This is such a cluttered market we have decided to concentrate on the more upmarket versions, so everything here will cost you at least £300 and some much more. These are the sort of cameras someone who is serious about their photography might use when they are not using their dslr.
As always Tech Radar is a place to go for informed opinion
Best compact cameras: Advanced
Price: £1,000/US$1,300 (around AU$1,680)
Specs: 16.3MP APS-C format CMOS II sensor, EXR Processor II, Full HD video
Fuji’s replacement to its popular FinePix X100 compact camera draws on user feedback to make improvements. The Fuji FinePix X100S uses the same APS-C format sensor, but with a 16.3 megapixel resolution and a new EXR Processor II and 6 x 6 RGGB filter array pattern.
We liked the retro design and control arrangement of the Fuji X100. Its image quality is also good, but it is surpassed by that of the Fuji X-Pro1, which is capable of producing pictures that aren’t far off those from some full-frame cameras.
Specs: 12MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor, 6 x 6 RGGB filter array pattern, 7.1-28.4mm f/2-2.8 lens
The Fuji X10 was our favourite high-end compact camera of 2012, and combining it with the same sensor design as one of our favourite compact system cameras – the Fuji X-Pro1 – bodes very well.
Fuji says it’s made 50 improvements on the X10 for the X20, including a new 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor with 12 million effective pixels and a 6 x 6 RGGB filter array pattern, which combines with an EXR Processor II. The Fuji X20 also boasts a hybrid AF system and a Digital Trans Panel in the viewfinder.
Specs: Large 14.3MP CMOS sensor, 4x optical zoom, 1080p HD video, swivel LCD screen
Although the zoom range is limited when compared to other Canon G-series cameras, the trump card of the Canon G1 X is its unusually large sensor. A larger sensor has more surface area to receive light, improving image quality at high sensitivities and boosting dynamic range. Interestingly, Canon has opted to stick with the 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than 3:2 as most APS-C sensors are, even though the sensor in the G1 X is roughly the same height as APS-C format.
In order to make the most of what the sensor can offer, Canon has equipped the G1 X with the latest Digic 5 processor, which promises better control over noise at high ISO sensitivities, faster operation and smoother 1080p video recording.
The 4x zoom lens provides an angle of view equivalent to a 28-122mm lens on a 35mm camera, and the usual array of direct controls found on G-series cameras should make manual operation a pleasure.
At first glance, the Canon G15 looks pretty similar to theCanon G12, but there are a few significant differences. The most notable of these is the stacked or overlapping mode dial and exposure compensation dials on the top, and a new f/1.8 lens with 5x zoom.
Canon has manufactured a high quality compact camera in the shape of the Canon G15. It is capable of producing great images with bags of detail, good punchy colours and pleasing shallow depth of field effects.
Nikon has given the Coolpix A the same 16.2-million-pixel sensor as theNikon D7000, but it has left off the anti-aliasing (low-pass) filter to allow it to record sharper details in-camera.
Aimed at serious photographers, the Coolpix A has advanced exposure modes such as aperture priority, shutter priority and manual as well as fully automatic and scene options.
Our tests reveal that the Coolpix A can capture lots of sharp detail, on a par with an SLR, but the file write times are a little longer than we’d like and vignetting is apparent in images shot with apertures down to f/8 and in some cases f/16.
The Coolpix P7700 replaces the Nikon P7100 and sits at the top of Nikon’s compact camera line-up. It’s aimed at experienced photographers who want a smaller alternative to an SLR.
There’s a liberal covering of control dials and buttons on the P7700’s body giving quick access to features such as the shooting mode, sensitivity, white balance and exposure compensation to name just a few.
The lens offers an equivalent focal length range of 28-200mm in 35mm terms, and has a maximum aperture range of f/2.0-4.0.
Although the P7700 is capable of producing excellent images with lots of detail and nice colours, it is a little hampered by slow image processing making it unsuitable for shooting action.
