DPReview has put together a comparison article that covers the following enthusiast models. It gives you a pretty good idea how each models compare to each other. If you can handle the asking price of Sony RX100, this will be the best choice for most people. But at a lower price point, the next best choice isn’t obvious. Check out their summary of each models:
- Canon PowerShot G15 – All in all, the G15 is a great performer and a pleasure to use. The G15 is highly recommended for anyone who needs a general-purpose compact with lots of manual control that can deliver great quality images. The lack of an articulated screen will bother some people, and it makes the G15 less flexible when shooting from awkward angles, and when recording movies. Of course the flip-side is that the increased portability compared to earlier models, and competitors such as Nikon’s Coolpix P7700, is very welcome.
- Canon PowerShot S110 – The Canon PowerShot S110 is a small camera with a lot going for it. Although its lens is slow by the standards of some of its competitors at the long end, it is the most portable of the lot, easily slipping into a shirt or pants pocket. It’s zoom range of 24-120mm is very useful, and image quality is excellent up to ISO 800 in JPEG mode, and perfectly acceptable two stops higher than that. Unlike some competitors, the S110 remains highly responsive in Raw and Raw + JPEG capture modes, which is great news for enthusiasts. The most serious down-side to the S110 in normal use is that slow-ish lens. Photographers tend to be interested in how well a lens can blur backgrounds when shooting portraits at full telephoto, and the S110′s small aperture places it at the bottom of the pack of enthusiast compacts. But this is the tradeoff for it being the slimmest and most pocketable of the lot.
- Fujfilm X10 – The X10 won our Silver Award thanks to its impressive feature set, bright lens and good build quality but a few imperfections kept it from getting our top award. The image quality is good, with a well-performing lens helping the X10 do well in a wide range of circumstances. The EXR modes add flexibility, giving the X10 an edge in low light or high-contrast conditions. However the downside of the EXR system is lower resolution compared to its peers. Despite this, the X10 is an enjoyable and capable camera.
- Fujifilm XF1 – The XF1 is undoubtedly a pretty camera but it’s also one that does a good job of balancing the needs of the different potential user – it works well as a stylish point-and-shoot but is still quick and enjoyable to take control over. The XF1′s output lives up to the standard of its exterior design – the metering is reliable and the color rendition is attractive. The manual zoom lens, once you’ve figured it out, gives precise control over your framing in a way that powered zooms don’t. Ironically the one thing the XF1′s interface doesn’t do well is to give easy access to its EXR capabilities – one of the features that should help the camera stand out. Getting to the EXR features in anything but the EXR Auto mode is unnecessarily difficult, but the XF1 is still a pretty good camera, even if you choose not to use them. Overall, though, the XF1′s slightly glitchy image quality takes the sheen off a camera that looks great and is a pleasure to use.
- Nikon Coolpix P7700 – Overall, the Nikon Coolpix P7700 is an excellent compact camera for anyone who wants the maximum possible versatility coupled with image quality good enough to satisfy reasonably critical use. The P7700′s zoom range of 28-200mm is extremely handy for general out-and-about shooting, and a fast lens of F2-4, coupled with very effective optical Vibration Reduction means that most of the time, you’ll be able to shoot in the P7700′s ‘sweet zone’ of ISO 100-800. Where the P7700 disappoints is in terms of operational speed. Although improved from earlier P-series models, the P7700 can be frustratingly slow to process images when shooting in Raw mode, and we’d regard the purchase of a fast UHS-I card to be essential for enthusiasts, in order to avoid long waits between shots.
- Olympus XZ-2 – The XZ-2 is one of the most capable all-rounds in this test, marrying a fast lens with a useful zoom range and a degree of customization that makes it quick and enjoyable to use. Add its good image quality and excellent JPEG engine to the equation and the whole package looks extremely tempting. Users wanting a viewfinder may not not be sold on the XZ-2 (though it’s compatible with the VF-2 and VF-3 electronic viewfinders), and nor will people needing something that fits in a small pocket. For everyone else, it’s only the high price tag that might dissuade them from buying what is an excellent camera.
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 – The LX7 has a very nice collection of features that should make just about everybody happy. If you’re a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of person, then look no further than Panasonic’s great Intelligent Auto mode. That said, as you’d expect from this premium compact, there are plenty of manual controls on the LX7, too. You get all the usual exposure options, RAW support, lots of white balance options, and three types of bracketing. Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 is an excellent premium compact camera. Its fast lens, performance, and manual controls will make enthusiasts drool, while those just starting out can get great results using Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode. There’s very little to dislike about the LX7, with our main issues being redeye, slow buffer flush times when shooting RAW images, and vertical lines in panoramas. Aside from that, the LX7 is a first-rate camera and a strong contender in this segment of the market.
- Samsung EX2F – None of our criticisms should be taken to mean the camera is a disaster – it’s actually pretty good and can produce some pleasant results. However, its rivals are all so good that simply being ‘pretty good’ isn’t enough. The EX2F doesn’t offer anything that at least one of its rivals can’t do at least as well, either in feature or image quality terms. If you’re desperate to have Wi-Fi capability, you may find a Wi-Fi capable card placed in one of the other cameras is just as useful.
- Sony RX100 – The RX100 has received plaudits from many directions – it’s an excellent camera and represents an exciting development, both for Sony and the industry as a whole. It offers all-round ability and pocketability that’s hard to match. Overall it’s a step ahead of the competition in terms of capability – it’s only the shooting experience that stops it rendering much of the rest of this class irrelevant. If the prices are similar when you come to make your decision, the RX100 should be near the top of your shortlist.
Here’s a very interesting chart that they have put together:
This chart attempts to compare cameras of different sensor sizes to their equivalent aperture sizes in terms of depth of field at the same equivalent focal length. As expected, the RX100 leads the way at wider end of the spectrum due to its sensor size and reasonably large aperture. Even though Panasonic LX7 and Samsung EX2F starts at f/1.4, their sensor sizes are smaller. And as you can see, Panasonic LX7, Olympus XZ-2 and Fuji X10 eventually overtakes the RX100. Indeed, RX100 lens aperture shrinks quickly at the longer end, faster than most others.