I'm searching for a camera which will be used for shooting fast moving things in low light conditions (people in nightclubs, or similarly illuminated spaces) and, secondarily, for landscapes and panoramas on hiking trips (but I do my panorama stiching manually).

From what I understood, reading the old answers here, for shooting in low light conditions, which is the more demanding situation of the two, the main considerations are:
- lens aperture (lower f-stop) - the larger the opening the more light can get through. Larger lenses are also usually faster due to wider apertures
- sensor area - larger sensor catches more light
- fast auto focus - people tend to move around and there is nothing more annoying then telling them to pose for 4 seconds while you're fiddling with the camera
- reasonable ISO handling

Other, maybe not critical, considerations:
- viewfinder - easier to use than the little screen which tends to shake as you're holding the camera, and by using the viewfinder you conserve the battery
- longer exposure speeds (for shooting landscapes)
- ability to record movies in low light
- battery life & price

Is there anything I might have forgotten which I should have taken into account?

Due to its bulkiness I'd like to avoid a dSLR so I'm aiming for something in the higher-end compact range. From your recommendations so far, few models seem to be mentioned more often

                                   sensor size          max. aperture    min.  - max. shutter  price         dimensions              weight  CIPA
- Canon G15 / G16          1/1.7"  7.44 x  5.58 mm      F1.8 - 2.8       15 sec - 1/4000 sec   $499          109   x 76   x 40   mm  356g    360
- Canon G1X                       18.7  x 14    mm      F2.8 - 5.8       60 sec - 1/4000 sec   $599          116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7 mm  534g    
- Fuji X10                 2/3"    8.8  x  6.6  mm      F2.0 - 2.8       30 sec - 1/4000 sec   $339          117   x 70   x 57   mm  350g    270
- Sony RX100 / RX100 II    1″     13.2  x  8.8  mm      F1.8 - 4.9       30 sec - 1/2000 sec   $569 / $748   102   x 58   x 36   mm  240g    330
- Panasonic DMC-GX1                                                                            $799 (unfortunatelly, out of my price range :(
- Sony NEX-7                                                                                   $948 (out of my price range :(

Is there any other model which might fit into these requirements, which might be good for the above situations? Also, can you recommend or give your experiences with any of the above, as to the image quality?

Where I live there aren't any better equipped equipment shops, so I will be buying one of these off of Amazon or eBay. That's why I'm trying to find as much as I can by reading reviews and by asking experienced users. Currently I have an Olympus SZ-31MR, but I'm not satisfied with its low light capabilities (very long time to focus, often requires flash for any kind of usable image, very bad movie recording capabilities in low light) - this is my reference at the moment.

  • Just an idea... but have you considered a Nokia Lumia 1020? – dav1dsm1th Nov 29 '13 at 20:12
  • @dav1dsm1th - Heard of it - yes. Considered - no. I have a Nokia N8 (bought only partially because of its camera capabilities) and it is a fine phone, camera too, no doubt about it. But for some reason unknown completely to me as well, I would prefer a separate camera from my phone. My phonetakes a whole lot of beating (and N8 has a flat side; I don'tthink the 1020 could take an equal lot of it), also a separate camera gives me some freedom in other aspects, from software to weight. Phone is something I have in my jacket all the time, a camera I can put in my handbag and forget about it there. – Rook Nov 29 '13 at 23:13
  • As I said, the reasons I'm clear with myself. So this is purely a subjective decision. – Rook Nov 29 '13 at 23:14
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    @dav1dsm1th - Just in case what follows may have not been clear from my last commend for english is not my native language; I appreciate it, I really do. As a matter of fact, you pointed out several very good arguments. But stll, I'm aiming for a compact this time. – Rook Nov 30 '13 at 6:47
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    It seems like you know what you need to look for and have done your research and now want us to decide for you. We can't do that — it's your purchase. – mattdm Dec 29 '13 at 14:22

I'd say it is a choice between the sony rx100 and canon g1x.

Canon g1x has the best lowlight capability in your budget.


Set the ISO to 1600 and above. In lowlight I tend to shoot F1.8, Iso 1600. Since the canon has max F2.8, you'd need to set the iso to 3200 on the canon, where you could shoot 1600 on the sony rx100. if you compare the shots , canon still comes out much more detailed. Sony F1.8 might be too soft as well to practically use it.

The sony has much faster burst modes, though, and the F1.8 allows a narrower DOF, andis more compact. The canon is horribly slow, but superior IQ, closer to a DSLR. The weight on these pros and cons are up to you.


Something additional to consider is whether or not there's a small accessory flash available for indoor low-light photography. I'd take a Canon G16 (see below) with the 270EXII or Fuji X20 with EF-X20 flash over the Sony RX100m2, for example. In the Canon case the flash can be bounced, making for much nicer light, while the Fuji EF-X20 flash has manual controls and a built-in remote that will let it work off-camera. A little pop of light, properly controlled, can make a huge difference. When you're hiking the flash can stay home, or come with you for some neat creative possibilities.

If you can live without a zoom lens – to be fair, most people won't want to, even if they can – there are two cameras to add to your list. The Fuji X100s and Ricoh GR are both excellent cameras with 1.5x sensors and great lenses. The X100s is the more sophisticated and elaborate, with faster autofocus, at the expense of being larger and more expensive. The GR is about the same size and cost as an RX100m2, and is the best-designed camera I've ever used.

Finally, the Canon G1x: DO NOT BUY THIS CAMERA WITHOUT TRYING IT. It is not an upgrade to the traditional G-series. It's bulky, it needs a lens cap, it's slow, and it has a terrible 'macro mode'. It's a dog, and not in a good way. I've had an acquaintance get mad at me for not stopping him from buying one, and I've seen them returned for being unsuitable for photography. I have also met people who are quite happy with theirs, so clearly it does have its role, but DO NOT buy it based on a spec sheet or assumptions about the promise of a bigger sensor.

  • I would encourage anyone with direct personal experience with the Canon G1x to add their comments, especially if it contradicts what I'v found in my time using this camera. – mpr Dec 31 '13 at 17:42

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