View Full Version : Recommendations for a Compact Camera

04-11-2015, 8:44pm
A younger relative, not until now a photographic aficionado, recently returned from a trip abroad. After showing us some of the
pics he took, he began to lament how his recently acquired Nikon Coolpix S7000 just didn't cut it for image quality. We compared
fairly similar images of Portofino, his with the 16 Mpx Nikon Coolpix S7000, and mine with a 4.7Mpx Σ camera.

After some moments of being quite gobsmacked he asked if I could help him "get a much better camera". This, after some
talk about 1/2.3-inch vs APSC sensors, has come to mean a compact of some sort, not necessarily packed with gimmicks,
but one as described below.

- Is fairly compact (ie, not a DSLR nor an MILC), but which has a fixed zoom lens and which doesn't have to be 20X like
his present one.
- Has quite good IQ and with an APSC or so sensor.
- That is capable of recording raw images (pref with raw + jpeg).
- That can take 1080p video (or even more) in wide format.
- Price range preferably <= $A1000.

So folks, can anybody please advise what's out there that would fit such a bill?


04-11-2015, 10:23pm
G1x II and LX100 comes to mind.
If you're willing to go to 1" sensors then options really open up.

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Also note that neither of the suggestions make it to APS-C but it's as close as it gets.
The only APS-C fixed zoom I'm aware of is the Leica X Vario but is quite pricey.
Most APS-C fixed lens cameras use prime lenses.
Then there are small ILC with pancake zooms that are similar in size.
So there are lots of options but nothing that I know of that fits your description exactly.

04-11-2015, 11:22pm
I have the sony cybershot 100 mk4 20mp 4K video(5min at a time only) but also standard HD vid super slow motion vid as well.

Raw and jpeg zeiss vario sonnar lens 24-70mm f1.8-2.8 HD black and white option. Popup flash that you can tilt for ceiling reflection

electronic view finder. WIFI l bought it for street photography. Small, but heavy, fits into your shirt or trouser pocket.

It also has in camera HDR and panorama as well as other modes.

Got mine from eglobal for just over $1000, but if you want almost the same less the slow m and 4k vid, get the mk3 for about $800. Cheers.

05-11-2015, 12:24am
Just some basic shots that I've taken so far, to give you an idea. Will be testing it out at the cooktown races this wk end.

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j471/ryzchard/DSC00154_zpsmabwkgnj.jpg (http://s1087.photobucket.com/user/ryzchard/media/DSC00154_zpsmabwkgnj.jpg.html)

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j471/ryzchard/DSC00144_zpsm8wvkkox.jpg (http://s1087.photobucket.com/user/ryzchard/media/DSC00144_zpsm8wvkkox.jpg.html)

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j471/ryzchard/DSC00122_zpshc4oa2pk.jpg (http://s1087.photobucket.com/user/ryzchard/media/DSC00122_zpshc4oa2pk.jpg.html)

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j471/ryzchard/DSC00057_zpsymlaxx57.jpg (http://s1087.photobucket.com/user/ryzchard/media/DSC00057_zpsymlaxx57.jpg.html)

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j471/ryzchard/DSC00056_zpsuceexiqy.jpg (http://s1087.photobucket.com/user/ryzchard/media/DSC00056_zpsuceexiqy.jpg.html)

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j471/ryzchard/DSC00053_zps7t68wmoq.jpg (http://s1087.photobucket.com/user/ryzchard/media/DSC00053_zps7t68wmoq.jpg.html)

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j471/ryzchard/DSC00035_zps3qnchhfr.jpg (http://s1087.photobucket.com/user/ryzchard/media/DSC00035_zps3qnchhfr.jpg.html)

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j471/ryzchard/DSC00157_zpsmswfsx4j.jpg (http://s1087.photobucket.com/user/ryzchard/media/DSC00157_zpsmswfsx4j.jpg.html)

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j471/ryzchard/DSC00163_zps2txde8zj.jpg (http://s1087.photobucket.com/user/ryzchard/media/DSC00163_zps2txde8zj.jpg.html)

05-11-2015, 11:12am
Ta Swifty. The 1" sounds interesting, and I was using APSC as the only guide I knew that was not "tiny" nor FF.
Also, I said non-ILC because I was not aware at that moment of pancake zooms, so this...

