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The Best Serious Compact Digital Cameras You Can Buy Today

We take a look at the top-scoring, best serious compact digital cameras available on the market today, with advanced controls, that we've put to the test.

|  Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III in Compact Cameras
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ePHOTOzine has reviewed every serious/advanced compact camera available and here, we reveal the best cameras, based on our in-depth reviews. Below, we highlight some of the best features of each model so you should be able to find a camera capable of delivering high image quality and speedy performance.

The cameras on this list have a larger than normal sensor built-in and we've not included bridge cameras as these don't tend to be very compact in size and we've also left out travel zooms. We do have top tens which look at bridge cameras and travel zooms, though, so do check them out if this is the type of camera more suited to you. Plus, a number of these types of cameras now feature larger than normal sensors as well as manual controls. 

Why Is My Favourite Camera Not On The List?

This is because we've either not reviewed it, yet, or it's simply not scored high enough in its review to be featured in the countdown.


Fujifilm X100V 

Fujifilm X100V


The biggest complaints we had with the previous X100 series cameras was the lack of a tilting screen, as well as the poor macro performance of the lens. These issues have been completely resolved with the X100V. For those that wished the camera had weather-sealing, this has also been answered, as long as you purchase the optional kit.

The Fujifilm X100V delivers pretty much everything you could want from a premium classic style camera. There's a high-resolution 26mp sensor, with excellent noise performance. Colour reproduction and options are outstanding, and the camera gives a unique hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder so that you can truly have the best of both worlds.

If you're a fan of video, then the camera almost gives you what you want. There is high-resolution CINE/4K video recording, as well as high-speed FullHD video, however, the lack of image stabilisation and the time limits are going to be issues for some.

The camera is ideally suited to street photography, or as a general camera that you can take with you where ever you may go. It's built to last, and thanks to weather-sealing should survive for many years to come, making the relatively high-price easily justifiable. The camera oozes quality, with external controls that make the camera a real joy to use.

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Panasonic Lumix LX100 

Panasonic Lumix LX100 Black (7)


The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is a large sensor (Micro Four Thirds) compact camera, with a f/1.7 - 2.8 Leica lens equivalent to 24-75mm in 35mm terms, built-in Wi-Fi and an electronic viewfinder. Even though we reviewed the camera back in 2014, it's still sitting as reigning champion in our top ten thanks to its impressive line-up of features, 4K video capture, bright lens and stylish metal body. In fact, we were that impressed with the LX100, we gave it our 'Editor's Choice' award. 

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Canon Powershot G5 X 

Canon Powershot G5 X (1) | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 25.0 mm | ISO 640

The Canon Powershot G5 X is a development of the G7 X, and features the same large 20-megapixel 1inch BSI CMOS sensor and bright 4.2x optical zoom f/1.8-2.8 lens, but adds a tilting vari-angle touch-screen, electronic viewfinder and updated design. The G5 X gives more optical zoom than most of the competition with the same sensor and anyone who is looking for a compact camera that delivers excellent image quality, good control and handling, as well as a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF), the G5 X certainly offers the complete package. 

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Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) 

Leica D LUX Typ109 (1)

The Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) is based on the Panasonic Lumix LX100 and features a large 12.8 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, built-in Wi-Fi, an electronic viewfinder, and 4K video recording. The Leica lens is the equivalent to a 24-75mm lens and features a bright f/1.7-f/2.8 aperture giving high image quality, and a large Micro Four Thirds sensor ensures that noise performance is good even at higher ISO settings. The built-in electronic viewfinder is another useful feature, particularly if regularly shooting outdoors in bright sunny conditions. With a number of external controls, along with a compact and stylish metal body, the Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) is a pleasure to use and we were happy to 'Highly Recommend' it. 

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Fujifilm X100F 

1/100 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 720

The Fujifilm X100F is the latest fixed lens premium compact to join Fujifilm's popular line-up of retro-inspired compacts. Inside the X100F you'll find a 24.3Mp APS-C CMOS sensor and new features include an ISO dial built into the shutter speed dial (like the X-Pro2) and a focus joystick which allows you to change the focus point without taking your eye off the viewfinder. The 100F is actually the 4th generation of the X100, updating the X100T, and in the evolved version you'll also find the hybrid viewfinder that can switch between optical and electronic views. 

Overall, the camera feels great and is a joy to use so if you get the chance to try it out, we highly recommend that you do. 

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Leica Q2 Monochrom 

Leica Q2 Monochrom

The Leica Q2 Monochrom, and other Leica cameras may seem expensive, however, it's because of this that the Q2 Monochrom is able to exist. Without Leica producing unique cameras, in smaller numbers, this camera most likely wouldn't be possible. Leica is to be commended for producing a monochrome version of the Q2.

