Best Advanced Compact Cameras 2012: our top five high-spec compacts of the year...
- Tue, 25 Sep 2012
Advanced compact cameras 2012: our top 5 high spec compacts of the year...
Advanced compact cameras are also sometimes referred to as 'high end' or 'enthusiast' compacts, are more premium than their budget counterparts and offer more in the way of user control for advanced photographers, which usually includes full manual control over the camera's shutter speed and aperture settings. To this end, advanced compact cameras are an ideal choice for DSLR owners looking for something smaller and more portable that they can carry with them at all times.
Although they tend don't have huge zooms, advanced compacts are all about preserving the best possible image quality, which is generally achieved through the use of larger sensors than regular compacts and a scaling back of resolution to allow for better perfiormance in low-light.
Advanced compact cameras come in many guises, and the choice has never been better. With that in mind, here are our top five advanced compact cameras 2012 - the best high-spec compacts currently on the market, ranked in ascending price order.
The Fujifilm X10 is built around a 2/3inch 12MP EXR CMOS sensor and a manually operated 4x optical zoom (35mm equivalent of 28-122mm) that benefits from a fast maximum aperture of f/2-2.8. What really sells the X10 though is the way it combines its ultra-chic retro rangefinder design with cutting edge technology, so while on the one hand you get a dedicated shutter speed dial and optical viewfinder you can also call on Fuji's proprietary EXR technology to help you get great quality images. Overall it all adds up to one of the very best advanced compacts money can buy.
Review Score: 91%
The Nikon P7100 is built around a 1/1.7in CCD sensor that offers an effective resolution of 10.1MP. This is paired with a 7x optical zoom that offers the 35mm focal range equivalent of 28-200mm, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at 28mmm rising to f/5.6 at 200mm. Sensitivity runs from ISO 100-3200 and is expandable to ISO 6400 at reduced resolution. On the back of the camera is a 3in, 921k-dot LCD screen that pulls away from the camera and tilts up or down for easier overhead or waist-level shooting. Should you prefer to hold the camera to eye-level then a small optical viewfinder is also offered. Add to this full manual controls, Raw shooting and Full HD movie capture and the Nikon P7100 is an ideal compact for enthusiast snappers.
Review Score: 90%
The Lumix LX7 succeeds the two-year-old LX5 as the company's flagship advanced compact and brings with it a generous range of upgrades. Built around a 1/1.7in High Sensitivity MOS sensor the LX7 delivers 10.1MP of resolution along with full manual controls and the ability to record lossless Raw image files. Thanks to the multi-aspect sensor design, you can choose to shoot in the native 4:3 aspect, or at 16:9, 3:2 and 1:1 with only a minimal reduction in resolution. The LX7 even encourages you to do so via the presence of a dedicated aspect switch on top of the lens. The LX7 is fitted with a 3.7x optical zoom offering the 35mm focal range equivalent of 24-90mm along with a super-fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 at 24mm. The LX7 is an ideal choice for those looking for a well-featured super-fast advanced compact.
Review Score: 91%
The newest of all the models in this round up, the Sony RX100 employs a 1in sensor that is four times larger than the 1/2.3in sensors found in most regular compacts and which is able to deliver 20.2MP of effective resolution. Sensitivity, meanwhile, extends from ISO 80-12,800 in standard mode, right up to ISO 25,600 in extended mode. On the front the RX100 comes fitted with a 3.6x optical zoom that offers the 35mm focal range equivalent of 28-100mm, with fast maximum aperture of just f/1.8 at 28mm (rising to f/4.9 at 100mm). Completing the package is full manual controls, Raw image capture, a high-quality 3in / 1.2m-dot LCD monitor and Full HD movie capture. Overall, the Sony RX100 is, without question, one of the very best advanced compact cameras on the market right now.
Review Score: 92%
While the Sony RX100 might boast a bigger sensor than the three cameras that preceded it on this round up, the 18.7x14mm chip inside the Canon G1X dwarfs the lot. In practical terms, the G1X's sensor is close in size to the APS-C chips found inside most DSLRs - albeit slightly narrower on account of being 4:3 in aspect rather than the 3:2 of true APS-C. Combined with the f/2.8 maximum aperture of the 28-112mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens on the front, the primary benefit of the G1X's large sensor is that it's able to re-create the same shallow depth-of-field effect DSLRs are capable of. Other highlights include Raw capture, full manual control, Full HD movie recording and a 3in / 921k-dot vari-angle LCD screen. While autofocus could be snappier and the optical viewfinder is a bit on the poky side, the G1X produces probably the best image quality in its class making it an ideal choice for the serious enthusiast.
Review Score: 88%
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A lot of best buys can be found on the internet. Once you've worked out which is the best advanced compact camera for your needs make sure you're buying from a known online retailer, however, and don't forget the potential cost of postage too.
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