With compact system cameras for all prices and skill levels,
we put this pick of the bunch to the test.
Price: $900 – with 18-55mm kit lens
The Samsung NX200 is the newest of the NX range, coming with
some very impressive features to match the high price tag. The NX200 has a slim
and attractive design, with a top-mounted mode dial and a hotshoe adapter for
the included flash gun.
The 20.3-megapixel photos can seem like a slight overkill,
and it does tend to struggle when shooting continuously in RAW format. However,
the photos taken from the NX200 are excellent.
The ability to take full control using manual shooting modes
allow you to develop your photographic knowledge as well as experiment
Price: 650 – with 10-30mm kit lens
The J1 is one of two new products entered in to the compact
system camera market by Nikon. It is aimed at beginners using mainly automatic
shooting modes, and it has a built-in flash gun and a very easy-to-use design.
It comes with an all-new 10-megapixel CX format sensor,
which, although smaller than the others cameras on test, has great image
quality all round.
The J1’s party trick comes when trying to capture the action.
This model offers a Motion Snapshot mode which snaps an image before the
shutter is fully pressed, as well as the ability to shoot at 60fps at full
Olympus PEN E-PM1
Price: $500 – with 14-42mm kit lens
Olympus PEN E-PM1
The Olympus PEN range has been around for several years, and
has been a long-standing popular CSC choice. The E-PM1 is billed as the PEN
Mini – the smallest, lightest and simplest of the PEN range. It’s also
significantly cheaper than the other CSCs on test.
Easy to use, the PEN Mini utilises a sleek design with
minimal external controls. It does have a hotshore adapter that allows you to
add an external flash, as well as other Olympus accessories, meaning you can
take advantage of the simple nature of the E-PM1 while building in to the more
advanced PEN system.
Price: $800 – with 14-42mm kit lens
The Panasonic GX1 comes in at the top of the Lumix range of
compact system cameras. It is aimed at the photography enthusiast, or even the
pro as a more portable alternative to their DSLR.
The CX1 comes with a huge list of features, including RAW
support, full HD video, a three-inch touch screen LCD and a 16-megapixel Live
As well as top-end features, the GX1 has very basic styling,
which doesn’t make it the most attractive camera on test. However, the benefit
of this simple design is that the GX1 is easy to control, even for a complete
Price: $700 – with 18-55mm kit lens
The Sony NEX range, like the PEN range, has been around for
several years with a selection of popular CSCs. The NEX-5N comes with a
magnesium-alloy body and a slim, attractive design. The lenses often dwarf the
body, but the small grip helps to steady the camera.
The images produced from the NEX-5N are generally very good,
and the creative filters help to make this a more versatile camera. The
three-inch tilting LCD can help when shooting at awkward angles, and comes with
a high enough resolution that is fantastic for watching back the full HD