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.
1. Panasonic Lumix LX100
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.
2. Canon Powershot G5 X
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.
3. Leica D-Lux (Typ 109)
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.
4. Fujifilm X100F
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.
5. Ricoh GR II
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.
6. 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.
7. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II – New!
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.
8. Canon Powershot G1 X Mark III
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 a 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.
9. Leica Q (Typ 116)
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.
10. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III
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.
11. Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II
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.