The camera is easy to use and has premium build quality with weather-sealing, making this a camera that should last many years without issue. The camera gives direct access to aperture, shutter speeds, and focus, however, to access additional settings there is an Fn (Function) button and command wheel, but little else, meaning you may end up going into the menus at times, wishing there was a quicker way of accessing settings. 

There's a high-resolution monochrome 47mp full-frame sensor, which, when combined with the Leica 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, is able to deliver extremely sharp result. The camera also offers an extremely quiet shutter, something that could be of particular interest to some shooters.

You can also record 4K video with a choice of 'C4K' (Cinematic 4K) at 24fps, 4K UHD video recording at 30/24fps, as well as FullHD at up to 120fps. All in monochrome, of course.

For those looking for a monochrome digital camera, the full-frame Leica Q2 Monochrom camera, with a Leica 28mm f/1.7 prime lens, is unique in being one of very few options. Thankfully the Q2 Monochrom delivers high image quality and has the build quality and experience expected from a premium camera brand.

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Ricoh GR II 

GR Closeup 3

The Ricoh GR II is an update to the Ricoh GR and features a number of updates including built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, improved white balance, noise performance, effects modes, as well as the capability to wirelessly control external flash units. Features carried over from the GR include a 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, plus a 28mm equivalent f/2.8 GR lens which produces images that are very sharp and detailed. The Ricoh GR II may seem like a subtle update to the previous camera, however, the camera offers built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, bringing the camera more up to date. Improvements have been made in continuous shooting and the camera feels very rapid in use. For those that want a pocketable camera that can deliver high image quality, without the need for optical zoom, then the Ricoh GR II would make an ideal solution.

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Canon Powershot G7 X II 


The Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II is the update to the G7 X, and as a serious compact camera with a larger than normal 20-megapixel 1inch sensor and it provides excellent image quality, with a bright 4.2x optical zoom lens, whilst still being pocketable. For those who want a compact camera with a larger than normal 1inch sensor, and a longer zoom than most other serious compacts, then the G7 X Mark II certainly delivers high image quality and rapid speed. With Wi-Fi and NFC built-in, there is very little lacking from the G7 X Mark II, and it's easy to transfer images, as well as control the camera with your smartphone remotely. The Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II would make an excellent choice for those that don't want to take a bigger camera with them but also don't want to compromise on image quality or control. 

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Panasonic Lumix LX100 II 

Panasonic Lumix LX100 II


Shooting with the Panasonic Lumix LX100 II is a pleasing experience, as the camera makes it easy to change settings, without having to dive into the menu system. Focus is rapid and exposure is reliable, meaning that you can shoot confidently, and trust that you are going to get good results when you view the photos later. The screen and EVF are both very good, which means you can use these to confirm the quality of your shots while out and about. Colour reproduction was very good, and we were impressed by the results we got back from the camera, with the new sensor and lens combination delivering sharp detailed photos. 

A tilting screen would be nice, as would a built-in flash. There will be times when there just isn’t enough light, and the separate flash unit is another thing to forget or lose.

4K video recording produces good-looking video, with good levels of detail, however, the crop factor is something to be aware of, as the lens becomes equivalent to 30 to 94mm, instead of 24-75mm.

The camera gives mirrorless / DSLR image quality, with a bright f/1.7 zoom lens, in a compact, pocketable metal body, making it easy to fit into jacket pockets and take with you where you might not want to take the bulk of a DSLR.

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Canon Powershot G1 X Mark III  

Canon Powershot G1X MarkIII (7)

The Canon Powershot G1 X Mark III features the same 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor as Canon EOS Digital SLRs but in a much more pocket-friendly size. There's a wide-angle 3x optical zoom lens on the front, equivalent to 24-72mm, with an f/2.8 aperture at the wide-angle end of the lens. There's a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF), plus a 3inch vari-angle touch-screen. Noise performance and colour reproduction are excellent, with true DSLR image quality, and similar controls to those found on a Canon DSLR.

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Leica Q (Typ 116) 

Leica Q Black (10)

The Leica Q (Typ 116) features a fixed 28mm f/1.7 Summilux ASPH. lens, a 24 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, full HD video recording, a 3inch touch screen and an electronic viewfinder with 3.686 million pixels. The Leica Q (Typ 116) offers rapid performance, excellent image quality, and good handling.  If you wanted one camera to use, and like the idea of one focal length, then the Leica Q Typ 116 is an excellent camera. If however, you are wanting to change lenses, then perhaps the Leica Q might not be the one for you. Overall, the camera makes full-frame photography more accessible with a Leica lens, without the expense of having to buy a Leica M rangefinder and lens, whilst also making it easy to use with autofocus and other beginner-friendly features such as auto and scene modes available. For the professional photographer or those that simply want to get back to the core controls of photography, there are a number of external controls giving direct access to aperture, focus, and shutter controls. This makes it a joy to use the camera. 

