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
Michael She
By Michael She (Nov 23, 2012)

Where is the Lumix DMC-LX7?

3 upvotes
vapentaxuser
By vapentaxuser (Nov 23, 2012)

Does anybody know when the Oly XZ-2 is supposed to start shipping in the US? I initially heard late October but can't find a firm ship date for the camera now.

0 upvotes
Greynerd
By Greynerd (Nov 24, 2012)

It looks like Olympus XZ-2 announcement has been rushed as the new spate of fast aperture cameras being released has really taken the wind out of its sails. It has finally put a decent image and video engine behind the excellent lens but is all a bit too late.

0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (Nov 23, 2012)

Thanks TIMES magazine, light the way for me to purchase one of the 50 best inventions of 2012 :-)
Thank you DPreview to put a nice yellow stick saying it has the best picture quality in photography and video, all with a silver medal! what if it had gold!! wow
Now I'm a RX100 happy user, now I can sleep peacefully :-)

2 upvotes
leew8948
By leew8948 (Nov 23, 2012)

What an interesting read.... Everyone so passionate about the brands they have bought into, look they are all good cameras but wont suit everybody's needs as a photographic tool, but there are choices and good choices as an alternative.
Buy and try that's what I do and enjoy the technology on offer !
Lee

1 upvote
RogerCooke
By RogerCooke (Nov 23, 2012)

All well and good, but I miss the LX7. I am a very satisfied user, and its cratering price should have earned it a spot in the line-up

4 upvotes
Michael She
By Michael She (Nov 23, 2012)

Yes and considering it is on sale at B&H for $299.99... The LX7 is a HOT deal right now.

2 upvotes
earful
By earful (Nov 23, 2012)

the most interesting thing about this thread is the insistence by some that their favorite be on someone else's list. it's just a list, not the word from on high. a lot of cameras make no one's top 5 list and are wonderful for the user. enjoy, enjoy!

3 upvotes
earful
By earful (Nov 23, 2012)

i don't find this list strange. the fact is that whilst looking for a smallish camera with a zoom lens i looked at three of these - the fz200, the xz-2 and the rx100. all three have something to offer given my basic criteria of smaller and lighter than my k5, generally more convenient for grab and go than my m9 and better in low light than my dlux4. i opted for the rx100, but if it doesn't work out, the xz-2 (which is just a tad bigger than the dlux) could be the one. i must be one of the few who is not enamored of canon colors, so the canon would not make my list at this time. this is a good starting point list if you recognize that it's for those who want a camera with a zoom lens that is not a dslr. after that, caveat emptor!

1 upvote
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Nov 24, 2012)

I think a lot of people just want the best IQ in a still compact form. For a long time this meant 1/1.7" sensors. Then came the Fuji X100 (and Leica X1) but they were beyond compact for most and outside of the 'compact' price bracket.

After that we got the Fuji X-10 but the difference in sensor size was not that large. At the same we got faster lenses in the 1/1.7" sensor size, first the LX3/LX5 then the XZ-1, and now the LX-5 (and the G15 also has much faster long end).

Thus the people-who-care-about-IQ-in-compacts market got broader, from the Canon S series up to the Fuji X-10 and G15 but no 1/2.3" sensor camera would ever fall into the category: I'll fix a size, give me the best IQ in that size bracket.

And then the RX100 happened and except for the long end upended all previous 'compacts' in low light and everybody in good light IQ.

1 upvote
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (Nov 24, 2012)

Seems to me the RX100 is the winner.

Like earful I don't prefer Canon-like colors (and like him/her I had a K-5). Last year I bought the XZ-1, which is great in many situations, but not in low light, and it isn't much smaller than my NEX-5N (not including the lens, though). With their superb EVFs, on either of these, you got a not as easily transportable package.

The new XZ-2 promises to be better in low light, though!

0 upvotes
offtheback
By offtheback (Nov 23, 2012)

While we're(the readers) being silly,why not include a Kodak Instamatic for a then and now chapter?Barney,I hope you get paid by the word!Cheers

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

I wish I did! And I wish replies to comments counted towards the total ;)

10 upvotes
YiannisPP
By YiannisPP (Nov 23, 2012)

I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why the G15 is the only camera here that has the same price in dollars and pounds (499). Its more direct competitor, the RX100 sells for$649 and £443, that is a fair ratio of 1.46. The £/$ exchange rate is 1.6, but taxes are higher in the UK so 1.46 is fair. Which means the G15 could/should sell in the UK for £340, nowhere near £499 as it currently does...

1 upvote
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Nov 23, 2012)

That's a question you should probably ask Canon UK.

0 upvotes
YiannisPP
By YiannisPP (Nov 23, 2012)

Yes I know. But if I ask them, nothing will come out of it. If somebody like you asks them and tells them that DPR readers (and potential Canon buyers) are indeed noticing Canon UK are asking for a lot more money than they should, then maybe we could all benefit. Just tell them we are being put off by such tactics and going to other brands that appear fair to their British customers.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Geekapoo
By Geekapoo (Nov 23, 2012)

FZ200 considered a compact camera.....either the dpreview editors were nipping on too much Thanksgiving special sauce or they took a dose of stupid pills.

