality and operational ergonomics. As such, we have no hesitation in recommending the XZ-2 if you're looking for a high-quality compact camera.

What we like: Fast lens, proven 12MP CMOS sensor, excellent ergonomics including extensive customization, good image quality (on initial assessment). 

What we don't like: It's too early to make a definitive judgement, but the XZ-2's lens range isn't as wide as some of its competitors, and it's a little pricey.

Links

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

$549 / £439

The 12MP Lumix DMC-FZ200 is Panasonic's flagship super-zoom compact digital camera and features a lens with an F2.8 maximum aperture across its entire zoom range of 25-600mm (equivalent). Last year's DMC-FZ150 (which we liked a lot) had an F2.8 - F5.2 lens, so the lens on the FZ200 is a huge improvement, and the extra brightness should make a real difference at long focal lengths and/or in poor light, allowing you to shoot at lower, less noisy ISO settings.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 key features

  • 12.1 megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor
  • 24x 25-600mm (equivalent) lens with F2.8 across the zoom range
  • 0.2 in EVF (Electronic View Finder) with 1,312k dot equivalent resolution
  • 3.0 in, free-angle 460k dot LCD screen
  • ISO 100-6400
  • RAW and RAW+JPEG data recording option
  • High Speed Video at 120 fps (HD) or 240 fps (VGA)
  • 1080 60p video recording in AVCHD or MP4 formats
  • 12 fps continuous shooting

Its constant F2.8 aperture makes the FZ200 stand out in its class, especially when it comes to versatility in poor light, or when shooting at the long end of the zoom. That large aperture allows it to offer faster shutter speeds at the same ISO settings as its peers, or use lower sensitivities at the same shutter speeds as the competition. In our testing, we found that in everyday outdoor shooting, the extra brightness of its lens meant that we rarely needed to select the FZ200's highest ISO sensitivity settings.

The FZ200's built-in lens covers an equivalent focal span of 25-600mm, with a maximum aperture of F2.8 across the entire range. 

The FZ200 features a built-in electronic viewfinder, above which are a hotshoe for external flashguns, and a stereo microphone. On the right you'll find an exposure mode dial. 

This is good news because although the FZ200's image quality is very good at the low end of its ISO sensitivity scale, things get pretty nasty above ISO 1600, as noise really kicks in and the camera's noise-reduction system smears away fine detail more than we'd like. As always though, if you stick to small prints or web display, these issues are much less noticeable. If you're critically-inclined, the FZ200 offers a Raw capture mode - still relatively unusual for this class. Shooting in Raw can make a lot of difference and careful processing will reward you with excellent image quality, particularly between ISO 100-400.

As well as offering impressive brightness, the FZ200's 25-600mm lens also offers very good sharpness. Considering the large maximum aperture and ambitious zoom range, we had no complaints about the FZ200's lens for everyday use. There are cameras out there with longer lenses (Nikon's Coolpix P510 is great value, also offers very good image quality and boasts an extraordinary maximum telephoto setting of 1000mm equivalent) but in terms of its feature set, versatility and overall performance, the FZ200 is one of the best super-zooms we've ever used, and highly recommended for anyone that needs the ultimate in flexibility - especially when traveling. 

What we like: Fast, high-quality F2.8 lens, well thought-out ergonomics for still and video shooting, effective image stabilization, good image quality in JPEG mode and the option to shoot Raw for best results. 

What we don't like: Image quality drops above ISO 800 in both JPEG and Raw, and ISO 6400 is unusable for all but the least demanding output, some operations can be a little 'laggy', no automatic LCD/EVF switch.

