Like your photography to be an all-in-one package? Here are the best compact cameras you can buy right now
For those who like things a little more straightforward or need to travel light, compact cameras are the perfect choice. Despite the name, compact cameras don’t have to be small — the name just refers to any camera with a fixed (i.e. non-interchangeable) lens.
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to compact cameras. Here are our top picks, which are available for purchase right now...
1. Fujifilm X100F
The first X100 was a premium compact camera that kickstarted the X series and revitalised Fujifilm’s fortunes. The cameras have a longstanding reputation for being slick, well-designed and so fun to use it’s practically compulsive. In fact, when we called upon pro photographers to tell us what they liked about the series, we were almost buried under the deluge of praise. The classic pairing of a high-quality X-trans sensor with a tack-sharp 23mm prime lens (35mm equivalent on 35mm format) has been winning over photographers since 2011.
The X100F, announced at the top of 2017, is the latest and greatest in the series. Boasting the APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor and the same processor as the X-T2, it carries a maximum native ISO range of 200-12,800, expandable to 100-51,200. The customary dial-led X-series controls are present and correct, while users have the choice between a mechanical and electronic shutter — the latter can reach maximum speeds of 1/32,000sec. The lens sports a built-in 3-stop ND filter for light control, and it’s possible to shoot at continuous speeds of up to 8fps, with a buffer of 25 RAW frames.
Fujifilm X100F Digital Camera - Black
The Fujifilm X100F in black is the fourth-generation in the X-Series range of premium compact cameras, featuring a 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor with no low pass filter, a bright 23mm f/2 lens, Fuji’s Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder, and enhanced AF performance. Small yet powerful, the X100F delivers the highest level of image quality and mobility in the series, along with the design ...
2. Panasonic Lumix TZ100
One of the best applications for compact cameras is travel, and one of the best-regarded travel compact series is the Lumix TZ range of cameras from Panasonic, which practically invented the concept of the travel zoom. The latest in the series is the TZ200, boasting increased focal flexibility, upgrades to its EVF and rear display, and the welcomed addition of Bluetooth. However, the budget concious might opt for its, still, very capable predecessor, the TZ100.
Pairing a 1in 20.1MP sensor with a generous 25-250mm equivalent f/2.8-5.9 Leica DC lens, the TZ100 has some serious imaging power packed into its diminutive frame. As is now customary on Panasonic models, it also has the capacity to shoot 4K video. This not only allows photographers to add another string to their bow, but also allows for the capture of split-second moments in stills form, thanks to 4K Photo modes, which can extract an 8MP still from 4K footage. And, it does all this while being small enough to fit in your coat pocket!
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 Digital Camera - Black
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The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 digital camera in black is the perfect pocket-sized travel companion for those looking for the freedom to explore and capture high-quality stills and videos as they go. This versatile compact camera is ready to capture images in a variety of environments, thanks to its versatile 10x Leica zoom lens (25-250mm) and powerful 1.0" sensor, which together deliver more ...
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3. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Canon’s G-series compacts sit at the higher end of the range, with an emphasis placed on quality and the G7 X Mark II is no exception. Pairing a 20.1MP 1in CMOS sensor with a 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens, the G7 X Mark II offers a comfortable and well-rounded shooting experience, with dial-led controls that are sensibly laid out.
One important thing to note regarding the G7 X Mark II is that it lacks a viewfinder, so those who prefer composing their images at eye-level will likely want to seek out an alternative option. However, if you’re happy composing with the rear screen, you’re in for a treat; the high-resolution, tilting model on the rear of the G7 X Mark II is excellent. With the DIGIC 7 processor improving imaging performance and battery life, the G7X Mark II is a very enticing package indeed.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera
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The Canon PowerShot G7 X II brings expert-level control and uncompromising image quality into a classically styled compact small enough to take anywhere. With a 1.0-type sensor, bright f/1.8-2.8 lens and superior DIGIC 7 processing engine, this pocket-sized, large-sensor compact offers DSLR-like creativity when capturing both stills and Full HD video. The camera's 5-axis Advanced Dynamic IS and ...
4. Sony RX100 V
As 1in sensor compacts jostle for recognition in a crowded market, the Sony RX100 V makes a compelling case for itself as leader of the pack. It uses a 20.1MP Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor with a stacked design that allows for incredibly fast readout speeds. What this means for photographers is a maximum continuous shooting speed of 24fps — pretty impressive by anyone’s standards.
Pair this with a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens, add a high-resolution vari-angle screen (no touch functionality, unfortunately) and a pop-up electronic viewfinder, and you’ve got an impressive imaging toolkit. 4K video is a nice bonus too, created from oversampled 5.5K video for extra quality.