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 23, 2012)

You haven't read the introduction, then? Stupid pills indeed...

8 upvotes
Geekapoo
By Geekapoo (Nov 23, 2012)

No, I obviously did not read the introduction and profusely apologize!

3 upvotes
Ulfric M Douglas
By Ulfric M Douglas (Nov 23, 2012)

As a 'plus' for the olympus XZ-2 I'm surprised DPReview hasn't mentioned the VF-2 (and VF-3) optional EVF viewfinders. On a recent sunlit woodland event the Vf-2 proved a great bonus for some photos on the XZ-1 ... just saying.
Expensive but EXISTS.

1 upvote
Double Dust
By Double Dust (Nov 24, 2012)

or a clearviewer, works perfect

0 upvotes
Danel
By Danel (Nov 23, 2012)

What an odd grouping of cameras. They only have two things in common, they have non-removable zoom lenses and dpreview liked them.

Some of the things dpreview liked and didn't like seem very random. Example: They said the LCD on the RX100 can be hard to see in bright light. Isn't that true of all LCD screens? Isn't, for example, the screen on the G15 also hard to view in bright light? Why no mention of that? I'm lead to believe that the screen on the RX100 more difficult to view in bright light than all the others. I don't have the camera, but I thought it was suppose to have an advanced LCD that actually made it a bit better in bright light. Can an RX100 user comment on whether or not the LCD on that camera is especially bad.

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

We wrote about this in our in-depth review of the camera (you'll find the link above).

0 upvotes
PC Wheeler
By PC Wheeler (Nov 23, 2012)

"What an odd grouping of cameras. They only have two things in common, they have non-removable zoom lenses and dpreview liked them.": That seems like a good criterion.

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

@ PC Wheeler - you'd think so, but this is the Internet...

1 upvote
Danel
By Danel (Nov 23, 2012)

Barney, I have read the review, in fact I read it when it first came out. Not to beleaguer the point, but in the review dpreview seems to make the comment about the LCD in the context that it is still hard to see in bright light in spite of the "Whitemagic" technology it employs. Above, there is no context. Rather you simply find fault with the LCD on the RX100, but not on the other cameras. This lead me to wonder if the LCD is the worst of the bunch, which is not an unreasonable question, though it apparently is one you can't be bothered to answer.

0 upvotes
Danel
By Danel (Nov 23, 2012)

PC Wheeler, This is indeed an odd grouping of cameras in my opinion. They range from a tiny compact $200 camera, to a large advanced superzoom, to another compact that costs $650.

Barney, the word odd is not synonymous with the word bad. I mean its strange and not something I've seen done before. Dpreview can do what ever groupings they want and it won't offend me in the least, of that you can be sure. Might I suggest that next dpreview puts together a group you like that are available in the color red. After all, Christmas is coming.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
rsalles
By rsalles (Nov 23, 2012)

Thanks Panasonic for the FZ200 f2.8 lens.

0 upvotes
The Jacal
By The Jacal (Nov 23, 2012)

I have to laugh at all the fanboys crying over their keyboards because they didn't read the intro and their cameras are not mentioned. Come to think of it the Yashica Electro 35 GT isn't on the list, come on Dpreview, what are you thinking???!!!

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

I've been whipping myself with knives in penitence all morning.

4 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Nov 23, 2012)

Well, Barney, sure you don't care and I'm not a compact user, but I think you could have reviewed the Nikon P7700, which, from the samples, seems to have the best IQ short of the RX100.

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

I've shot a lot with the P7700 (and I like it) and we fully intend to review it. Just because Canon 'wins' in this single - short - article, doesn't mean that Nikon 'loses'.

5 upvotes
Gerbear
By Gerbear (Nov 23, 2012)

How soon a review of the P7700. I wait with a herring on my tongue.

1 upvote
JacquesBalthazar
By JacquesBalthazar (Nov 24, 2012)

Yes. The Electro 35.....my first real camera! Funnily enough, that exact same design and exact same simple set of features, with a FF, or even APS, sensor in place of film, would be a mega-hit still today. And would be top of loads of Black Friday and Xmas lists. Hell, it would beat RX1 in my book. A simplified X100, with RF focus, no AF, no EVF, no complex menus, raw only. Do not even really want a LCD on the back, just the 2 little flashing LEDs on top. Your Electro 35 mention got me dreaming this morning,.. ;-) thanks!

0 upvotes
Gerard Hoffnung
By Gerard Hoffnung (Nov 23, 2012)

Interesting list. I was smart enough to read the text first :) so I was not surprised at the variety. As always, personal preferences, brand loyalty etc. will have many disagreeing. It is after all only recommendations.

0 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Nov 23, 2012)

Do we have any English or Latin linguists around here ? I am neither (not even a native speaker), so I am confused:

"Compact" surely implies "holding together". Does it also necessarily mean "small" ?

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Nov 23, 2012)

Compact does not mean small or holding together. The best synonym I think is dense. high specific gravity. packed full of something or another, even force-filled. with technology presumably in the case of these cameras.

Of course we all know that RX100 is the only compact camera here. The rest are just normal specific gravity.