Links

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 / TZ30

$249 / £229

Panasonic was the manufacturer that defined what we now call the 'travel zoom' segment of the compact camera market, and its latest flagship model, the ZS20 (TZ30 in some markets) is the most advanced yet. The ZS20 offers a 20x zoom lens, covering the equivalent of 24-480mm, built-in GPS and a new 14MP MOS sensor that allows for features like high-speed 10fps burst shooting and 1080p60 video recording. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 / TZ30 key features

  • 14.1 megapixel MOS sensor
  • 20x 24-480mm (equivalent) F3.3-6.4 lens
  • 3 in 460k dot LCD screen
  • ISO 100-1600
  • 1080 60p video recording in AVCHD or MP4 formats
  • 10 fps continuous shooting (for burst of 10 images)
  • Built-in GPS

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 packs in some great features, foremost among which is undoubtedly its 24-480mm (equivalent) zoom lens, which is Panasonic's most ambitious lens yet in the ZS/TZ series. For traveling or just everyday point-and-shoot photography, the ZS20 is hard to beat in terms of sheer versatility. If you're shooting a wedding, we wouldn't recommend relying on the ZS20 as your only camera, but for grab shots, the ability to quickly re-frame from 24mm to 480mm is extremely useful, especially in a camera that can slip into your jacket or pants pocket. 

The ZS20 is a slim travel-zoom camera which features a 24-480mm (equivalent) zoom lens and built-in GPS.  On the back you'll find a 3 inch LCD display with 460,000 dots and a small cluster of buttons. 

When we used the ZS20 we were impressed by its adaptability, but also by the effectiveness of features like its built-in GPS. While most GPS-equipped cameras just log your location, Panasonic also offers a built-in database of a million landmarks, plus maps of ninety countries. It can even show you where you are on the map, though they're not nearly detailed enough for navigation. If you don't need GPS though, you should turn it off - it will reduce battery life. The ZS20 is also capable of recording excellent video footage, up to 1080/60p, which is still relatively unusual in cameras in this class, although in video mode, the ZS20 is effectively a point-and-shoot camera.

Speaking of which, we like Panasonic's iAuto mode a lot. If you have no idea how to operate a camera, just set the mode dial to iA mode, and the camera will do the rest. The ZS20 has a limited set of manual exposure controls as well, but lacks the option to shoot in Raw mode, bracket white balance or focus manually.

The main strengths of the ZS20 then are its versatility and ease of use. Image quality is decent, but not outstanding. If you'd prefer better images, with fewer bells and whistles, the ZS20's 'younger brother' the ZS15, is worth a look. 

What we like: Great zoom range, responsive operation, excellent iAuto mode gets the most out of point-and-shoot photography, useful 10fps burst mode, very good built-in GPS.

What we don't like: Average image quality, limited manual control, relatively low-resolution LCD screen (by the standards of the best of its competitors).

Links

Sony Cyber-shot RX100

$649 / £443

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is an enthusiast compact camera based around a large 1" 20 MP CMOS sensor, paired with  a Zeiss-branded 28-100mm equivalent F1.8-4.9 stabilized lens. The rest of its specification is pretty impressive too - a 1.2 million dot 3.0" LCD (VGA resolution but using Sony's WhiteMagic technology to offer greater brightness or improved battery life), and 1080p60 video capture or 1080i with the ability to shoot 17MP stills without interrupting movie recording. All of this in a body of roughly equivalent size to more conventional compact cameras with much smaller sensors. 

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 key features:

  • 20.9 MP 1" Exmor CMOS sensor (13.2 x 8.8mm)
  • 28-100mm (equiv), F1.8-4.9 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with Steady-Shot image stabilization
  • 3" 1.2M dot 'WhiteMagic' LCD screen
  • ISO 125-6400 (ISO 80 and 100 expansion, up to 25,600 using multi-frame noise-reduction)
  • JPEG, Raw, Raw+JPEG capture 
  • 1080p60 video, (AVCHD) with MP4 option (50p in PAL regions)
  • 10 fps continuous shooting in 'Speed Priority' mode

The RX100 is a very impressive compact camera, partly just because of the amount of technology that Sony has squeezed into it. The RX100's sensor has twice the surface area of the 2/3" EXR sensor inside the Fujifilm X10, and around three times the surface area of the 1/1.7" sensors in most other high-end compacts. The RX100 offers excellent image quality which is a step above its compact competitors in most situations, from bright sunlight to the subdued environment of a bar or concert venue. The only camera which really tops it in terms of critical image quality is Canon's PowerShot G1 X with its even-larger 1.5" sensor, but the bulky, more expensive Canon is also slower, and in some respects less pleasant to use. 

