A generational camera
The x100S has fine enough image quality and speed, in such a reasonably sized package, that the next generation of camera doesn't appeal to me. The x200S could have twice the resolution and twice the speed and I simply wouldn't care. I'm not suggesting that the x100S is the pinnacle of fixed lens digital cameras. But I am saying that Fuji has achieved such a balance of features and performance with the x100S that I can't reasonably see myself upgrading or switching for the foreseeable future.
Capable of excellent performance
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.
Compelling mix of intuitive handling, impeccable image quality
There's no denying that £1099 / $1299 is a lot of money to pay for a compact camera with a fixed lens, but the Fujifilm X100S offers so many improvements that if you ever found yourself looking longingly at its predecessor, there's very little reason not to take a much, much closer look at this new version. Quite simply the new Fujifilm X100S is one of the best cameras that we've ever reviewed and joins its illustrious predecessor as a worthy winner of our coveted Essential! award.
Fast Hybrid AF with manual focus aids, Hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder.
The Fujifilm X100S builds on the success of its predecessor, the X100, with a new sensor, faster, more accurate focusing and a raft of other improvements. Fujifilm has concentrated on improving what needed it and fixing (most of) what was broken, while leaving what what best and most loved well alone - namely the X100's retro styling, composition and traditional controls.
Detail-rich images, Bright lens
By taking some of the best elements of the Fuji X-Pro1, such as the sensor design and Quick Menu, Fuji has produced a worthy update to the X100, and many owners of this camera will feel sorely tempted by the X100S. The improved handling and image quality makes it a very desirable step up.
Excellent resolution and detail in photos
The Fujifilm X100s improves quite dramatically over the Fujifilm X100, with a new 16 megapixel sensor that delivers excellent noise performance and detail in photos. The X100s gives the same familiar controls as the original X100 as well as a higher resolution electronic viewfinder, that when combined with the hybrid optical viewfinder, makes this camera a unique proposition.
Excellent not-quite-pocket-sized camera
the X20 is a super camera. It's not the game-changer the RX100 is (sensor size and variety of features in such a small package), but what you do get is a superior lens, no optical low pass filter - for crispy photographs, an actually usable viewfinder, 12fps, superb build quality, and delicious, delicious bokeh! If you're cross-shopping the RX100 and X20, it's certainly a tough decision. If fitting a camera in your purse or pocket is important, the RX100 wins hands down. For build quality?
Outstanding build quality
If your head has been turned by the headline-grabbing X100S, but you really, really want a zoom lens, then the X20 is on hand to more than satisfy your needs. £519 / $599 is admittedly a lot of ask for what is essentially still a compact camera at heart, despite all the fancy trappings, but for us the Fujifilm X20 delivers such a winning combination of old and new that offers so many important improvements over the original model that we can heartily recommend it for new and X10 users...
Fast hybrid AF with on-sensor phase detect points
The Fujifilm X20 is a major upgrade to the X10, with a brand new 12 Megapixel X-trans sensor and EXR II processor providing improved image quality and low light performance as well as new shooting modes, 1080p60 video and faster continuous shooting. The new sensor's phase-detect AF points provide the X20 with one of the fastest and most accurate AF systems around, at least for stills.
Excellent in-camera Raw conversion
The Fujifilm X20 is a true enthusiast's compact, with solid build quality, a fast lens, unique optical viewfinder, and sharp, high resolution photos. It offers a wide selection of manual controls, easily adjustable settings (thanks to twin control dials, the Fn button, and Quick Menu), and 1080/60p video recording. Downsides include a mediocre, hard-to-access movie mode and sub-par battery life.
Excellent image quality
The Fujifilm X20 delivers high image quality, unique handling and features, as well as an optical viewfinder, in a well built and stylish camera, with full manual controls, raw shooting and flash hot shoe. If these are features you're looking for, and have the money to invest, then the Fujifilm X20 comes highly recommended.
Low ISO images are sharp and class-leading
The Fujifilm X20 is not only the camera that irons out its predecessor's orb-related imaging issues, it's also the camera that pushes image quality up a notch to class-leading levels.
The chunky, retro-styled build doesn't make the X20 the tiniest of models and the design, even just aesthetically, won't suit all tastes - but we're big fans and think its looks are just as stand-out as its images.
