The Best Advanced Compact Cameras You Can Buy Today
December 17, 2015
SIGMA QUATTRO DP0
The fourth member of Sigma’s advanced compact family, the Sigma Quattro dp0 shares the same features as the other dp Quattro cameras but differs in the focal length of its fixed lens. The dp0 sports the widest-angle lens of the bunch—a 14mm f/4 lens, equivalent to a 21mm focal length on a 35mm camera. At the heart of Sigma’s distinctive-looking dp0 Quattro is the 29-megapixel APS-C-sized Foveon X3 Quattro image sensor, which features a proprietary three-layer design meant to replicate how film emulsions capture red, green and blue light. Working in tandem, these three layers create the equivalent of a 39-megapixel image and Sigma’s True III image processor crunches the data to output an image that the company claims delivers truer-to-life colors and more realistic images. Beyond the sensor, the dp0 offers 14-bit RAW image capture and an ISO range from 100 to 6400. The body design marries a thin, panoramic frame with a prominent grip that extends from the back of the camera, giving the dp0 a distinctive look. If 14mm is a bit too wide for you, Sigma has three other models in the Quattro family: the dp1 with a 19mm f/2.8 lens, the dp2 with a 30mm f/2.8 and the dp3, which features a 50mm focal length lens and the same f/2.8 maximum aperture. All carry the same price tag. Click here to read our story with full details on the rest of the dp Quattro line.
The Q boasts a 24-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and a zippy 10fps burst mode thanks to its Maestro II image processor. If the fixed 28mm, f/1.7 ASPH lens is too wide for you, the camera has 35mm and 50mm modes that save cropped images as JPEGs while simultaneously preserving the full 28mm field of view as a RAW file. You’ll frame your scene through a 3-inch touch screen or a 3.68-megapixel electronic viewfinder that’s incredibly sharp. You can use the touch screen for touch focusing or to trigger the shutter the instant you select a touch focus point. A mechanical shutter delivers speeds up to 1/2000 sec. and you can access a faster, quieter electronic shutter for speeds up to 1/16,000 sec. The Q also features built-in Wi-Fi, 1080p60 video recording and a native ISO range of 100-50,000. It’s forged from an aluminum block and finished in magnesium with all external markings engraved with a laser for greater durability. To see our full review of the Leica Q, click here.
CANON POWERSHOT G3 X
Canon is no stranger to plying tiny cameras with big sensors, and the G3 X is no exception. With a 1-inch, 20-megapixel CMOS sensor and built-in 24-600mm, f/2.8-5.6 lens, the G3 X is a versatile performer. ISO sensitivity can reach 12,800, and a five-axis hybrid image stabilization system keeps images sharp as you drop shutter speeds. The G3 X features a 3.2-inch touch screen tiltable display as well as Wi-Fi and NFC for wireless remote control and image transfers. You’ll enjoy continuous shooting at 5.9 fps and HD video recording up to 1080p60 with manual control over focus and exposure during filming. It’s built more like a DSLR in miniature than your typical compact camera, with a prominent hand grip for a comfortable hold. See our full review of the PowerShot G3 W here.
PANASONIC LUMIX FZ300
The 12-megapixel FZ300 packs an optical punch with a built-in 25-600mm Leica lens that maintains a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the entire zoom range. Despite its long reach, the lens can focus down to 1 cm in macro mode. Like most new Panasonic cameras, it offers 4K video recording and three 4K Photo Modes—4K Burst, 4K Pre-Burst and 4K Start/Stop—to quickly isolate 8-megapixel still frames from 4K video files. In addition to 4K, you can record Full HD at up to 120 fps. You’ll enjoy a maximum ISO of 6400 and a five-axis hybrid image stabilization system to keep subjects sharp as you zoom out to 600mm. The camera features a 1,440K-dot OLED LVF with a 100 percent field of view when shooting in the 4:3 aspect ratio, plus a 3-inch, free-angle touchscreen display to help compose your scene. You can burst at speeds of up to 12 fps when shooting in AFS mode, or 6 fps with continuous AF engaged. The camera’s autofocus system can acquire focus in low light down to -3 EV, and has focus peaking to guide you during manual focusing. The AF system can achieve focus in as little as .09 seconds and shutter speeds hit 1/4000 sec. (mechanical) or 1/16,000 sec. (electronic). The FZ300 is splash- and dustproof, has built-in Wi-Fi, in-camera RAW processing and 22 creative filters.
