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The 6 Best Compact Viewfinder Cameras For Amateurs and Professionals

Compact viewfinder cameras are hardly a thing of the past!

Why Switch To Compact Viewfinder Cameras?

A decade ago, serious photographers wouldn’t have considered using a compact camera for any sort of serious work. Today, however, cameras of all shapes and sizes have made the strides necessary to take quality images.

Companies even include added attributes to make “downsizing” a sweeter deal for hesitant customers.

The fact of the matter is small camera models go far beyond your standard point and shoot. They take up less space than their bulkier brothers, and they often weigh significantly less, too.

So, what’s not to love?

Today, we’ll be getting down to the nitty-gritty behind some of the most popular compact viewfinder cameras on the market today.

Sony A7 III
Sony A7 III Our Pick
Switch between the electronic viewfinder and the LCD screen via a custom button.
Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X100F
The optical viewfinder has elements of analog and EVF technologies.
Canon PowerShot G5X
Canon PowerShot G5X
Affordable and one of the most promising compact viewfinder cameras available.
Leica Q
Leica Q Pro Pick
The Q’s automatic viewfinder activates the moment the camera makes contact with your eye. With a resolution of 3.68 MP, it’s one of the best electronic viewfinders money can buy.
Panasonic Lumix FZ2500
Panasonic Lumix FZ2500
The viewfinder has an adjustment dial and a user-selectable grid system.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII
The retractable electronic viewfinder pops up to reveal every detail with eye-level accuracy.

Best Compact Viewfinder Cameras

  1. Sony A7 III
  2. Fujifilm X100F
  3. Canon Powershot G5 X
  4. Leica Q
  5. Panasonic Lumix FZ2500
  6. Sony CyberShot DSC-RX1R II

1. Sony A7 III Mirrorless

Sony a7 III ILCE7M3/B Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with 3-Inch...

The A7 III has a whole lot to love for those seeking a step up in quality and a step down in size.

As the A7 III proves, ‘compact’ isn’t necessarily synonymous with point and shoot. Thanks to an advanced 24.2 MP full-frame sensor, the camera boasts a 14-bit RAW output as well as a dynamic range of 15 stops. That means that every photograph is filled with rich colors, tones, and details.

Sony a7 III ILCE7M3/B Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with 3-Inch...

If that weren’t enough, this camera is packed with the most advanced autofocus technology the A7 series has seen. With 425 contrast AF points as well as 693 phase-detection spots, it’s possible to focus just about anywhere.

It’s true that previous iterations of the A7 series experienced a few kinks. However, it seems Sony has overcome most of its growing pains.

With added features like 4K video and broader ISO ranges, there’s more to love about this trailblazer than ever before.

Sony a7 III ILCE7M3/B Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with 3-Inch...
  • Advanced 24.2MP BSI Full frame Image Sensor w/ 1.8X readout speed Advanced 24.2MP Back Illuminated 35 millimeter Full frame...
  • 15 stop dynamic range, 14 bit uncompressed RAW, ISO 50 to 204,800. Compatible with Sony E mount lenses. Can be connected via...
  • Up to 10fps Silent or Mechanical Shutter with AE/AF tracking. Battery Life (Still Images): Approx. 610 shots (Viewfinder) /...
  • 693 phase detection / 425 contrast AF points w/ 93 percent image coverage. Focus Sensor: Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • In the box: Rechargeable Battery (NP FZ100), AC Adapter (AC UUD12), Shoulder strap, Body cap, Accessory shoe cap, Eyepiece...

2. Fujifilm X100F

Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Silver

Critics have praised Fuji’s X100 series for quite some time, and the X100F is no exception. Though it weighs in at just 2 lbs, behind the X100’s unassuming exterior hides a powerful punch.

First, its 24.3 MP CMOS sensor offers a huge resolution boost from previous X100 iterations.

What’s more, the camera’s processing engine delivers each outstanding reproduction with incredible speed. 

Though the camera comes with a lens fixed in place, conversion pieces allow photographers to get more versatile images from the X100F.

Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Silver

It’s especially impressive is the hybrid technology that went into the product’s viewfinder.

