Advanced Compact Cameras


The compact point-and-shoots of yesterday have long since been replaced by the smart devices of today. In an ever-changing digital landscape, evolution is a necessity and the latest compacts are better than ever. Regardless of your skill level, these digital cameras have got you covered. With larger sensors, faster processors, and the ability to shoot RAW, they offer users incredible quality and control without requiring the leap to DSLR. Here are 11 of the best compacts on the market for the 2013 holiday season.













The Canon PowerShot G16 has a built-in 5x optical zoom lens covering a 35mm format equivalent 28-140mm. Its fast, wide maximum f/1.8 (w) - 2.8 (t) aperture enables effortless low-light shooting, along with the ability to really play with shallow depth of field. An Intelligent Image Stabilization system helps minimize camera shake by automatically employing up to 6 different IS modes, covering nearly any shooting situation. Users also have the freedom to turn IS off altogether, which is a preferred feature when the camera is mounted on a tripod; however, the Intelligent IS system can automatically detect when the camera is mounted on a tripod and will automatically disengage the IS system, too.

The G16 contains a 1/1.7” high-sensitivity CMOS image sensor with 12.1 effective megapixels. Together with the efficient DIGIC 6 processor, the camera produces beautiful still photos and video in full HD 1080p. In tandem, these features also form the Canon HS SYSTEM, an effective aid for reducing noise and enhancing the overall image quality of low-light photos. Even through the maximum ISO 12800 sensitivity, images are sharp and notably clear. The DIGIC 6 processor also enforces speed. A High Speed AF system quickly and accurately focuses on a subject, making on-the-fly shooting possible. This speed also enables full-resolution shooting at 12.2 fps for the first 6 images, followed by 9.3 fps for the next 500 shots. Full HD video can be recorded at up to 60 fps. Media playback and review is easy on the G16’s large 3.0” 922K-dot LCD screen, and composing shots is comfortable through the optical viewfinder. A Dual Axis Electronic Level can be displayed in either the viewfinder or on the LCD to help orient parallel lines consistently.

This compact has no internal memory, but readily accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. Built-in Wi-Fi allows users to take advantage of the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY and free CameraWindow app to transfer media from camera to mobile devices. While it does contain a pop-up flash, those looking for a little more control and power can attach a separately purchased Canon Speedlite (such as the 270EX II) via the hot-shoe mount. A number of creative shooting modes, such as Fisheye Effect, High Dynamic Range, and Fireworks bring both fun and assistive elements to shooting.

The Canon PowerShot S120 features a built-in 5x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent focal-length range of 24-120mm. This covers all applications from wide-angle through short telephoto. A comfortable maximum aperture of f/1.8 (w) - 5.7 (t) provides effective speed during low-light shooting, as well as a soft, shallow depth of field at the wider end. The added Intelligent IS automatically selects from 6 stabilization modes to ensure that, regardless of the conditions, camera shake will not overwhelm the shot.

The S120 brings several considerable improvements over its predecessor, the S110. A 12.1MP 1/1.7” CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 image processor lend a more polished quality to both still shots and video in full HD 1080p. DIGIC 6 enables a considerably better burst rate, with continuous shooting possible at 12.1 fps for the first 6 images, and a sustained rate of 9.4 fps for the next 600+ consecutive shots. Video recording in full HD 1080p is possible at 60 fps. An optimized HS SYSTEM, which keeps noise levels low in dimly lit shots, produces beautifully sharp images up through a maximum ISO sensitivity of 12800. The S120’s screen resolution trumps that of the S110, doubling in resolution to a 3.0” 922K-dot touchscreen LCD. Its navigation is intuitive and simple, providing both bright playback and easy live view monitoring. Camera controls can also be finely adjusted via a dedicated control ring on the front of the lens.

Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity allows direct wireless interaction with the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY and CameraWindow app, transferring media to smartphones, tablets, or PCs for instant online sharing. There is no built-in memory, but the S120 accepts standard SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. It also comes with a catalog of shooting modes, including Snow, Nostalgic, Toy Camera, and more.

The Nikon COOLPIX A, which is available in black or silver, packs many near-DSLR qualities into a compact body. A dedicated wide-angle lens, equivalent to 28mm in 35mm format, captures images comparable to those taken with many interchangeable NIKKOR lenses. Its interior build contains refined optics that promise edge-to-edge sharpness, accurate color detail, and limited aberrations. A wide maximum f/2.8 aperture makes low-light shooting easy and gives users the leeway to play with creative depth of field.

