Top 10 Compact Digital Cameras for 2021


Gear Focus

Apr 2, 2021

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The digital revolution has led to skyrocketing technological capabilities in cameras, while costs stay relatively low. The digital cameras on the market today are capable of some really impressive feats, but they don't necessarily cost an arm and a leg. Better technology now fits into ever-smaller packages. We at Gear Focus wanted to take a look some of the best compact digital cameras on the market in 2021.

2021's Top 10 Compact Digital Cameras

Before we dive in, let's take a look at what makes a compact digital camera a compact digital camera. Compared to their larger and more robust counterparts, a compact digital camera is a dedicated tool that sports many of the various features of a larger camera - at a fraction of the size and cost. It's no secret that cell phones have wreaked havoc on the market for compact digital cameras. That said, there is definitely still a market for these cameras. Most will offer value compared to the latest generation of smart phone. Whether it is cost, or improved image capturing performance, sometimes a cell phone just doesn't cut it. There is also durability and functionality to consider when comparing these cameras to cell phones.

Why would I want to buy a compact digital camera?

"But I have a cell phone, why would I want a dedicated camera?" There are many reasons a person might want to purchase a compact digital camera. They can be found used online at stores like Gear Focus for much less than you'd pay for a cell phone. And since they can be cheaper than your phone, you can risk them capturing images that you might not want to get your phone into. Or it could simply come down to the ergonomics that make a compact digital camera the best option for you.

The Top 10 Compact Digital Cameras in 2021

Of course, there are many factors to consider when deciding on which compact digital camera you are going to purchase. What criteria will you base your decision on? Are you planning to use the camera for still photography or video? What is your budget? We've compiled a list of the top 10 compact digital cameras that we believe can handle most common situations. We based our list on a combination of features and price. So without further ado, here's our top 10 compact digital cameras:
  1. Sony ZV-1
  2. Panasonic Lumix LX10
  3. Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II
  4. Fujifilm X100V
  5. Leica Q2
  6. Panasonic Lumix LX100
  7. Ricoh GR III
  8. Sony Cyber-Shot Rx100 VII
  9. Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II
  10. Leica D-Lux 7

Sony ZV-1 - $798

Number 1 top 10 compact digital camera: Sony ZV-1 The Sony ZV-1 tops our list due to the robust feature set and price. Sony is able to pack a 20.1 MP 1" Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor with ZEISS 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens into this compact body all for under $800 at the time of publication. Other great features include 4K30p video recording with pro features: HLG & S-Log3 Gammas and shooting 1080p at 120 fps. The rear 3.0" 921.6k-dot LCD flip-out touchscreen is versatile. Finally, the fast Hybrid AF System with 315 phase-detection points is fast and accurate.

Panasonic Lumix LX10 - $697.99

Panasonic LX10Number two on the list of top compact digital cameras for 2021 is the Panasonic Lumix LX10. A great budget-friendly option that is loaded with features. A 20.1 MP 1" MOS sensor with Leica DC Vario-Summilux f/1.4-2.8 24-72mm lens. The 3.0" 180° Tilting Touchscreen LCD is easy to use and offers a great ergonomic fit. As far as video is concerned, the LX10 offers 4K30 and 1080p recording at 60 fps. And continuous stills shooting up to 10 fps.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II - $899

Canon G5 X Mark IIAnd the bronze medal goes to the Canon G5 X Mark II with it's 20.2 MP DIGIC 8 image processor and 1" CMOS sensor. The 5x zoom lens offers a speedy f/1.8-2.8. The 4K30 video recording is great, however the 1080/120 fps gives a lot more versatility and puts this camera ahead of many of it's competitors. One other cool feature for the astrophotographers out there are the star shooting modes: Star Nightscape, Star Trails, and Star Time-Lapse Movies.

Fujifilm X100V - $1399

Fujifilm X100VOur number 4 compact digital camera is the Fujifilm X100V. It has some great features, however also sports a higher price tag at $1399. The 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor is a bit better than some of our other top picks, but not enough to justify the cost difference. Other features include an X-Processor 4 image processor, Fujinon 23mm f/2 lens, and hybrid autofocus system with 425 phase-detection points and contrast-detection. The X100V also supports continuous shooting up to 11 fps. In terms of video, it also offers professional level stats including 4K30 and 1080p at 120 fps as well as 10-bit 4:2:2 external.