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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III 

Sony Cyber Shot RX100 III (3) (Large)

The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III is designed for those that want better landscapes and portraits and is only 9g heavier than the RX100 Mark II. The Mark III features a new 24-70mm equivalent wide-angle lens and a built-in pop-up viewfinder. As well as improved auto-focus modes, the camera features a tilting screen that tilts to face you. The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III features a 1inch 20.2 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor that delivers impressive noise performance and excellent image quality. The RX100 III takes the already impressive RX100 II image quality and gives an impressive new 24-70mm lens, that is brighter at the telephoto end, and for those that want an electronic viewfinder, the EVF in the RX100 III is excellent, larger than most, and very neatly tucks away keeping the camera compact and pocketable. 

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Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II 

Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II Black (1)

The Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II updates the Canon Powershot G9 X  and offers a 3x optical zoom lens, a 20.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, a 3inch touch-screen, and manual controls, whilst being compact and offering built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC. It features the same control ring as the original G9 X around the lens but adds Bluetooth, a new image processor and faster continuous shooting.

The Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II is compact and stylish, and one of the smallest cameras available that delivers high image quality, thanks to the use of a 1inch BSI CMOS sensor. The camera also offers improved continuous shooting with an improvement in JPEG shooting, as well as a massive improvement in continuous raw shooting speed. Above all, the G9 X Mark II delivers great image quality and is a pleasure to use. 

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Canon Powershot G5 X Mark II 

Canon Powershot G5 X Mark II


The Canon Powershot G5 X Mark II offers an updated high-speed 20mp 1inch sensor, with up to 30/20fps depending on whether you are shooting raw or JPEG, and 4K video recording. There's a new 5x optical zoom lens, with an f/1.8 to f/2.8 aperture, and the lens is equivalent to 24-120mm in 35mm equivalent terms. Image quality is very good, and the camera has great noise performance. The new design is more compact than the previous version, with a built-in pop-up electronic viewfinder (EVF). 

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Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III 

PowerShot G7 X Mark III

The Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III offers a new design compared to the previous model, 4K video recording and a 20 megapixel stacked BSI CMOS sensor, allowing higher speed continuous shooting. It is capable of up to 30fps RAW shooting, and features a microphone socket for video recording. It features excellent colour reproduction, and an easy to use interface although you might find it a little soft towards the corners of the frame when shooting wide-angle. 

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Ricoh GR III 

Ricoh GR III


It's good to see Ricoh continues to offer a unique, compact, camera with high image quality, and they are to be commended to releasing a product that offers something different to the norm. The Ricoh GR III has one main aim, and that's to be a compact camera with a high-quality lens, and high image quality, and it accomplishes this very well.

Overall, the Ricoh GR III is a compact camera with a high-quality wide-angle lens, and a large sensor, and delivers excellent images.

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Sony ZV-1 

Sony ZV-1

It's easy to find little quirks and oddities, and things that you wish that Sony would fix. NTSC/PAL switchover being the most annoying of them in my opinion. If you want to switch from 25fps, to 30fps, you need to switch from PAL to NTSC, and the camera requires a different memory card, or for the memory card to be formatted before you can record video in a different frame rate. This has been partially fixed with the new A7S III, as you no longer need to format your memory card, but you do still need to switch between the modes.

There are other issues, the tripod socket is too close to the battery/memory compartment, so if you're using the camera on a tripod you'll have to take the camera off the tripod before changing the battery or memory card. If you're recording video, then it's likely you'll want to change the battery and memory card at some point.

If you're a stills photographer and want a good, general, all-purpose camera, then the lack of built-in flash could be an issue, and images from other cameras are going to be sharper and clearer.

However, what's difficult to find fault with, is the quality of video recorded with the camera. Even in lower light conditions, the camera delivers great-looking video, and with a bright f/1.8 aperture, it certainly gives mirrorless cameras a run for their money, giving better background blur than many kit lenses.

You've got high-speed video recording, albeit at a lower resolution, with less detail. Focus is fast and reliable, and there are easy to use features that produce excellent results, with blurred background if you want it, or a clearer background when needed. Ultimately, the Sony ZV-1, is the best compact camera we've seen for vlogging, and entry-level video work. The quality of output is clear to see, and the camera makes it incredibly easy to get great footage!

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More Top Cameras

Other top ten features you may be interested in include our Top Cameras Used In The ePHOTOzine GalleryTop Superzoom Lenses For Travel and our Best Cameras For Kids. To find the right memory card for your camera, have a look at our memory card guide. You can find all the latest camera reviews here.


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Photographs taken using the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

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