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Compact System Camera Reviews

Updated: Dec 10, 2017 22:53
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alaScore 77

Samsung ST88

The screen came in a few days. It had a silver edge on screen and the one in the camera was black. The model number was different it had a w for wifi WB150W. The screen fits perfect and works great. It took my granddaughter 30 minutes to install it. I...

6 expert reviews | 38 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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