Holiday Guide: Best Luxury Compact Cameras of 2013

by Reads (389)

The newest class of digital cameras to the holiday guide is luxury compact cameras. Compact cameras with large sensors and fixed lenses are all the rage this year. With several new releases, we would be remiss if were didn’t give these luxury cameras a nod. Although their appeal is limited due to their fixed lens, these cameras main focus on one thing–fantastic image quality. Designed for the creative person who has a fair amount of expendable income, these cameras scream luxury. 

If you don’t see the perfect camera in the list we’ve provided, be sure to seek out buying advice in our “What Camera Should I Buy?” discussion forum. Our forum members, moderators, and staff will graciously offer their insight in helping you pick the best camera for you.

#1 Sony RX1

While the initial excitement surrounding the 24 megapixel RX1’s launch was based mostly on the fact that its compact body is built around a full-frame sensor, enthusiasm and respect, for this camera doesn’t stop there. Once you start shooting with the camera, you understand that beyond the sensor size, the RX1 is special from its solid build and design to the camera’s consistently amazing image quality. 

Although it costs more than some higher end DSLRs, the RX1 makes a great second camera for pros and semi-pros and will probably appeal to photographers who want excellent quality in a convenient, compact body. The RX1 sells for $2,800.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Sony RX1 Review

#2 Fuji X100s

Besides having some heart-palpitating good looks, the X100s has many other things going for it. For starters, the camera’s heart is a 16.3MP APS-C sized X Trans II sensor. While that right there is a lot to swallow, note that the sensor has been revamped for better high ISO noise processing and there are now phase detection sensors on the semi-conductor. And in front of the heart is the other lip-biting feature–the lens.

The X100s has a permanently fixed 23mm f2 lens with Fujinon glass comprising its design. Fujifilm has been in the business of optics for many years and have made what many professionals may consider some of the best lenses ever made in the medium format and large format territory. Bringing that knowledge down to the APS-C level, this lens renders a 35mm field of view due to the 1.5x crop factor of the APS-C sized sensor. Around this lens is an aperture ring–which will tug at the nostalgic memories of many experienced film photographers and retro-infatuated enthusiasts.

The Fuji X100s sells for $1,300.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Fuji X100s Review

#3 Ricoh GR

Entering the digital camera arena around the same time as the Nikon A, the Ricoh GR offers users a large 16-megapixel CMOS sensor with a fixed 18.3mm f/2.8 lens. It has an ISO range of 100-25600. The LCD screen has 1.2 million dots, but is fixed and a bit smaller than most cameras at only 2.5 inches. On the other hand, the Ricoh GR has a handy mode dial with the full manual settings at your fingertips. Adjustments can be made to the aperture and shutter speed via the turn dial on the top or back of the camera. The Ricoh GR sells for $800.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Ricoh GR Image Gallery and Preview

#4 Nikon A

So, what kind of camera does $1,100 buy you nowadays? Enter the Nikon Coolpix A, a top-notch camera with a lot to offer. The Nikon A offers users a 16.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (DX-format)–the same one found in the Nikon D7000, one of Nikon’s most popular prosumer DSLR cameras. The Nikon A however, is smaller, more compact and more portable than the D7000 ever dreamed of being. In fact, these two cameras aren’t even comparable by most other standards. The Nikon Coolpix A actually fits into a relatively new category of compact, fixed lens, large sensor cameras. These cameras feature sensors that can be found in traditional DSLRs, but their form factor is much smaller than a DSLR. Most of these cameras are about the size of a point and shoot. Yet, these cameras have features that rival top DSLRs including fully manual mode dials, fantastic low light capabilities and RAW image capture.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Nikon A Review

Want to know which cameras are tops in the minds of DigitalCameraReview’s readers?  Check out our Most Popular Cameras list, based on traffic across our site!

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