Despite its large 1" (13.2 x 8.8mm) sensor, the RX100 is roughly the same size as many of its small-sensored competitors. A control dial around the lens can be customized. The rear of the RX100 is home to the majority of the control points, including a direct movie shooting button and a control dial to the right of the 3" 1.2 million dot 'WhiteMagic' LCD display.

As well as solid image quality for still photographs, the RX100's video specification is very impressive, and its performance is excellent. 1080/60p video recording is still pretty unusual in compact cameras and resolution is very high, and footage very smooth. Unlike some of its competitors, the RX100 also offers a useful amount of manual control in video mode. 

On the whole, the RX100 is a pleasure to use, too, thanks to its generous external controls and customizable Fn menu, which provides quick access to up to seven shooting parameters. Its front control dial is unusual - it moves smoothly, making it ideal for zooming or manual focus (but much less fun if you want to use it for setting discrete exposure parameters like aperture, shutter speed or exposure compensation).

The RX100 isn't perfect, but we're impressed by it not only as a feat of engineering, but also by its overall performance. The larger sensor really does make a difference, placing this camera at the top of the class when it comes to image quality, and making it worth the price premium compared to some of its competitors.

What we like: Excellent image quality, small, portable body, good, fast lens (at the wide end), excellent video specification and performance.

What we don't like: USB charging, front control dial isn't great for setting discrete exposure parameters, flash exposures aren't completely reliable, image on rear LCD can be hard to see in bright light, lag when magnifying images in playback mode is frustrating.  

Links

Comments

Total comments: 582
1234
GMart
By GMart (Nov 23, 2012)

Some of these are far from Compact!!!

7 upvotes
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

So stupid it's actually infuriating.

I have no idea how the moderators have put up with you people for as long as they have. I would have had a psychotic break years ago.

I would totally understand if they just ignored the comments section for their own sanity.

1 upvote
GMart
By GMart (Nov 23, 2012)

APC-S Size Sensor...Compact Camera????
Now shut up please.

0 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Nov 23, 2012)

It sounds like you ARE having a psychotic break .... Chill out friend... it's just a discussion / opinion forum - No ones life is at stake here. A lot of comments..mine included are tongue in cheek. I think the mods know this. :)

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

Nightwings, no rational person could possibly speed coherently when surrounded by this level of incompetence.

Instead of thanking me for giving me sound information, you do this?

On one hand, I don't want to be too hard on you because you have a long posting history.

On the other hand, you're spreading misinformation, and you should be more careful.

GMart, there are no APC-S sized sensors here. The biggest is the 1" on the Sony. They are in fact all classed as compacts.

Get it now?

1 upvote
Joas Souza
By Joas Souza (Nov 23, 2012)

What's wrong with the Canon G1X??? Why it is not on this list?!?!

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Nov 26, 2012)

The word "Compact" has a list of definitions and uses. Just because the list does not match the one you picked does not mean it does not match another.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Nov 29, 2012)

"What's wrong with the Canon G1X??? Why it is not on this list?!?!"

Slow AF, slow fps, large and heavy, price (you can have very good mirrorless and SLR cams at this price and weight).

0 upvotes
iTrax
By iTrax (Nov 23, 2012)

...and where is the Pentax X-5?
I am getting one to complement my K-5,K-30 and the Q,
it feels like small DSLR and can use AA batteries!

2 upvotes
DC Alford
By DC Alford (Nov 23, 2012)

I am disappointed to see that the Panasonic LX7 didn't make the list.

