The best camera for any eventuality is the one you have with you. So while that’s made smartphones most people’s number-one choice  for pap happiness, anyone looking for a dedicated camera with a larger sensor and better light-gathering ability should step up to a compact system camera (CSC). Essential features to look out for are compatibility with a wide range  of manufacturer-produced and third- party lenses, as well as the largest possible sensor size – full frame, APS-C, Four Thirds or one-inch. Other features to catch your eye might include an electronic viewfinder and/or a tilting touchscreen LCD, while a growing number of models are becoming as adept at shooting video – now up to 4K – as they are at taking photos. Here are some of the best compact system cameras available in the market today.


Narrowing the gap between the output quality of a compact and a digital SLR, the 16MP GF7 incorporates a 17.3 x 13mm Four Thirds sensor, continuing Panasonic’s drive to offer major oomph from pocket-sized proportions, as well as value for money. Video is Full HD (big brother the GX8 has 4K). There’s a bright, 180-degree tilting touchscreen display, but no viewfinder. A 240fps AF drive and a 12-32mm lens (24-64mm in 35mm terms) ensure response times are quick, and the GF7 produces sharp, colorful images. It offers remote operation via your smartphone, too, with the relevant app.

best compact system camera - PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-GF7



The 16.3MP X-T10 spoils us with a 2.36-million- dot electronic viewfinder and a big APS-C sensor. It’s built to last, with die-cast magnesium top and base plates, plus three aluminum control dials. Manual control is a treat, but flick the auto- mode lever for simple point-and-shoot operation.  The 49-point AF mode delivers high-speed, supremely sharp and accurate focusing with naturalistic colors, while action shots benefit from 8fps burst shooting. We like the three-inch, 920K-dot-resolution tilting monitor, with pop-up flash.

best compact system camera - FUJIFILM X-T10



The A7 II shows semi-pro mettle, with a full- frame sensor – the largest in its class – of up to 24.3MP resolution. Weightier lenses are now ably supported via optical five-axis image stabilization, providing 4.5 stops of extra brightness. Auto-focus and start-up times are quicker, thanks to a 117- point phase-detection AF sensor working with 25-point contrast-detection AF, which ensure sharpness no matter where the subject is in the frame. Operation resembles a DSLR, with a forward-placed shutter-release button, a front control wheel and a 2.36-million-dot electronic viewfinder.

best compact system camera - SONY A7 II



A doppelganger of Olympus’s E-M1 flagship, the E-M5 II is marginally heavier because of a new shutter mechanism and a tilt ‘n’ swivel LCD screen – a boon for Full HD video, as is the five-axis in-body image stabilization. For stills, choose the Four Thirds CMOS sensor’s 16MP mode or a new 40MP mode, which combines eight successive shots for a final image that’s processed in 2.5 seconds and can be saved as a RAW file. The E-M5 II is splash-proof, dustproof and freeze-proof, making it a fantastic outdoor option. Pity there’s no built-in flash, but it has a clip-on FL-LM3 accessory flash.

best compact system camera - OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 I



More akin to a compact than a DSLR, the miniaturized EOS has a very large APS-C sensor with a maximum resolution of 24.2MP, and a pop-out flash. It has the creative flexibility of a rear-panel touchscreen that tilts up by 180 degrees, down by 45 degrees, or faces the subject. A kit option includes an 18-55mm zoom for sharp, color-rich results. A 49-point AF system and Canon’s Digic 6 processor ensure swiftness yet reliability. As the camera is consumer-targeted, it offers Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for sharing your shots, making it a good first step up from a smartphone camera.

canon eos m3 review



With its one-inch sensor size physically larger than the 1/2.3-inch chip found in most point-and- shoots, if smaller than most CSCs and all DSLRs, the 20.8MP J5 is the most grown-up J series camera yet. The key ‘hook’ is 4K video capture – a first for Nikon, ensuring the J5 joins a select handful in Panasonic’s GH4/GX8, Samsung’s NX1 and Sony’s A7s – all heftier, pricier cameras.  Yet the J5’s maximum frame rate is a paltry 15fps, not the more cinematic 30fps. It does feature a flip-up, three-inch, selfie-enabling screen, and its 10-30mm compact zoom kit is enough for getting that perfect photo.

Nikon 1 J5 Review


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