Enthusiast Compact group test – Accessories and Video

Enthusiast group test opener | Buying Advice | What Digital Camera

Accessories

One explanation for the popularity of enthusiast compacts is their compatibility with a range of accessories. In many cases these accessories are the same products which have been developed for DSLRs and other cameras in a manufacturer's stable, such as Canon's Speedlite flashguns which have long been compatible with PowerShot G and EOS series models alike. Canon's G15 further supports a new waterproof housing and a remote for off-camera triggering. Similarly the Nikon P7700 supports Nikon's own Speedlight flashes, as well as wired and wireless remote triggers and even a GPS unit and external microphone.

The Olympus XZ-2 is compatible with a surprisingly broad range of external accessories, which include a flashgun, electronic viewfinder and stereo microphone, in addition to two underwater flashguns, an underwater case and even underwater macro conversion lens. Panasonic's LX7 accessory range includes optical and electronic viewfinders, as well as flashguns, lens filters and cases. Fujifilm's X-F1 lacks a hotshoe, and so its accessory range is limited to a handful of cases and a mains adapter, while the omission of a hotshoe from Sony's RX100 leaves it in a similar position.


Video

Each camera shoots full HD footage, with the XF1, P7700, XZ-2 and EX2F recording at 30fps as standard, the G15 at 24fps and the LX7 and RX100 at 50fps. Yet, while they may output videos at the same resolution as each other, quality varies. The XF1 is perhaps the worst performer, with its footage devoid of fine detail and a general lack of clarity throughout, together with a microphone that is particularly sensitive to wind noise. The EX2F records smooth footage and very good sound, though the absence of fine detail is disappointing.

The XZ-2 does well to record fine details, leaving only the sound as an area of improvement, while the P7700 also ends up somewhere in the middle of the pack, with decent detail and reasonable sound. The RX100 doesn't fare too badly, and its sound is good, though next to the others its footage doesn't stand out as being particularly noteworthy. The most pleasing video comes from the LX7 and the G15. The G15 records superb detail and reasonable sound quality, though the tendency to overexpose means its videos (much like its images) are characterised by blown highlights. The LX7 also records excellent detail though, as with the Sony, the 50fps frame rate does produce videos with a different feel from the others, which may or may not be preferred.