Retaining the best of both worlds, the optical viewfinder has elements of analog and EVF technologies. This includes a magnification feature in the bottom corner of the eyepiece for enhanced accuracy when focusing.

Despite Fujifilm’s technological innovations, X100F is stylistically reminiscent of familiar film cameras. In fact, a film simulation feature is built into the camera.

Though the design may seem a bit awkward for newbies, nostalgic photographers will immediately feel at home with this compact viewfinder camera in hand.

Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Silver
  • 24.3MP X Trans CMOS III APS C sensor with no low pass filter and X Processor Pro
  • 8 way focus lever plus the number of focusing points has been expanded from 49 in previous models to 91 (up to 325 points)
  • Built in ISO dial, incorporated into the shutter speed dial and operating temperature is 0 degree Celsius to 40 degree...
  • AF mode(single / Zone / wide tracking). Hot shoe: Dedicated TTL Flash compatible. Exposure control: TTL 256 zone metering,...
  • New np w126s lithium battery; Focus distance Approx. 10 centimeter Infinity / 3.9 Inches Infinity

RELATED POST: Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless vs. Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Camera

3. Canon PowerShot G5X

Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Silver

Despite a few hangups, the Canon Powershot G5X is one of the most promising compact viewfinder cameras available.

At a more affordable price than many of the higher-end best compact camera options, the PowerShot still offers a lot.

A large EVF works in conjunction with a touchscreen LCD to ensure that get the shot you want. Despite its small size, it retains a fairly large sensor for high-quality imagery.

Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Silver

In addition, this particular compact viewfinder camera has all the bells and whistles professionals and hobbyists have come to expect.

WiFi connectivity, customizable controls, and the ability to create HD video are all selling points for the PowerShot.

Its Achilles heel has got to be the quality of its lens. Given current industry standards, the results it yields are simply too soft for most serious photographers. Another major hitch for Powershot users is the camera’s poor battery life, which averages just 210 shots per charge.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Digital Camera w/ 1 Inch Sensor and Built-in viewfinder - Wi-Fi...
  • 1.0-inch, 20.2 Megapixel* High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor combined with Canon's powerful DIGIC 6 Image Processor creates the...
  • Convenient controls include an exposure compensation dial, front dial, control ring and control dial that helps provide for...
  • Multi-angle capacitive 3.0" touch panel LCD with a screen resolution of 1.04 million dots for a sharp, clear display and easy...
  • Capture stunning 1080p Full HD video (60p/30p/24p options) for lifelike images and convenient playback on an HDTV via the...
  • Easily transfer images and videos to a compatible smartphone, tablet or Canon Connect Station CS100 device with built-in...

4. Leica Q

Leica Q 24.2 Megapixel Digital 35 MM Compact Camera (Black, Anodized, TYP...

There’s a reason why Leica’s brand has become synonymous with quality performance. The Leica Q comes at a hefty price, but some will argue that it’s worth every penny.

The Q’s automatic viewfinder activates the moment the camera makes contact with your eye. With a resolution of 3.68 MP, it’s one of the best electronic viewfinders money can buy.

In turn, that makes getting the most nuanced details in focus easier to do than ever before.

Leica Q 24.2 Megapixel Digital 35 MM Compact Camera (Black, Anodized, TYP...

But that’s far from the only feature that the Q has to offer…

Intuitive and flexible controls and a fast processor grab up to 10 frames per second. When you get the perfect shot, built-in WiFi syncs with your smartphone or social media accounts.

Finally, all of it comes in an attractive package. Leica’s cameras are famous for their craftsmanship, and only the most effective housing materials are used. A back thumb rest makes it easy to grip, and every individual adjustment wheel is laser engraved.

When it comes to compact viewfinder cameras, it doesn’t get much better than the Leica Q.

5. Panasonic Lumix FZ2500

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ2500 4K Point and Shoot Camera, 20X LEICA DC Vario-ELMARIT F2.8-4.5...

The Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 is another candidate well worth your consideration. A hybrid camera, it fits the needs of photo enthusiasts and burgeoning videographers alike.

