Before modern digital cameras became available, people had to carry around film-cameras that were often very bulky. Yet, don’t think that digital cameras pioneered the compact camera. Compact cameras were actually invented in 1913, when Oskar Barnack created the first-ever Leica camera. By utilizing his vast knowledge of high-quality glass optics, Barnack developed a 35mm camera that was small enough to be handheld or worn around the neck and had a lens that could rival the large format cameras of the time.
Today, modern digital compact cameras are even smaller due to technological innovations. Engineers have managed to shrink down PCB board thickness while ensuring that all the components are just as powerful. The outcome of this has led to professional cameras with full functionality, at the fraction of the weight, size, and often cost.
This also paved the way for a new breed of compact cameras that have a variety of functions and features. That said, here are some of the best compact cameras available this year:
Best compact cameras for professional photographers
1. Fujifilm X100V
If you are looking for a compact camera that can give off that amazing retro feel, and at the same time functionalities that can easily adapt to the smartphone age, then the Fujifilm X100V is perfect for you.
This camera follows the same core qualities as its predecessors: a pocketable design, a large APS-C sensor, a unique hybrid viewfinder and a fixed 23mm f/2 lens. Yet, the X100V is made even better with a redesigned lens, a higher-resolution viewfinder and a tilting screen. While the redesigned lens delivers better image quality and improved low-light performance, the viewfinder that is both optical and electronic can support 4K/30p video capture.
2. Panasonic Lumix ZS200
Tagged as the best travel zoom camera on the market, the Panasonic Lumix ZS200 is a heaven-sent for most tourists who love to treasure their trips through photos. Like the first camera from the ZS series, the ZS200 also brandishes the same sleek design but with a much larger 1-inch sensor that can deliver significantly better image quality.
The zoom lens may not be as extensive as some, but the 15x zoom function is there to be of aid to the lens. Although the electronic viewfinder of this camera is admittedly small, users can still take 4K videos that are viewable through the camera’s 3.0-inch touchscreen interface.
3 GoPro Hero6
If you are looking for a compact camera that has impeccable video shooting capacity, then the GoPro Hero6 would be the best one for you. On top of being able to provide 4K videos, this 6th generation GoPro camera boasts mobile compatibility, next-level image stabilization, and superb durability.
Since the image quality in this camera is built through the GP1 chip, you can expect clear, crisp and distortion-free images even in low light conditions. File transferring from this compact camera to any smartphone or laptop is made even easier because of its ability to connect to an internet network with a 5GHz WiFi connection. Since Hero6 is also marketed as an action camera, it is waterproof and built with a super-strong body material that can withstand harsh situations.
4. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Sitting right in the sweet spot for price, features and image quality is the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II. Thanks to its 1-inch sensor, optical image stabilization feature and 4.2x zoom, the G7 X can capture highly detailed images. The DIGIC 7 image processor in the camera is not only capable of enhancing the look of photos taken in low light conditions, it can also provide shots that have high apparent resolution as well as a more natural depiction of contrast in backlit scenes.
With a tilting touchscreen interface, built-in Wi-Fi function and a design that makes it comfortable to hold, the GX 7 is perfect for content creators who typically need to store their content in the cloud for extended periods of time when shooting.
5. Olympus Tough TG-6
If you are looking for a camera that can document even your wildest underwater adventures, then the Olympus Tough TG-6 is what you need. This waterproof, point-and-shoot camera is characterized by a wide aperture lens, 4K video, Wi-Fi function and sharp rear LCD. What sets the TG-6 apart from other compact cameras is its impressive macro feature that requires little to no light modifiers.
Aside from the Macro mode, this camera also has a Scene, Underwater and Sports mode that automatically adjusts shutter speed and exposure. Its 1,040k-dot 3-inch LCD panel is especially helpful for in-camera editing, but you have to be extra careful with it because the screen isn’t scratchproof. The TG-6 includes GPS and Wi-Fi that will enable users to connect the camera to their smartphones.
Thanks to the ever-evolving nature of technology, we now have cameras that are small enough to fit our pockets but have outstanding features that can almost go against the bulkiest professional cameras out there.