Then there are small ILC with pancake zooms that are similar in size.

still sounds interesting.

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Ta feathers. (Don't be surprised, I meant "feavvers":D) I take it that's a so called 1" camera.
I guess it shoots in some raw?

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Hmm! That 4K video is "to quill for":D

05-11-2015, 11:30am
I took the Panasonic FZ 1000 o/seas, and found it came in very handy, with a good zoom and 4K video. Had a couple of enlargements printed, and happy with them. Can be found in Sydney for <$1000.

05-11-2015, 11:44am
Ta Ionica. Looking now...

05-11-2015, 12:40pm
Am, most of the sensor sizes are spaced out by about 1 stop. Use the crop factors as a guide and note how they correspond to f-stop numbers.
FF = 1
APS-C = 1.5-1.6X
4/3 = 2X
1" and Nikon CX = 2.7X

2/3" = 3.6X
1/1.7" = 4.2X

All else being equal, 1" gives up a bit less than 2 stops from APS-C and 4/3 gives up less than a stop from APS-C.
But all else aren't equal so you start getting into the nitty gritty. Most of the high end fixed zooms claw back a stop or so in their fast aperture values of their zoom range.
Some of the best pound for pound sensor tech is also in cameras like the one feathers mentioned. I assume he meant the RX100 mk IV. So you gain a bit there too.
So it becomes a balancing game of sensor size, camera size, zoom range and aperture.
Hence if you're willing to accept a 2 stop deficit in sensor size but claw some back in the lens specs and sensor tech then 1" is a nice sweet spot at the moment for high end compacts.

05-11-2015, 4:23pm
Looks like Dpreview will have done a lot of the homework for you:
and there's a whole series coming up:
Of course this is just one website's opinion but it does lay out pretty much all the current options.
These are all in USD of course but I've just noticed there are a lot of local promotions starting on the run up to Xmas, with cashbacks and gifts etc.

05-11-2015, 4:35pm
Ta Swifty. Had a bit of a look there before, but the links are handy.

07-11-2015, 6:30am
Yeah, as Feather's suggested, for the price/size .. Sony's RX's seem to fit the bill well.

RX100's are compact.
RX10's are larger but with more zoom.

..... he began to lament how his recently acquired Nikon Coolpix S7000 just didn't cut it for image quality. We compared
fairly similar images of Portofino, his with the 16 Mpx Nikon Coolpix S7000, and mine with a 4.7Mpx Σ camera.

After some moments of being quite gobsmacked he asked if I could help him "get a much better camera". .....

I think you need to disseminate this area of concern to determine exactly what would fit the bill properly.

That is, exactly what was it about the quality that he wasn't impressed with(compared to the Ʃ)?
Was it the detail rendering .. was it the colours .. etc. :confused013

Start with resolving that question which will help to narrow down the potential field a bit more.

OH! and a camera system that many folks forget about is the Samsung line.
While I don't have one myself(well my daughter has a Galaxy Camera) .. from what I've seen of them they look quite good.

If I were in the market for a compact capable camera ** ... from everything I've seen I'd be going with either a NX3300 or NX500(with a stronger lean towards the better looking NX500).
If you're interested: Have a look at DPR's new studio tool thingybob!
Load up the following cameras in the vacant fields. Canon G1x II : Panasonic GM1 : Sony Rx100 iv : Samsung NX500

To my eyes, from that selection of current cameras, the Samsung looks to have the best IQ in that studio scene.
(note that while that studio scene doesn't represent real life, it's the only means we currently have to compare apples to apples ... and not some random apples-blue cheese comparison
Play with high ISO levels etc, and the Samsung still comes out on top.

** note: I am toying with the idea of getting an NX500 as a replacement for my daughter's Galaxy Camera. Until something better comes up as an alternative, this is my current leaning.
She loves the Galaxy Cam, and doesn't want a too big camera(say like my totally idle D70s) and I also want her to have an all round better camera.
ps. while the galaxy is fun for her(and I have to admit it is fun to play with), she's getting annoyed with it's inabilities(focus, control etc). I hate it's lack of any half decent IQ and get annoyed with it's lack of most controls

So while some of those camera require a lens 'kit' (ie. are interchangeable lens cameras!) .. if you take the point of view that you only want one lens on it and leave it at that .. they need not be ILC cameras ..
Panasonic GM1 is about as small as you'll get in a larger than sub 1" sensor camera. Have a look at how tiny they are with a very basic small lens(12-32/3.5-5.6) It's basically pocketable!
Samsung NX500 + the kit 16-50/3.5-5.6 isn't too much bigger tho.