The COOLPIX A has a 16.2MP APS-C DX-Format CMOS sensor that renders large, crystal-clear images, while the lack of a low-pass filter maximizes resolution and sharpness. Its EXPEED 2 image processor enables high-speed performance that reduces the likelihood of noise (with a maximum light sensitivity of ISO 25600) and overheating. Continuous shooting is possible in full resolution at up to 4 fps for a maximum of 26 shots, with video in full HD 1080p possible at 30 fps. In addition to autofocus, this compact also gives you the freedom to focus manually. The focus ring, along with all other buttons, dials, and switches, are designed with intuition and comfort in mind. Its 3.0” 921K-dot TFT LCD screen is easily viewable in any lighting conditions, and features brightness adjustments for an extra touch of personalization. It can also display a level on the screen, via the Virtual Horizon function, to assist capturing still-life, landscape, and architectural photos on a correct axis.

For the perfectionists, the COOLPIX A offers several methods for analyzing, editing, and polishing images. A hot shoe gives you the option of attaching a compatible optical viewfinder (DF-CP1) or Nikon Speedlight flash unit (such as the SB-400). Assistive functions also help ensure that every shot counts. Active D-lighting preserves the highlight and/or shadow detail that can often be lost when photographing high-contrast scenes. Picture Control gives 6 customizable settings to choose from, always employing the right combination of sharpness, hue, contrast, etc. on hand for various shooting scenarios. An in-camera Retouch Menu fine-tunes and manipulates photos before they even reach the computer. There is no built-in Wi-Fi, but a separately purchased, optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter will connect the camera to a smart device. This enables direct upload to email or social media services, as well as the use of a smartphone or tablet as a remote shutter release. The COOLPIX A accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards.

The new Nikon COOLPIX P7800 features a built-in 7.1x optical zoom NIKKOR ED lens that provides a focal-length range of 28-200mm in 35mm format. Two extra-low dispersion elements greatly minimize chromatic aberrations, maintaining an overall clarity for stunning images. Its wide maximum f/2 (w) - 4 (t) aperture benefits working in low-light conditions, and a 7-blade circular diaphragm helps to create background bokeh that is soft, natural, and pleasant. Here, Nikon has incorporated their lens-shift type Vibration Reduction to minimize the effect of camera shake, as well as an internal 3-stop neutral density filter.

The 12.2MP 1/1.7” CMOS sensor and EXPEED C2 processor work together to achieve high-resolution still photos and full HD 1080p video. Maximum ISO is expandable up to 6400 with little instance of noise and grain interference. The processing speed enables continuous shooting in full resolution up to 8 fps for 6 consecutive frames, and video in full HD at both 25 and 30 fps. The P7800 also offers an electronic viewfinder, unlike the previous P7700 model, for more control over composition and framing. Its 3.0” 921K-dot LCD monitor is incredibly flexible for shooting and review, with a vari-angle design that lets it swivel out 180° to the side and tilt 270° forward and backward.

The P7800 has a built-in flash, but also contains a hot-shoe mount for compatible Nikon Speedlights. It includes a large internal memory or 86MB, and will also accept SD, SDHC, and SDCX cards. There is no built-in Wi-Fi, but a separately purchased adapter can provide wireless connectivity if needed. Retouching is possible directly in the camera’s review gallery, along with a number of additional helpful shooting modes such as Food, Sports, Sunset, and more.

One of Fujifilm’s newest releases is the XQ1, which is available in either black or silver. It houses a built-in 4x optical zoom lens, with a 35mm equivalency of 25-100mm and a maximum aperture range of f/1.8-4.9 for all applications, from wide-angle through short telephoto. Aspherical and extra-low dispersion glass elements and a HT-EBC coating are included to help minimize ghosting, flare, and troublesome aberration. The added benefit of a lens-shift type image stabilizer counters up to three stops of camera shake for cleaner, sharper photos.

This compact also comes with a 12MP 2/3” X-Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor II. Together, these technologies enforce quick camera performance and render beautiful high-quality images and video in full HD 1080p. Low-light shooters will also notice a considerable reduction in noise and grain, giving a clearer picture up through its maximum ISO of 12800. Fujifilm’s unique X-Trans sensor uses a randomized pixel array pattern that eliminates the need for an optical low-pass filter, which in turn enables sharper-than-ever photos. An Intelligent Hybrid AF system employs 3 focus modes that utilize both contrast and phase-detection technology for fast, responsive autofocus in as little as .06 seconds. This is an excellent feature for shooting fast-paced action, which can be captured in full-resolution at 12 fps for up to 9 frames. Movie recording in full HD 1080p is supported up to 60 fps with full-time autofocus tracking. The use of both image stabilization and the optical zoom lens are enabled during video capture, giving a more refined sense of control over the final product. Playback and image review is bright and clear on the rear 3.0” 920K-dot LCD screen.