6 upvotes
grafli
By grafli (Nov 23, 2012)

they allready have 2 Panasonics... thats why.
It would feel like a conspiracy... ;-)

3 upvotes
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

I hope they remove the 1/1.7 sensor from their list of best compacts next year.

It's clearly been surpassed by the 1" sensor on the RX100, so I hope that the other manufacturers will try to compete with this next year.

4 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Nov 23, 2012)

I think that makes more sense as a compact than the FZ200, but maybe they thought it too similar in design/specs to the Olympus model.

0 upvotes
joharis
By joharis (Nov 23, 2012)

Why does DPR miss the articulated screen only on the G15 and not on the other cameras? Only the FZ200 has an articulated screen and that is not considered a compact camera, according to a lot of the comments.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Nov 29, 2012)

XZ-2 has tilting screen, sometimes more useful than fully articulated. Previous Canon G cams had articulated screens, which only was dropped in G15. It's main competitor (P7700) has articulated screen.

0 upvotes
Dafffid
By Dafffid (Nov 23, 2012)

As an owner/former owner of an G6, G10, S90, S95, LX5 and a few I've forgotten... I have to say my XZ-1 is the best camera I've ever owned. It's not just the beauty and ease of the design, (it's far more fun to use than my 5D II) nor the speed of the lens - it's the quality of the lens.

I looked at the RX100, but aside from the high price and the lack of viewfinder option, the lens quality at the edges was significantly inferior compared to the XZ - as DPreview's test shots demonstrate all too readily. So I'm delighted that the XZ-2 stuck with a class leading lens, rather than trying for headline figures but poorer optics.

The LX7 looks tempting and should be on this list, but I see no reason to upgrade for another generation of upgrades yet. Noise and lens length and speed are not the whole story, not by a long shot.

2 upvotes
xaan
By xaan (Nov 23, 2012)

DPR, it's time to add EURO € prices, for all those EUROPEAN readers of yours!

12 upvotes
Carlos AF Costa
By Carlos AF Costa (Nov 23, 2012)

I AGREE

2 upvotes
cfh25
By cfh25 (Nov 23, 2012)

But prices from which European country?

1 upvote
xaan
By xaan (Nov 23, 2012)

Well, simply use recommended EU prices by manufacturer. Why use £ and not €, while a entire continent use €???

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 23, 2012)

Because manufacturer recommended pricing isn't always very useful once the camera hits the streets...

0 upvotes
xaan
By xaan (Nov 23, 2012)

Agree, but the need for EU prices persists. And apparently to many readers.

1 upvote
Steve
By Steve (Nov 23, 2012)

fz200 compact, lol..
its as large and heavy as an entry level slr.. i was so excited to see it in the list, as my wife found her d40 too heavy and a bit too large... after checking the specs, i see the fz200 is actually heavier and a bit larger...

7 upvotes
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

Yes, for the love of God people, it's considered a compact.

Enough already!

3 upvotes
Steve
By Steve (Nov 23, 2012)

you bring up an important point... i think the term 'compact' is now as fuzzy as a 'real' compact camera image at ISO 400.
as a matter of fact, many years ago, a compact camera was termed as such for camera more compact in size than an slr.. it had nothing to do lenses or sensors... when did the idea of compact change ?
and by the way, i am proud of my '6 likes' and i'd like to thank you for not dissing my posse. ;)

enough already ?.. EVERY best-of list in history generates a volume of 'what about' comments. its to be expected. have a great week end Beach Bum !

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Nov 23, 2012)

Uhmmm.. I'd hardly call the FZ200 "Compact Zoom" ... infact, it isn't even in the same class as any of these other cams. Aren't you folks always chirping in when people complain about your scoring system.....to rebut them citing that you like to rate cams within their own classes? (cough) :)

12 upvotes
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

Sigh.

Who keeps hitting the like button on people clearly confused about basic terminology? Perhaps there should be some kind of aptitude test before people get posting privileges.