3 upvotes
Mark H
By Mark H (Nov 23, 2012)

One of many meanings/definitions of 'compact' is 'taking little space' - which is the same as saying that something is 'relatively small'. So in the context that it is used here, it does essentially mean 'small'.

2 upvotes
konekalle
By konekalle (Nov 24, 2012)

let us google compact etymology:
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=compact

late 14century, French word compact or Latin compactus= "concentrated"

--"to fasten together, construct,"
--"with, together"+ "to fix, fasten"

The noun meaning "make-up case" first recorded 1921, based on its containing compacted face powder;
compact car 1960.
Compact disc 1979.

Interesting!
K

0 upvotes
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (Nov 23, 2012)

DP guys, Would you please share us your XZ-2 review before you scoring, that we can check too...

and however i am not fan of this sony´s cam (else than its excellent built quality) , how can a RAW capable cam can be lower on that list than a jpeg only zoom cam?

Thanks.

ps: and wondering where is the LX-7 in this comprehension, and have you checked nikon´s P7700 yet ?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
The Jacal
By The Jacal (Nov 23, 2012)

Quote: """ how can a RAW capable cam can be lower on that list than a jpeg only zoom cam? """

Because it's an alphabetical list, it does say that.

2 upvotes
Otto Fabricius2
By Otto Fabricius2 (Nov 23, 2012)

This seems misleading, and I fully agree with Slanicka below. LX7 is a really great little camera (the best?), and you have yet to bring a full test of Nikon's P7700, which naturally belongs in any group including the G15.

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

'DPReview recommends' - you can argue all day about what we chose to recommend, but it's not misleading.

7 upvotes
Jack Simpson
By Jack Simpson (Nov 23, 2012)

What Barney says: "DPReview recommends" .... it could Amateur Photographer or DC Resource or Steve's DigiCams or BH Photo or your local camera store recommendations. Either one will be too subjective for some and, if that's the case, the best thing to do is go to as many sites (that do reviews) as possible, compile all their recommendations, digest all the information and, then, come to your own conclusion :)

2 upvotes
Slanicka Tomas
By Slanicka Tomas (Nov 23, 2012)

I can't believe my eyes. I have checked calendar. Today is not 1.april. Where is LX7, P7700, XF1 and other cameras which takes good pictures? If you define category which requires to choose between G15, LX7 or P7700, so I don't agree but accept that the G15 win. But the theme is Compact cameras. Compact. So why is FZ-200 between compact cameras? Is it possible to put this monster into pocket? No! Much more compact than FZ-200 is G1X.
Boys, boys, I believe that you made this list of top 5 cameras with good intention but without description of your ideas we don't understand to you.

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

This is intended as a market-spanning quick roundup of 5 (in our opinion) standout models, from point-and-shoots upwards, covering the major classes of compact zooms. I would hope this is obvious from the selection, and from the explanatory text in the opening paragraphs.

And the G15 doesn't 'win' it's just first in the list because it's an alphabetical list.

1 upvote
Stephen Scharf
By Stephen Scharf (Nov 23, 2012)

The one you left out is the superb Fujifilm X-10 which has excellent image quality, a larger 2/3" EXR sensor that provides superior high ISO/low noise and dynamic range performance, a fast zoom lens that works like a real camera, superb build quality, a 7-element coated optical viewfinder that is actually useable in the real world (unlike the one in the Canon), built-in optical image stabilization, and super macro focusing. This camera is also way more fun to use than those listed here.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Slanicka Tomas
By Slanicka Tomas (Nov 23, 2012)

To Barney Britton: What could it possibly matter if there is just list of cameras from 5 classis? Whom it will help? I think this is illusory list because it looks like list of Top 5 cameras.

0 upvotes
Alan Brown
By Alan Brown (Nov 24, 2012)

People just don't get it.. This is not a definitive statement. it is 'DPR recommends' from a broad range.. It will never be and was never intended to be yours or mine choices to be included.

Barney keeps explaining it but few seem to be listening

0 upvotes
Double Dust
By Double Dust (Nov 24, 2012)

RX100 is the best and with a clearviewer it works perfect

0 upvotes
Double Dust
By Double Dust (Nov 24, 2012)

G1X is useless slow. RX100 is great with a Clearviewer as VF

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Nov 26, 2012)

"The one left out" - many are "left out" as it were, I for one would have added the fun-to-use Casio EX-ZR300, but a lot of people would not have. But DPReview picked their five.

0 upvotes
Alser
By Alser (Nov 23, 2012)

FZ200 is certainly not pocketable, compact? Not in my opinion.
I stopped reading after that.

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Nov 23, 2012)

Yet you made it through the G15 without having the same thoughts?

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

@Alser - but it is a 'compact camera'. And this is a roundup selection of our top 5 recommended compact cameras.

By the way, I have carried an FZ200 in my coat pocket more than once. It fits in just fine.

0 upvotes
Alser
By Alser (Nov 23, 2012)

Thanks for the reply, what do you intend including in the bridge camera section?