Added key features include 66MB of built-in memory, as well as compatibility with additional standard SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables instant image sharing to an Android or iOS mobile device. The Fujifilm Camera App allows users to browse through images on their camera from their smartphone or tablet, and will transfer HD videos as well as 30 photos at a time. In homage to Fujifilm’s iconic history and presence in film-based photography, the XQ1 incorporates several Film Simulation modes that mimic the look and feel of the Fuji classics—Provia, Velvia, and Astia. Additional modes include Panorama, Macro, Multiple Exposure, and a number of whimsical filters such as Toy Camera, Partial Color, Soft Focus, and more.

The Fujifilm X20, in black or silver, comes with a 4x optical zoom Fujinon lens that offers an effective focal-length range of 28-112mm in 35mm equivalency. It integrates a number of advanced optics, including aspherical, extra-low dispersion, and high-refractive elements, to reduce aberration and improve overall image quality. An added 2x digital zoom gives a slight boost in telephoto range for capturing distant subject matter.

The X20 improves upon its previous iteration, the X10, in a number of ways. It includes a 12MP 2/3” CMOS sensor that features X-Trans bespoke pixel array. This renders sharper, more accurate images and video in full HD 1080p. It maintains a clean signal-to-noise ratio up through an increased maximum light sensitivity of ISO 12800, which is a considerable jump from the former maximum of 3200. An EXR Processor II boosts overall performance for faster response times, including a 20% increase in burst rate, of 12 fps for up to 11 consecutive frames. Movie recording in full HD is possible at 60 fps. It’s also seen an overhaul in autofocus technology, including an Intelligent Hybrid AF system that employs both contrast and phase-detection methods for quick, responsive focus in as little as .06 seconds. Like its predecessor, the X20 has a rear 2.8” 460K-dot LCD screen that provides high-definition playback and an advanced optical viewfinder with a -3.5 - +1.5m diopter.

This compact has an internal memory of approximately 26MB, and accepts additional SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. It offers several shooting modes, such as Portrait, Snow, Macro, and Film Simulation mode, which mimics Fujifilm’s Provia, Astia, and Velvia traditional-film emulsions. An assortment of built-in filters can also be used to add a playful effect. These include Toy Camera, Pop Color, Partial Color, and more. Buyers also have the option to purchase and use a wireless flash via the hot-shoe mount.

Leica is renowned for its stylish elegance, and the Leica C, in stunning Dark Red or Light Gold, is no exception. Despite its compact body, it contains a DC Vario-Summicron 7x optical zoom lens with a 35mm format equivalency of 28-200mm. At the wide end, which is perfect for landscapes or architecture, its maximum aperture is a fast f/2. Its telephoto end, great for tightly framed portraiture and beyond, reaches f/5.9 at its brightest opening. Optical image stabilization ensures that when shooting in low lighting or longer ends of the zoom range, camera shake is not an issue. An additional 4x digital zoom is possible for a little extra reach.

The Leica C has a 12.1MP 1/1.7” MOS sensor that provides crisp photo quality, as well as video in full HD 1080p, with brilliant color and contrast. Its fast autofocus system allows a continuous shooting speed of up to 10 fps, expertly capturing action and any other type of on-the-fly images. A programmable focus ring on the lens allows you to fine-tune adjustments while keeping your eye on the subject matter, which is clearly visible through its 200k-dot electronic viewfinder. This viewfinder, which also has a +/-4 diopter adjustment, is ideal for brightly lit settings and when composing eye-level photography. Image and movie playback is bright and clear on the 3.0” 921K-dot TFT LCD screen.

In addition to its compatibility with SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards, the C also has 87MB of built-in memory. It’s also the first Leica camera to feature an integrated Wi-Fi/NFC module for instant connectivity to Android or iOS devices. Paired with the free Leica C Image Shuttle app, a WLAN link can be set up and utilized to remotely control camera settings from a smartphone or tablet.