Class-leading fast and reliable autofocus
The Fuji X20 is an excellent premium compact and the only one to have a mechanical zoom. Its lens is equivalent to 28-112mm which is suitable for a wide variety of subjects and has a rather bright maximum aperture. The X20 offers complete manual controls and an efficient interface, including dual control-dials and plenty of external controls.
1080p HD video @ 60fps
The lens is the same as the X10's and has the same push-on cover. We noticed an improvement in the functionality of the focusing ring, which is now more sensitive and allows you to adjust the speed at which focus is changed. Turn it quickly to re-focus rapidly, or slowly for greater precision.
Delivers outstanding still images
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.
Good lens, very low distortion and without any real corner softness
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.
Extremely sharp lens, Excellent noise performance
The Ricoh GR (V) is an impressive upgrade to the previous GR Digital model, with a 16 megapixel APS-C sensor, the Ricoh GR suddently becomes much more attractive, with an extremely sharp 28mm equivalent lens, the camera delivers excellent image quality. It's also available for noticeably less than other APS-C sensor compact cameras, and would make a great pocket camera where image quality rather than zoom is of the highest importance.
Image quality is exceptional, super-sharp lens
Image quality is in the bag, there's no doubt about that, but as a full package it falls into some of the traps that its similar competitors do too. That has a two-fold effect - it stops the GR from being a five-star product while simultaneously making it the best of its kind.
So many customisable options, settings and function buttons
With an aggressive pricing strategy, Ricoh should win plenty of photography enthusiasts over with the GR. Competing cameras like the Nikon Coolpix A are easier to pick up and start shooting with for beginners, but it seems like a waste for these cameras to stay in auto all the time. This is where the GR steps in - there are just so many ways to customise this camera, it's almost ridiculous.
All the customisation in the world would mean nothing if the GR wasn't able to take good photos.
Compact size large APS-C sensor, 28mm prime lens
As much as we like to save money, the Coolpix A is a better overall camera than the Ricoh GR. The Nikon's images are sharper and colors more accurate. The fact the Coolpix has built-in image stabilization while the GR does not is definitely a factor. Also the lack of a focus ring takes away half the fun of shooting with an enthusiast camera. The Ricoh can take solid photos with enough light but in dim settings it doesn't have the ISO chops of the Nikon.
Sensor is very well rounded
Overall, the Ricoh GR has proved itself to be a very capable performer and it joins the Nikon Coolpix A and the Fujifilm Finepix X100 in moving on the performance level of prime lens compact cameras. While they don't feature the versatility of interchangeable lenses, they make very high quality discrete cameras for street and social documentary photography, without having to make too many compromises in image quality along the way.
Great street photo camera
I got the camera in a national chain electronics store, impressed by being lightweight, can put it in my shirt pocket, great dynamic range with good light, get an extra battery if you are trigger happy, I got about 300 plus pics from the battery it went to two bars, not completely depleted.I must say that the iso range is very decent, after the new LR 4.4 appeared, I could get excelent image quality on to iso 3200, from 6400 on is very acceptable, had to edit my opinion given the LR update.
Great image quality, Small footprint despite large APS-C sensor
Although the Nikon A does a great job at capturing sharp, high quality images, this is not a camera for the masses. So who is this camera designed for? Due to the inflexible 18.5mm fixed lens, many casual photographers will be quickly disillusioned by the lack of zoom.
Screen is more than adequate for image composition in even bright light
Which leaves the Coolpix A in something of a quandary - smaller and more pocketable than its rivals, but with slower auto-focusing and no built-in viewfinder. It's definitely an interesting camera in its own right that would make a great second camera for Nikon DSLR owners, but ultimately a few crucial shortcomings and some fierce competition limit its appeal to a wider audience.
Excellent image quality in both Raw and JPEG
The Coolpix A offers DSLR-standard image quality and an excellent 28mm equivalent lens in a well-polished, pocketable camera. Its user interface will be immediately familiar to Nikon shooters and its results are dependably good. It's not the only game in town, though, and while solid in most respects, it's not class-leading in any respect.
Good build quality, Controls are sensibly arranged
While it is considerably smaller than the Fuji X100S, the Nikon Coolpix A doesn't have a viewfinder built in - there's an optional optical finder available.
It also lacks the traditional aperture ring and shutter speed dial that give the Fuji X100S some of its appeal, but exposure adjustments can still be made quickly and easily.
First class image quality
The Nikon Coolpix A is the first APS-C compact to genuinely fit in a pocket - a great achievement. That makes it damn expensive, but Nikon has done an awful lot to ensure that it meets the premium price tag. Build quality is exemplary and image quality is first class.
