review request & opinions on the latest 'enthusiast' pocket cameras...
So I just got back to using my trusty pocket cam regularly, now that the novelty of my latest system camera has worn off a bit, and was curious to see how this dwindling but still important product category stacks up. I believe that there are many of us out there that certainly find their smartphones as acceptable everyday cams but may not consider them their 'take-everywhere' camera. I mean to take on vacation, business trips, hiking or even just a walk. For those of that mindset, we turn to these 'enthusiast' models. There are others yet that consider a system rig with several lenses and accessories qualifying as 'take-everywhere'...this thread may not be for you
Anyhow, as dpreview continues their excellent efforts in reviewing the latest & greatest, I hope I'm not the only one interested in reading a more in-depth, qualitative comparison between the latest batch of enthusiast compacts. Technically speaking these cameras are all really close...even for pixel peepers, theres little room for nitpicking. I'm talking an editorial from the experts much like the editors of car publications who will, after the performance testing, each pick there own favs and explain why...usually I find myself relating to at least one point of view which gives me a deeper perspective than just the tech stuff. This subjective evaluation actually helped me decide on my last car, and I'm glad it did bc those insights highlighted aspects I noted during the test drives...anyway...
I qualified my selections a bit further in the title of the thread bc I know the Sony RX100 is the sensor/MP king of the hill but it just doesn't fit in the category for me bc of the aperture drop-off, the lack of external controls/switches, lack of VF/option/tilt screen (i.e. some enhanced compositional method), and yes even style and ergonomics. I'm talking a real 'take-everywhere' camera that works like the tools many of us first used when learning about composition, lighting, etc...a camera that puts a smile on your face everytime you use it. I have no doubt that the RX100 (and similarly the RX1) is the technological start of a new blueprint for enthusiast grade compacts, perhaps even saving this segment moving forward, but i just don't feel its that in its current form. I traded my compact for my friends RX100 for a week and wasn't impressed by the overall operation and the gain in sensor IQ was often offset by the slower lens. It felt like my S90...good in my suit pocket but not my idea of a balanced tool. I guess I was expecting 'much better' when it really was just 'slightly better' (IMO, my very amateur one at that so no flames plz). The headroom for cropping is nice tho...anyway, I digress...
I'd like to see an eventual 'real-world' comparison between:
Canon G15, Fujifilm X10, Nikon P7700, Panasonic LX7, Olympus XZ2, Samsung EX2F
Does the newly slimmed down, legendary G-Series with OVF win, or the Fuji with its natural feel of the mechanical zoom & silent leaf shutter? Maybe its Nikon's category topping zoom range & articulating screen or Panny's unique aperture functionality & optional EVF . For some an option for EVF AND the XZ2's minimalist touchscreen approach may offer the best experience while others will find Samsung's technological prowess (WiFi, Dual IS, etc) and bargain basement pricing make for the best solution.
I've had the good fortune to extensively handle all but the latter two models listed (will get to them soon) and begun to formulate my own conclusions but I would like to hear the expert opinion(s) of the dpreview staff as well as the knowledgable readers of the site. Again, I know, to each their own, but which of these cameras is best to throw in your bag/briefcase/fanny pack and gives you that balance of IQ, portability and intuitive operation; the camera that merges your critical composition and artistic expression - the 'enthusiast' pocket camera...
DPR doesn't have time to do those kinds of reviews any more. They're too busy reviewing cell phones and iPhone accessories....
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