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Compact cameras have ceased to enjoy such wide popularity as, for example, 8 years ago. They were replaced by budget semi-professional cameras and smartphones with built-in cameras. But you need to understand that those “soap boxes” that were sold 8-10 years ago are very different from those compact cameras that are offered by manufacturers from different companies in 2020. The quality of today’s “compact” cameras is much higher, and the functionality is wider. There are even full-frame small mirrorless cameras that are mainly used by travel photographers.

Simplerule experts have analyzed the compact camera market and selected some of the most interesting models in 2020 that meet the most important user requirements.

Rating of the best compact cameras

Nomination Place Name Price

Best Entry to Mid-Range Compact Cameras

7

Fujifilm FinePix XP140

13 800 ₽

6

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

47 990 ₽

5

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

30 990 ₽

four

Olympus Tough TG-6

32 840 ₽

3

Nikon Coolpix A1000

26 634 ₽

2

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100/TZ100

34 400 ₽

one

Ricoh GR III

71 339 ₽

Premium compact cameras

3

Sony Alpha ILCE-7M3

130 650 ₽

2

Canon EOS R

117 990 ₽

one

Nikon Z6

113 400 ₽

Best Entry to Mid-Range Compact Cameras

In the first selection, consider amateur and semi-professional compact cameras. The presented models will allow not only to capture any important life events, but can also contribute to your desire to become a professional photographer. With such compact, and in some places even very miniature dimensions, these compact cameras have a fairly wide functionality.

Also Read: 7 Best Inexpensive Digital Cameras

Fujifilm FinePix XP140

Rating: 4.5

FUJIFILM FINEPIX XP140

Let’s start the review with the most budget version of a compact camera, the approximate price of which is about 180 USD. This camera is widely popular due to the combination of low price and a number of interesting features.

The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 has a fairly solid build. The camera is equipped with reliable protection against dust and moisture. With it, you can dive under water to a depth of 25 meters – this is 5 meters more than the previous model in this series – XP130. The camera has a secure cover with a lock for the battery compartment, which prevents accidental opening under water. The lid has a rubber seal to prevent the ingress of dust, dirt and of course water.

In addition, the camera can withstand falls from a height of about 180 cm and is able to function smoothly at temperatures down to -10 degrees. Therefore, you can safely use this device in extreme conditions and not be afraid to give it to children.

The camera uses a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor with image stabilization. The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 has a built-in wide-angle lens (28mm) that has a 5x zoom. So, no matter where the subject is, on the side or in the center of the frame, you will never lose sight of it.

This model has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless interfaces. This facilitates quick image transfer to a smartphone and allows you to use the remote control, which can be used to zoom in, focus on the subject, and even take a picture. In addition, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity makes pairing devices much easier and allows you to add geotagging to your shots.

In addition to good footage, you can get great video up to 1080p at 60 fps. Also, the camera is equipped with such shooting modes as Slow Motion and Time-lapse.

The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 has an updated autofocus system that allows you to select the focus point yourself using the joystick located on the camera panel to switch. When a face is detected, the eye tracking function is activated. Another interesting option is the electronic level, which allows you to shoot images without a “blockage” of the horizon. In addition, in the settings of the compact camera there is a set of various filters that, if desired, will help to avoid post-processing.

Advantages

  • nice price;

  • reliable protection against dust and moisture;

  • the camera is frost-resistant;

  • can be filmed underwater

  • there is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth;

  • Full HD shooting at 60 fps;

  • slow motion and timelapse shooting modes.

Flaws

  • at this cost, no significant shortcomings were identified.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Rating: 4.6

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

The next model we’ll look at is manufactured by Sony and first entered the market in 2012. At the same time, the demand for it does not fall, and the price remains practically unchanged until now. Today, the cost of such a camera starts at about 360 USD. Let’s figure out why this camera remains in the top for 8 years.

