I want to buy a new "compact" (in terms of size) camera to replace my ageing Canon S90.

I have a Canon 6D which I use for travel and dedicated "photo walks", but I also use my S90 quite often when I'm not in the situation where my DSLR is with me or when it's unsuitable, a casual night out with friends, concerts, dinners, on the street commuting, spontaneous trips, etc.

So size is one of the biggest priority, second is it should be better than my S90 in all specs.

I would want to know if I were to stick with my new purchase for at least 5 years, would a large sensor compact like the Sony RX100 II, Ricoh GR, etc (preferably with zoom as it's much more flexible imo) be a better choice over the currently smallest (as Panasonic puts it) micro 4/3s camera the Lumix GM1 with kit lens?

Is there any obvious advantages of high end compacts compared to the smallest mirrorless camera, of which the only one that fits the category of smallest is the GM1 and the Pentax Q (but the sensor's a bit too small).


Obviously this is basic a matter of personal preferences, and conditioned by a lot of factors (needed image quality, financial possibilities, etc.).

My personal opinion is that for a non-professional photographer is not so worthy to invest in two families of interchangeable lens camera. I mean, if your main camera/lenses system is the Canon, I would not go for another ILS as a carry-everywhere.

I have a Sony DSLR and as a carry-everywhere camera I bring with me a Panasonic LX-5. If I had the possibility to choose now, probably I would change the Sony with an M3/4 system, but I will stick with a compact non-ILC as a companion (and with an ideal budget availability the RX100II would be a no-brainer for me).

  • Yeah, you're right about having two systems of interchangeable lenses. Thanks for your input. – vermilions Dec 8 '13 at 21:28

I went through sorta the same thought process right when the RX100 came out. What I found was that the 4/3s cameras are not as small as the RX100. I bring my RX100 with me pretty much everywhere, I would not do this with a 4/3s.

Of course the 4/3s have the advantage of interchangable lenses etc... but that doesn't help you much when it is at home.

  • 1
    If size is the major consideration, forget about bringing a bunch of lenses! I agree. RX100 I/II if you want it in a pocket! M4/3 or similar if you want to replace your DSLR. – dpollitt Dec 7 '13 at 0:52
  • Thanks Paul, I won't be changing lenses I think since I already have loads of lenses to shoot with when I have my 6D. I just want something small and of good quality that I could bring around with me. And@dpollitt, I'm not planning on replacing my beloved 6D, so I think I will end up sticking with a compact. Thanks! – vermilions Dec 8 '13 at 21:30

Let me use the NEX as an example of a camera you'd use if you prioritized image quality over size. It's the smallest (or close to smallest) camera with an APS-C sensor.

Let me use the RX-100 II as an example of a camera you'd use if you prioritized pocketability over photo quality. It seems to be the pocketable camera with the best photo quality.

(Of course, you can use different cameras here, and it wouldn't affect the conclusion.)

With that prologue, only someone who has an NEX AND an RX-100 II is qualified to really answer this question. I have only an NEX, so take this with a grain of salt.

I had to make a similar choice as you. And I bought the NEX AND an iPhone 5S (for the great camera).

The way I look at it is that even if I had an RX100 II, I wouldn't carry it everywhere with me, so neither does it provide the best quality (compared to an interchangeable lens camera) nor is it going to be with me all the time, nor is it cheap ($800). Why buy it?

Consider buying an iPhone 5S or a Lumia 1020 or other Android phone with a top-of-the-line camera.

As I said, this is a personal opinion, but that's all you'll probably get for this question.

  • Well... I have a Panasonic LX-5 and it's every time with me. I'm more prone to forget the cellphone at home than the camera ;-). But you're right, YMMV. – Rmano Dec 7 '13 at 6:34
  • Thanks for your input @Katrick, I am pretty much a pro-Android person and don't plan on changing mobile OS any time soon, so I guess I won't have the option to buy a 5S or Lumina, albeit they are quite good. I will have to decide between size and quality in the end... Probably wait for the RX 100 IV! The aperture on the zoom end is just not so appealing to me. Thanks! – vermilions Dec 8 '13 at 21:32
  • 1
    Sure. My main point wasn't to recommend a particular phone, but just to note that no matter what mobile OS you use, you could consider getting a phone that has a better camera than the one in your existing phone. – Kartick Vaddadi Dec 11 '13 at 9:44

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.