Best Mini Video Camera For Mac

Posted By admin On 16.02.22

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After four long years, Apple has finally brought the Mac mini back to life with a 2018 update that just might have been worth the wait. The Mac mini 2018 ($799 as tested) gets a full refresh with a new look, a new internal design and new hardware tuned to provide excellent performance. It's one of the best mini PCs you can buy, and the best value Mac offers today.

Design

The Mac mini has had the same dimensions for the better part of a decade, when the unibody Mac mini was introduced in 2010, with its 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4-inch design. It's kept those same dimensions in 2012 (when it dropped the built-in optical drive) and again in 2014. Now, in 2018, the new Mac mini has the same dimensions, and weighs a svelte 2.6 pounds.

That small size was impressive several years ago, but current mini PCs have drastically smaller sizes – the Azulle Access Plus is a svelte stick PC and the recently reviewed Zotac ZBox PI2250 pico isn't much bigger than a credit card. The Mac mini's 7.7-inch square design isn't terribly different from the HP Z2 Mini G4 and the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny, but the unibody design still looks sleek.

But the littlest Mac has gotten a pretty stunning makeover, starting with the space-gray anodized finish. The darker finish makes the bare-metal design look much more modern – the bright aluminum of past Apple designs looks decidedly early 2010 now – and matches the finish found on the iMac Pro and Macbook Pro lines. It's also more environmentally responsible, with the entire aluminum body made from recycled material.

To accommodate the updated hardware inside, Apple had to change some of the internal design, as well. The design has larger vents and a bigger fan, doubling the airflow to better cool the processor. The power supply has been enlarged to provide the necessary power to the new components.

On the bottom of the Mac mini's aluminum chassis is a black plastic disk, which does double duty as both the foot for the compact PC as well as a cover that opens to provide internal access. Around the edges of the panel are cleverly concealed vents for air flow, and the simple black surface has 'Mac mini' imprinted on it.

This access panel has taken different forms over the last few iterations of the mini, with the 2010 model offering a simple twist-to-open design and the 2014 model requiring a special prying tool (literally, a modified putty knife) to open. Unfortunately, the 2018 model still uses the less convenient design that requires a special tool.

Upgradability

Mini

The Mac mini is being touted as more upgrade-friendly than the previous model, which had its RAM soldered directly to the motherboard. The 2018 model offers more traditional SO-DIMM slots, so you can swap out RAM, allowing you to upgrade the unit after purchase. It also means you'll be better able to keep the Mac mini up to date if Apple takes another four-year break before introducing the next model.

Accessing the internals of the system is difficult. Apple has a well-deserved reputation for making its products hard to upgrade, and the Mac mini is no exception. In a discussion with Apple representatives, it was explained that the Mac mini was meant to be 'service upgradable' – upgradable by professionals at a Genius Bar or other approved Apple service provider – rather than 'user upgradable.'

The access panel has to be removed with a special tool, likely the same modified putty knife used in the previous model (we got a credit card to work). Once you open the access panel you will be faced with a metal grille secured with six Torx screws. Just to make things a little more irritating, a standard Torx driver set is not compatible with these screws, which feature a center pin inside the recessed driver slot of the screw.

So, even if you have a set of tiny Torx drivers, you'll probably need to get a different screwdriver, one with a hole in the center to accommodate that pin. Specifically, you'll need a driver for a TR6 Torx security screw.

Additionally, while Apple has returned the upgradable RAM found on the 2010 and 2012 Mac mini, the upgradable storage is gone.

In the 2014 model, you could remove the included Fusion drive (Apple's hybrid SSD and hard-disk storage solution) and replace it with an aftermarket SSD, boosting the performance of the machine and extending the life of the Mac mini – which many people found necessary in the long wait for this year's update. In the 2018 model, that option is gone. The PCIe-connected SSD is soldered to the logic board, making the flash storage modules all but impossible to remove and replace.

The good news is that, thanks to the bandwidth offered by the Thunderbolt 3 ports found on the rear panel of the system, you can connect external storage – even at jaw-dropping capacities – and use it without taking a hit on performance.