Olympus’s STYLUS XZ-2 iHS is equipped with a 27-108mm (35mm equivalent) 4x optical zoom lens that rivals the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL line of interchangeable-lens bodies. Its maximum aperture is incredibly wide at both the wide and telephoto end of the zoom range, covering f/1.8-2.5. This greatly enhances low-light shooting with a speed that’s hard to beat and yields stunning background blur in shallow depth of field. A dual IS system combines a high ISO 6400 sensitivity (extendable up to 12800) and sensor-shift stabilization that maintains image clarity in poor lighting and longer focal lengths.

The XZ-2 trumps the XZ-1 with a number of advancements, including an overall jump in image quality. It contains a 12MP 1/1.7” CMOS sensor with back side illumination, and a TruePic VI processor. Processing speed allows continuous photography at up to 5 fps for 200 consecutive frames, and video in full HD 1080p. The XZ-2’s 3.0” 920K-dot touchscreen LCD sees a notable 50% increase in resolution from the XZ-1, and includes a swiveling mechanism to physically flip out and away from the camera. This helps capture imagery from nearly any angle, and improves viewing comfort in nearly any scenario. Touch capacity gives an intuitive flow to selecting camera controls, while a hybrid control ring around the lens lets users assign function settings easily to their preferences.

The XZ-2 has 39MB of internal memory storage, and accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. While there is no built-in Wi-Fi, it does also accept Eye-Fi and Flash Air media cards for instant sharing to a smart device. In addition, it can be synched with a PENPAL Bluetooth unit. Several assistive functions ensure the perfect shot every time, and include in-camera editing, shooting modes (Sport, Beach & Snow, HDR, etc.), and an easy-to-use Live Guide. Live Guide shows the result of a photographic effect right on the LCD screen before the image is even captured. It also offers a catalog of tips and tricks for how to effectively shoot pets, flowers, kids, and more. There is a pop-up flash unit, but a hot shoe is provided as well as wireless control for optional external flashes.

The sleek Ricoh GR has a fixed 18.3mm f/2.8 lens, which is equivalent to 28mm in 35mm format. This wide-angle-lens-packing body contains 2 aspherical elements to minimize chromatic aberration, providing sharpness throughout the image frame with little distortion. Photographers will have the capacity to truly play with depth of field creatively at a shallow f/2.8, and a 9-bladed aperture renders gorgeous background bokeh. In addition to still photos, the GR also shoots video in full HD 1080p.

It contains an impressive 16.2MP APS-C CMOS image sensor that enables sharp, high-resolution image quality up through its broad 100-25600 ISO range. This sensor is designed without an optical low-pass filter, to yield truly sharp details. Its advanced GR Engine V processor further minimizes noise and enables fast response times including up to 4 fps of continuous shooting. During video capture, multiple resolutions and frames per second are enabled (including 60 fps in 720HD). Autofocusing is fast at a mere 0.2 seconds, and a designated AF button is easily accessible with the thumb on the back panel. Image and movie review on the 3.0” 1230K-dot LCD screen is bright, clear, and sharp. When composing a shot, a dual-axis electronic level can appear on the LCD screen for accurate alignment of horizontal or vertical framing.

The GR contains 54MB of built-in memory, and can use additional SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. While it has no built-in Wi-Fi, it is compatible with Eye-Fi memory cards. These will enable automatic transmission of data to smartphones and tablets. It does contain a built-in pop-up flash, but also provides a TTL-A hot-shoe mount for a separate Ricoh GF-1 External Flash. Apart from a flash, optional optical viewfinders can be purchased separately and attached to the hot-shoe mount. Creative minds will enjoy a number of special image effects (such as Bleach-Bypass, Cross-Process, Miniature, and more) as well as shooting modes, including Macro, Face Detection, and 35mm Crop. The GR also incorporates a built-in, 2-stop neutral density filter that can be controlled manually or automatically.

Sony’s new dust- and moisture-resistant Cyber-shot RX10 brings durable, high-quality imaging to the compact-camera realm. Its built-in Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens has an 8.3x optical zoom that equates to a 35mm equivalent focal-length range of 24-200mm. This range covers wide angle through telephoto, truly opening up the possibilities for any shooting situation. Its maximum aperture is a constant f/2.8, making low-light scenarios easier to tackle. Optical design includes 7 aspherical elements and anti-reflective coatings to reduce aberrations, flare, and ghosting in both still photos and video in full HD 1080i/p. Image Stabilization minimizes the effects of both horizontal and vertical movements, and an Active 3-Way stabilizing system offsets both clockwise and counter-clockwise movements during video recording.