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

'bridge' is a fairly outdated term, but the FZ200 is a 'bridge' compact camera, if you want to call it that, and at this point in time, it's our recommendation in its class. But the Nikon P510 is very nice too - unexpectedly nice - and good value. Which is mentioned in the text.

1 upvote
Alser
By Alser (Nov 23, 2012)

Apparently "compact" is overused as "bridge" is outdated.
Your train set.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
cformont
By cformont (Nov 24, 2012)

I think the COmpact term opens up a possibility of a lot of cameras to include. Do I think the FZ200 is compact? Kind of i guess but then if you add this camera you need to then include the NEX 5n or 7n. But like someone else said these are all good cameras.

0 upvotes
urbanplanner
By urbanplanner (Nov 23, 2012)

For anyone who is using this list as a guide, I would strongly urge them to compare some of the images from these cameras to images from mirrorless DSLRS. With the exception of the Sony above, you will not get the same image quality (or video quality) from these cameras as you would from one with an APC-C sensor. Plus, you lose the flexibility of adding on lenses down the road. If a long zoom range and (coat) pocketability are must-haves, then go for it. But if you are like the majority of snapshot shooters and typically try to get wide shots, consider a camera like the Sony NEX-5N with a 16mm kit lens. Either way, just make sure you look at plenty of photo examples on line and see which camera produces the kind of look you like: bigger sensor = better looking photos with soft backgrounds.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 23, 2012)

This list is about compact cameras.
System cameras are simply not small enough and offer only marginally better image quality. Besides, for most shooters little dof is NOT what they want.

1 upvote
urbanplanner
By urbanplanner (Nov 23, 2012)

I guess I'm not familiar with the strict definition of "compact." What is it? And does the FZ200 fall into that category?

0 upvotes
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Nov 24, 2012)

I second that advise to look at mirrorless cameras. An E-P M or GF-5 plus pancake is certainly smaller than a bridge and thicker but same width and less high than a G15. Same is true for the Nikon 1 series.
(If the only real NEX pancake wouldn't be so bad optically off-center, I add that to the list as well.)

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 24, 2012)

Urbanplanner, the definition is given in the article.

Compare the FZ200 to a system camera with the same zoom range and you'll know which one can be called "compact" ;-)

0 upvotes
evoprox
By evoprox (Nov 23, 2012)

Looks like a list for people who don't do their own homework - they might end up with something completely different.

0 upvotes
javidog
By javidog (Nov 23, 2012)

X10 blows away any camera listed here. Please consider it if you are shopping for an incredible little camera with fantastic abilities.

7 upvotes
evoprox
By evoprox (Nov 23, 2012)

Nothing for people who don't do their own homework. See above. I certainly wouldn't part with my X10 for any of those listed cams.-no way.

4 upvotes
Comitant
By Comitant (Nov 23, 2012)

Would you feel more secure about your X10 purchase if you saw it mentioned?

6 upvotes
VivaLasVegas
By VivaLasVegas (Nov 23, 2012)

Fuji is AF handicap(molasses), did I mention their sub par glass, no thanks.

1 upvote
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 23, 2012)

X10 doesn't blow away anything.
It is a great camera, but just a little too big, esp. regarding thickness.

0 upvotes
Stephen Scharf
By Stephen Scharf (Nov 23, 2012)

Agreed. And there's no issues around AF from a real-world perspective.

0 upvotes
javidog
By javidog (Nov 23, 2012)

Thanks for your concern but my personal and technical security is doing quite well and the X10 endorsement was not intended for closed-minded cynics. All others are highly encouraged to test out the X10 and see how it compares to the ones mentioned here.

3 upvotes
RadPhoto
By RadPhoto (Nov 24, 2012)

I totally agree with you.

I used to have a Sony NEX5N (with 5 lenses) and I still have a Sony RX100. My gf bought an X10 because she liked its look(of course :-)).. I was wowed with the quality of the images out of that camera. And she doesn't even try ;-)
After seeing the quality of X10, i decided to switch to Fuji X system . I got my X-E1 last Friday and I LOVE it. I will be buying all their lenses slowly.

I know nobody cares what I say, but DPR, you should start paying attention to Fuji!

3 upvotes
RadPhoto
By RadPhoto (Nov 24, 2012)

Michael_13, Are you kidding me? G15 vs. X10! Hello?!

0 upvotes
evoprox
By evoprox (Nov 24, 2012)

I wonder if he's actually shot any of those two. I personally wouldn't want my X10 to be any smaller, it's just perfect as it is, at least for my big hands, we're talking cameras, not toys or phones. BTW, the AF on my X10 is the fastest I've seen on any compact camera so far, faster than any of my NEXes (5, 5n, 7) especially in low-light.

1 upvote
Rich Niemeyer
By Rich Niemeyer (Nov 23, 2012)

Fuji bias. What's wrong with the X10 in your view? A stellar camera.

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

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilm-x10/20

Read the Cons (and, of course, the Pros). It's not as if we don't publish this stuff anywhere nearby.

3 upvotes
Stephen Scharf
By Stephen Scharf (Nov 23, 2012)

I think the cons comments are misplaced, but I then I live with my camera and use it everyday. There's no way you can tell me the G15 sensor is better than the X10's.

