8 Compact Cameras Still Worth Carrying
Phone cameras have come a long way but there’s still something special about holding a camera specifically created to capture an image or video. Tactile functions, features such as film simulations or manual controls can completely change the way you shoot and frame your subject without the distractions of texts, notifications, and calls.
The convenience of having a phone on you at all times can make the difference when you need to capture a quick shot, but having a dedicated camera gives you all the more reason to go find it. No matter your price range, check out some of these compact cameras to liven up your shooting experience in a way that won’t overflow your pack
The Leica Q not only looks beautiful, it captures highly-detailed photos that you’d expect from Leica in a small form factor for full-frame. The Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 lens makes for a versatile walkaround lens, and by switching to macro you enter a whole new world of detail. The Q was the first full-frame Leica to incorporate an autofocus system, but naturally you can opt for manual focus if you prefer. Although heavier than you may initially expect, it’s worth every bit to have this around your neck or by your side wherever you go.
Released in 2020, the Sony ZV-1 was primarily aimed at vloggers and video creators with its side-articulating screen (a first for Sony), 3 capsule directional mic (and 3.5mm mic. jack), and facial tracking autofocus. The fixed Zeiss 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 along with ISO performance provide excellent low-light capture for video and stills making this a budget-friendly option compared to others in this price range.
The Fujifilm X100S is the second iteration of the X100 series of rangefinder style compact cameras with fixed lenses. The 23mm f/2 (35mm equivalent) was built for edge-to-edge sharpness and clarity and produces stunning results for such a compact kit. Fuji is known for their film simulations and film-like shooting experience and this camera checks those boxes. If you’re looking for a stretch budget and a few more features, see the X100T for the third version of the X100 series.
The RX100 Series follows suit for Sony creating big power in a small package with a 1” sensor and high quality Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 8.8-25.7mm f/1.8-2.8 lens (or 24-70mm 35mm equivalent). A few bonus features in this one include a built-in 3 stop ND (Neutral Density) filter, movie recording up to 2160p30 and 1080p120, and burst shooting up to 24fps. Working superbly as a travel camera, street shooter, or everyday carry, the RX100 V is more than capable for your next adventure. For an upgraded budget, check out the Sony RX100 VII.
Reminiscent of the X100 in its tactile controls and operation, the LX100 II also easily fits into a jacket pocket. One big difference at least from the X100S is video capture at 4k 24p/30. Panasonic is known for using Leica glass which you’ll find as a 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 in this kit.
The Canon Powershot G5X is one of the smaller cameras on this list, but it still packs a punch with 4k 30p along with FHD 120p video capabilities so you can capture that big picture or slow motion in a pocketable package. You’ll also find it quite capable in terms of RAW burst capture with up to 30 fps, making it ideal for sports, wildlife, moving subjects, or anything unpredictable. If a mic jack is a necessity, keep your eyes out for a Canon Powershot G7X Mark III.
The Sony RX0 II might be the most durable (waterproof and shockproof) and compact on this list. It shoots in 4k with a 24mm lens, has a flip out screen, and even a mic jack (however no hotshoe). The RX0 II has the same 1-inch, 20 megapixel sensor used in the RX100 series providing greater control over depth of field and promises to deliver high quality images even in low light cameras where other action cameras often fall short.
The Canon Powershot G1X is one of the more affordable options on this list, but you’ll still find it quite capable with the 1.5-inch CMOS sensor, giving it a slight edge over the micro 4/3 sensor. The G1X has a 15.1mm - 60.4mm f/2.8-5.8 lens (28mm-120mm 35mm equivalent) lens and is capable of shooting 14-bit RAW. The sensor inside is closely related to Canon’s 7D and as a result is able to offer 1080p24 movie shooting as well.