The compact camera is not dead yet nor is it going to die very soon. It is in fact reinventing itself and camera manufacturers have rightly decided to emphasise and work on two aspects of these cameras which Smartphones cannot get close to or match, at least, not in the short term. These two aspects relate to (1) size of the sensor and (2) the zoom ratio.
Depending on which aspect is to be emphasized, you will, therefore, find the semi-professional compact camera with a bigger sensor and a ‘fast’, quality lens or the super zoom/bridge camera with a zoom range that is more than12 to 15x.
On our test bench this month are four semi-professional compact cameras from Canon, Panasonic and Sony. These are Canon PowerShot G7X, Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX 100, and Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 III.
The Sony Cyber-shot RX-100 III is in fact our current SP champion having won the 2014 Compact Professional Camera of the Year Award.
Design and Build Quality
The Canon Powershot G7X was Canon’s response to the highly successful RX100 series from Sony. The G7X sports a well finished metal body. Surprisingly, it lacks a handgrip. The fixed 24-100 mm f1.8-2.8 lens comes with optical image stabilisation. Quality of the dials and switches is high. The G7X measures 103mm x 60mm x 40mm and weighs 304g.
The PowerShot G1X Mark II is a more advanced version of the G7X. The body is made from metal, finely finished in matte. It has a prominent rubber grip. The lens is a 24-120mm f/2-3.9 and sports optical image stabilisation. Two control dials make it easy to operate, and the buttons and dials are of high quality. The G1X weighs 553g and has dimensions of 116.3 x 74.0 x 66.2mm. The LX 100 is larger than its predecessor, the LX-7. It is also not pocketable. Build quality, however, is very good, the body itself being made of aluminium. All the dials and controls are also of a high quality and have a nequality feel to them. The 24-75mm f1.7-2.8 Leica DC Vario Summilux lens protrudes from the body thanks to its ‘fast’ lens that prevents the camera from being pocketable. It, however, comes with a 43mm lter thread which is useful. The camera has dimensions of 115mm x 66mm x 55mm and weighs 393g. Remember, the GM 5, Panasonic’s latest mirrorless camera measures 98.5mm x 54.9mm x 30.4mm and weighs 274g and is therefore even smaller and lighter.
The RX100 series have been a runaway success for Sony. The RX100 III continues that tradition. The front and top plates are made of aluminium and the main body from engineering plastics. The pop-up view nder is unique and arguably, the weakest portion of the camera. The RX100 III measures 102mm x 58mm x 41mm and weighs 290g.