There are, however, areas where the Coolpix A could be improved. The sluggish AF performance is a concern, especially in less than perfect shooting conditions.
Excellent noise performance
The Nikon Coolpix A offers a large APS-C sized sensor with a wide-angle Nikon lens, in a compact pocketable body with Digital SLR like controls and options that will be familiar to anyone who's used Nikon Digital SLRs. Therefore the Nikon Coolpix A would make an ideal compact camera for Nikon DSLR users, or alternatively for anyone looking for a premium compact camera with DSLR image quality and low noise.
Excellent sharpness in center of frame
The Nikon Coolpix A is the smallest digital camera with an APS-C sensor and is similarly-sized to a compact camera. This incredible achievement puts the image quality of a DSLR in a camera that fits in a coat pocket. The compromise is that its lens offers a fixed 28mm-equivalent wide-angle field-of-view. This is obviously not for everyone but those who are happy with a bright F/2.8 prime lens will be very impressed by the Coolpix A.
Excellent image quality, Robust shooting design
The Coolpix A won't be for everyone, especially photographers who are looking for an electronic viewfinder - or any viewfinder at all that isn't an optional extra. It also lacks the retro-inspired look of the X100s, though it is a lot more compact.
What the Coolpix A does have going for it is image and lens quality in spades. The APS-C sensor puts this camera in a league of its own, and the Nikkor lens delivers sharp and detailed images time and time again.
Intuitive handling and speedy performance
The new XQ1 is clearly designed to take on the all-conquering Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 (our Compact Camera of the Year in 2012) and the popular Canon PowerShot S-series. It essentially offers image quality somewhere between the two at a very attractive price that is lower than both, whilst offering the same appealing retro design and great build quality that epitomises the X-series camera range.
Impressive internal platform with a fantastic lens
So no, there's probably nobody who needs the RX1, but you're not an idiot if you buy one. It's not the Hasselblad Lunar. It's a genuinely great camera with a few flaws. The real issue is that it lacks the flexibility most advanced shooters would want from their primary setup, but is priced far beyond what most people would be willing to pay.
Fantastic lens in a compact and highly customisable body
Sony have truly blurred the lines between compact and DSLR in terms of the RX1's features, performance and image quality. The RX1 is the first truly pocketable camera to offer a full-frame DSLR experience, something that money can actually now buy.
Excellent image quality in both JPEG and Raw
The RX1 has no direct competition. The closest comes in the form of Fujifilm's X100S, which can't offer full frame image quality but is half the price and has a hybrid viewfinder, fast focus and digital split image focus system in its favor. However, if image quality is paramount for you, there's nothing that comes close in such a small package this side of a Leica and its small-car price tag. As a bonus, the RX1 is an engaging photographic tool.
Smallest full-frame camera available, Low noise at high ISO settings
The Sony Cyber-shot RX1 is currently unique in being the only compact camera with fixed lens and full-frame sensor. Due to the expense of developing a camera like this, it's likely to be unique in its field for a long time to come, with APS-C sized sensor (or smaller) compact cameras being developed in greater numbers.
Excellent build and design quality
Quite simply, the Sony RX1 is the ultimate compact camera. With a full-frame sensor, excellent image quality and a robust build, it's designed for the discerning photographer with very padded pockets.
This camera is so good that it can be a viable alternative to a similarly-priced SLR, provided you don't need the benefits of interchangeable lenses. However, even though this is a top-of-the-line camera, you do miss out on mod-cons such as GPS and a touchscreen.
Shooting in low light levels
If you want a high-resolution full-frame camera that can fit into a coat pocket, the Sony RX1 fills the bill. Its control layout makes it pleasing to use and its performance is generally excellent (particularly at high sensitivity settings)
As a compact, fixed lens camera with a full-frame 24-megapixel sensor, the RX1 is currently in a class of its own.
Attractively smooth, out-of-focus background
There isn't the flexibility of a DSLR or SLT camera here, due to the fixed lens - and this limiting factor, coupled with the lofty price, makes the RX1 a curio rather than something you feel like you need to own. It's impressive, but we're waiting for the next generation - or at least a version that supports swappable lenses.