Yes, all small sensor, fixed lens cameras (including bridge cameras) are considered compacts. It's just basic terminology and it's not influenced by the size of the camera.

Get it now?

5 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Nov 23, 2012)

@Beach
Perhaps reading comprehension should be a prerequisite before people get posting privileges as well.

The title says: "Top 5 Compact Cameras"

Guess what Mr. Beach ... the J1 ... is a "Compact Camera" .. is it not? It too has a "small" sensor ...does it not? More compact than an FZ200... Certainly .. it's MUCH more "compact" than my D7000 ... is it not? You can inject/invent any descriptor/interpretation you want... and I'll do the same. :)

Get it now?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (Nov 23, 2012)

I suppose in comparison with an EOS 5D mark whatever with a 500m f4 lens, yes it is compact.

:-)

0 upvotes
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

Nightwings, I don't want to single you out, but re-read my post please.

I said "fixed lens" small sensor camera. The J1 is an ILC, so not a compact.

Now, I'd like to address the moderators. This review has made it abundantly clear how the "like" button can never work. Look at how it's being abused here.

Clearly nonsensical posts are getting praise when they should be getting thumbs down. Clearly the average person here isn't mature enough to use this properly. While I don't favor heavy moderation, I think the like button should be taken away.

Please consider it because it's doing this forum a disservice.

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 23, 2012)

I've now edited the introduction to make our definition of 'compact camera' blindingly obvious.

0 upvotes
Greg Gebhardt
By Greg Gebhardt (Nov 23, 2012)

I think the G1X should have made the list along with the "M" but it would be hard to only pick 5 as many new cameras have been introduced. The camera makers are, at last, giving us what we want!

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Nov 23, 2012)

well the DMC-FZ200 comes not close to being a compact at all... so the G1X or the GX1 with a pancake would fit better in this list.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Carlos AF Costa
By Carlos AF Costa (Nov 23, 2012)

G1X definitely

0 upvotes
dormcat
By dormcat (Nov 23, 2012)

What I don't understand is why DPR keep using vector schematic graphs of Sony RX100 instead of using photographs of an actual model.

0 upvotes
thewhitehawk
By thewhitehawk (Nov 23, 2012)

Maybe because those schemes perfectly illustrate the controls of the camera in a clear way?

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Nov 23, 2012)

The main image of the RX100 used here is our own photograph of an actual camera. The two smaller images are product shots supplied by Sony, so you should probably ask them why they provide images of this type.

We've followed exactly the same template for all of the cameras in this article, aside from the XZ-2 (for which all of the images were supplied by Olympus).

1 upvote
dormcat
By dormcat (Nov 23, 2012)

@thewhitehawk: A photo of an actual model can illustrate controls just as clear as a vector graph; see the photo of top controls of FZ200.

@Andy Westlake: Is there an agreement or contract of some kind forbidding DPM to take shots of top plate and back panel of RX100, giving the fact that you've taken one of its front side already?

For the record, I just noticed the top plate of ZS20 is also a vector graph, only more polished (thus more realistic) than that of RX100.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Nov 23, 2012)

@dormcat: None whatsoever - indeed if you go so far as to look at our RX100 review, you'll see that the the photos of the camera in there are our own. But in this particular article we've used some product images that manufacturers have provided us.

In the case of the RX100, they're the same images as Sony uses on its own website. These are an accurate representation of the product, as far as Sony is concerned, so I'm not sure what the problem is.

1 upvote
rickysio
By rickysio (Nov 23, 2012)

No Nikon P7700?

10 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Nov 23, 2012)

it´s about good cameras....

9 upvotes
carlos roncatti
By carlos roncatti (Nov 23, 2012)

Henry, the P7700 beats the G15 in every single review on the web...dcresource, cameralabs...

1 upvote
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Nov 23, 2012)

i don´t find a P7700 review on camerlabs.
and on dcresource.com the p7700 review is in progress....

