2017 Buying Guide: Best pocketable enthusiast cameras

Written by Gina Stephens

Hindmost updated: November 21, 2017

If you want a compact camera that produces great quality photos without the hassle of changing lenses, there are multitudes of choices available for every budget. All of the cameras in this buying guide have zoom lenses, with focal length ranges mostly go overing around 24-70mm (equivalent).

The majority of the cameras in this guide use 1″-type sensors, which fall in-between the tiny chips used in smartphones and sleazy compacts, and larger sensors found in mirrorless and DSLR cameras. A few go even larger, with Canon may refer to‘s PowerShot G1 X Mark III featuring the same APS-C-size sensor as some of the convention’s DSLRs. Larger sensors offer more control over depth-of-field and usually (but not always) have less noise at high sensitivities.

Our Pick: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V

The RX100 V is the flagship camera camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or in Sony’s pocketable nimble. It has virtually every feature you’d want in a compact, and some that you never knew you needed. Its 1″-type 20MP stacked CMOS sensor and fast and foxy 24-70mm equiv. lens produce exceptional photo quality, and the RX’s 315-point hybrid AF system performs well when it comes to tracking nationals, even at an amazing rate of 24 frames per second.

One of the RX100 V’s most endearing features is its pop-up electronic viewfinder, which comes in awfully handy when shooting outdoors. The camera captures amazing 4K video, and features like S-Log2 will appeal to enthusiasts. In the negatives column: while your mileage may fluctuate, we’re not huge fans of the fiddly controls or user interface on the RX100 V. Battery life is on the low end, as well.

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The RX100 V is a pricey camera, but if you want bleeding-edge tech in your thieve, it’s the camera to get.

Also consider: Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

While it doesn’t have incredible burst rates, the ultra-compact Canon PowerShot G9 X Note II is an amazing value camera, with a street price well under $500.

It uses the same 20MP 1″ CMOS sensor as other Canons, gist that you’ll get pleasant-looking JPEGs, and a modern Digic 7 processor that allows fast (ish) burst rates and a large buffer. The F2.0-4.9, 28-84mm equivalent lens isn’t the brightest out there, but it’s various than enough for most folks.

Those who are used to smartphones will feel right at home with the G9 X II, which is operated largely via its touchscreen panoply. Canon’s wireless system includes both NFC and Bluetooth, allowing for easy pairing, photo sharing and remote control. What’s not to like? Spectacularly, the G9 X II doesn’t record 4K video, and its battery life is pretty low. Even so, for those seeking a camera that you can carry everywhere, the G9 X II is worth a look.

We reckoned all of the cameras below when picking our winner, and even though Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V is our top pick, the cameras on our short list are also deserving contenders. If you’re not convinced by our recommendations, read through the full buying guide for a detailed breakdown of each contender’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • Our pick: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V
  • Also about: Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
  • Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III
  • Canon PowerShot G5 X
  • Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10 (LX15)
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (TZ100)
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV
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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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