“The 14.3-megapixel Canon PowerShot G1 X is one of the best compact cameras I’ve ever shot with, though calling it a “compact” really is a bit of a stretch. This sucker is big. And heavy. Not to mention, Canon’s latest “flagship” PowerShot is expensive too. For just a little more money than the $800 you’d pay for the G1 X, you could get the Rebel T3i, Canon’s second-tier up digital SLR along with an 18-55mm kit lens.
But, of course, you don’t want the Rebel T3i or its mediocre kit lens since you likely already have a bigger and better DSLR/lens set-up that does all the professional heavy lifting for you. The G1 X, on the other hand, is what I like to call a “project” camera, as in, you might have a particular project you’d like to shoot that calls for a smaller, less expensive, more discreet camera. That “project” could be anything from photographing dishwashers in Indonesia to capturing candids of your kids on holiday in Florida.
The point is that your big DSLR or medium-format camera feels like work. A camera such as the Canon G1 X and the many competing high-end compacts out there are designed for looser assignments, even if those assignments include a personal project you come up with on vacation.
And in that way, the G1 X succeeds, big time. Its image quality is on par with most entry-level digital SLRs, in part because it’s equipped with an image sensor that’s almost the same size as what’s in those cameras.
But it also has a very good zoom lens: a 4x optical (28mm to 112mm equivalent) with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and image stabilization. The fact that it sits on the front of the camera like a giant metal doughnut is a bit distracting but only further emphasizes the seriousness of the big sensor inside this camera.”…..MORE from By Dan Havlik on this special camera
The G series of compacts from Canon have been very popular with the more discerning and let’s be honest professional end of the photographic community. One of the few compacts with a viewfinder but also with exceptional image quality and complete technical and therefore creative control. The G9, 10, 11 and 12 were standbys, spare or back up cameras for many professionals. I have a G10 and as a camera it is perfect to have around, it isn’t ever my first choice, that is my 5D but as a backup and quick grab camera the G10 has been great.
Now Canon have re-worked that standard and produced the G1X which has significant improvements based on the reports. Here Author: Olivier Laurentwrites in the BJP
“The Powershot G1 X, which adopts the same naming convention as Canon’s new EOS-1D X digital SLR, packs a 18.7x14mm CMOS sensor – representing a significant boost from the G12 7.44×5.58mm CCD sensor, but still short of Canon’s usual DSLR sensors (22.2×14.8mm). The sensor is said to offer the same pixel size and structure as Canon’s EOS 600D DSLR.
“The increased sensor size allows photographers to have greater control over the depth of field, with increased potential to creatively and artistically isolate a subject from its background……..The PowerShot G1 X will be available from late February, priced at £699.
“The Canon PowerShot G1 X may look like the company’s existing G-series compacts, but is a very different prospect. It’s a large sensor camera with a flexible 28-112mm-equivalent, 4x zoom lens and extensive manual controls. The company says it sees it as a camera for photographers who already have a high end DSLR such as a 5D Mark II or 7D, but at a price of $799, we think it’ll appeal much more widely than that. After repeated waves of cameras aimed at point-and-shoot upgraders, it’s heartening to see a camera really living up to the billing of a ‘serious compact.’
Canon has unveiled its most advanced PowerShot compact camera ever – the revolutionary 14.3 Megapixel PowerShot G1 X – that incorporates a large Canon CMOS sensor, a DIGIC 5 processor and an exceptional 4x zoom lens to offer DSLR levels of control and image quality in a compact metal body.
Designed for professional and serious photographers the PowerShot G1 X is the new flagship model in Canon’s legendary G-series line-up that, due to its superb specification and image quality, stands in a category of its own and redefines the performance achievable from a compact camera.
A top quality camera in its own right, or the perfect ‘second camera’ complement to a professional DSLR, the PowerShot G1 X combines EOS sensor technology with DIGIC 5 processing power, a new, precision Canon lens and extensive manual control to create the finest compact camera Canon has ever produced.
Designed to be a highly portable camera the PowerShot G1 X’s precision Canon 28-112mm 4x zoom lens retracts into a robust metal body, providing an unimposing camera that delivers high quality images and can be used discreetly in any shooting situation..……..MORE