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CNET Top 5: Compact cameras for advanced shooters

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CNET Top 5: Compact cameras for advanced shooters

3:49 /

The best five cameras that hit the sweet spot between dSLR-style control and a compact size.

Despite the fact that people seem to be taking pictures more with their phones these days, there�s actually a boom of cool new cameras coming out right now. And some of the most interesting new cameras coming out fill the gap between a full-on professional DSLR and the portability of a point and shoot. So if you�re ready to graduate from Instagram, or maybe you�ve already got a dSLR and want something a little more agile, these are the five cameras you�re looking for. These are the top compact cameras for advanced shooters, hand selected by CNET�s Senior Camera Editor, Lori Grunin. Starting off at #5, the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX1. It may be #5 on this list, but it�s actually the #1 camera here in terms of photo quality. You get a full- frame professional-grade sensor and a stunning Carl Zeiss 35mm lens. There�s no optical viewfinder -- but that�s not why it�s at the bottom of the list. So what�s the catch? How about a $2,600 price tag. You could spend the same amount on a nice DSLR with a lot more shooting flexibility. But if what you really want is something compact that doesn�t sacrifice an inch on image quality, then this is the camera for you. #4 comes down to earth... a bit: the Fujifilm X100S. Priced at $1,300, this retro-styled compact packs a great viewfinder and works well under manual control. You�re dealing with a slightly smaller APS-C sensor, the lens is a little quirky, and autofocus isn�t the best, but the overall image quality is beautiful. Plus, it�s a hip camera. It�s a mustache and a beer cozy away from moving to Brooklyn. At #3: the Canon PowerShot G15. Finally, a camera that won�t bankrupt me. It�s also the last camera on this list that you�ll see with an optical viewfinder -- so if that�s a must-have and you don�t have a few grand to drop, the G15 is your best bet. Now, the image quality isn�t in quite the same realm as the last two, but the lens is very fast and you can tease out some extra detail by shooting in RAW. It�s not the hippest looking thing, but c�mon, who am I fooling? I don�t even have any tattoos. I mean, tramp stamps don�t count, right? Forget I said anything, save even more cash with #2: the Canon PowerShot S110. At around $400, it�s really just a glorified point & shoot -- but it�s good enough to get a nod of respect from serious photo nerds. It�s also two generations removed from my favorite pocket camera, the Canon S95, which I managed to lose this year and still cry for every day. Like the S95 and S100, the S110 offers a lot of manual control and will even shoot RAW if you want to squeeze it for all it�s worth. No viewfinder, and a touch screen that�s more trouble than it�s worth, but small enough to fit in any pocket. And small enough to lose. But if you had to choose just one camera that hit all of the high notes on this list: fast lens, affordable price, manual control, RAW image capture, and a pocket-sized design, you�d arrive right here at #1: the Sony Cyber- Shot DSC-RX100. Fast, bright, Carl Zeiss lens, big ol� 20 megapixel sensor, adjustment ring right on the lens. Not the cheapest at $650, but worth every penny. This is the pocket point & shoot that puts all the rest to shame. So there you have it, 5 great cameras that fill the void between your cell phone camera and a full-blown DSLR. For a few other recommendations check out Senior Editor Lori Grunin�s full roundup over on CNET.com. I�m Donald Bell, thanks for watching.
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