The monolithic body of the camera is made entirely of metal, which the next generations of the RX line cannot boast of. The camera has a fairly large 20.2MP CMOS sensor with a size of one “Vidicon” inch. The minimum ISO value is 125 ISO and the maximum is 6400 ISO. But in reality, when shooting in low light, the working ISO will reach 3200, since at a higher figure there will be too pronounced noise.

The camera optics are supplied by the legendary German company Carl Zeiss and this is indicated on the camera body itself. In 2012, this lens was truly luxurious, but even now it is more than good. This is a zoom lens with a focal equivalent of 28-100mm and aperture of F1.8-F4.9. When compared with a standard 28-100mm system zoom, it will have a “hole” of F3.4-F5.6. That is, the optics of the Sony RX100 camera will be brighter by a whole “stop”. In simple terms, this lens lets in twice as much light at any zoom length. At the same time, this model has the sharpest optics in the entire line of RX cameras.

The Sony RX100 compact camera is equipped with full, versatile controls. In addition to AUTO mode, there is a shutter-priority (S), aperture-priority (A), program (P) and fully manual (M) mode that will allow you to set all the parameters manually. There is also an optical image stabilizer built into the camera, which does its job quite well.

The camera comes with a built-in flash with red-eye reduction. Its coverage reaches 6.30m. The camera has a built-in tripod mount and orientation sensor. The camera also has a stereo microphone that allows you to transmit high-quality sound during video recording. The video recording format is Full HD 1080p with a maximum frame rate of 60 fps. The continuous video shooting time is 9-10 minutes.

Advantages

  • large matrix;

  • fast lens;

  • good image detail;

  • the ability to shoot in RAW format;

  • Full HD video at 60 fps;

  • monolithic body;

  • fast autofocus.

Flaws

  • not the most accurate white balance;

  • not too rich equipment.

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Rating: 4.7

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

The Canon G9 X Mark II ultra-slim camera not only features an exceptional retro design, but also allows you to achieve excellent quality in photography and video shooting thanks to its high technical specifications. The price of this model, as in the previous case, is closer not to the lower, but to the middle price segment of SLR cameras, and is approximately 370 USD.

Image quality in all cameras is most often determined by two parameters: the matrix and the processor. In this case, the matrix is ​​identical to the aforementioned Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 model. And the processor of the Canon G9 X Mark II is a relatively powerful DIGIC 7. Its performance allows you to process images quite fluently and “catch” the focus.

The focal equivalent of the lens is 28-84mm, and aperture ranges from F2 to F4.9. Such indicators indicate that the “lens” can be considered fast. It also has a 3x optical zoom. Most of the time this is enough for most scenes, but if 3x zoom isn’t enough for you, you can double it with the digital Zoom Plus feature.

You can control the camera using the buttons and selectors, as well as through the LCD touch screen. The compact Canon G9 X Mark II is equipped with a large 3-inch display with a resolution of more than 1 million dots. If you actively use photo editors, then you have the opportunity to take pictures in the “raw” RAW format. Few compact cameras support this format.

In the process of shooting, the optical image stabilizer located in the PowerShot G9 X lens can help the user. It eliminates vibration in 5 axes, allowing you to get sharp pictures in difficult conditions and record video without natural hand shake and other jerks. You can also change the settings using the control ring on the lens, its function can be adjusted by yourself.

In the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II, the manufacturer has added almost all modern communication interfaces. The camera can connect to a tablet or smartphone via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or NFC. By connecting a compact camera and a phone, you can not only quickly share pictures, but also remotely control the device from a mobile device. The Canon G9 X Mark II has its own replaceable battery, which lasts approximately 235 shots, which is a very good result for a compact camera.

Advantages

  • large matrix in relation to the size of the camera;

  • optical stabilizer;

  • ultra-compact dimensions;

  • wireless interfaces Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC;

  • fast lens;

  • quite powerful DIGIC 7 processor;

  • sensor size 1”;

  • supports RAW format.