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/cameraDetail.php?cam=1899

so what exactly you are talking about?

but anyway.. it´s nikon... bbaahhh.... ;)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Greg Gebhardt
By Greg Gebhardt (Nov 23, 2012)

I found the focusing on the P7700 to be horrible while they are saying the G15 is quite good. Focusing counts!

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Nov 23, 2012)

exactly greg!

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
1 upvote
carlos roncatti
By carlos roncatti (Nov 23, 2012)

henry, you have samples from both cameras at these websites, the same ones, same scene, everything....the lens from the P7700 is just so much better...
from a forum thread:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3335256

1 upvote
toto435
By toto435 (Nov 25, 2012)

The P7700 just add a ULTRA STRONG sharpening on its jpeg images.
And its high ISO (>ISO200) performances are really poor in comparison...
And don't look to RAW, it is worse...
Greenish color cast on ISO400 and more...

Need more downside of the P7700 ?

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
carlos roncatti
By carlos roncatti (Nov 26, 2012)

I've looked at the raws and they are just much better...than all others...

0 upvotes
Zigadiboom
By Zigadiboom (Nov 23, 2012)

Good list but I would have picked the Canon SX260HS over the Panasonic ZS20.

The ZS20 may well be a feature packed attractive looking camera but its image quality is below the SX260HS and is simply not good enough to make it into this Top 5 list. It is rather interesting considering that Dpreview themselves have rated the SX260HS higher than the ZS20.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

Actually, the ZS20 is a much better camera from my experience. DPReview was spot on here.

First thing I'll mention is the vastly superior autofocus of the Panny. The Canon is a focus hunting machine, especially at tele. And many times it even fails to lock on. This is Canon's first failing.

The second thing is the ZS20 has much, much better video quality at 1080/60p. The SX260 is less sharp, has 24p, and the aforementioned focus hunting problem.

The third thing is the ZS20 has the better lens at the tele end. It produces sharper and more detailed results at max zoom.

The SX260's advantage is that it's very slightly better in low light and maybe a little less noisy. Hardly enough to make up for its shortcomings, and Canon needs to work on it.

If there were one that could supplant the Panny for image and video quality, it would be the Sony HX20V. But the Panny is cheaper and operationally quicker and better, so it's a toss up for me.

But, IMO, the SX260 is in a solid third.

5 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Nov 23, 2012)

I have SX260HS and am very disappointed at this cam's inability to handle flare. When doing video one does not have (and in a way one does not want to have) control of the scene because of a poor flare rejection, and the flare bit me more than once. It was this experience that led me to bitch about it and to have dpr do a simple flare test on all fixed lens cameras (over, say, $300).

I now treat all fixed lens cams -- compact or not -- with suspicion, even prejudice, including the ones winning awards or placed in "select groups."

The only good thing about SX260HS is a great sound pickup.

Merry Christmas

1 upvote
Edgar Matias
By Edgar Matias (Nov 23, 2012)

Great cameras all, but I don't see how the FZ200 could be considered a compact camera. It's the size of a DSLR.

4 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (Nov 23, 2012)

Compact in a sense that it's not an interchangeable lens camera.
That's what 'compact' really means for digital cameras.
Compact =/= pocketable.

0 upvotes
Greynerd
By Greynerd (Nov 23, 2012)

@neo_nights. I have a Canon SX40 which is a similar size and I could not fit it into any pocket of any clothing I have. In fact a GF3 with the 14-42X lens or a Nikon V1 would be easier to put in a pocket and that has an interchangeable lens. Not following yours or DPR's logic I am afraid in describing this great lump of a camera as compact.

2 upvotes
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (Nov 23, 2012)

And I don't quite understand why the P510 was mentioned as an alternative to the FZ200, but not the SX50. The FZ200 has a faster lens and a better EVF than the SX50, but the SX50 sensor is probably a bit better, and the SX50 has a 24-1200mm (equivalent) zoom while the FZ200 lens 'only' is 25-600mm.

