Best compact cameras: Pocket-sized powerhouses of photography

Compact cameras were once all the rage. Then, just as smartphones replaced pay phones and paper maps, they began to eat into the compact camera market. With models such as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (and S23 Ultra) able to capture even the moon in detail, is there a need for a list of the best compact cameras?

Yes.

Why buy a compact camera?

Despite the great strides in image and video capture by the modern smartphone, the compact camera still has a pretty big niche to itself. Their real competition is the powerful DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera.

  • Portability: As the name suggests, compact cameras were conceived as smaller alternatives to the DSLRs. That reduction in size is achieved by removing the mirror arrangement inside a DSLR.
  • Stealth: Not just because of their smaller size but also because of the silence of their digital capture mechanism, compact cameras are the go-to for discretion. No more clicks and whirrs.
  • Speed: By bypassing the mechanical shutter of a DSLR, a compact camera is also able to capture more images in a shorter burst. That’s very handy for fast-moving scenes.
  • Simplicity: Designed as smaller and simpler alternatives to DSLRs, compact cameras are easier to use and come with a wide array of automatic settings for focus, exposure and white balance. Just point and shoot.
  • Electronic Viewfinder (EVF): DSLRs display the live view of your shot on a screen but the shaded EVF of a mirrorless system can help call attention to the subtler details of a shot.
  • Price: While there are a number of very pricey alternatives, a good compact camera will set you back about S$1,000 but many capable models come at a fraction of that price.

What to look for in a compact camera

Most photographers will tell you that a camera’s sensor is its beating heart. This is the gadget that captures light from a scene and transforms it into images and video that can be stored. The larger the sensor, the better its performance, particularly in low-light conditions.

Beyond the sensor, I also put a lot of value in zoom, especially optical zoom. Somewhat related to that is image stabilisation, which increases in importance the longer the distance to the subject. Look for sensor-shift technology and OIS (optical image stabilisation) for crisper shots.

Obviously, the resolution of capture can also make a huge difference. My personal threshold is FHD (1920×1080) but 4K and 8K are certainly welcome if I can get them at a good price.

Finally, features such as a tiltable LCD to capture difficult shots and a range of connectivity options (USB, Bluetooth, HDMI, etc.) make life (transferring files) much simpler.

The best compact cameras to buy in Singapore

Here is a list of some of the best compact cameras available in Singapore today. They are in no particular order but arranged by brand.

1. Sony ZV-1 II Vlog Camera

Ideal for content creators, it offers a wide-angle zoom lens, excellent image quality, and an intelligent microphone for clear audio recording.

Compact Cameras - Sony ZV1 II
Credit – Sony
  • Sensor: 1.0”-type (13.2 mm x 8.8 mm) Exmor RS CMOS
  • Pixels: 20.1MP
  • Video: 4K
  • Image Stabilisation?: Yes, electronic
  • Connectivity: USB, wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI
  • Others: ZEISS 10.4-37.1mm lens; 7.5 cm (3.0-type) TFT 176º- tiltable LCD

Buy now from S$1,059 on Lazada Shopee

2. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III

A pocket-sized camera with a fast lens, great low-light performance, and a unique pop-up electronic viewfinder.

Compact Cameras - Sony Cyber Shot RX100 III
Credit – Sony
  • Sensor: 1.0”-type (13.2 mm x 8.8 mm) Exmor RS CMOS
  • Pixels: 20.1MP
  • Video: 1920×1089 (FHD)
  • Image Stabilisation?: Yes, electronic
  • Connectivity: USB, wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI
  • Others: ZEISS 24-70mm lens; 180º- tiltable LCD

Buy now from S$1,199 on Lazada Shopee

3. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

Powerful 40x optical zoom, 4K video capabilities, and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for easy sharing.

Compact Cameras -Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
Credit – Canon
  • Sensor: 1.0” stacked CMOS
  • Pixels: 20.1MP
  • Video: 4K
  • Image Stabilisation?: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI
  • Others: 3” LCD, 24-100mm lens (4x zoom)

Buy now from S$1,699 on Lazada Shopee

4. Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

Versatile 40x optical zoom, 4K video, and a tilting LCD screen for selfies.

Compact Cameras - Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
Credit – Canon
  • Sensor: 1/2.3″ (~6.16 x 4.62 mm) CMOS sensor
  • Pixels: 20.3MP
  • Video: 4K
  • Image Stabilisation?: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI
  • Others: 3” LCD, 24-100mm lens (40x zoom)

Buy now from S$689 on Lazada Shopee

5. Fujifilm X100VI

Offers a 40.2MP sensor, film simulation modes, and 6.2K video capabilities in a compact design.

Compact Cameras - Fujifilm X100VI
Credit – Fujifilm
  • Sensor: X-Trans CMOS 5
  • Pixels: 40.2MP
  • Video: 4K (60p)
  • Image Stabilisation?: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI
  • Others: 3” tilting LCD, 35mm-equivalent F2 lens

Buy now from S$3,570 on Lazada Shopee

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6. Ricoh GR IIIx

Known for its high-quality fixed lens and compact form factor.

Compact Cameras - Ricoh GR IIIx
Credit – Lazada
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Pixels: 24.24MP
  • Video: 1920×1089 (FHD at 60p)
  • Image Stabilisation?: Yes, 3-axis sensor-shift shake reduction
  • Connectivity: USB, wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI
  • Others: 3” fixed LCD; 40mm crop function in place of zoom

Buy now from S$1,820 on Shopee Lazada

7. Leica Q3

Premium build, full-frame sensor, and exceptional image quality.

Compact Cameras - Leica Q3
Credit – Amateur Photography
  • Sensor: Full frame BSI-CMOS Sensor
  • Pixels: 60MP
  • Video: 8K, 120fps high-speed video
  • Image Stabilisation?: Yes, OIS
  • Connectivity: USB, wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI
  • Others: 3” tilting LCD, 28 mm f1.70 Prime Lens, weather-sealed IP52 body

Buy now from S$8,970 on Lazada Shopee

8. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10

Compact camera with 4K video recording and a fast lens.

Compact Cameras - Panasonic Lumix DMC LX10
Credit – Panasonic
  • Sensor: 1.0”-type CMOS
  • Pixels: 20.1MP
  • Video: 4K (30fps)
  • Image Stabilisation?: Yes, sensor-shift image stabilization with OIS
  • Connectivity: USB, wireless, Bluetooth, micro-HDMI
  • Others: 3” LCD, 8.8 – 26.4mm lens

Buy now from S$699 on Lazada

9. Olympus OM SYSTEM Tough TG-7

Rugged design, underwater capabilities, and versatile shooting modes.

Compact Cameras - Olympus OM SYSTEM Tough TG 7
Credit – Olympus
  • Sensor: BSI CMOS Sensor
  • Pixels: 12MP
  • Video: 4K (30fps)
  • Image Stabilisation?: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, wireless
  • Others: 3” LCD screen; 4x Optical Zoom f/2-4.9 25-100mm lens; water (IPX8), crush, shock, freeze, dust-proof

Buy now from S$628 on Lazada Shopee

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