Flaws

  • weak flash;

  • inconvenient mode switch wheel;

  • not very high quality video.

See also: 12 best new cameras

Olympus Tough TG-6

Rating: 4.7

Olympus Tough TG-6

The next compact camera in our review is made by Olympus. This model was released in July last 2019 and quickly gained popularity. After almost a year and a half, the demand for this camera does not stop falling. Approximate cost of Tough TG-6 is 395 USD.

This camera can be used in the most extreme environments thanks to its truly sealed housing. Tough TG-6 even enjoys well-deserved popularity among divers, because. It can be submerged under water up to 15m. When diving more than 1m, the camera automatically adjusts the white balance. Also, the camera can withstand a static load of up to 100kg and a fall from a height of about 2m. Able to work stably at low temperatures down to -10 degrees.

The Olympus Tough TG-6 has a built-in 12MP CMOS sensor. This is not such a large matrix as the above-mentioned models, hence the image quality is a step lower. But the manufacturers did not focus on the top quality of photo and video filming, but on the “indestructibility” and the use of the camera in different conditions.

The camera lens is protected by double-sided anti-fog glass. It is equipped with a 4x zoom with a focal length of 25-100mm and a maximum aperture of F2-F4.9. The lens does not move forward and, on the contrary, is deeply recessed into the camera body – such a system was created for maximum isolation from the external environment.

Unlike the previous TG-5 model, the new camera can shoot high-definition 4K video at 30 fps. The maximum recording time reaches 29 minutes, and the video file size limit is 4 GB. The device supports macro mode with a minimum focusing distance of 1cm.

The high capacity battery of the Olympus Tough TG-6 allows you to take an average of 340 photos on one full charge. Viewing and cropping footage is done using a three-inch display. The screen is not touch-sensitive, but considering the conditions in which this compact can work, then this is even for the better.

The camera is equipped with GPS navigation and orientation sensor. It also supports Wi-Fi remote control. The Olympus Tough TG-6 supports the RAW image format, which will allow you to achieve high-quality post-processing of images.

Advantages

  • strong construction and high protection rates;

  • 4K video at 30 fps;

  • GPS navigation;

  • macro mode;

  • high battery capacity;

  • 4x zoom lens.

Flaws

  • small matrix;

  • LCD visibility is reduced in bright light.

Nikon Coolpix A1000

Rating: 4.8

NIKON COOLPIX A1000

Nikon’s Coolpix A1000 is a bit big for a compact family, but with such a large built-in zoom, it couldn’t be otherwise. This is the latest addition to the Coolpix series, which has a classic design and comes in two palettes: black and silver. The average price of such a model is about 420 USD.

The body of the camera is made of metal. On its outer part there is a comfortable handle, which is significantly modified for the better compared to the previous Coolpix A900 model. The camera is equipped with an electronic viewfinder with a field of view of up to 98%. The EVF viewfinder allows you to navigate in the process of shooting in bright light. The touch screen with a diagonal of 7.6 cm can tilt down to 180 degrees, which makes it possible to shoot from different viewing angles.

The matrix of the Nikon Coolpix A1000 is as small as that of the previous Olympus Tough TG-6 model. Of course, this is not enough to get top-quality images, but even with such a “cropped” matrix, you can see a slight advantage. It consists in low image noise at high ISO values.

The main advantage of this camera is the 35x zoom. This is a big gap in zooming, if you remember the above models. Indeed, the manufacturer has tried to create the optics of this camera. The optical scheme of the lens is built from 13 elements in 11 groups, among which there are aspherical lenses. The focal length of the optics reaches 24-840mm with an aperture of F3.4-F6.9. This zoom ratio is inherent in ultra-long-focal interchangeable lenses.

The Nikon Coolpix A1000 has the fastest shutter speed of 1/4000 second. With such a fast shutter speed, you can easily photograph subjects that move at high speed. Also, when shooting, you will be helped by an optical image stabilizer, which will prevent unwanted shakes.