0 upvotes
aris14
By aris14 (Nov 23, 2012)

Pity... Just an alibi... to catch up the complaints for non tested these cams...

0 upvotes
keith james taylor
By keith james taylor (Nov 23, 2012)

christmas we all tax payers to help amazon

1 upvote
jon404
By jon404 (Nov 23, 2012)

And the winner is?

Can't you guys loosen up a bit, and pick a winner like Car and Driver does in their multi-car reviews?

1 upvote
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Nov 23, 2012)

maybe nobody paid them enough or invited them to south africa for testing.. as it is with car tests usually.

1 upvote
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

Actually, I don't think they should pick a winner because most of these cameras are in entirely different classes.

IMO, that was the whole point, picking the best camera in each class.

There may be some overlap, but the general categories are:

1. Bridge camera (FZ200)
2. Travel zoom (ZS20)
3. RX100 (in its own category)
4. Enthusiast compact with viewfinder and longer optical zoom (G15)
5. Smaller enthusiast compact (XZ-2)

8 upvotes
Shara90
By Shara90 (Nov 23, 2012)

i'm attend xz2 in Italy..dont available..

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Nov 23, 2012)

Google translate non è tutto ciò che dovrebbe essere, è ...

( that's too bad, XZ-2 is a nice one. try amazon.it )

0 upvotes
wootpile
By wootpile (Nov 23, 2012)

lol once again Dpreview drops the ball and no wonder the site is loosing the respect position it had.
Why on earth would you include de DMC-FZ200 in a best compact roundup? I think everyone in the right mind can easily see that it is not a "compact". As it is, the Pana superzoom is taking up 20% of the available slots... which could have been suitable for Nikon p7700 or Samsungs fast lens EX2F..

It is a shame that we can no longer trust Dpreview since they will only highlight products that will be bestsellers on their owner Amazon.

The respect you had has gone with the partiality. Add to that the smirky comments the staff keep using to defend their actions.

17 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Nov 23, 2012)

Huh? Superzoom cameras have always counted as 'compacts'. The term doesn't mean that the camera is small, just that it has a non-removable lens.

15 upvotes
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

LOL. Please learn the terminology.

Two more thumbs up for a ridiculous post. Once again proving that the like button is absolutely pointless.

1 upvote
Ryan Williams
By Ryan Williams (Nov 23, 2012)

It's a bit of a push, it's described as a bridge camera by most retailers and even Panasonic. That said, the photos are probably misleading due to its shape (an issue the Pentax Q shares) — it's a lot smaller than it looks.

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Nov 23, 2012)

It's certainly a lot smaller than an SLR with a 25-600mm-equivalent lens.

2 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Nov 23, 2012)

Exactly Andy, I guess some peeps ought to be asking Santa for a little common sense come this Christmas eh? ;)

C

1 upvote
Motorcycleboy1991
By Motorcycleboy1991 (Nov 23, 2012)

"loosing the respect"

Guess where you lost mine?

0 upvotes
GeorgeZ
By GeorgeZ (Nov 23, 2012)

You've got so many cameras to review and now we get a summary of old reviews?
I guess it makes amazon happy in light of the upcoming Christmas season but if it makes your readers happy?

5 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Nov 23, 2012)

Why the heck not. Without a summary how would you know what review even to open. This helps people. But apparently you already know everything best, so why do you even need dpreview to hold your hand judging cameras. Make up your own darn mind. Also, what did santa ever do to you ? Amazon ships to northpole too in this season don't you know.

3 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Nov 23, 2012)

A summary that probably took one person about an hour of solid work time to finish, v.s. the hours upon hours it takes to complete just one review.

Ask for your money back.

C

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Nov 23, 2012)

1. Canon GX1

2. Canon EOS-M

3. Panasonic Lumix FT-4

4. Leica M

5. Sony RX 100 (agree with DPR on this one)

.

1 upvote
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

Wow!