4 upvotes
RadPhoto
By RadPhoto (Nov 24, 2012)

Agreed Stephen

0 upvotes
YiannisPP
By YiannisPP (Nov 23, 2012)

I guess the confusion arises from the "compact camera" term. Here it is obvious that is being used as "non-Interchangeable Lens Camera". Not that the camera is compact in form or size. Most cameras here are compact/pocketable of course, except the big Panny.

4 upvotes
Jim
By Jim (Nov 23, 2012)

Why wasn'tt the G1X included?

Jim

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

Because in that high-end segment, we prefer other cameras more.

1 upvote
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 23, 2012)

My guess: Because it is not well balanced in its pros/cons.

0 upvotes
korayus
By korayus (Nov 23, 2012)

Do you think G1X much higher price than Sony ($650)?
Amazon says $700 for G1X!

0 upvotes
mpix345
By mpix345 (Nov 23, 2012)

Barney, I think it would be a more useful and interesting article if you detailed why you chose each camera in each segment. Most of us aren't choosing a "superzoom compact" vs a "pocketable compact". We decide we want a superzoom then choose in that category. So an experts view on why the Panasonic edged out Canon, Nikon, et al would be great.

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

We've already published in-depth content on all but one of the cameras in this article, and more will follow - this is a deliberately quick overview on a day when a lot of people will be shopping for good deals on cameras (in the US, at any rate).

1 upvote
Double Dust
By Double Dust (Nov 24, 2012)

slow and big as a brick

0 upvotes
mholdef
By mholdef (Nov 23, 2012)

I don't understand why the Fuji X10 didn't make the list...

9 upvotes
Seagull TLR
By Seagull TLR (Nov 23, 2012)

DPR already reviewed Fuji X10 in July 2012. Is not this good enough? : D
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilm-x10/

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Nov 23, 2012)

It was nice seeing RX100 at the end of the list which is what you expect if it is the best in the list right? Best IQ and smallest.

2 upvotes
deep7
By deep7 (Nov 23, 2012)

The list is alphabetical...

4 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Nov 23, 2012)

"Best IQ" is oversimplification. RX100 has best IQ under two conditions:

- you stay away from the subject (the lens does not like close-ups)
- you avoid tele-end (the lens is quite a lot slower @tele than the LX7, XZ-2, P7700 and G15, forcing you to use high ISO).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 54 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Nov 24, 2012)

The RX100 is about half a stop slower at the long end and about a stop faster at the wide end than LX7, XZ2 and X10 once you account for sensor size. And that is only for low-light IQ, for good light IQ, the RX100 eats them all for breakfast.

It's weak point is the lens' optical quality. Best to stay away from the tele end and from close-ups as you say. But then different raw files are the weak point of the X10.

0 upvotes
Double Dust
By Double Dust (Nov 24, 2012)

best of all and in tele you can go to 3200 iso. works great in RAw and as viewfinder you use the Clearfinder. RX100 fits in your pocket. The best camera is the one you can take with you.........

0 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Nov 26, 2012)

@noirdesir:

The sensor size is NOT to be taken into account ! That means, if a scene requires 1/30s @ISO800, f/1.8 for 5DMkIII (full frame), then it requires the same 1/30s @ISO800, f/1.8 for G15.

In other words, f-number has twofold impact on your photography: a) it determines DOF, b) it influences shutter speed.

But while for a) you have to account for the sensor size, b) is not influenced by the sensor size.

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Nov 26, 2012)

And sensor size influences SNR for a given ISO. The larger the sensor, the better the SNR for a given ISO. Inversely, the larger the sensor the higher the ISO can be for a desired SNR.

To use your approach: if a scene requires a SNR of 30 db than you would use about ISO 140 on the LX-7 and ISO 400 on the RX100. Using the corresponding maximum f-stops of f/1.4 and f/1.8, you could use, eg, 1/50 s on the LX-7 and 1/100 s on the RX100. Voila, the RX100 is one stop faster in terms of shutter speed for an image with the same SNR (ie, same amount of noise).

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 23, 2012)

Decent list, although I don't see how you exclude either the Fuji XF1 or the Nikon P7700 for a camera like the ZS20. IQ of the ZS20 is just nowhere near these two cameras, and you already have a super-zoom in the FZ200, why have the ZS20?

Outside the RX100, the XF1 has the very best IQ of the bunch, and an extraordinarily sharp manual zoom lens (both the XF1 and RX100 have slow f4.9 max apertures at 100 but the XF1 is wider at 25mm @ f1.8). The same probably could be said for the P7700 regarding IQ, AND the P7700 has some fantastic manual video goodness, mic jack, tilt-swivel LCD that even the Canon does not have.

I would also probably put the Canon S110 over the ZS20. The ZS20 is a good camera, but lack of raw and mediocre jpegs is kind rough if you're picking the cream of the crop.