Advantages

  • 35x zoom;

  • electronic viewfinder;

  • minimum shutter speed – 1/4000 second;

  • touch, swivel screen;

  • wireless connection to a mobile device;

  • convenient location of controls.

Flaws

  • there is no sound recording;

  • small battery capacity.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100/TZ100

Rating: 4.8

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100/TZ100

For many users, it is very unusual to see cameras from Panasonic. And if we limit ourselves to the “photo and video world”, then most photographers believe that this company is more associated with the production of video cameras. But you should not completely neglect these cameras, as they also show themselves well in photography. So the considered model Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ 100 may pleasantly surprise you with its functionality and image quality. The price of such a compact is approximately 460 USD.

The matrix of this camera is quite large, as for compacts, its size is 1 Vidicon inch with the number of effective pixels 20.1 million. . The rest of the companies that produce cameras with such matrices, frankly, have failed. Since, the quality of the images they have is significantly different and far from the best.

The lens of this camera is manufactured by LEICA, which already makes you seriously look at this model. The 35mm equivalent lens has a focal length of 25-250mm and an aperture of F2.8-F5.9. The optical scheme is built from 12 optical elements in 10 groups. This design features 5 double-sided aspherical lenses that provide sharpness across the entire zoom range and prevent distortion in the frame.

The camera, like all modern models of the Panasonic brand, is equipped with a post focus mode – that is, during shooting, the device creates up to 300 frames in one array across the entire focal field, after which you can select the most focused frame. The minimum shutter speed on the electronic shutter of the camera is 1/16000s. Not every semi-professional DSLR can boast such a shutter speed. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ 100 has a full electronic viewfinder in a very compact body.

You can shoot video in 4K UHD at 100 Mbps, but then you’ll have to stock up on a capacious memory card. The camera also allows you to shoot in Full HD mode with a resolution of 1080p and a frequency of 120 frames / s. Also Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ 100 is equipped with a full-fledged interval shooting mode. That is, the camera itself can collect time-lapses with a given frame rate and at the same time save the original images.

Advantages

  • inch matrix;

  • Full HD and 4K video format;

  • lens LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT;

  • distortion and aberrations are negligible;

  • full viewfinder;

  • there is an optical image stabilizer;

  • minimum shutter speed – 1/16000s;

  • There is macro photography.

Flaws

  • uncomfortable ergonomics;

  • small battery capacity.

Also Read: Top 9 Sony Cameras

Ricoh GR III

Rating: 4.9

RICOH GR III

Ricoh released the most compact camera in 2019 and it is still considered the smallest on the market. The camera easily fits in the palm of your hand and is equipped with a fairly rich functionality. The average price of such a compact on the market is 1180 USD.

The dimensions of the camera are only 109x62x33mm. With such a minimum camera size, the manufacturers managed to install an APS-C type matrix with the number of effective pixels of 24.24 million. A similar matrix is ​​built-in, for example, in the Fujifilm XF10 camera, but it is larger in size. The Ricoh GR III supports 14-bit DNG (digital negative specification) RAW format, which allows photo editors to see more information about the frame.

The focal length of the GR III optics is 28mm. It’s something between a wide-angle lens and a zoom lens, meaning you can shoot both portraits and landscapes. The optical scheme consists of 6 elements in 4 groups, including aspherical lenses. The lens can be considered fast, with its value of F2.8. The camera is equipped with a three-axis optical image stabilization based on matrix shift – Shake Reduction.

The camera has a feature such as snap focus – this is a type of focus in which the focus is fixed at a given distance. You can set the distance in advance, for example 2m, and everything beyond this value will remain in focus. This feature is a real godsend for a street photographer. The camera has another interesting option, such as exposure metering. That is, by setting this mode, you will never get overexposure in certain areas of the frame.

