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Compact System Camera Reviews

Updated: Sep 3, 2015 11:42
Brand
alaScore
Price
Sensor
#1
alaScore 100

Fujifilm X-T1

The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR ($1,199.95) is the first pro-level standard zoom lens for the the company's X series of interchangeable lens cameras. The lens maintains a maximum f/2.8 aperture throughout its zoom range, is sealed to...

72 expert reviews | 489 user reviews

#2
alaScore 99

Samsung SMART CAMERA NX1

The NX1 delivers very high image and video quality, has a powerful auto focus, and allows for quick settings changes via touchscreen, dedicated buttons and dials. If the EVF and modest lens offerings don't deter you, this mirrorless powerhouse is worth...

26 expert reviews | 95 user reviews

#3
alaScore 98

Olympus OM-D E-M1

If you really need need the much larger files, slightly better exposure range or low-light performance of a full-frame camera, or if you can’t live without 1024p or 1060p video, then the E-M1 may not be for you. By the same token, if you just want to...

87 expert reviews | 324 user reviews

#5
alaScore 97

Sony Alpha 7 II

The Alpha 7 II continues to push Sony's full frame mirrorless line of cameras into ground-breaking territory. It is the only full frame mirrorless camera to offer in-body image stabilization systems and its performance is excellent. The body is...

17 expert reviews | 82 user reviews

#6
alaScore 97

Olympus OM-D E-M10

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is a portable and compact ILC with great performance and image quality. Loaded with useful features and coming in at $700 for the basic kit, this is a fantastic entry-level ILC or travel camera. Read more in our

61 expert reviews | 436 user reviews

#7
alaScore 96

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4

The Panasonic Lumix GH4 is a powerful ILC that produces excellent quality still images and leads the way in video recording. Loaded with features and creative shooting modes, you will always be looking for new situations to shoot in. Read more in our

39 expert reviews | 127 user reviews

#8
alaScore 96

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 ($999.99, body only) is the first Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera to feature in-body image stabilization, and it also manages to squeeze a tilting EVF into its svelte body. The 16-megapixel shooter also features an...

89 expert reviews | 410 user reviews

#9
alaScore 96

Samsung SMART CAMERA NX30

The Samsung NX30 is a strong contender in the upper end of the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera category. It offers plenty of great photography features, including all of the advanced shooting modes you'd expect, along with fast performance and...

58 expert reviews | 270 user reviews

#10
alaScore 95

Sony Alpha 7

Sony Alpha ILCE-7 (A7) is a great alternative to similarly priced entry-level full-frame dSLRs, as long as you don't need speedy continuous shooting.

54 expert reviews | 275 user reviews

#11
alaScore 95

Fujifilm X-E2

Fujifilm will release both the XQ1 and X-E2 next month, and both are priced accordingly to the kind of consumer they’re being geared towards to. The Fujifilm will retail for $500, while the X-E2 will be available for $1000 for its body-only version,...

59 expert reviews | 309 user reviews

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#12
alaScore 95

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5

The Lumix DMC-GM5 ($899.99 with 12-32mm lens) is one of the smallest interchangeable lens cameras you can buy, a fact that allows Panasonic to sell it at a premium price point. The svelte shooter follows in the footsteps of the company's first crack at...

21 expert reviews | 19 user reviews

#13
alaScore 94

Sony Alpha 7S

Its 1080p footage is the cleanest, most detailed we've yet seen, with virtually no moiré and often jaw-dropping low-light performance. Some of the low light advantage is undercut if you need to stop-down to achieve sufficient depth-of-field but, unlike...

24 expert reviews | 134 user reviews

#14
alaScore 94

Olympus OM-D E-M5

If the OM-D E-M5 were a couple of hundred dollars or euros cheaper I would not hesitate to recommend it as a great all-round camera and masterful feat of digital-image engineering. As it is, potential buyers will have to answer for themselves if the...

188 expert reviews | 1060 user reviews

#15
alaScore 94

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1

While the Panasonic Lumix CM1 is undeniably pricey and bulky, its wealth of photography kit helps it achieve image quality that's unrivalled in the smartphone world. If you love the idea of always having a great camera to hand but don't want to be...

124 expert reviews | 385 user reviews

#16
alaScore 94

Sony Alpha 5100 / A5100

The predecessors to the a5100 had a lot going for them: they were very compact, feature-packed, and produced good quality photos and videos. The a5100 is a much more compelling camera, taking the 'guts' from the more expensive a6000 and putting them...

23 expert reviews | 458 user reviews

#17
alaScore 93

Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a compelling camera, with a range of features to suit all aspects of photography, from the video enthusiast, who will benefit from the 5-axis image stabilisation and improved video options, or someone looking for high...

17 expert reviews | 45 user reviews

#18
alaScore 93

Sony Alpha 7R

Sony has gone above and beyond with both the a7 and a7R, bringing Professional image quality and performance to a much more compact ILC. If the price does not scare you away, you will be thrilled with the performance and image quality from these...

48 expert reviews | 108 user reviews

#19
alaScore 93

Samsung NX300

Ultimately, the NX300 gives the impression of an aspiring champ that isn’t quite there yet – just like Samsung’s NX system in general. If you can live with the restrictions, the NX300 is an attractive upgrade from your old point-and-shoot camera or a...

