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Compact System Camera Reviews

Updated: Oct 19, 2014 21:29
alaScore 97

Samsung NX3000

The Samsung NX3000 ($529.99 with 16-50mm lens) is the entry-level camera in the company's mirrorless lineup, but it doesn't cut corners in terms of image quality. Its 20-megapixel image sensor captures images with the same resolution as the high-end...

7 expert reviews | 13 user reviews

alaScore 96


The Samsung NX210 offers you the high pixel-count and compact dimensions of the NX200 and adds WiFi-connectivity to the mix. The NX210 is slightly let down by long buffering times in raw mode and the JPEG engine's noise treatment at high sensitivities...

28 expert reviews | 27 user reviews

alaScore 95

Panasonic DMC-GH3

Better image quality, handling and video features

4 expert reviews | 2 user reviews

alaScore 94


Samsung's NX300 is a compact system camera that feels good to use and it can produce excellent overall quality. It has plenty of Wi-Fi features to play with, too, but only a couple of them are useful, and they will drain the battery quickly.

3 expert reviews | 152 user reviews

alaScore 92


More evolution than revolution, the Samsung NX2000 should prove popular with photographers on a budget who want a better quality of camera for those special occasions, but not the added bulk of a DSLR and larger lenses. For those who already own Galaxy...

3 expert reviews | 33 user reviews

alaScore 89

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1KS

"The best camera is the one that you have with you". That sums up the value of the GM1. It will fit into any jacket or sweatshirt pocket. But what is particularly exciting to me is that it completes the Micro Four Thirds system. No other system can...

31 user reviews

alaScore 89


This is a purchase I made for my son for his Christmas present and he is very well satisfied with it and would highly recommend this camera..

34 user reviews

alaScore 89

Nikon J2

This one’s looks outstrip performance, but small size and access to a wide range of lenses via adapter make it a sound option, though going for the older and cheaper J1 might be the sensible idea.

5 expert reviews

alaScore 88

Sony alpha SLT-A37K

It's Perfect, very good quality. It is very good, it meets all my expectations, it's perfect. I love my camera.

2 expert reviews | 159 user reviews

alaScore 86

Olympus E-P1

This camera body is exactly as described and everything I hoped it would be at the best possible price. Using Konica AR to MFT lens adapters I have attached some of the best glass ever made from my 1970s 35mm film cameras. I have even attached my...

70 expert reviews | 137 user reviews

alaScore 85

Nikon v2

The model that we handled is unfinished - Nikon reps were keen to stress that it might not perform quite as well as the final shipping cameras, but we\'re happy to report that with the fast 18.5mm prime attached, autofocus seems extremely fast and...

5 expert reviews | 11 user reviews

alaScore 84

Sony alpha SLTA77VM

I bought the A77 with the 18-135 kit lens. I'm very satisfied with the product and the service I received from Buy Dig.

11 user reviews

alaScore 83

Sony alpha SLT-A57M

Great camera. We took great care of the camera. However, after one year it would turn on but not do anything. We hope Sony will still provide a solution without it costing extra.

162 user reviews

alaScore 82

Panasonic DMC-GF3

Panasonic has consistently produced some strong video-capable cameras that use the Micro Four Thirds format. The GF3 showed promise in our low light video tests—where it beat out the competition by a significant margin—and we liked the way the...

7 expert reviews | 5 user reviews

alaScore 81

Sony alpha NEX-F3K

i love my nexf3. is the best Interchangeable lens for entry level users. i recommend this to people who like to take shots beyond point and shot.

3 expert reviews | 26 user reviews

alaScore 80

Sony alpha SLT-A37M

It's Perfect, very good quality. It is very good, it meets all my expectations, it's perfect. I love my camera.

1 expert reviews | 109 user reviews

alaAverage 4.9

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7KS

Fantastic camera. Nice ergonomics. Feels solid in the hand. In body stabilization (3 axis) and can use panasonic OIS in their lenses. Replaces by GX1 and no regrets. Wonderfully sharp images with terrific color accuracy.

6 user reviews

alaAverage 4.8

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5KK

I like it and am glad I bought it! ...................................................................About me... Semi-pro videographer, Pro photographer

4 user reviews

alaScore -1

Polaroid iM1836

Today at CES 2013, Polaroid introduced the world's first Android-powered compact interchangeable lens "smart camera." It features an 18 megapixel CMOS image sensor capable of recording Full HD 1080p video, Auto blink detection, Auto face exposure, a...

3 expert reviews


    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 has collected and analyzed millions of reviews from 2811 sources to help you choose the best Compact System Camera from top brands like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Nikon, Utstarcom and more.

    Buying Tips Read our Buying Guide
    before you make your purchase

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