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DPReview’s Five Best Compact Cameras

November 23rd, 2012 No Comments
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The folks at DPReview waded through their reviews of compacts and earlier today selected the five that, in their opinion, are the best.

The “five of what [DPReview] think[s] are the best compact cameras on the market right now” include two Panasonics but nary a Nikon, with one each of Canon, Olympus and Sony.  The only surprise is that this is not much of a surprise because, despite the strengths of the P7700 and the popularity of the Coolpix, Nikon is a little behind the curve in the Compact category.

The Sony RX100 presence on this list is surely not a surprise.  Its image quality and cutting-edge technology are what distinguish this compact.  However, it’s nothing to look at, being very business-like and functional; all straight lines, edges and corners, it is the plain girl in the school.  The Lumix DMC-FZ200 veers to the other extreme; it is an overdone medley of curves, ridges and bumps, including an awkward-looking, massive bulge for the grip.

Camera reviews pay a lot of attention to image quality, features, technology and specs while design, styling, and ergonomics, though mentioned in passing, tend to take a back seat.  Sony’s RX100 and Panny’s DMC-FZ200 are cases in point.  Why don’t camera makers learn a lesson or two from 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino?

As we are on the topic of design, styling, and ergonomics, we may as well point out that in these categories the Canon and Olympus are the winners; these being the PowerShot G15 and XZ-2 respectively.  The Canon is a little more stylized; the Olympus, more sedate.  Interestingly, in terms of features and specs the two are neck-and-neck.

Each of these five cameras ranks at the top of the class but each also has its own particular characteristics and strengths.  For instance, the Lumix DMC-ZS20 is great for travel because of its GPS and database of a million landmarks and also for tyros because of its ‘iAuto’ mode.  On the other hand, comparatively speaking the Olympus XZ-2 has features that more advanced users would prefer, including extensive customization.

Any of these five cameras would be ideal for that everyday second camera or to give as a present to a teen.  DPReview’s compare-and-contrast will let you choose just the right one.



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