Time to be with your loved ones

Time to be with loved ones

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I got knocked back by security from entering a concert the other day with my DSLR. They said any camera with changable lenses was a no go.

I think I'd probably get a similar reaction if I'd gone in with a Canon G12 or Nikon p7100 or a mirror-less camera.

My search has turned up the Canon S100 as a likely contender for as close to a DSLR as you can get while still being a compact. Is this a fair assessment? What are the other manufacturer's equivalent?

I don't want to plonk down the money for the S100 and then find that there is an alternative I've not considered.

I'm not looking for a subjective, "My compact camera is the best" answer, I want to know what the current (As of July 2012) top of the range compact cameras.

If there are any that are soon to be released I'd be interested in them too. If you want to put together a matrix of features feel free but I'm sure I can do that myself.

I define a compact camera as a camera that does not look like a DSLR and would not be mistaken by a non photographer as looking professional.

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If the S100 turns out to be your choice in the end, hold off buying it for a little while -- it's currently (July 2012) under recall for an easily-correctable internal connection defect, and you'll want to make sure that what you're buying doesn't need immediate repair. New stock should incorporate the fix soon. –  user2719 Jul 6 '12 at 11:27
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-1. It seems like in the time it took to write this message, you could have gone to a major online store or big review site and done the search yourself. And, even if that didn't work for some reason (why not?) a list of "top compacts in July 2012" is not going to be useful to anyone else except for in this very narrow window of time, and so would be better in chat.stackexchange.com than here. –  mattdm Jul 6 '12 at 13:00
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closed as off topic by jrista Sep 10 '12 at 18:32

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2 Answers

There are compact cameras with very good image quality, like the Panasonic LX5, Olympus XZ-1, Samsung EX-2, Canon S100, Sony RX100. From these models the Sony RX100 is the latest and has the biggest Sensor (1", the same size as the Nikon 1 cameras).

There are also cameras with changeable lenses, who don't look like DSLRs. For example the Olympus PEN series, Panasonic GF and GX series, Sony NEX series, Samsung NX 210/1000, Nikon 1 series or Fuji X-Pro1. If you use such a camera with a small fixed-focal length or pancake zoom you get also very good image quality in a small package, which looks not like a traditional DSLR. However, it would violate the statement that cameras with changeable lenses are a no go.

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Compact cameras do not come in a strict ranking; each has their own combination of strengths. Since you can't change lenses as with a DSLR, there's more decisions to be made upfront which features you are willing to sacrifice.

For concert photography, an important concern (and advantage of dSLRs) is low light ability, for which you'll be looking for fastest lenses and biggest sensors you can get. There are Fuji X100, Leica X2, and Sigma DP2 all sporting APS-C sized sensors and fast prime lenses (f/2 on Fuji, f/2.8 on others). Note that those are all moderate wide angle lenses; you might want to trade being top of the line in this aspect for some zoom ability, such as in your proposed S100 or Panasonic LX5 (same sensor size, but lens faster in tele than the S100).

The most popular camera currently seems to be iPhone 4s, according to Flickr Camera Finder.

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