The Ricoh GR III has a built-in macro mode, which is activated by pressing one button. In normal shooting, the camera takes pictures with a minimum distance of 10cm, and in macro photography, it shoots from 6cm. For Instagram lovers, the aspect ratio of the frame is 1:1. This will allow you to directly upload photos to a social network without prior cropping by connecting the camera to mobile devices via Wi-Fi.

Video recording on the Ricoh GR III camera is in MOV format. The maximum video resolution is 1080p at 60 fps. It is also possible to shoot video in Time-lapse mode.

Advantages

  • record-breaking small dimensions and weight in this segment;

  • APS-C matrix;

  • shooting in DNG format;

  • three-axis optical stabilizer;

  • fast focus;

  • touch screen with selectable focus point;

  • snap focus function.

Flaws

  • small battery capacity;

  • no built-in flash.

Premium compact cameras

Next, we will look at premium models, and these will be the so-called mirrorless (SLC). Many professional photographers have switched from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras due to their compact size. The difference between SLC cameras and DSLRs is that they do not have a whole system of mirrors in their design and instead of them an additional matrix for the viewfinder is built in. Such a construct is considered progressive and is constantly being modernized. These cameras, like professional DSLRs, are equipped with a full-frame matrix (Full frame). Our experts have compiled a small selection of top premium compacts from well-known manufacturers.

Sony Alpha ILCE-7M3

Rating: 4.8

SONY ALPHA ILCE-7M3

Sony is one of the first companies to launch mirrorless compact cameras with Full frame sensors. In general, in general, cameras from the manufacturer Sony are famous for rich color reproduction in the frame, and in the case of this model, the company’s engineers managed to achieve an outstanding result. The cost of the Sony Alpha ILCE-7M and the following cameras in question ranges from approximately 1800 to 2100 USD.

The inner frame and body of the camera is made of lightweight but high-strength magnesium alloy. The main buttons and other controls are securely sealed to prevent moisture and dust from entering the camera. The device is quite ergonomic – the shape of the handle is made under the shape of the grip of the hand, which contributes to a secure hold and simply adds convenience in its use.

Alpha ILCE-7M3 has as many as two slots for SD memory cards. You can record photos and videos on both cards, you can specify this in the settings yourself. The camera is equipped with a 3-inch rotatable LCD screen that can be positioned in a convenient position for the user. It tilts up 107 degrees and down 41 degrees. The display is touch, with the ability to control the focus.

The camera is equipped with a full-frame EXR CMOS sensor with back illumination, which increases the effective area of ​​the photosensitive elements of the pixels. The powerful Bionz X processor provides high frame detail, rich color reproduction and high-speed image processing.

The camera’s hybrid focusing system is great for capturing action-packed scenes, as it can detect and track unpredictably moving objects. The camera has as many as 693 phase detection autofocus points covering 94% of the frame area. For comparison, we can say about the previous model, which had only 117 such points.

The camera allows you to shoot high-definition 4K video. Alpha 7M3 implements a new image profile – Hybrid Log-Gamma. It supports recording directly in HDR. The camera has a built-in 5-axis stabilizer, which reliably prevents the slightest fluctuations, unwanted aberrations and other defects.

Advantages

  • high speed autofocus;

  • ergonomics;

  • two slots for memory cards;

  • powerful processor;

  • excellent image quality;

  • excellent stabilization;

  • capacious battery;

  • high quality video.

Flaws

  • insufficiently swivel screen;

  • different color rendition of the LCD screen and the viewfinder.

Also Read: Top 5 Lenses for Portrait Photography

Canon EOS R

Rating: 4.8

Canon EOS R

The model, which will be discussed now, was the first mirrorless compact camera from Canon. The camera was released in 2018 and quickly broke sales records among cameras in this segment. Despite the fact that there were and are objective complaints about the Canon EOS R, this model still has unique features that give it an advantage over its competitors.

