In an era of smartphones, it can be hard to justify carrying a camera to document the everyday world around you. But the fact of the matter is, it remains the most sensible choice. Smartphones are undeniably convenient but, despite what the manufacturers may tell you, they simply don’t have the same level of versatility or capability that a well-featured camera does. As if to prove a point, we pulled together a selection of six premium models that are great to stick in a bag or pocket to shoot everyday images from street and documentary through to portraits and landscapes. Choose one of these and you can get back to using your smartphone for what it’s really designed for; playing Candy Crush.
Announced a little over a month ago, the GRIII is yet to be available, but if previous models in the GR lineup are anything to go by, this is going to be a cracker. The spec certainly adds up with a fixed 28mm equivalent lens allied to a 24 megapixel sensor and Full HD video possible at up to 60p. If you think the fixed lens may be a little restrictive, there are cropped modes to offer 35mm and 50mm equivalent focal lengths, while key improvements over the GRII include faster autofocusing, touchscreen operation and a camera shake reduction system to combat wobbly hand-holding in low light. Eminently pocketable and likely to deliver exceptionally high quality images, this is the perfect camera for daily shooting.
Like the Ricoh, this is another new model and one that is likely to attract the discerning photographer with a sizeable wallet. Don’t expect too many features and functions from the Q2, instead luxuriate in its stunning, minimalist design that will bring out the budding Cartier-Bresson within. Quality is assured thanks to the fixed 28mm Summilux lens and 47 megapixel full-frame sensor, which not only delivers huge file sizes, but can also capture 4K video at 30p. There’s a top ISO of 50,000 so you can shoot in almost any lighting conditions, plus Bluetooth connectivity enables you to shoot and share your images quickly. The price tag will ensure this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have the funds you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 II
This is the first model in our selection to offer a zoom lens, but this isn’t a 20x or 30x offering that you’d find in many compacts, instead it’s a more modest 3x 24-75mm equivalent optical zoom, which gives versatility but doesn’t compromise quality. Being a Panasonic, you can expect a good selection of features and the LX100 II certainly doesn’t disappoint in this respect: look out for a 17 megapixel sensor, 4K video, touchscreen controls, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, plus high speed shooting up to 11 frames-per-second and macro focusing down to a mere 3cm. That lens is made by Leica, so sharpness and image quality should be assured.
Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II
In this company, the G7 X Mark II could be seen as something of a bargain as it’s comfortably the cheapest model here, yet still delivers plenty of great features. Like the Panasonic, the Canon sports a modest zoom lens – this time with a 4.2x reach – to provide a welcome combination of quality and versatility, plus there’s a 20.1 megapixel sensor, Full HD movies at 60p and a full suite of wireless communication options, including NFC. The 1-inch sensor is smaller than most other models here, but the G7 X Mark II provides a DSLR level of control so you’ll never be frustrated by a lack of functionality.
Sony RX100 MkIV
Cast in a similar mould to the Canon, the Sony RX100 Mk IV also has a one inch sensor that delivers 20 megapixel stills but in front of those sits a 24-70mm equivalent Zeiss Sonnar zoom that’s sure to give great results. In this case, however, the sensor is a stacked design so it can capture high speed action with ease. 4K video functionality is also included, but there’s a super slow motion video mode that captures up to 1000 frames-per-second, not to mention a top shutter speed of 1/32,000 sec and still images shooting up to 16 frames-per-second. It isn’t all about speed, of course, and there are plenty of additional features if you like to live life at a more leisurely pace. Buy the Sony, though, and you’ll be ready for anything!
This fourth incarnation of the camera that spawned the X Series, Fujifilm’s X100F stays true to its original concept with an APS-C sized sensor and a fixed 35mm equivalent wide-angle lens. The retro styling is sure to appeal to many and definitely makes the camera really fun and simple to use, but this model has much more to offer than looks alone including a hybrid viewfinder that offers electronic, optical or rangefinder style shooting, plus unique Film Simulation modes which create great results without needing a computer. WiFi is included for simple image transfer and there’s also a digital teleconverter that crops in on the sensor to offer 50mm and 70mm equivalent focal lengths.