For various reasons, I am researching compact digital cameras. As much as I love shooting with the iPhone, when I am on the road and don’t carry my DSLR kit with me, I want to have a better quality compact camera with me. There are some benefits of using the iPhone with plenty of apps to edit and share images. It’s all good fun, but sometimes, you want to take some more serious pictures as well.
My wife, also wants a compact digital camera and not rely on my DSLR for her photographic needs. So I started investigating the market.
- Compact size
- Easy to use
- Manual settings
- Great image quality
- Best possible lens quality
- Good performance at high ISO
- Biggest possible sensor size (not number of megapixels)
- Raw image support
Some of the items seem to contradict each other, but there are some surprises I found in my research. I didn’t have access to test units and can’t tell you much about practical experience. I looked at some of the compact digital cameras in the shop to get a first impression, but not much more. My research included a lot of online research and different opinions. It is always a pleasure to find reviewers with very different opinions. I tend to pay more attention to reviewers, who used the cameras in real life situations and less in lab settings.
Some of the compact digital cameras, I will present over the next few weeks are not on my short list, but I want to present them anyway, as they represent interesting concepts and show trends.
The digital cameras that caught my attention are:
Fixed lens, high end compacts
4/3 Format cameras with interchangeable lenses
Zoom lens cameras with compact size sensors
- Canon G12
- Nikon P7000
- Panasonic LX 5 (identical construction with Leica D-Lux 5)
- Leica D-Lux 5 (identical construction with Panasonic LX 5)
- Olympus XZ-1
- Canon S95
As you can see from the list, I am not comparing apples with apples but am on a mission to find the best digital camera for our context, which is based on practical needs and less on what camera manufacturers think we need. None of the cameras are entry level compact cameras. Some of the digital cameras I excluded right from the beginning, as I simply did not like them (Sony NEX 3 and NEX 5 for example) when I looked at them in the shop.
Next week, I will start with the Fuji X100 and Leica X1. Both of these two digital cameras made an impression in the photo community and both have opinionated supporters and critics. Sounds like lots of fun for me.
At this stage, this is still an open race, though I have a few favorites. If you know someone, who wants me to use their camera as test unit for this series, please contact me.
What are you experiences? Which compact digital camera do you use?