Ultra-cool, competent and enticing, interchangeable-lens compact cameras are hottest thing to hit the photo enthusiast market
Some call them mirrorless compact cameras because they dispense with the traditional SLR mirror box; others (including your truly) call them CILCs (compact interchangeable-lens cameras) because they’re smaller than SLRs and have interchangeable lenses; and others,. Who like smarmy acronyms call them EVILs (electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens) cameras because they lack optical viewfinders Whatever you call them, they’re definitely creatoing lots of buzz (and sales) among serious and casual shooters and the overall camera market. Why? Because they offer shooting flexibility and performance on a par with many DSLRs in a lighter, more compact cost-effective package that appeals to anyone with an active lifestyle.
All the models covered below offer larger sensors than the typical point-and-shoot, and this generally equates to better imaging performance, particularly at higher ISOs, a good selling point. Interchangeable lenses provide for greater shooting flexibility for travelers, action shooters, and creative types plus a robust choice of accessories. Even their arch rivals, long range zoom point-and-shoots, seldom provide fast-aperture lenses that allow creative pictorial effects, not to mention the ability to mount prime lenses, fisheyes, and true macro lenses. It is also notable that CILCs, particularly the upper-tier models, confer other value-added benefits on their owners, such as style, exclusivity, and pride of ownership. Indeed, cameras like the Sony NEX-7, Fuji X-Pro 1, and Pentax Q have already attained a cult status among the cognoscenti, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see cameras like the Samsung NX200 and Olympus E-P3 added to this exclusive list.
To give you a clear picture of this intriguing and incandescent sector of cameradom we’ve gathered a nice bunch of current models for your delectation and perusal. As mentioned, these fascinating critters definitely appeal to professional men and women, travelers, and other sophisticates seeking that breathless combination of lightness, compactness, flexibility, and high performance. And remember, just because you already own a DSLR, complementing it with a nice compact interchangeable-lens system of the same or a different brand is not a bad idea at all. In fact, if you look at the stats, the majority of people buying these engaging critters are already proud DSLR owners.