Best high-quality/performance travel-sized camera/system right now?

Started May 2, 2014 | Questions thread
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Best high-quality/performance travel-sized camera/system right now?
May 2, 2014

I've been following the development of large-sensored compact cameras as well as mirrorless cameras with a lot of interest, since I've always fantasized about a small and compact camera that can perform similarly to professional DSLR in image quality, response, and accuracy.

It seems we're right at the point where this is actually happening, and I'm wondering if it's time I got one of these new breeds of high-end, small-sized cameras.

As background, I currently shoot the 5D Mark III as my main camera (upgraded from a 1D Mark II). I have a Panasonic Lumix LX5 for compact camera, but it's not up to snuff in terms of performance/image quality. I use the camera on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 a lot for really casual shooting, but it's even worse than the LX5.

When I go out, I really don't like taking the 5D Mark III (with the 24-70 f/2.8 L II) since it's bulky and heavy (though already an improvement over the 1D Mark II). The LX5 and the Note 3 just don't cut it for low-light or very responsive shooting. That's why I'm looking at high-end small-sized cameras.

Here are my criteria:

-I'm interested in either a large-sensored compact camera, or a small interchangeable lens camera.

-I don't want a fixed lens camera because it's too limiting for me, especially for tracking people in large spaces with ease.

-I also don't want something that ends up only being slightly smaller/lighter than the 5D Mark III + 24-70 f/2.8 L II combo; it has to be significantly smaller/lighter.

-My ideal zoom range is roughly 24-100mm, but I'm willing accept a less flexible range like 28-55mm. The faster the lens the better.

-Anything smaller than 1" sensor is unacceptable. Micro Four Thirds and APS-C are preferable, unless the 1" sensor is a very compelling camera (such as the Sony RX100II). Full-frame is too expensive

-Cost should be under $2,000, and ideally closer to $1,000~$1,500 if possible, but quality/performance/convenience comes first.

-Fast and accurate autofocus is extremely important, including video mode, and in low-light.

-Reliable video continuous focus (comparable to a quality camcorder) would be ideal.

-Clean high-ISO results is also extremely important.

-It would be nice to have tilting LCD, or EVF (when it's really bright out), but these are lower on the priority list.

The cameras I've been considering are ones like:

Sony RX100II / RX10

Sony A6000 / NEX-6 / NEX-7

Olympus OM-D E-M1 / M5 / E-P5

Fujifilm X-T1 / X-Pro1 / X-E2 / X-M1

Panasonic Lumix GH/G-series

Samsung NX series

I've been comparing them based on all the information I could find (reviews, test image comparisons, specs., etc), but I'd like to get some opinions from fellow dpreview members.

Do you think there's a clear winner among the cameras I'm interested in based on my criteria?

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