RICOH GR II
Boasting a 16.2-megapixel APS-C-sized CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter, the GR II has a 28mm (35mm equivalent) fixed lens with an aperture of f/2.8 and a manually adjustable ND filter. The camera is capable of focusing on subjects up to 3.9 inches away from the lens. It features Wi-Fi and NFC and works with a pair of apps that let users view a live feed from the camera, adjust settings and share images wirelessly. The GR II has a native ISO range of 100-25,600, in-camera RAW processing and 1920x1080p30 video recording with the ability to adjust exposure and activate AF during filming. The AF system can lock on subjects in as little as 0.2 seconds and continuous shooting clocks in at 4 fps for RAW images. Thanks to an updated automatic white balance algorithm, the GR II does a better job shooting under fluorescent lights than its predecessor and also reduces the color bleed of green hues when shooting outdoors, according to Ricoh. The GR II offers 17 effects modes and shutter speeds up to 1/4000 sec. It sports a built-in flash but no built-in viewfinder. Click here to read full details about the GR II.
OLYMPUS STYLUS S1S
The style of the S1s hues close to the retro sensibility of Olympus’ OM-D mirrorless lineup, but without the interchangeable lenses. Instead, you’re outfitted with a 28-300mm (equivalent) lens that maintains a constant f/2.8 aperture through the zoom range. The camera offers a 1/1.7-inch backside-illuminated image sensor with the company’s TruePic VI processor to crunch the data. The S1s delivers a native ISO range of 100-1600, which is expandable to ISO 12,800. Unlike some of its compact peers, the Stylus S1s packs an electronic viewfinder. The 1.44-megapixel EVF lets you preview exposure adjustments in real time and has an eye sensor so you can quickly jump back-and-forth from the LCD to the EVF. Speaking of the display, you’ll enjoy a 3-inch tilting touchscreen with touch AF functionality. The Stylus S1s is fairly speedy, with a burst mode of 7 fps up to 25 RAW images or 70 JPEGs. Rounding out the feature set is Wi-Fi, 1920x1080p30 video recording and shutter speeds up to 1/2000 sec.
SONY RX100 IV
No action flick is complete without an epic slo-mo and Sony’s new RX100 IV will definitely deliver that: It can record at a blistering 960 fps, albeit at a web-friendly 1136×384 resolution. If you want to trade higher resolution for slightly slower frame rates, the RX100 IV also has options for 480 fps (1676×566) and 240 fps (1824×1026) video recording. The camera is able to achieve its speed thanks to a new image sensor design which attaches a DRAM chip to the signal processing circuitry, thereby bumping up the memory buffer and allowing the data to flow more rapidly off the sensor—up to five times faster than conventional sensor designs, according to Sony. The brisk data movement also minimizes rolling shutter distortions, which will come in handy as the camera is capable of electronic shutter speeds up to 1/32,000 sec. In addition to being fast, the RX100 IV can record 4K video (3840×216) for up to five minutes a clip with clean HDMI output, time code, and Sony’s S-Log2 profile for easier post-process color grading. Still shooters aren’t left in the lurch, either. The RX100 IV features a 1-inch 20-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS sensor, a native ISO range of 125-12,800 and a built-in 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens with a three-step ND filter. There’s a retractable OLED viewfinder and a 3-inch display that flips up 180-degrees for selfies. Set to speed-priority and the RX100 IV can hit 16 fps in continuous shooting mode. See our review of the RX100 IV, and Sony’s other 2015 camera launches, here.
NIKON COOLPIX P7800
The Coolpix P7800 features a 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor measuring 1/1.7 inches. It packs a 28-200mm f/2 lens with Vibration Reduction to keep things steady even when you’re not. You’ll frame your scene through a 3-inch, vari-angle display or an electronic viewfinder. The P7800 clocks in with a burst mode of 8 fps for up to six images. It has a native ISO range of 80-1600 with an option to expand to 6400. Movies are recorded at 1920x1080p30 and there are 17 scene modes to choose from. If you want wireless control, you’ll need to spring for the optional WU-1a Wi-Fi adapter ($60).
A favorite among street photographers, the X100T marks the debut of a new “hybrid” viewfinder with an electronic rangefinder mode that Fuji says mimics the functions of a mechanical rangefinder for framing your composition through the viewfinder. The frame coverage of the EVF has been bumped from the 90 percent found in the X100S to 92 percent to give you a bit more accuracy when composing through the EVF. Image effects, such as film simulations, can be previewed in real time in the viewfinder as well. The X100T uses a 16.3-megapixel, APS-C-sized X-Trans CMOS II sensor and Fuji’s EXR Processor II technology. Its 23mm, f/2 fixed lens is equivalent to a 35mm lens on a full-frame camera and is capable of focusing on subjects as close as 10cm. Fuji has also tweaked the body design from the X100S, adding more controls over aperture in the aperture ring (now adjustable in 1/3 steps) as well as extending the exposure compensation dial by +/- three stops. There are seven customizable function buttons to bring your favorite settings front and center. The camera’s other highlights include 1080p60 HD video recording at a maximum bit rate of 36Mbps with manual focusing during video recording; high-speed shooting at 6 fps to 25 full resolution JPEGs and a 3-inch, 1.04-million dot LCD display. You’ll enjoy electronic shutter speeds of up to 1/32,000 sec. and Wi-Fi for mobile image viewing and camera control. Check out our full review of the X100T here.