Great looking images with such a tiny camera
If you're swimming in money and love photography, definitely buy the Sony RX1. Is there any argument for it as a practical purchase? It would be a stretch. The cheapest new full-frame DSLR paired with a high-quality 35mm lens will run you around $3000. Without the ability to change lenses, you are severely limiting your photographic options with the RX1, and there is no getting around that.
It will be interesting to see if Sony goes forward in developing future iterations of the RX1.
Minimalism without elegance
Sigma has had a big year. Where giants like Canon and Nikon have been content to play it safe, Sigma has pushed ahead with groundbreaking lens designs, a USB dock that can calibrate lenses at home, and an innovative mount conversion service. But as much as we love what the company is doing with its lens business, we can't recommend Sigma's compact camera series. Though brilliant in the right context, the DP3 Merrill is simply too limited to justify its cost.
Outstanding image quality at low ISOs
Overall, this is a great camera for a patient photographer who loves fine art images. Portrait photographers who work in a studio may also be interested in the DP lineup due to it's leaf shutter and excellent image quality. It also stands to reason that the DP3 Merrill may also bode well with an up-and-coming group of photographers who have a love of compact, large sensor, fixed-lens cameras.
Deliver stunningly sharp, high-resolution images
That initially high price of £799 / $999 certainly looks more palatable when viewing the DP3 Merrill's sample images up close. Perhaps better suited to macro shots rather than portrait photography because of the slow auto-focusing system, the Sigma DP3 Merrill is once again a poor camera but an excellent image-making device that just about deserves our Recommended award.
Capable of delivering superb results
The DP3 Merrill is not for everybody. And, with a rated battery capacity of only 97 shots/charge, it's as well the camera is supplied with two rechargeable batteries, which are relatively quick to re-charge.
But if you're after a compact camera with a 'portrait' focal length, and would be prepared to use low ISO settings and willing to record raw files and process them with Sigma's software, the DP3 Merrill is capable of delivering superb results that can match - or better - the best...
Speed, good looks, and pretty pictures
While the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is pricey and imperfect, it's still darn good. Plus, based on past experience, even if competitors I haven't yet tested can surpass it in design or speed, I don't think they'll be able to match the photo quality. (Canon might be able to if it matched a fast lens to the G1 X's sensor.) Despite its drawbacks, I'd still rank it as one of the best compact cameras I've ever tested, and certainly the best under $700.
Good autofocus and shutter lag performance
The Sony RX100 packs a lot of image quality punch into a truly shirt pocket portable compact digital camera. Shutter lag and autofocus performance are quite good, still image quality is on the high end of the pecking order for true compact digitals and the ability to operate in fully automatic mode along with complete manual controls and a RAW shooting option should appeal to a wide audience of potential users. Full HD video performance is pretty good.
Big sensor, pocketable compact form factor
The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 is, without doubt, one of the most exciting compact releases in many years. That it comes at a time when other manufacturers - Canon, Fujifilm and Panasonic among them - are also releasing exciting compact models makes it all the more remarkable. Its unique proposition can be summed up in four words - large sensor, small body. That magical combination is what enthusiast photographers have been wishing for for a long time.
Excellent image quality
The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 is one of very few compact cameras with a large sensor, and it's been a long time since Sony themselves put a large sensor in a compact camera with the previous model, the Sony Cyber-shot R1, dating back to 2005. Since then a re-surgence of "serious compact" cameras has happened, with most manufacturers having at least one offering, apart from Sony.
Customizable control ring and function buttons
Overall, we think that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 offers the best compromise between sensor size and lens optics--utilizing a larger sensor of just the right size with a fast F1.8 aperture (at 28mm) while keeping things slim and compact. The svelte shooter offers reliable programmed modes, customizable buttons, fast autofocus performance and good image quality packed in a sleek chassis which may appeal to enthusiasts and beginners alike.
Colour rendition is excellent, with good levels of saturation
Offering snappy performance, excellent image quality and a sleek design, the RX100 proves that good things come in small packages. Sony's first large-sensor compact took its time to arrive on the scene, but it's just the camera that the advanced compact category needs. An advanced camera with more than enough controls to satisfy seasoned photographers, and plenty of automatic modes to welcome beginners, the RX100 is bound to find a place in many people's hearts.
Excellent image quality
The Sony RX100 brings digital SLR-like quality to a compact camera. It's a small camera that can capture wonderfully clear and well saturated images in JPEG mode and it has manual controls that allow experienced photographers to grab the reigns and take complete control of the capturing process. It even allows for manual focusing via a dedicated ring around its zoom lens.