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 23, 2012)

The list is meant to span the compact camera market. Giving you our recommendations across that segment, from point-and-shoot, through superzoom, up to high-end Raw-shooting enthusiast models. I had hoped this woud be very very obvious but have edited the introduction to make it even more so.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 23, 2012)

Understood. Didn't mean it to sound like a complaint. Thank you. sir.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
The Squire
By The Squire (Nov 23, 2012)

Great article. Wanted to make one point: I have the RX100 and it's so-called 17MP still shots when recording video really isn't as good as DPR makes it sound. It's an up-scaled image, probably from a still frame of the video I suspect.
And the click of the shutter button is easily audible on the video being recorded.
It was a feature i was looking forward to using a lot, but it is, at best, an emergency-use only feature.
Otherwise: Great camera!

1 upvote
WhyNot
By WhyNot (Nov 23, 2012)

Interesting article... Unlike the older reviews of various classes of P/S cameras helping us to select the one that best suited our needs these cameras really don't compete with each other. Does this article represent what DPR considers the best of class???

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

It's a quick overview of what we think are 5 of the best compacts currently on the market. This is not a group-test, because the 5 cameras in this list are drawn from different segments of the compact camera market.

2 upvotes
tiberiousgracchus
By tiberiousgracchus (Nov 23, 2012)

Great list DPR keep up the excellent work....wow this thread is just pure comedy.

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

Isn't it just?

2 upvotes
Oddrain
By Oddrain (Nov 24, 2012)

It is a classic thread! There's one side of me that says "guys just stop posting and go out and take some photos with whatever camera you have" and another side of me that just can't help coming back for another look!!

1 upvote
ericsan
By ericsan (Nov 23, 2012)

I totally agree with this shortlist !
Just got the G15 a few weeks ago and i'm impressed by the IQ which is beyond my expectations !! razor sharp images,crystal clear details...What a little gem ! At least Canon woke up ...

0 upvotes
VivaLasVegas
By VivaLasVegas (Nov 23, 2012)

Why is Nikon V & J NOT included, same sensor as the Sony......umm. Did G15 hit three birds with one stone, these birds V, J and the P7700......I guess so.

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

The Nikon 1 V1 and J1 aren't included simply because they're interchangeable lens cameras - an entirely different class. The Canon EOS M, Sony NEXs, Panasonic Lumix Gs, and Olympus PENs are excluded for exactly the same reason.

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 23, 2012)

And the P7700, XF1 and LX7? You'd really suggest a Panasonic ZS20 over either of these three? All the zoom range in the world can't make up for the ZS20 weak IQ vs the above three.

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

@marike6 - if you want to be able to shoot distant subjects with a camera that fits in your jacket pocket, the ZS20 is clearly a better choice than any of the cameras you've suggested. One size doesn't necessarily fit all, which is why we've covered a range of camera types in this article. (Also, as it happens, 'travel zoom' type cameras considerably outsell 'enthusiast compacts'.)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 23, 2012)

Andy, understood. Guess I'm just not a superzoom fan but I do appreciate the work that you guys do. Thanks.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Nov 24, 2012)

@Andy
But who would want to shoot distant subjects with diffraction, DOF, and SNR equivalent to f/32 on FX???
You'll likely end up with visible camera shake, subject motion blur, diffraction blur and image noise at the same time. Even at base ISO in good light where camera shake and subject motion blur might be absent, diffraction blur and contrast muddying remain and noise is still present.

0 upvotes
attomole
By attomole (Nov 23, 2012)

Be Nice to understand if what was excluded, like the Panasonic LK7, and Nikon p7700, was for meritorious reasons or for, well we just haven't had a good enough look at it yet to make a fair comparison.
Some publications do this sort of thing on a rolling basis like the hit parade, such that when something comes along that is better, the line up is changed to reflect that.

Nevertheless a useful list Thanks DPR.

1 upvote
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Nov 23, 2012)

I sympathize with DPR staff, really. First, they are nice guys and they do the very good job !

But this article just feels like an (hopeless) attempt to tame the rabid RX100 fans who polute all the comment sections with their resolute demands for an immediate annihilation of every camera with sensor smaller than 1".

At the same time, the article falls victim to the absurdities of the camera industry terminiology that developed over the years. "Compact" and "P&S" are terms introducing far more confusion than benefits in camera categorization.

- "P&S" is a terminological fossil from 1960s, as instead of camera's capabilities it describes the camera's operating mode.

- the disadvantage of the term "compact" is that one is not clear whether it describes the size or atomicity of a camera.

I think the most reasonalbe way out of this mess is to accept the situation that we have several (possibly overlapping in particualr aspect) categories of cameras.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
9 upvotes
Pierre Daigneault
By Pierre Daigneault (Nov 23, 2012)

Interesting and all deserving of "Gold" awards (probably a few other should have been included - but then would be top 10).
However all catering for slightly different markets......from superzoom to enthusiast.......anyway.....good drool material.

3 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Nov 23, 2012)

I agree. Good choices.

0 upvotes
Caplin
By Caplin (Nov 23, 2012)

Why Nikon P7700 isn't in this top5 list?

1 upvote
BeanyPic
By BeanyPic (Nov 23, 2012)

Because it doesn't deserve to be there...

9 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 23, 2012)

The P7700 deserves to be there as much as ANY of the other cameras, including the RX100.