The resolution of the CMOS matrix is ​​30.3 megapixels. This sensor is similar to Canon’s professional SLR camera EOS 5D Mark IV. This sensor works in conjunction with the powerful Digic 8 processor, which significantly increases image quality and eliminates noise. The Dual Pixel system has one interesting feature. With native software or with in-camera processing, it is possible to micro-shift the autofocus point after shooting, which is sometimes critical.

The camera is equipped with weather protection, which makes it more versatile in terms of operating conditions. The body is rubberized in places, and the grip is quite comfortable, as befits a Canon. There is an additional screen on top of the camera, and it is unusually large and also comfortable to use, especially in sunny weather. The Canon EOS R sensor is protected by special shutters to provide additional protection against dust ingress.

If we talk about autofocus, then it works flawlessly here. The Dual Pixel AF system covers 88% of the frame horizontally and 100% vertically, with 5,655 phase-detection AF points. This mechanism is able to provide high performance in a wide range of scenarios. Focusing on the center point is also possible, with which the camera performed well even in low light conditions.

There is another plus of this camera – these are adapters that allow you to use Canon SLR optics. The cost of adapters is significantly less than the price of a specialized range of optics for the Canon EOS R. Therefore, if you shoot with Canon and you have a whole “park” of lenses for a SLR camera, then you can easily use them on this compact model.

Advantages

  • high-quality focusing system Dual Pixel AF;

  • there are adapters;

  • powerful Digic 8 processor;

  • rotary screen;

  • the JPG format has become better;

  • quality viewfinder;

  • high quality pictures;

  • sensor protection with shutters.

Flaws

  • not the best button ergonomics;

  • no matrix stabilizer;

  • low speed for continuous shooting.

Nikon Z6

Rating: 4.9

Nikon Z6

Nikon is another cutting-edge company that has quite successfully created a line of mirrorless cameras, consisting of three models so far. Canon and Nikon did not believe for a long time that full-frame compact cameras were the future. Meanwhile, Sony has been producing mirrorless models since 2010. Nikon engineers managed to distinguish themselves by creating a large mount that easily accommodates the matrix, while Sony engineers missed this point earlier. So Nikon in the Z6 compact model gained an advantage over a competitor more experienced in this narrow field.

We mentioned the mount, which is 1.5 times larger than that of a Nikon SLR camera. This is an important point, so we will pay more attention to it. After all, a large mount is an open door of opportunities for creating fast and compact optics.

Due to the large bayonet radius, the incidence of the rays of the rear lens on the matrix is ​​almost perpendicular, even at the edges, which makes it possible not to light up adjacent sensor pixels on the matrix. The spread of rays falling on the matrix in a mirrorless camera is only 16mm. This will eliminate the appearance of chromatic aberrations and help to create optics much easier, with the same high quality.

The camera has a full-frame matrix with BSA technology and a resolution of 24.5 MP. Also, the camera is equipped with a 5-axis matrix stabilizer that prevents unwanted vibrations. The new Nikon Z6 firmware version 2.1 includes improved tracking autofocus for the face and eyes, which performs well even in low light conditions. The type of viewfinder is electronic with a maximum field of view of 100%, which allows you to fully assess the situation when shooting in bright light.

Nikon developers have optimized not only the issue of optics, which is put on Z cameras without any problems through an adapter, but they did the same with power. A new EN-EL 15B battery has been released, which is similar in appearance to a standard full frame SLR battery, except for the gray color. But the old Nikon SLR battery will also be usable in the Z models. The only difference is that it can be charged from the USB cable inside the camera or battery pack. The capacity of the original battery is designed for 310 photos.

Advantages

  • large bayonet;

  • the ability to use adapters;

  • fast and accurate focusing;

  • work at high ISO;

  • movable LCD screen;

  • matrix stabilizer;

  • excellent ergonomics;

  • high quality viewfinder.

Flaws

  • one memory card slot;

  • lack of capacity of the original battery;

  • not the best video quality.