Advanced compact camera is growing in 2012. There are many variations of shape, image sensor size and lens. Advanced compact cameras are usually preferred by people who do not want to use bulky DSLR cameras.
The characteristics of advanced compact cameras:
- Has manual exposure mode
- Has a relative large sensor compared to other compacts.
- Can record RAW images
- Has a hotshoe for external flash holder / accessories
- Larger body compared to other compacts.
Quality = Assessed by design, performance, image quality and lens.
Value = Assessed based on price and benefits.
The best advanced compact camera 2012 are:
Panasonic Lumix LX7
This camera is the 4th generation of successful Panasonic Lumix LX line. As the 4th gen. camera, I’ll say that this camera is the complete package. LX7 is better than it’s successor on the lens, which has f/1.4-2.3. Big aperture lens means it will be easier to make quality image in low light setting. LX7 adds a control dial on the lens so we can change popular settings such aperture. Burst speed is also increased to 11 frame per second. Unfortunately the size of the image sensor is slightly smaller than LX5, and still alot smaller compared to DLSR camera. So, depth of field is not shallow and noise in ISO 400 or above is apparent. However, due to the big aperture, you might not need to use that high ISO setting.
Quality 8 Value: 8
EX2F is the 2nd generation advanced camera from Samsung. EX2F has almost similar specification to the LX7. It has a bit higher resolution and Image sensor size. Lens specification is similar, but LX7’s lens is a bit better because because it has f/2.3 maximum aperture when you fully zoomed in. EX2F has f/2.7 which is still very good for the camera this size. The main difference between the two cameras are EX2F has swivel LCD screen, LX7 does not.
Quality 8 Value: 8
The main advantage of RX100 is it has 1 inch image sensor, which is twice larger than other advanced compact cameras in the market. As a result, picture quality is better and clearer in the ISO 100-400. And still good at high ISO (800-1600). The resolution was huge 20 MP. It will drain your memory cards, but you will get sharper and more detail image when you print it large. Interestingly, RX100 is smaller in size than many advanced compact camera. RX100 can be easily put in the pocket. That’s make it easy to carry anywhere. The drawback is there is no hotshoe and maximum aperture when fully zoom in is relatively small (f/4.9).
Value 9 Value 7
After the success of the G series cameras. Canon tries to design a compact camera that contains large image sensor and fixed zoom lens. At a glance, the design is very similar to Canon G12, but significantly larger. With a large sensor size, image quality is still good up to ISO 3200. Unfortunately, the size of the camera is as big as mirrorless cameras and not pocketable. Autofocus is not as fast as I expect, especially in low light condition.
Quality 8 Value 7
Leica X2 is 2nd generation Leica’s own designed compact. X2 is improved significantly on autofocus. X2 has APS-c sensor which is similar to most DSLR cameras. Image quality is still very good at high ISO. Leica X2 camera layout is simple and has a tough camera body. X2 is not perfect, it only has low resolution screen (230k dots compared to today standard 920k dots). Leica X2 also only has a fixed lens (not zoom) with an average aperture of f/2.8. So it is will be still difficult to blur the background. Even worse, Leica has very high price.
Quality: 8 Value 4
In general, quality of these year advanced compact is very good. Sony RX100 emerged as the best compact camera in my opinion because wise choice of image, sensor, and design that keep the camera small and pocketable.Related Post: