As the saying goes, the best camera to have is the one that’s with you. Gone are the days when a DSLR was the only option for taking beautiful images. If you’re looking to step up from a smartphone, or want something smaller for occasions when your DSLR is too big, our comprehensive list gives you the lowdown on the best new compact cameras available in 2017. This list is proof, if you need it, that a camera does not need an interchangeable lens to create a spectacular photograph.
Sony RX100 IV
You couldn’t have a list of the best new compact cameras without including something from Sony, and this series has long been a favourite. This 4th edition is arguably the best yet, with a pop-up electronic viewfinder and, of course, Sony’s Bionz processor that continues to impress. This is not a budget camera, but it is the complete package, as far as compact cameras go and you can’t fail to be impressed. Priced at around £729.
If money is no object, this is the camera for you. A rare compact with a full-frame sensor, this will give you brilliant results. It comes with all the traditional controls for exposure, but combines them with a fancy autofocus, so you’re almost guaranteed spectacular shots. It’s a great camera for travelling, because it’ll perform for you in heat or cold, 100% humidity, light or dark conditions. It’s small, but only in physical size – this is a BIG camera! It’ll take anything that you can throw at it completely in its stride. The price means complete amateurs will be put off, but Leica is still having trouble keeping up with demand. Priced at around £3,400.
If you are looking for something to capture shots of your active lifestyle, look no further than this responsive compact camera. It’s shockproof. It can withstand temperatures as low as -10°C. It can dive to depths of up to 15m! It has GPS, and even a compass feature. It looks mean, with exposed screws, a solid metal frame, and a large plastic grip. All this, as well as the ability to shoot in the RAW format. It’s build quality really is outstanding, and there are some clever accessories available, like the special underwater housing that will allow you to take it as deep as 45m, perfect if you’re into scuba. Priced between £269 and £299.
A true master amongst compacts, this is perfect for days when you want to be able to take great shots, but don’t want the burden of carrying your main camera around. It’s a clever beast, with a wide-aperture lens, and it can even shoot in 4K. It comes with traditional controls, but on the downside, it can be prone to lens flare, so that’s something to be aware of. That said, it does have speedy image-processing. The mid-range price tag makes it accessible as a ‘slip in the pocket’ option. There are several Panasonic models that could have made this list. Priced at around £499.
Canon Powershot G7X II
Given its pedigree with DSLRs, Canon was seemingly quite late to the compact scene, but now, finally, Canon is on the list of best new compact cameras. This great little camera has a 1-inch sensor and the focus with this model is on getting high-quality shots. The price makes it a lot more accessible than others on this list. Important for many, this camera also has selfie capabilities, which is worth bearing in mind if that sort of thing is important to you. Priced at around £549.
Nikon Coolpix S9900
No ‘best camera’ list would be complete without an offering from Nikon, and as with other models from the DSLR giants, the Coolpix is a premium digital compact. It comes with a 30x zoom and 16 megapixel illuminated sensor. If you can’t imagine a place where you have to wait to share your pictures with the world, you’ll love the WiFi and NFC connectivity, complete with GPS. The Coolpix comes with a 3” screen to allow you maximum creativity. It doesn’t shoot in RAW, but this camera is all about fun, and that’s virtually guaranteed. Tempted? Priced at around £269.99
This model will divide opinion on the best new compact cameras because for many, this camera is lacking one of the key components required: a viewfinder. It also has a fixed focal length, which some photographers will find limiting. Having said that, this is still a great little camera, with Fuji’s Film Simulation Modes and the ability to shoot RAW files allowing for clever image manipulation. Priced at around £529.
Sigma dp0 Quattro
The first thing that will make this camera stand out from the crowd is its shape. It has a very distinctive, low, flat profile with a large lens barrel. It has the widest angle lens of any fixed-lens compact camera currently on the market, and the Foveon sensor uses layers of silicon rather than the standard coloured filters and pixels. Even at low ISO settings, this Sigma can produce very impressive image quality.