Visit our Business Solutions website >>

Compact System Camera Reviews

Updated: Nov 28, 2015 00:56
alaScore 100

Sony Alpha 7R II

The a7R II brings 42MP stills and 4K video to a small, lightweight body. Electronic shutter and in-body image stabilization make for high quality images and video you'll work harder to get, if you get it at all, from comparable DSLRs. BSI-CMOS gives...

27 expert reviews | 96 user reviews

alaScore 99

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...

44 expert reviews | 261 user reviews

alaScore 98


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...

41 expert reviews | 142 user reviews

alaScore 98

Canon EOS M3

The Canon EOS M3 is a better camera than Canon's first mirrorless model, the EOS M. But the company, which has long been one of the leaders in focus performance in the SLR world, still has a lot of work to do here. The M3 suffers from slow focus, video...

34 expert reviews | 113 user reviews

alaScore 97

Sony Alpha 6000

It's easy to fall into the trap of discounting interchangeable-lens cameras as subpar to their DSLR counterparts, and certainly the early generations perhaps focused more on affordability and size than they did image quality. It's also clear that the...

73 expert reviews | 3067 user reviews

alaScore 97

Samsung NX500

The Samsung NX500 is a compact ILC that is easy to use and provides great image quality. WiFi, great shooting modes and 4K video give you all the greatest features and options available. Coming in under $800 for the kit, it is a great option for you...

26 expert reviews | 155 user reviews

alaScore 96

Fujifilm X-T1

When Fujifilm released the original X-T1 in 2014, we were very impressed with its classic combination of dials and buttons, outstanding feature set, great image quality, and one of the best electronic viewfinders available on the market. The price was...

82 expert reviews | 668 user reviews

alaScore 96

Leica SL (Typ 601)

With Leica-quality photo and video plus fast performance, the Leica SL has a lot to recommend. But the uncomfortable grip, big body and lens, and high price might make many buyers hesitate.

7 expert reviews

alaScore 96

Nikon 1 J5

The DT Accessory Pack Up your game and get the most out of your gear with the following extras, hand-picked by our editors:

25 expert reviews | 96 user reviews

alaScore 95

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

45 expert reviews | 249 user reviews

alaScore 95

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...

89 expert reviews | 474 user reviews

alaScore 95

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

67 expert reviews | 678 user reviews

alaScore 95

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8

The Panasonic Lumix GX8 is a fantastic ILC, providing great image quality and performance. Offering 4K resolution video with full manual control allows the GX8 to be just as equipped for videographers, as it is for photographers. Read more in our

16 expert reviews | 47 user reviews

alaScore 94

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 II is compact and powerful consumer ILC. The camera produces great image quality and performance in an affordable package. Read more in our

15 expert reviews | 18 user reviews

alaScore 94

Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

The E-M5 II is a great all-rounder that improves over its well-respected predecessor in almost every respect. Although it faces stiff competition from higher-resolution peers in this segment of the mirrorless market, the combination of a deep feature...

28 expert reviews | 88 user reviews

alaScore 94

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

A great mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera for families and travelers, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 is a compelling alternative to similarly priced dSLRs.

80 expert reviews | 659 user reviews

alaScore 94

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 / DMC-G70

A great mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera for families and travelers, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 is a compelling alternative to similarly priced dSLRs.

19 expert reviews | 57 user reviews

alaScore 94


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...

64 expert reviews | 497 user reviews

alaScore 93

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,...

65 expert reviews | 406 user reviews

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...

62 expert reviews | 183 user reviews

alaScore 93

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...

139 expert reviews | 597 user reviews

alaScore 93

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7

Panasonic's latest micro shooter is a powerful camera with beginner-friendly features, including a few selfie modes.

22 expert reviews | 38 user reviews

alaScore 93

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...

29 expert reviews | 47 user reviews

alaScore 92

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...

31 expert reviews | 197 user reviews

alaScore 92

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...

149 expert reviews | 994 user 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

    Back to top

    Compact System Cameras on alaTest has collected and analyzed millions of reviews from 2997 sources to help you choose the best Compact System Camera from top brands like Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, Samsung, Fujitsu and more.

    Buying Tips Read our Buying Guide
    before you make your purchase

    Compact System Camera Articles

    Going On a Holiday? Don’t Leave These Gadgets Behind

    So, what’s it going to be this summer? A long road trip, an adventurous camping trip, a rite-of-passage backpacking trip through Europe or a luxury holiday to an exotic destination. Irrespective of...

    Gift Ideas for Recent Graduates

    It’s that time of the year when students walk down the aisle in their black graduation caps and parents can’t stop grinning with pride. Graduation is a special occasion, a once-in-a-lifetime event...

    Get These Cool Accessories For Your iPad

    So, you just bought yourself a brand new Apple iPad and now you are on the lookout for some exciting accessories. The good news is that you won’t be disappointed at all since there is a wide range...