Though the Lumix doesn’t offer users the ability to switch lenses, you likely won’t want to once you’ve tried the Leica Vario-Elmarit lens.

As you’d expect, the lens meets all the stringent expectations of a Leica product. It’s got a huge range, from a rather wide-angle 24mm to a 20x optical zoom, making macro photography possible.

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ2500 4K Point and Shoot Camera, 20X LEICA DC Vario-ELMARIT F2.8-4.5...

The Lumix has incredible video capabilities for a compact camera. There are a few neat little features built-in, including slow-motion capture and a dolly zoom. However, it’s got all of the practical necessities as well, such as microphone and headphone terminals.

The Lumix also includes some added features for adjusting your content after you’ve hit the shutter button. For instance, a focus stacking function allows users to layer multiple images and adjust the focal point after shooting.

In addition, any 4K video frame can be converted into a 4K still image.

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ2500 4K Point and Shoot Camera, 20X LEICA DC Vario-ELMARIT F2.8-4.5...
  • The ideal hybrid camera choice for the advanced 4K video enthusiast and photography enthusiast alike.
  • Large 1-inch 20.1 Megapixel sensor and bright 20X LEICA VARIO-ELMART F2.8-4.5 lens.
  • 4K Ultra HD video recording plus exclusive LUMIX 4K PHOTO and 4K Post Focus and internal Focus Stacking modes.Operating...
  • “CINELIKE D” and “CINELIKE V” for cinema-like gradation, time code, live HDMI output (4:2:2/8 bit or 4:2:2/10 bit),...
  • Optional V-Log L upgradability for purchase, and an out of the box unlimited recording duration..Weight:Approx. 915g / 2.02...

RELATED POST: How To Sell Video Clips Online

6. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII Digital Still Camera

Don’t mistake then Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII for any old point and shoot. With some impressive specs and a price tag to match, it’s one of the most promising compact cameras with a viewfinder that we came across.

For starters, it’s backed with an incredible 42.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor. This translates to broad dynamic ranges and excellent resolution.

What’s more, it boasts fast output speeds for the most efficient shooting experience possible.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII Digital Still Camera

For the CyberShot, Sony teamed up with Zeiss to produce an impressive fixed lens. Unlike most fixed models, the 35mm can handle apertures as wide as f/2.0.

The impressive lens also comes with a macro shift ring that caters to closer subjects.

If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, the CyberShot has incredible autofocus features. The expand flexible spot feature sets to focus on any selected point – even if it isn’t positioned directly on your subject.

There are 399 focal-plane phase-detection points, covering the majority of the camera’s field of view.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII Digital Still Camera
  • 42.4MP Full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 35mm F2.0 ZEISS Sonnar T lens with macro capability
  • World's first user-selectable optical variable low-pass filter
  • Fast Hybrid AF with 399 focal plane phase-detection AF points
  • Retractable 2.4-million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder w/ ZEISS T coating

RELATED POST: 6 Best Cameras For Vlogging

Compact Viewfinder Cameras Are Making A Comeback

As you can see, the quality of these compact viewfinder cameras trumps even that of many DSLRs. The A7 III and Leica Q are, in fact, the choice of many professional photographers. For enthusiast we recommend the X100F and for price conscious, budget buyer, the Canon Powershot G5X.

If you’re considering upgrading your kit to include a compact viewfinder Camera, there’s never been a better time.


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1 thought on “The 6 Best Compact Viewfinder Cameras For Amateurs and Professionals”

  1. Thomas L Frank Jr

    First , to point out, I wouldn’t consider these 2 to be “Compact” cameras as people would expect.
    Sony A7 III
    Panasonic Lumix FZ2500

    Second, why weren’t the any of the actual Panasonic Lumix Compact cameras included? The ZS70, ZS80, ZS100 or ZS200 would have been a better inclusion in this article. Fabulous point and shoot, jacket pocket sized compact cameras with great EVF viewfinders and actually functional manual focusing capabilities. The ZX100 and ZX200, with their 1″ sensors and 10x (25mm-250mm equivalent) zoom capabilities would have been a better inclusion than the Lumix FZ2500.

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