Best compact cameras 2012
- Thu, 11 Oct 2012
Best Compact Cameras 2012
Looking to buy a new compact digital camera and want to know what the very best compact cameras are called? Then you're in the right place. Here are our top five best compact cameras of the past year by review score. Given that all the cameras we've listed here scored over 90% they earned a WhatDigitalCamera.com 'Gold' award – our equivalent of an Oscar award. Put simply they're the best compact cameras on the market today.
If you're an outdoors enthusiast looking for a compact camera that can get wet and stand up to the kind of treatment that would be the ruin of any regular compact then look no further than the Olympus TG-1. Waterproof to 12m, freezeproof to -10c, shockproof to 2m, and crushproof to 100kg the TG-1 is tougher than Chuck Norris and takes a pretty good picture too. The 4x optical zoom is housed within the body, shielded by a pane of toughened glass and offers the 35m focal range equivalent of 25-100mm. Whereas image quality with a folded lens design like this has been the bane of many a ‘tough compact' pretender in the past, the TG-1 actually delivers pretty good results; the 12MP backlit CMOS sensor and f/2 lens combining to produce decent images even in low light.
Review Score: 90%
Thanks to their powerful zooms and pocketable size, so-called ‘travel compacts' have been an increasingly popular choice in recent years - and not just with the jet set either. The Panasonic Lumix TZ30 is a well built and generously featured travel compact with a 20x optical zoom that offers the 35mm focal range equivalent of 24-480mm. In addition, the TZ30 also benefits from Panasonic's own Power O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilisation) sensor-shift technology to help keep your images sharp at extended telephoto settings and slower shutter speeds. Stir in 1080p Full HD video recording, light-speed AF technology and a more than capable 14.1MP MOS sensor and the TZ30 is a serious contender for being the best travel compact currently on the market.
Review Score: 90%
Although it was actually launched (and reviewed) towards the end of 2011, the Fuji X10 warrants inclusion here on several counts. First of all, it's a super stylish little compact that takes its design cues from old-school film rangefinders. In the hand this translates into a wonderfully tactile camera that's an absolute joy to use. Secondly, and in spite of its retro charm the 12MP X10 is packed with useful technology - not least Fuji's unique EXR sensor that allows pixels to be combined for better low-low light performance. Last but by no means least, the £500 launch price for the X10 has fallen to around £300 – making it an absolute steal. If you're looking for a super stylish advanced compact that's big on retro charm and crammed with cutting edge technology, the X10 is the best there is.
Review Score: 91%
The most recent of all the cameras on to this list, the LX7 was launched in August 2012 as the successor to the highly regarded LX5. The LX7 isn't just an incremental upgrade though and brings with it a whole heap of improvements - from the newly designed 1/1.7in 10.1MP MOS sensor to 1080p Full HD movie recording (the LX5 only offered 720p HD recording). Other highlights include the LX7's multi-aspect sensor design that allows you to shoot at 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 with only a minor loss of resolution over the default 4:3 aspect. Continuous shooting speed has also been boosted to 11fps – from 6fps on the LX5 – and in-camera HDR capture has been added too.If you're looking for a super versatile advanced compact, the LX7 hits all the right notes.
Review Score: 91%
Five hundred quid might seem like an awful lot of money to spend on a compact camera, but if there's one camera that warrants it, it's the RX100. The RX100 is actually Sony's first stab at a premium grade advanced compact and is built around a 1in sensor with an effective resolution 20.2MP. This makes it around four times larger than a regular1/2.3in chip and twice as large as the Fuji X10's. On the front you'll find a Carl Zeiss 4x zoom that offers the 35mm focal range equivalent of 28-100mm, complete with a super fast maximum aperture of f/1.8 at 28mm (rising to f/4.9 at 100mm). Elsewhere, you'll also get a 3in / 1.2m-dot LCD monitor, 1080p Full HD movie recording, full manual controls and the ability to shoot Raw images. Suddenly that £500 price tag doesn't seem quite so high...
Review Score: 92%
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