Someone actually thumbed up this post. Some of these cameras aren't even compact zoom cameras. And the Panasonic FT4, while okay for its class, would be best compared to other rugged cameras.

I guess it's better not to be thumbed up.

9 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Nov 23, 2012)

Guess he's being sarcastic about dpreview's choices. I'm not fond of the choices either, but some serious alternatives might be more helpful. The XZ-2 and RX100 are nice tho.

0 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (Nov 23, 2012)

You have many European customers on this site. So price in Euro would be nice too (or do the differ too much per country?).

5 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Nov 23, 2012)

i would say they have way more viewer in europe outside the UK then in the UK.

1 upvote
tt321
By tt321 (Nov 23, 2012)

but dpr was started in the UK so is retaining some of its original flavour...

0 upvotes
bricci_mn
By bricci_mn (Nov 27, 2012)

You know, Auntie Betty's Pound Sterling is something to be proud of in 2012! :D

0 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (Nov 23, 2012)

Where did LX7 go.

13 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Nov 23, 2012)

It didn't make the cut. When you pick a top five from a large market, you obviously have to leave some very good cameras out. We prefer the Olympus XZ-2 in this category - feel free to disagree.

8 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (Nov 23, 2012)

I disagree. ;-) FZ200....compact? It is called a bridge cam unofficially for a reason i think.

8 upvotes
RedDog Steve
By RedDog Steve (Nov 23, 2012)

What a challenge it must have been to whittle the list to 5 !
If I were to choose 5 it would have the LX7 in place of the 2 other Lumix entries that don't really compete head to head with any other models here.
(the FZ not being a 'compact', and ZS20 having "average image quality")
Add the Nikon to make 5 on my subjective list.

rd

2 upvotes
Beach Bum
By Beach Bum (Nov 23, 2012)

I'm pleasantly surprised by these recommendations. I fully expected to come here, read it, roll my eyes, and leave cursing.

But I actually agree with most of these pics. So kudos.

The only thing I would suggest is that the Sony RX100 should have clearly gotten gold. The thing to keep in mind is that there isn't another camera in its class. It pretty much defines its class, so how could it be less than the best?

Otherwise, good job. :)

2 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Nov 23, 2012)

sony rx100 for me

8 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Nov 23, 2012)

Are these all available on Amazon for Christmas?

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Nov 23, 2012)

Naturally. And from any other good retailer too, for any other holiday or special occasion you may wish to celebrate.

5 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Nov 23, 2012)

yeah well if your not really independend anymore you have to live with such comments.

that is the price you have to pay....

1 upvote
brianj
By brianj (Nov 23, 2012)

I guess Amazon doesn't sell the samsung EX2F

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Nov 23, 2012)

@brianj: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-Digital-Compact-Smart-Camera/dp/B008X393KE/ref=sr11?ie=UTF8&qid=1353668413&sr=8-1

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
brianj
By brianj (Nov 23, 2012)

Fair enough, but you can't blame me, the EX2F has become the forgotten camera like its predecessor even though it exceeds in a number of areas.

2 upvotes
Chekr
By Chekr (Nov 23, 2012)

@Henry M. Hertz

Whilst this accusation can be made of many review sites I fail to see what "such comments" are made on this page.

In response to a question directly asking if these are available from Amazon, the parent company to DPReview, Andy merely confirms that this is the case and goes on to say that they are available "from any other good retailer" (i.e. Amazon's competition). If I had answered this myself it would probably have been less impartial. I think Andy was so mindful of this that he actually included availability at Amazon competitors as superfluous information given the direct nature of the question.

Impropriety and bias are serious issues in journalism and should be called out and dealt with where they occur. Cheaply throwing unsubstantiated accusations creates a "boy who cried wolf" syndrome that makes it more difficult to deal with actual cases of impropriety. Please be mindful of this and make sure your comments are helpful to the community.

2 upvotes
mytake
By mytake (Nov 23, 2012)

@Chekr

Excellent post, and I could not agree more.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 582
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