What's the most compact "serious" camera?

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by demiro, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    Dec 15, 2011
    I have believed for a while now that the RX100 is the best camera if you are looking for diminutive proportions and best possible IQ. But let's suppose that the RX00 is "too big". What other cameras are worthy of the "Serious Compact" title that come in below the RX100 on the measuring stick? I'm OK with width or height being fractionally larger than RX100, but thickness is the driver for being "smaller" I think, and weight is important too.

    Some candidates:

    Canon S120
    Fuji XF1
    Fuji XQ1
    Panasonic LF1

    They all have smaller sensors than the RX100, which is a given I suppose, but do they still make the grade as serious cameras?

    What else should be on the list? Which is your favorite?
  2. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    Real Name:
    I suppose all three of them qualify; I'd say all cameras that encourage the user to take control over the settings are serious. Don't know exactly how thick it is, but Ricoh's GRD1-4 is definitely serious (new GR as well obviously, but I don't think it's much thinner than the RX100).
    • Like Like x 1
  3. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
    Since the words "serious" and "compact" are totally subjective, it does not make much sense to suggest any camera without further definition. But let me tell you some of my thoughts.

    Once upon a time there was a Canon PowerShot S90 which I loved to use. At that time I was surely convinced to own a serious compact. It was a nice camera indeed, but technology has been improved so much since then that I would have called today's technology magic, had I known it at that time.

    Today I love to use my Panasonic GM1 which is as compact as the S90 (apart from the slightly bigger lens) and a technological wonder compared to the S90. Thus, my definition of "serious" has changed a lot since then. I still hesitate to not calling cameras like the S90 as serious compacts, but such cameras surely have become less serious to me.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. Iansky

    Iansky SC Top Veteran

    Dec 8, 2011
    Cotswolds, UK
    The Ricoh GR must be a serious contender for this if you can live without a zoom lens, it has all the attributes of a much larger camera in a small body!
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    I have the Ricoh GR and it's a magnificent camera. It is definitely pocketable but should the OP find it just a bit too large (it's a bit longer than the RX100 but a bit thinner and smoother) or expensive, then from the list in the first post, I would suggest either one of the two Fujis or the Panasonic LF1. The Fujis have been considered the "next best thing" to the RX100 among seriously compact enthusiast cameras without interchangeable lenses. But the Fujis also involve a learning curve that is a bit steeper than the Panasonic in order to get the best out of them - particularly the XF1 with its EXR technology. The XQ1 is a bit more conventional and both are eminently pocketable. The LF1 offers twice the zoom range, an EVF for framing in bright sunlight and is thinner than the RX100 and very pocketable. But the sensor is a bit smaller than the Fujis. Good luck.

    • Like Like x 1
  6. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Real Name:
    the more compact it gets down at that size, the less serious it gets. I think the size difference between the RX100 and the others is relatively small, and the performance gap is quite great (relative to each other of course).
    • Like Like x 2
  7. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Nokia Lumia 1020
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    Love my Fuji XF1.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I'd nominate the Nikon Coolpix A right alongside the Ricoh GR, but it sounds like those are too big. If you find the RX100 too big, I've got nothing useful to contribute here - I find it too small. Or at least laid out in a way that's difficult to really take control of. Same with the S90 back when I had one. So far, the smallest cameras I've used that I felt like had good enough handling and controls to actually be engaging and fun to shoot with are the Nikon A, the GR, and the LX7 and X10/20 type cameras.

    • Like Like x 2
  10. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    my personal opinion:
    serious=manual controls
    most compact=shirt pocketable
    even more serious=incorporated vf
    most compact serious=panny lf1/leica c 112
    • Like Like x 2
  11. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    Dec 15, 2011
    I love the X10, so presumably the XF1 would work for me from an IQ perspective, but it is basically a wash with the RX100 on size. I thought it was smaller, but not really.
  12. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    Dec 15, 2011
    Yeah, the A and GR would be clear winners, but not really apples-to-apples being fixed FL. I didn't think of that in OP, but I should have.
  13. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    Dec 15, 2011
    I think this is pretty much the definitive statement on the topic.
  14. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    Dec 15, 2011
    It's funny how the Canon S series seems to have fallen. I had an S90 or 95, and while the image quality was solid the camera just wasn't quick. Much like my impression of the EOS M and what I've read about the G1X.

    I don't think the GM1 qualifies with any sort of zoom lens; just too much of a protuberance imo.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    Dec 15, 2011
    Thanks for the comments everyone. I don't think I'm going any smaller than the RX100, but I was curious to see if anything smaller was really making the grade for anyone. I think this is kind of like the "best pound for pound fighter" ranking in boxing. I think the RX100 is our Floyd Mayweather.
  16. Rhino123

    Rhino123 SC Veteran

    May 11, 2014
    Real Name:
    Tiew Chong Yi
    My opinion? The most serious compact is the one I have with me all the time... and that happen to be my mobile phone. In the past it is the Nokia n82, then the Samsung jet, next was the Samsung Note and now the Nokia 1520.

    There really is no clear indication of what was a serious compact, it depends on ones need and expectation. In term of image quality though, there might be a difference. Top of the line IQ came from Sony RX100 I/II/III, Canon G1XmkII, Nikon Coolpix A, Ricoh GR, Sigma D2M or D2P, etc, etc. But I do see people with lower end compact that had taken photos that are much more interesting as compared to those 1k plus compact cameras. So again... depend on whether you could utilize your compact fully,.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. xdayv

    xdayv SC Veteran

    Mar 22, 2013
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    Ricoh GR or Panasonic GM1 for me.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    Call that a serious compact? Now THIS is a serious compact... :cool:
    Minox B par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    Sent from another Galaxy
    • Like Like x 6
  19. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    There ain`t no serious cameras which fit into skinny jeans.:rolleyes: Ricoh GR: Best IQ, UI & lowest weight and slimmest form factor. Sony RX100 (1/2/3) more versatile, still shirt pocket sized but weighting more and relative to the Ricoh a compromise in IQ and UI. Panasonic GM1: in between IQ with kit zoom, IQ very close to the Ricoh with mft primes, most versatile but seriously compromised UI.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
    Since it is possible to have nearly the same size, but much better image quality, it is harder for this type of camera. However, I still consider its image quality as fine at lower ISO and I have enjoyed using my G12, which has the same sensor as the S90, until recently when I bought my GM1.

    The 12-32mm, which is the kit lens, is smaller than the 20mm pancake. One just cannot believe how small this camera is, until one holds it in ones hands. The protuberance of any ยต4/3 lens is bigger than that of the S90, but not by much as long as one uses pancakes. But for someone who wants the protuberance of the lens to be as small as possible, no camera with interchangeable lenses will be small enough.
    • Like Like x 1