The RX10 houses a large 20.2MP 1” Exmor R CMOS sensor with back side illuminated technology. This enables low-light shooting up to ISO 12800 without being inundated by grain or noise interference. It also contains a brand-new BIONZ X processor that boosts not only image quality, but performance. Continuous shooting is possible at up to 10 fps, with video supported in both 60i/p and 24p frame rates. The RX10 contains a Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave Motor that smoothly, silently, and quickly homes in on a precise focal point. In addition, a lock-on focus mode tracks moving targets, while an Eye AF function precisely targets a subject’s eyes. The XGA OLED electronic viewfinder ensures that users can always see clearly and brightly when composing a shot, regardless of conditions. The control ring on the lens is ideal for those who want to keep their eye to the viewfinder while changing camera settings. The rear LCD, which is a large 3.0” 1228K-dot screen, features a tilting mechanism that enables the monitor to physically move up or down. With this feature on hand, shooting from high or low angles becomes much easier, as does reviewing playback in any conditions.

Additional technologies include Detail Reproduction, which minimizes digital artifacts when pictures are reproduced, and Diffraction Reduction, which maintains clarity by applying aperture-appropriate filter processing. Multiple shooting modes, which range from productive to purely for fun, include settings such as Anti-Motion Blur, Night Scene, Toy Camera, and Retro. The RX10 also includes built-in Wi-Fi and DFC for instant wireless communication with mobile devices via Sony’s PlayMemories app. While it has no built-in memory, it is compatible with a broad range of storage media; SD, SDHC, SDXC, microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC, and Sony Memory Sticks. A multi-interface hot-shoe mount will connect flashes, microphones, lights, and other accessories.

The compact Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II features a built-in Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 3.6x optical zoom lens ranging from 28-100mm in 35mm format equivalency. An additional 2x Clear Image digital zoom can be used to intelligently magnify scenery even further for a little extra reach. At the wide end, its bright maximum f/1.8 aperture enables incredible low-light photography. At the longer end of the zoom range, maximum aperture is f/4.9. Anti-reflective coatings on the glass minimize ghosting and flare.

Its large 20.2MP 1” Exmor R CMOS sensor features back side illuminated technology, and a BIONZ image processor enables excellent speed and performance. Precise high-speed autofocus works as fast as 0.13 seconds, and continuous shooting is possible, up to 10 fps. When shooting video, multiple frame rates are supported, including 60p, 60i, and 24p. With the benefit of Optical SteadyShot IS, compensation is offered for both vertical and horizontal camera shake. Even through the maximum light sensitivity of ISO 12800, image quality is clear and detailed. Active 3-Way stabilization adds rolling control to balance clockwise and counter-clockwise movement during movie-making. The RX100 II has a large 3.0” 1229K-dot Xtra Fine LCD monitor that tilts, unlike the monitor on the previous RX100 model. This screen can be shifted up or down to promote easier use in playback review or at odd, uncomfortable shooting angles. WhiteMagic technology enhances brightness and clarity.

The RX100 II features several assistive functions for practical and creative use. Auto Object Framing will automatically analyze scenery and decide the best possible composition, and Auto HDR records several bracketed photos at once to be blended into one high-dynamic range shot. Face Detection will identify up to 8 faces in a shot and determine the correct camera settings for the photo. Additionally, aspect ratios, creative filters, and picture effects can be applied for a dynamic final image. This compact includes built-in Wi-Fi for instant connectivity and sharing, and accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards along with Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo and Pro HG-Duo. A multi-interface shoe on top of the camera will accept separately purchased flashes, microphones, and other accessories.


I have heard that the RAW exposure produced by this camera will not be supported or functional with Lightroom 4. If this is true, this is a big deterant to buying this camera. As I understand it, you must have Lightroom 5 to support RAW exposure from this camera. Is this fact?

Like the Sony RX 10 is a compact camera?

Are there any of these point and shoot "pocket" cameras that offer through the lens viewing or even electronic viewfinders. Also, please explain the difference between electronic and through the lens viewing. Obviously, I'm just a novice.

Where is the Panasonic model that the Leica C is a more expensive version of. Also what about the Panasonic LX-7?

Fuji x100s is not at the top of the list? I don't know.. It's way more popular than G16. It's a HOT camera and is on a backorder, why show it, let's advertise other popular camera models? If you're saying THE BEST compact camera's than show the "BEST".