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It is almost a tall order to find good compact cameras for low light conditions, since compacts mostly give you a blown-out, unnatural look on using the camera flash. Better output will result from cameras that include features to optimize low-light performance within the mandate. Two features that you should look for in compacts touted as low-light performers are sensor size and lens brightness. The more the sensor surface area, the more the light taken in at a time. Look for sensor area of 1/1.7" (43.3mm²) and over. A brighter lens will open wider, allowing more light on to the sensor. The lower the f-number, the larger and brighter the lens - so look for f/2.0, or even f/1.8. If however such hardware is missing in your preferred compact, ensure that it is capable of higher ISO sensitivity.

Browse All Top Compact Digital Cameras For Low Light »

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV


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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV
Canon PowerShot G7 X
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III
Ricoh GR
Fujifilm X100S
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV
Canon PowerShot G7 X
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III
Ricoh GR V Digital Camera
Fujifilm X100S Digital Camera
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Release Date
Sep 2015
Oct 2014
Jun 2014
Apr 2013
Jan 2013
Camera Type
Compact
Compact
Compact
Compact
Compact, Large sensor compact
Image Sensor Size
13.23 mm
13.23 mm
13.23 mm
28.2 mm
28.4 mm
Max. ISO Speed
12800.0
12800.0
12800.0
25600.0
25600.0
Optical Zoom
2.9 x
4.2 x
2.9 x
1.0 x
1.0 x
Resolution
20.0 Megapixel
20.0 Megapixel
21.0 Megapixel
16.2 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
Image Sensor Type
BSI-CMOS
BSI-CMOS
BSI-CMOS
CMOS
CMOS
LCD Screen Size
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
2.8 in.

  • - Macro performance not quite as good as some competitors.
    - Battery life not as good as predecessor (but still fair for its size).
    - Slightly below average saturation levels and hue accuracy.
    - Still can't capture RAW files and JPEGs at the "Extra Fine" highest quality setting.
    - Default Wi-Fi camera app lacks robust functionality; need to install additional (free) app.


  • The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV offers serious video improvements over the RX100 III, but it is very expensive for a compact camera.


  • Sony has made some good improvements to what is already an excellently performing camera, but there are still a few small problems with the RX100 IV which make it just slightly less than perfect. Even if you can put the extremely high price aside (especially as that will drop as time goes on), it remains disappointing not to see a touch sensitive screen on a Sony RX100 - if for no other reason than setting the AF point would be much easier and quicker with one. It’s also frustrating that you have to switch off raw format shooting to make full use of some of the functions on offer here, too.


  • The Canon PowerShot G7 X has a bright zoom lens that covers a lot of range and a large 1-inch image sensor, but just misses earning our Editors' Choice nod for top premium compact camera.


  • The new Canon PowerShot G7 X is an excellent pocket camera for enthusiast photographers, offering a wealth of options for shooting both still and video, excellent image quality, speedy auto-focusing, intuitive and configurable handling, and solid construction. It can't quite match the bigger and heavier G1 X Mk II in terms of performance at higher ISO speeds, but it does offer most of that camera's functionality in a smaller package, and even out-performs it in some areas.

  • Rating Unavailable

    The Canon Powershot G7 X provides nearly every advanced feature that you can find on a digital camera in today's marketplace, including a touch screen LCD that tilts, NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity, and Canon's latest image processor chip that yields good response speeds. With a large image sensor and 20-megapixels of resolution, the G7 X does a great job recording high-quality images too. This model's primary drawbacks are a small optical zoom lens and a high price.


  • The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III compact camera earns Editors' Choice accolades because of its image quality and excellent EVF, even despite its high price.


  • The new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III is the best compact camera that we've ever reviewed, period. We were impressed by last year's Mark 2 model, but this third iteration takes several big steps forwards, most notably thanks to the inclusion of a high-quality, cleverly integrated eye-level viewfinder which in our view is a stroke of genius. Other improvements include a faster, albeit shorter telephoto lens, a very handy built-in ND filter, more advanced video shooting with XAVC S support, a faster processor, and a more versatile LCD screen.


  • At $800, Sony's RX100 III is a 
     expensive point-and-shoot, but it's an excellent buy if you have the cash to spare.


  • The Ricoh GR fixed, wide-lens, large-sensor compact is one of those rare cameras that does just about everything right.


  • Even the price of the Ricoh GR is appealing. At £599.99 / $799, it's substantially cheaper than its direct competitor, the Nikon Coolpix A, and also cheaper than an APS-C DSLR or compact system camera with a good quality 28mm lens fitted. If you're certain that a 28mm fixed lens will suit your style of shooting, then the Ricoh GR represents something of a bargain and comes Highly Recommended.

  • Rating Unavailable

    A niche product, and one that Ricoh should be applauded for designing in a market stuffed with 'me too' cameras, but one that its hard to wholeheartedly recommend. If it had breathtaking image quality the price would be irrelevant, but as it stands you're paying nearly as much as a Nikon D50 outfit for the camera (and a lot more if you include the optical viewfinder), and a lot more than you would for one of the several excellent compacts on the market with a zoom starting at 28mm.


  • A great enthusiast compact for manual-focusing fans.


  • Don't be fooled by the Fujifilm X100S's retro exterior; it's a modern, full-featured digital camera that impressed us enough to earn our Editors' Choice award.


  • While we could certainly dock the X100S for a lack of newbie-friendly features, this is still a $1,299.99 fixed-lens camera; there's probably not many beginners willing to shell out that kind of money for a camera lacking the flexibility of a system camera. Those in this part of the market probably know their way around a RAW converter or two, and are willing to suffer a bit for their art. Especially for street photographers who don't want to shell out for a Leica, the X100S is a fine choice.


Top 5 compact digital camera for low light:

  1. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV
  2. Canon PowerShot G7 X
  3. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III
  4. Ricoh GR V Digital Camera
  5. Fujifilm X100S Digital Camera