Excellent stills, Impressive low-light results
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 doesn't come cheap, but it looks great and produces consistently first-class stills. Low-light performance can't be faulted, colour reproduction is excellent and movies are crisp, with a well-captured soundtrack. This is the best compact you can buy right now.
Despite the negatives outlined above, this is an excellent camera and one I would not hesitate to recommend. In fact, I think the camera is way underrated and had Leica not botched its introduction it would have been a very good seller. As it sits right now, it is an undiscovered gem. Many people will not give this camera a try because of all of the negative publicity. I know I almost didn't. I'm glad now that I took the chance.
Extremely quiet shutter, Excellent noise performance
The Leica X Vario is quite unique in that it is one of very few cameras with a large APS-C CMOS sensor and zoom lens. Most other APS-C sensor cameras have stuck with a fixed focal length lens to keep the camera as small as possible. Whereas the Leica X Vario is roughly the same size as a APS-C mirrorless camera with standard kit lens.
Extremely high quality results
It's a lovely little camera, great IQ, nice handling and of high quality build. Whether it's for you is for you to decide - buy it or don't buy it. But I'd urge anyone who is interested in a camera like this to ignore the yammering on the internet and simply try one out - you might actually be pleasantly surprised.
Full manual controls & Raw capture
The XF1 enters a competitive field in the form of the enthusiast compact market, where it primarily distinguishes itself from its peers through its smart, retro design. The camera's leather and matte aluminium finish, along with the manual zoom operation make the XF1 a pleasing camera to hold and use. Retract the lens fully and the camera can also be easily pocketed. Despite these obvious pluses, the XG1 is not without its faults.
Image quality is good, Takes excellent panorama pictures
If you're in the market for a serious compact camera, the Fujifilm XF1 is an appealing option, particularly as it is available for less than £400. It has a wide range of features, highlights being the f/1.8 maximum aperture lens, panorama modes, advanced filters which all lead to the camera taking impressive, unique pictures. For a serious compact camera, we'd like to see a higher resolution screen and some users may like a hotshoe socket so they can add a flash unit.
Good low-mid ISO image quality
We have handfuls of love for the XF1 thanks to its decent image quality, collapsible manual zoom lens, competitive price and retro, pocketable design. But that's met with a few pinches of disappointment too: the maximum f/4.9 aperture at the full extent of the zoom, lack of optional viewfinder, ongoing "white orb" issues due to the sensor and that not-so-nice faux-leather finish.
Very low image noise, Stellar dynamic-range
The Fuji XF1 is the only pocketable digital camera with a mechanical zoom. This premium compact features direct manual-controls including dual control-dials and a highly customizable interface.
This model uses a 12 MP BSI-CMOS sensor with Fuji EXR technology which gives it a class-leading dynamic range. It is paired with a ultra-bright F/1.8 - 4.9 ultra-wide-angle 4X optical zoom lens.
The Fuji XF1 delivers good image quality for mid-size prints up to ISO 1600.
LCD is sharp and you can control many aspects of the display
If you like the look of this camera, and you want a unique model that you can show off to friends and family, the XF1's photographic quality is more than good enough to justify this camera's high price tag. However, if you aren't thrilled with this camera's retro look and if you prefer a plain-old power button on your cameras, the XF1 probably isn't worth your time.
Wide aperture, Raw shooting option, Stills image quality
The XF1 is a camera that both looks great and takes impressive photos. The unusual power control on the manual zoom wheel, however, is a little fiddly and won't suit everyone. Get beyond this, though, and the wide maximum aperture and raw image recording make for a very exciting, truly pocket-sized compact.
Raw file capture plus Full HD video recording with stereo soundtracks
Introduced at Photokina 2012 as the entry-level model in Fujifilm's X-series of cameras, the FinePix XF1 shares a lot of features with the FinePix X10 but is sleeker, slimmer and lighter. The camera's aluminium body has a synthetic leather cladding that comes in black, tan or red and the retro design is in line with other cameras in the series. Coordinating retro-style cases are available.
Really intuitive to use
There's a lot to like about the XF1: it's got plenty of retro style, it's easy to use, it's packed with useful shooting features and it takes a great picture. Yes, switching it on and off can be a bit fiddly, but the double payback for this is a super-sharp manually operated zoom that's a real pleasure to use, along with a camera that's small enough to happily sit inside a coat pocket when switched off.
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