Leica Q2 - $4995

Number 5 compact digital camera - the Leica Q2The Leica Q2 rounds out or top five compact digital cameras and it's no surprise why. With a 47.3 MP full-frame CMOS sensor and Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, the Q2 is ready for just about anything. The Q2 has a Maestro II image processor as well as 3.68MP OLED electronic viewfinder. The 4K30 and 1080p at 120 fps means it is great for video as well as still photograpghy. And it features a 3.0" 1.04m-dot touchscreen LCD. So why is it ranked fifth? The huge stats on this camera come at a steep cost - $4995 at time of publication. It might be hard to justify spending that amount on a compact digital camera. But if you're looking for one of the best in a small size and money is no object, you can certainly do worse than the Leica Q2.

Panasonic Lumix LX100 - $799.99

Panasonic Lumix LX100The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is a great micro four thirds camera that won't cost an arm and a leg. The LX100 boasts 4K30 and 1080/60p video recording so it is geared more to videography than photography. It does have a 12.8 MP 4/3 MOS sensor with a speedy f/1.7-2.8 lens. And it can also shoot 11 fps continuous. All-in-all it's a great budget-friendly compact digital camera.

Ricoh GR III - $939.90

Ricoh GR IIIThe Ricoh GR III places 7th in our list of the top 10 compact digital cameras for 2021. It has a solid 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, with a 28mm f/2.8 lens. The GR Engine 6. 3-axis shake reduction system works great for handheld video. However, lack of 4K and a higher-than-average cost (nearly $1000 at time of publication) mean that you can probably find something with similar features for less. If 4K is not necessary for you, the 1080/60p video recording coupled with a 3.0" fixed touchscreen LCD might be fine for you.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII - $1298

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VIIAnother option with nice features is the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII. The camera has a 20.1 MP Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor with Bionz X image processor. On top of that, it also has a Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* f/2.8-4.5 24-200mm lens for a great amount of versatility. The Fast Hybrid AF System with 315 Phase-Detection Points and 4K30 or 1080/120 fps are great for those looking for a hybrid stills/video camera. The RX100 VII also has a rear 3.0" 921.6k-dot tilting touchscreen LCD. All-in-all the range on the lens with a fairly speedy f/2.8-4.5 are excellent, but maybe not for the higher price.

Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II - $629.00

Canon G7 X Mark IIThe Canon Powershot G7 X Mk II offers a 20.1MP 1" CMOS sensor with DIGIC 7 image processor, as well as 4.2x optical zoom f/1.8-2.8 lens. The downside to this camera is the lack of 4K. However, the G7 X Mk II does support 1080/60p video recording. For the price, it is a great camera.

Leica D-Lux 7 - $1195

Number 10 compact digital camera - Leica D-Lux 7Rounding out our top 10 compact digital cameras for 2021 is the Leica D-Lux 7. The D-Lux 7 is another MFT camera that offers a 17MP 4/3 MOS sensor. The 24-75mm DC Vario-Summilux 3.1x zoom lens offers a good bit of range and versatility. The D-Lux 7 also offers 11-fps continuous shooting rate. 4K30 and 1080/60p video recording are enough for most video situations. The 3.0" fixed touchscreen LCD is a knock considering the higher price tag. Overall, the D-Lux 7 is a great compact camera with many nice features.

Should You Buy a Compact Digital Camera in 2021?

Take into consideration the reasons you'd want to buy a compact digital camera in 2021. Are you looking to upgrade your family vacation photos and videos from what your smart phone is capable of? Do you simply prefer the ergonomic feel of a digital camera as opposed to a phone? Most of these digital cameras can fit into a pocket, and aren't so valuable that you'd fear breaking or losing them. (Well, of course you would, but not compared to a higher-end model!) A great way to save even more money is to shop used. Take a look at the offerings at Gear Focus on compact digital cameras - or if you have one to sell list it now! And be sure to let us know in the comments below which camera you are thinking about picking up - whether it's on our list or not.

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