A Closer Look at the Top 5 Compact Cameras on alaTest
If you’re in the market for a new digital compact camera (and since summer vacation is in full-bore, why wouldn’t you be?), we’ve put together a quick list of the top 5 compact cameras currently rated on alaTest. Things seem to be trending towards slightly larger which feature bigger image sensors and more manual controls, but there are a few smaller compacts in the mix as well.
When you’re after full manual control in a digital camera, there aren’t many options that aren’t big, bulky SLRs, but the G1 X occupies a near-perfect middle ground between the compact usability of a point and shoot and the manual control of an SLR. The price is a bit steep, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better manual camera in a compact frame.
While it’s not the most compact of compact cameras, the E-M5 has a very light weight magnesium body. Similar to the G1 X, it represents a compromise between compact and SLR; however, unlike the G1 X, the E-M5 features an interchangeable lens, though it does sacrifice some manual control and features a 4/3-inch sensor compared to the G1 X’s 1.5-inch. It, too, has a very high price tag, but it does come with one of the nicer lenses you’ll find on a compact.
The FinePix X10 is a more affordable (though less feature-packed) version of the extremely popular X100. It shares many of the same design cues that made the X100 a hot product, though the X10 has a hard time living under its older sibling’s shadow. The X10 does still feature an excellent lens and a great overall design that keeps it very portable without sacrificing image quality.
The SX260 HS is our currently top-ranked true compact digital camera. Unlike the others mentioned so far, the SX260 HS will fit easily into most pockets. Setting it apart from other compacts is its 20x optical zoom lens with surprisingly good image stabilization. It really does feature some of the best image quality available at this size and price, though it can sometimes struggle with low-light situations.
The S100 is another very compact digital camera, even smaller than the SX260. It doesn’t feature the impressive 20x zoom lens found in the SX260, but offer many other compelling features such as HDR and RAW format support. In overall performance, it’s a significant step up, offering less shutter lag, better low-light performance, and faster continuous shooting. It’s one of the few compact cameras with better image quality than the SX260 and can often go toe-to-toe with the G1 X.
If none of our current top 5 compact cameras appeal to you, feel free to check out our full list. It’s full of excellent cameras for all needs. Sony’s Cybershot DSC-HX9V makes a compelling alternative to the PowerShot SX260, for example. Nikon’s Coolpix P300 competes well against the PowerShot S100, too. We’ve collected reviews for every popular camera on the market, and we can tell you exactly how they stack up to one another.