The hard part about Samsung cameras is finding a store that stocks them.
I had to search everywhere for one! .. found Camera House selling them for $799 which includes the kit lens + case + 1 spare battery.
The GM1 + kit lens is also at $799(but I'd have at least one spare battery on non OVF camera!!) so they're pretty comparable.

I suppose the selling point here(and I'm not trying to sell anything .. just making a point!) . is that even tho you said a capable compact camera, and not a compact ILC system .. don't look at it from that viewpoint. Look at it from the POV that it doesn't really matter as long as it's compact.
BUT! .. in the event that said relative actually enjoys taking photos with a renewed vigour due to the higher quality images now .. the option to update the lens only as opposed to updating the camera .. AGAIN! .. is now possible.
If there is no further interest in the hobby .. no big deal.

While FZ's and RX10's are great for their large zoom ranges, they are anything but compact!
While they are smaller and more convenient than a DSLR, they do have quite obvious limitations compared to DSLR type cameras. And if you check out size comparos, in reality they aren't all that different in 'relative' sizes anyhow!

If you want a fixed zoom lens type camera with as much as you can get in the one convenient package .. obviously the size will inflate as the zoominess of the lens increases .. I'd say going by all reviews that the Sony RX10 is the best way forward from there.

07-11-2015, 9:37am
Ta Arthur. In fact, I later (in this thread) conceded that ILC would do if the lens wasn't too big.
Certainly are a lot of avenues to wander down and have a look.

07-11-2015, 11:31am
Certainly are a lot of avenues to wander down and have a look.

.... just keep in mind that those avenues should contain a good selection of camera shops too! :p

no point just wandering down (say) your local Chinatown district .. unless you're hankering for some Chinese food. Although you may see folks snapping away with all sorts of cameras along Chinatown, those experiences may not be as enlightening as (say) an avenue rich in camera shops that you can play with yourself.

HERE's (http://camerasize.com/compact/#349,627.423,535.360,534,491.397,370,332,603,ha,t) the link to the camera size comparison I had up and running with multiple camera/lenses selected.
The GM1 is truly amazingly small! basically the same size as the Sony rx100 series cameras .. and that included the 12-32 lens attached!
Samsung wasn't all that much deeper overall(back of camera body to front of lens), but much wider and taller by comparison.

also, if you or your relative haven't decided and you find yourself in Melb one day .. I'll wander down that avenue with 'ya if you liked too.
(the camera avenue .. not the Chinatown one .. not a huge fan of Chinese food .. although there can be the odd interesting photo op down Chinatown)

07-11-2015, 12:49pm
Just a few additional comments, mainly regarding m43 since I'm familiar with the system.
The GM5 is like a newer GM1 but trading the flash for an EVF.
The EVF's not the best on the market but then again, neither is the flash. These are very small cameras so something's gotta give.
The 12-32 kit lens is slow but sharp. One of th better kit lenses.
Pancake primes such as 14mm/2.5, 20mm/1.7 work really well. There are also lots of small non-pancake primes eg. 15mm/1.7, 45mm/1.8.
A GF7 is similar in size to the GM series.

A word of caution about Samsung. Despite their denial, there are constant reports Samsung is exiting the camera business despite their very good sensors. Arguably the best in APS-C in the NX1.
Some stores in Europe are dumping stock. It means possibly cheap cameras soon but lack of future support.

For an all in one solution my picks would be RX100 if you want it in your jeans pocket, or LX100 if you don't need that luxury.

18-02-2016, 3:43pm
I would recommend the RX100iv (even though it's just a little over 1k) not because I use Sony, but because of the high-praises, especially the ability to recover a decent amount of shadows with very little noise. This fits the bill for small, compact, video (even slow motion), high IQ, etc.

Of course, being only that it's a 1" sensor, there's definitely still limitations such as bokeh, ISO performance (though that's dependent on the user)
If you wanted, you could also get a good teleconverter and get double the range in an instant when needed if you need just a little bit of extra range.