Don't know who is agreeing with you, but few (if any) enthusiasts would take a ZS20 over a P7700. The big zoom can't make up for it's subpar IQ relative to the P7700.

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

This list is intended to cover a range of different types of compact. I've now made that clearer in the introduction. Other models worth looking at are mentioned (and linked to) in the test.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Nov 23, 2012)

Barney, I am a regular visitor here and really like your efforts, generally. But this kind of tests sux, and it is good that your readers says it. It tries to do by far too much - and that with only five cameras. The cameras are only examples, even though good ones for five different categories. It would be better to describe the five categories in general, and then (without much words) mention 5 good cameras from each category.

1 upvote
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Nov 24, 2012)

@marike6
Using your standards there are probably a dozen cameras deserving to be in the top five which posses a little bit of a problem.

1 upvote
chekist
By chekist (Nov 23, 2012)

I find this general recommendation a bit hard to interpret.

For instance "best all-rounder" sounds like the best all around... But probably has the worst image out of the bunch. RX100 which is quietly tacked at the bottom is a true gem, and its position misleads people to believe it is an afterthought. While Canon G15 is sitting in the top spot (I guess alphabetically) with meaningless comment like "fast lens, great ergonomics." Its lens is no faster than few others and ergonomics alone surely does not qualify a camera for such an endorsement.

Perhaps it would be better to have some table with types of features reviewers have been looking at and how each camera has scored. This would in a glance explain the criteria for each.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
jwhig
By jwhig (Nov 23, 2012)

Read the introduction:
Quote: "Here are the cameras we've selected (in alphabetical order). " Unquote.

1 upvote
Seagull TLR
By Seagull TLR (Nov 23, 2012)

@jwhig Some people have eyes but cannot see : D

0 upvotes
Double Dust
By Double Dust (Nov 24, 2012)

cannot see, and call themselves photographer?

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Nov 23, 2012)

DMC-FZ200 is a bridge not a compact. Better to include a Nikon, Fuji and Samsung as well. Top 7

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

Are you really suggesting we should include cameras in the list purely because of the brand name on the front, rather than on merit?

4 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Nov 23, 2012)

@Andy
No... we're suggesting not to include BRIDGE CAMERAS in a compact zoom camera line up. An FZ200 is bridge cam.... and it is most definitely not compact. That's the only beef a lot of people have with .... what is otherwise a well done review.. except that ... in my opinion.. the P7700 should easily have made the list.

5 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Nov 23, 2012)

Partly yes. People want too choose between brands so just put the best compact each brand (major) has to offer.

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

@D1N0 - I'm sure that article would get read (and commented on...), but recommending by brand (for compacts at least, where there's no collection of lenses to stop you from buying outside of 'your' brand) goes against what we try to do with our review content.

The cameras we recommend are recommended for their merits. The name on the front doesn't come into it.

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Nov 24, 2012)

So if your meriting system favours a certain brand (like Panasonic) then maybe there will only be Panasonics in this line up. Choosing a camera is very personal. So if you would let me use the weight slider, of each merit category, maybe five different camera's would come up.

0 upvotes
tarnumf
By tarnumf (Nov 23, 2012)

And LX7 that is currently sells for $299 didn't make to "recommended" ???

1 upvote
tarnumf
By tarnumf (Nov 23, 2012)

Well.. FZ200 is not that "compact", should not be on the list at first place :)

2 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Nov 23, 2012)

See DPReview replies below.... the XZ-2 beats out the LX7. Simple as that.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 23, 2012)

$299?! This is crazy...

Here in Europe it costs $600... what a mean spread.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Nov 29, 2012)

It is a short-term holiday deal, but a good one.

0 upvotes
CG33
By CG33 (Nov 23, 2012)

Why is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 not listed?
To me, the image quality of the LX7 is on a par with the ZX-2 and a little bit below the Sony RX100.

1 upvote
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Nov 23, 2012)

It was beaten out by XZ-2. See Andy Westlake's reply below.

1 upvote
CG33
By CG33 (Nov 23, 2012)

Thanks,
I like Olympus. I do not have the ZX-2 but I have the ZX-1. Based on previous reports the ZX-1 was a camera with a good picture quality. To me it was a big disappointment. I am not using it anymore, and I do not want to buy the ZX-2.
The same happened with the Panasonic LX3. They said that the LX5 was better because it had a better lens (range), etc. To tell you the truth, I gave away the LX5 because it was no better that the LX3 at all. Its picture quality was the worst, it tends to overexpose some pictures, and it is poor in low light.
I have own a few G series from Canon. I cannot complain about them. I have also tried the Sony RX100 (from Lens Rentals) and feel comfortable with it.
But showing the ZS20 instead of the LX7 -which is a good camera- makes no sense. At least to me.

2 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Nov 23, 2012)

Why would I pay for $550 motorized toyzoom that is slow and sluggish and smeary even in lower ISO. Pay a visit to PTF and see all those miserable results from that camera. I can get a $300 Fuji HS30 and produce better result plus the excellent manual zoom and ergonomics.