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Mark V Digital Camera
Bringing a new level of autofocus performance and speed to the compact camera market, the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark V Digital Camera boasts the world’s fastest AF acquisition at 0.05 seconds, and the world’s highest number of AF points on sensor. It is equipped with a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor, a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens, and an enhanced image processing system.
5. Panasonic Lumix FZ2000
DSLR-style bridge cameras are popular choices for photographers who want a compact camera with pro-style handling. With that market in mind comes the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000, a chunkier offering than most of the other devices on this list, thanks to its hefty grip and bulky frame. In a compact, a bigger build tends to mean a bigger lens, and, accordingly, FZ2000 users have a 24-480mm equivalent optic to play with, which offers plentiful quality for the 20.1MP 1in sensor to make use of.
The FZ2000 also shoots 4K video and can take advantage of Panasonic’s 4K Photo modes to extract stills, while there’s also a pleasingly bright viewfinder and a built-in ND filter. Panasonic has also added a touch-screen to this camera, and those who want to make use of the 4K video capabilities will welcome the inclusion of an external microphone socket. This is an impressive all-around package.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2000 Digital Camera
With a 20x optical zoom lens, a 1.0 inch MOS sensor and unlimited 4K video recording in MOV/MP4, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2000 Digital Camera is a high-performance hybrid bridge camera that is sutiable for both semi-professional videographers and photography enthusiasts. Constructed 16 elements in 11 groups, the f/2.8-4.5 lens delivers a high-quality optical performance with little ghosting.
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6. Sony RX10 IV
Sony’s powerful RX10 bridge cameras sit at the top end of compact cameras in terms of both functionality and price, but if quality is your priority you should settle for nothing less. This premium superzoom camera offers a 24-600mm equivalent f/2.4-4 lens, paired with the same stacked sensor we saw in the RX100 V, allowing for the same fast readout times. This means it packs in the same premium features, such as 24fps burst shooting, as well as an autofocus system that uses 315 points to acquire focus in mere tenths of a second. Video users can not only shoot 4K, but also high-frame-rate slow-motion video in Full HD. The RX10 IV also adds a touch-screen for improved operability over the RX10 III.
Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV Digital Camera
This is the 4th iteration of Sony’s widely popular RX10 digital camera. Boasting an industry leading autofocus speed of just 0.03 seconds, a fixed Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm lens, and 4K internal video recording, the RX10 IV packs a lot into camera with a 20.1MP 1.0-type sensor. 24fps continuous shooting and super slow-motion up to 1000fps are also in the RX10 IV’s arsenal.
7. Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III
Canon went about the task of making a new flagship for its G series with gusto, and the result was the G1 X Mark III, on release the only camera to pair an APS-C sensor (a 24MP CMOS model) with a zoom lens (a 24-72mm equivalent f/2.8-5.6 zoom). Adding in a 2.36-million-dot electronic viewfinder, 9 fps burst shooting and a 3in fully articulating LCD made the G1 X III’s debut into quite an event as it outstripped its competition in many factors. While the lack of 4K means that video shooters will likely want to look elsewhere, the G1X Mark III remains a compelling prospect for the enthusiast or amateur who wants a compact that looks and acts the part.
Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Digital Camera
The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III joins Canon's G-series range of high-end compacts as the flagship camera for enthusiasts and professionals. Boasting a large APS-C 24.2MP sensor, Full HD recording, a 3x optical zoom lens (24-72mm f2.8-5.6), and Dual Pixel CMOS AF, the Wi-Fi enabled G1X MK III packs superb DSLR image and movie quality into a stylish, lightweight body that's easily portable.
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8. Panasonic Lumix LX100
And finally, for those whose budgets are a little more constrained, we look at an older and more affordable model. The Panasonic Lumix LX100 doesn’t use the 1-inch sensor popular in compacts of its class, instead cropping into a significantly larger Four Thirds sensor. This is paired with a 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 lens and the Venus Engine from contemporary high-end cameras like the Lumix GH4. Add in 4K, Wi-Fi connectivity and in-camera RAW conversion, and it’s easy to see why the Lumix LX100 remains popular. There are plenty of interesting creative modes and features hidden within the menus as well, making it a camera that is a genuine delight to play with and explore.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100 Digital Camera - Black
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100 is aimed at enthusiasts who desire more creative control, great low light performance, and the best image quality possible in a sophisticated, take-anywhere compact. The LX100 packs a 12.8 megapixel CMOS sensor, bright 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 Leica lens, ergonomic dials, support for 4K and Full HD video recording, 11fps continuous shooting, Manual Focus Peaking, RAW ...
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About the Author
Jon Stapley is a professional journalist with a wealth of experience on a number of photography titles including Amateur Photographer, Digital Camera World and What Digital Camera.