Compact cameras are perfect for beginners and younger enthusiasts of photography, although even professionals see the merit of owning one for taking quick but still quality shots.
These cameras are described as digital cameras with non-interchangeable lens, but their name comes from their comparatively slim forms that are compact enough to be slipped into pockets.
Three good options for customers looking to buy a compact camera are the Fujifilm X100S, Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX1 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100. Let's see how they stack up against each other.
Design and Hardware
The design of the Fujifilm X100S takes inspiration from the cameras of past generations, with a mix of black leather textures and silver metal. Even the control dial and control wheel of the camera's lens sport a retro look, all of which look very similar to its predecessor, the massively popular Fujifilm X100.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1, on the other hand, features a minimalist style with rounded edges and straight lines, following the design philosophy of another Sony Cyber-shot compact camera, the RX100. The camera features a metal shell with rubber material on the grip and thumb areas, all contributing to a solid and high-quality look for the camera.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 has an aluminum body that is often compared to that of the Fujifilm X100S. The camera looks very similar to its Fujifilm rival, minus the retro look provided by the contrast in silver and black leather.
The Fujifilm X100S improves on the sensor of the Fujifilm X100, now sporting one capable of 16.3MP compared to 12.3MP previously. This X-Trans CMOS sensor is actually the same one used by the company's X-Pro1 and X-E1 interchangeable lens cameras, which speaks highly of its quality. The camera's EXR Processor II includes a Lens Modulation Optimizer feature that provides further improved picture quality at even the smallest and largest apertures.
Sony is said to be targeting professional photographers with the Cyber-shot DSC-RX1, validated by the camera's 24MP full-frame (24x36mm) CMOS sensor. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 is the first full-frame, fixed-lens camera on the market, which would make it a possible choice for professional photographers.
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 features a 16.8MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, but the camera does not use the entire sensor when taking pictures. Users are instead offered different aspect ratios that use different parts of the full sensor, with standard aspect images ending up as 12.8MP pictures. Panasonic made the trade-off of not using the full sensor to allow for the camera to get down to its size while still being able to offer a very fast lens.
The Fujifilm X100S builds on all the good things found on the Fujifilm X100, creating a compact camera that is very reliable and superb in quality. The only weak area of the Fujifilm X100S is its video mode, but most compact camera users do not buy their devices with video use heavily in mind.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 is a top-end product that is a truly effective camera, with a niche market of full-frame, fixed-lens camera users that it could dominate. It is the perfect tool for a certain type of photographer, and despite shortcomings in terms of autofocus performance, the camera could still stand as a brand-enhancing flagship compact camera for Sony.
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 provides classic manual controls but in a frame that might not be small enough to slip into jeans pockets. Not much about the camera disappoints, with the only weak area being its oversaturated EVF.
The MSRP of the Fujifilm X100S is $1,299; that of the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX1 is $2,799; and that of the Panasonic Lumix LX100 is $899. However, customers searching through the Internet can find good deals compared to these standard retail prices.