85 expert reviews | 1062 user reviews

#20
alaScore 93

Sony Alpha a5000

The A5000 provides one of the easiest and most accessible routes to achieving more professional-looking shots for anyone upgrading from a smartphone.

40 expert reviews | 967 user reviews

#21
alaScore 93

Fujifilm X-M1

Whether you’re a pro photographer or one that never moves out of automatic mode, the Fujifilm X-M1’s image quality will astound you.

62 expert reviews | 340 user reviews

#22
alaScore 92

Olympus PEN E-PL7

A likeable interchangeable-lens model, the Olympus PEN E-PL7's overall package makes an attractive alternative to an advanced compact and has quite a bit to offer as a first ILC.

24 expert reviews | 306 user reviews

#23
alaScore 92

Olympus PEN E-P5

The Olympus E-P5 is an outstanding ILC combining Rangefinder styling, top of the line components, outstanding image quality and amazing performance into a compact package. It also features the largest collection of available lenses for an ILC. Read...

69 expert reviews | 56 user reviews

#24
alaScore 92

Fujifilm X-Pro1

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 ($1,199.95 body only) was the camera that launched the company's X series of interchangeable lens bodies. That makes it about two years old, which can be an eternity in the technology world. But Fujifilm has continued to enhance its...

139 expert reviews | 330 user reviews

#25
alaScore 92

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7

Panasonic has announced a new GF-series Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) Camera. The Lumix DMC-GF7 combines DSLR-spec performance with modern conveniences such as Wi-Fi and selfie optimization.

15 expert reviews | 13 user reviews

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    Buying Guide

    Buying Guide - Compact System Cameras

    Compact System Cameras, sometimes referred to as MILCs (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras), are a relatively new category in the digital camera market space. You can think of them as a sort of hybrid cross between Compact Cameras and Digital SLRs; however, Compact System Cameras come in a lot of shapes and sizes (and more importantly, sensor formats). Some offer SLR performance with a bit less bulk, while others are like slightly larger Sub Compacts with a few lens choices.

    What is a Compact System Camera?

    In the days of film, SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras were created to allow the photographer to use the viewfinder to look directly through the lens. Because there was film behind the lens, a mirror was used to bounce the image up to the viewfinder. Digital SLRs followed this traditional design, but with digital image sensors, you don’t have to worry about exposing the film, and the mirror becomes optional.

    Many Compact System Cameras use the same APS size image sensors you’d find in a quality digital SLR camera. In fact, most high end models rival similarly priced SLRs in terms of performance and image quality. This, combined with their more compact size, makes them very desirable cameras.

    One defining factor of these Compact “System” Cameras is their interchangeable lenses. Just like their SLR counterparts, each manufacturer uses its own lens mount system. Unlike SLRs, Compact System Cameras do not currently offer a wide selection of lenses (most models feature around three different lenses). As the Compact System format becomes more popular, we’ll likely start seeing more lens choices.

    What to Look for in a Compact System Camera

    There is a lot of variety in the Compact System market, but there are some important factors you should consider to help make sure you’re making a solid purchase.

    Sensor Size/Type: If you’re expecting SLR-quality images, make sure it has an SLR-quality image sensor. These will be APS-type sensors and typically offer at least 16MP. Unless you’re looking for a particularly small Compact System Camera, stay away from 1/2.3” size sensors (this is the same size you’d find in your typical compact camera).

    Size: One of the main benefits of the Compact System format is their smaller size; however, this can be a bit of a juggling act. As they get smaller, they tend to sacrifice features and image quality.

    Lenses: Most Compact Systems currently have a fairly limited selection of lenses. Make sure the camera you’re getting offers the types of lenses you’re interested in – or at least adapters for the lenses you already own.

    Viewfinder: Many Compact System Cameras lack a viewfinder or only offer a rangefinder. If you want an SLR-like experience, choose one with an electronic viewfinder. It allows you to view images through the lens and can actually offer some improvements over the SLR system.

    Who is a Compact System Camera Right For?

    Compact System Cameras make and excellent choice for anyone looking for a digital SLR but doesn’t plan on getting more than a few different lenses. This would include budding amateur photographers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. Many professional photographers may also be interested for those shots where a large camera just isn’t practical.

    Some Compact System Camera Recommendations

    With all of the major camera manufacturers entering the Compact System market, it’s tough to know just who has the best to offer.

    Olympus was among the first to popularize the category with its PEN line, which remains a popular choice for those looking for something affordable and exceptionally compact.

    Sony’s NEX line is arguably the best the Compact System category has to offer, with excellent features, image quality, and lenses. Unfortunately, their popularity has made them hard to find and slightly overpriced, though many would say that it’s worth it. Canon’s entry into the market with its EOS M will be a very welcomed alternative.

    Nikon, the other major player in the photography game, has yet to impress with its 1-Series which, with a much smaller image sensor than the competition, offers little more than what you’d find in a nice compact camera.

    Popular Compact System Camera products

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    Compact System Cameras on alaTest

    alaTest.com has collected and analyzed millions of reviews from 2959 sources to help you choose the best Compact System Camera from top brands like Panasonic, Sony, Olympus, Samsung, Nikon and more.

    Buying Tips Read our Buying Guide
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