Run this question through your head: “Which compact camera is best for me?”. There are lots of ways to think through it – what do you want to use the camera for? Perhaps you want a versatile, all-rounder for a vacation or travelling. Maybe you want a camera with a bonkers-long zoom for snapping those lions and elephants on safari? Or if you want old skool then a built-in viewfinder or pro-spec DSLR alternative might be what you seek?
Here at Pocket-lint we’ve been cutting through the abundance of compact camera releases over recent years, including the creme de la creme of last year’s models and earlier, as relevant. We’ve broken down our list of great cameras into sub-headed categories to make things easier to digest. You name it, we’ve got you covered.
Best do-it-all compact camera
Panasonic Lumix TZ90 / SZ70
Panasonic Lumix TZ90 deals
Panasonic’s TZ-series has long been a favourite and the Lumix TZ90 (SZ70 in the USA) is its top-end do-it-all compact. It even has a built-in electronic viewfinder to the rear, which is helpful to see an image direct to the eye when sunlight makes the rear screen tough to see.
The TZ90’s premier feature is its 30x optical zoom lens, which encompasses wide-angle (24mm equivalent) for those group shots or can zoom right in (to a 720mm equivalent) to make far-away subjects appear large in the frame. There are more advanced cameras in this series (the TZ200 springs to mind) but they tackle different features.
With decent autofocus, excellent image stabilisation, a tilt-angle LCD screen for selfies, and a whole roster of other top features, the TZ90’s aspirations make it the one-stop shop for all things. The only downside, really, is the limitation to low-light image quality.
When it comes to something small and pocketable, but where image quality needs to be a step above a conventional small-sensor compact or smartphone, there are various models to choose from. Such cameras tend to have shorter zoom lenses in order to retain best sharpness and clarity throughout, while offering more advanced optical features such as wider maximum aperture for better low-light shooting or creating that pro-looking, soft-focus background effect.
Canon PowerShot G7 X II
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II deal
The big sell of the G7 X Mark II is its larger-than-typical sensor. It’s called a 1-inch sensor (note: not a physical measurement), meaning larger on-sensor pixels that can better digest light for cleaner, clearer images.
Although the G7 X II doesn’t opt for the smaller scale of the Sony RX100 series (below) and there’s no viewfinder, there’s still a lot to enjoy about Canon’s revamped take on the 1-inch market. Plus the price is within reach rather than super-high like Sony’s advanced offerings.
At its best this is the standout “G-X” series camera. It puts the slender G9 X to bed, is more pocketable than the G5 X and others in the range, without compromising on the performance front.
Panasonic Lumix LX15 / LX10
Panasonic Lumix LX10 / LX15 deals
The Panasonic Lumix LX15 is high-end, but comes minus the highest-end price point. It’s a significant chunk of cash less than the Sony RX100 (below), and competitive against the Canon G7 X Mark II too.
Crucially the LX15 comes with a best-in-class lens: a 24-72mm f/1.4-2.8 equivalent, which will open up creative possibilities. That wide aperture at the wide-angle setting means plenty more ability when it comes to low-light conditions.
There’s even an aperture control ring, a nod to the earlier LX7 from years gone by, to simplify controlling the camera. Add a touchscreen, great autofocus abilities and a stack of other top-end features, including 4K video capture, and there’s almost nothing we don’t like about the LX15… except its odd name (we’d have opted for LX10, as it’s called in the USA).