1 upvote
YiannisPP
By YiannisPP (Nov 23, 2012)

Wow, great to see my comment was taken into account and DPR has now corrected their mistake on the G15 price! I therefore withdraw my Canon-bias suspicion:)
Thanks for making me dream for a while though..£360, I'd buy it tomorrow..
But then again it really could/should be £360 or less! See your RX100 USD/GBP market price ratio: 649/443 = 1.46. The equivalent G15 price in the UK should then be: 499/1.46 = £340. Why oh why Canon wants to push for such an inflated price in the UK? Do you have an idea? It's a question that has been on my mind for years.

EDIT: I withdraw the "silently" as well then.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
2005magnum
By 2005magnum (Nov 23, 2012)

I am surprised that the Fujifilm X10 is not included in this group.

10 upvotes
_sem_
By _sem_ (Nov 23, 2012)

I'm not surprised; there's plenty of other cameras that didn't make it into DPR's pick.
I realize Fuji has put a lot of effort and money into EXR development. But I think the X10 would have fared better with a same-sized Sony sensor.

1 upvote
attomole
By attomole (Nov 23, 2012)

I think Fuji shot themselves in the foot with the orbs problem, not so much with the engineering, which I understand is fixed, but in there response, there is no way of knowing if you will get a fixed one or a faulty one, so how can DPR recommend it?

2 upvotes
Denis of Whidbey Island
By Denis of Whidbey Island (Nov 23, 2012)

As a former X10 owner, I agree with _sem_; the X10 was an almost great realization of its concept. Now I'm an RX100 owner (fanboy, if you prefer) and feel that it better lives up to its aspirations.

1 upvote
Stephen Scharf
By Stephen Scharf (Nov 23, 2012)

The orbs problem is not an issue with any cameara with a "22XXXXX" serial number on it.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Nov 24, 2012)

Fuji will replace older X10 sensors for free so it's not an issue with any X10 camera. On the other hand, if your main concern is pixel peeping for fine detail the X10 doesn't equal the RX100.

0 upvotes
YiannisPP
By YiannisPP (Nov 23, 2012)

You're right Chris, the prices quoted very closely or exactly match amazon's prices (at least Amazon UK where I checked).

Except that is for the G15 where they quote an incredibly low price which is about £140(220$) less than the actual amazon price! People maybe would be excused to think that DPR are indeed Canon-biased, when even mistakes make Canon look the best and cheapest..

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

The error in the G15 price has now been corrected. Yes, we do sometimes make mistakes, but equally, we acknowledge and correct them.

5 upvotes
YiannisPP
By YiannisPP (Nov 23, 2012)

Thanks Andy, I just acknowledged your correction above. If you could give me your opinion about my remark above on the relative GBP/USD prices I'd be grateful.

0 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (Nov 23, 2012)

This looks like a Camera Junkie's Christmas wish list! But seriously, kudos on such a great list!

1 upvote
YiannisPP
By YiannisPP (Nov 23, 2012)

Please tell me where in the UK can I buy the G15 for 360£!!!
The price you quote is way lower than the actual price which is around 440-530£.

I mean if it was only £360 from a street shop (where I could easily go back and exchange it should it come say with a decentered lens-wouldn't be a surprise) then I would seriously consider it. But at £500 no way Jose.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Elaka Farmor
By Elaka Farmor (Nov 23, 2012)

Actually you can buy it for £310 here:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Brand-New-Canon-PowerShot-G15-12MP-5X-Digital-Video-Camera-/150926347903?pt=UK_CamerasPhoto_DigitalCameras_DigitalCameras_JN&hash=item2323e94e7f
and for £317 here:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Canon-PowerShot-G15-Digital-Camera-F1-8-28mm-Wide-Angle-Prosumer-Ship-from-UK-/140864426045?pt=UK_CamerasPhoto_DigitalCameras_DigitalCameras_JN&hash=item20cc2c903d

0 upvotes
YiannisPP
By YiannisPP (Nov 23, 2012)

Irrelevant. We're not talking about ebay prices, but rather "normal" shops like amazon or actual street shops (which give you a local warranty, the right to easily exchange if needed without extra costs, etc).

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

That was an error, and has now been fixed.

0 upvotes
cfh25
By cfh25 (Nov 23, 2012)

Not too sure where you are getting the prices -

Amazon UK list the Canon G15 at £498.17 (not in stock)
Camerapricebuster give a range from £434.99 to £529.00

Amazon USA list it at $449

Perhaps it better that you don't list euro prices as requested below - will confuse matters even more

P.S. I didn't bother checking the rest

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Nov 23, 2012)

Apologies, that price was a mistake, now fixed.

0 upvotes
PeterNMIF
By PeterNMIF (Nov 23, 2012)

Should have had the LX5 not the bridge camera 200.

2 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (Nov 23, 2012)

Question to those who know:
G15 - " ... but impressively bright lens is a real selling point ..."
how does that hole for letting light in compare to the hole on the RX100 or other ' 1" ' cameras?
Isn't the lens fast because the sensor i small?

3 upvotes
VivaLasVegas
By VivaLasVegas (Nov 23, 2012)

For Sony to match the G15's AV & TV at the long end, you must crank up the ISO by 1.5 stops.

1 upvote
Total comments: 582
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