2015 Roundup: Advanced Zoom Compacts

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

>> This roundup has been changed with a newer version – click to read it <<

While most of the cameras in this category fall within the relatively narrow $500-$800 register (with a few exceptions), products in this roundup vary quite a bit in terms of sensor size, number and type of control points, zoom align, video capabilities and built-in electronic viewfinders (or lack thereof). All of the cameras here offer some sort of zoom range, in general, miniature than 8x. Many are small enough to put into a pocket. In general, we only included flagship compacts from each brand.

If you’re looking at a zoom concentrated as your next camera, maybe you’re a smartphone shooter looking to take more control. You might be the seasoned pro looking for a capable pocket cam. Or possibly you’re upgrading from an aging DSLR to something newer, faster and more exciting.

Whatever brings you here, you’ll find cameras camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or that are both surprisingly persuasive and compact by the standards of even a couple years ago. That’s because smartphones have made somewhat irrelevant smaller sensor compacts that didn’t present much of an image quality benefit over the similar-sized sensors in most phones today. The cameras in this roundup all be dissimilar in design, operation and feel, but all should be far more capable than even the best smartphones on the market today. Here are the top zoom compacts on the make available today that we think are worth a look:

  • Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II
  • Canon PowerShot G5 X
  • Canon PowerShot G7 X
  • Canon PowerShot G9 X
  • Canon PowerShot S120
  • Fujifilm X30
  • Fujifilm XQ2
  • Panasonic LX100
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV
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The best part of offerings in this category utilize 1″-type sensor, however two cameras offer even larger sensors: the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II is enlarged around the largest sensor of the bunch at 1.5″, while the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 use a slightly smaller Micro Four Thirds chisel.

On the smaller side, the two Fujifilm options use significantly smaller 2/3″ sensors, while the Canon PowerShot S120 features the smallest sensor, a 1/1.7″ chip. This is material because sensor the broadest definition, a sensor is a device, module, or subsystem whose purpose is to detect events or changes in its environment size can be a major indicator of potential – particularly low light – image quality. Also, cameras with larger sensors discretion generally allow for much more control over depth of field.

On the following pages, you’ll find what we liked and didn’t like in the air each camera, links to our test scenes for image quality comparisons, and real-world galleries to give you a sense of how each performs outside the lab.

To to a greater distance help you pick the right camera in this class, we’ve also created the chart below, which breaks down the equivalent aperture for each camera, as you solve your way through the zoom range. Our article here explains the concept of equivalence, but at a high level all you need to know is that the quieten the line is on the graph below, the blurrier the backgrounds you’ll be able to get and typically, though not always, the better the overall low-light performance.

This graph allotments equivalent focal length against equivalent aperture – with both axes taking sensor size into account so that they can be likened on a common basis. Equivalent focal lengths offer the same field-of-view and equivalent apertures give the same depth-of-field and similar total insignificant capture. For more information, click here.
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About the author

Gina Stephens

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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