Similarly, while there's no configuration for the Mac mini that offers a discrete graphics card, you can also bump up the horsepower for gaming and other graphics-intensive uses by adding an external graphics card enclosure, also connected via Thunderbolt 3.

Ports

On the back of the mini, you'll find four Thunderbolt 3 ports (using USB Type-C connections), two USB 3.0 ports, a single HDMI 2.0 port, a headphone jack for audio and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Those Thunderbolt 3 ports offer a huge amount of connectivity, thanks to speeds of up to 40Gbps. It's enough to connect two 4K displays, and you can also use an external GPU, not to mention all manner of storage and peripherals.

If you need even more speed for connecting a local network or network-attached storage, the Ethernet port can actually be configured as a 10 Gigabit connection, instead. It's a very cool business-friendly feature that media pros will appreciate, but won't be much use to the average user.

And, it wouldn't be Apple without dropping a connection or two. While you get more connectivity overall with the new Mac mini, you do lose the SDXC card slot from the 2014 model. To use an SD card on the new model, you'll need to connect an adapter via USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt 3 port.

Performance

Every configuration of the Mac mini is outfitted with quad-core Intel 8th-generation processors and all flash storage. Apple has been promoting the dramatic improvements in performance from the previous Mac mini, but those claims ring a little hollow when you consider that the last Mac mini update was in 2014, and that the previous system was still rocking fourth-generation dual-core processors.

Our review unit is the base model, which comes with an Intel Core i3-8100B processor, 8GB of memory and 128GB of SSD storage. During usage, I saw plenty to like. When web browsing, I could browse with 15 tabs open, while also streaming music and video. I never experienced any lag.

Apple also has added to the Mac mini the same T2 security chip that comes in its new MacBooks, including the new MacBook Air. This chip serves as a co-processor, providing secure boot capability and full disk encryption.

Apple also boasts that the T2 allows faster video transcoding, claiming up to 30 times faster HEVC video encoding than the 2014 model was able to offer.

Whenever we test a Mac, we're limited because several of our standard tests are not Mac-OS-compatible. However, in the tests we were able to run, we saw some excellent performance from the Core i3 Mac mini.

File transfer speeds were fast enough that I did a double take. I took 2 seconds to copy over our 4.97GB file folder, which works out to a 2,544 MBps transfer rate. That's significantly faster than the HP Z2 Mini G4 (1,017.8 MBps), which is something of a speed demon in its own right. It's exponentially faster than other mini PCs, like the Intel Hades Canyon NUC (310.60 MBps) or the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny (169 MBps). In fact, it's identical to another member of the Mac family, the workstation iMac Pro, which had the same 2 second, 2,544 MBps speeds.

Processing performance was nowhere near as dramatic, but it's still fairly impressive coming from an Intel Core i3 CPU. In Geekbench 4, the Mac Mini managed a score of 13,666 points.

While that's no match for the beefy HP Z2 Mini G4 workstation (23,921 with an Intel Xeon E-2176G processor, 32GB of memory) or the Intel Hades Canyon NUC (17,683 with an Intel Core i7-8809G and 8GB of RAM), it's a big step up from the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q, which scored 8,010 points with ostensibly better hardware (Intel Core i5-7500T, 8GB RAM).

Running the JetStream 1.1 benchmark to see how it performs with web apps, the Mac mini dominated with a score of 281.84. That's phenomenal for a Core i3-based system. The Core i5-based Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny scored only 154.58 on the same test, and even the Xeon-powered HP Z2 Mini G4 workstation scored only 193.40.

MORE: Best Mini PC - Small Computers for Work, Gaming ...

If you plan to use the Mac mini as a home theater PC for streaming to a TV, or as a basic productivity machine that uses web apps heavily, you'll be set with one of the best mini PCs on the market, even in this basic configuration.

Heat

With its Intel Core i3 processor in a small metal enclosure, I expected that the Mac mini’s case would get hot when it was put through its paces. I was wrong.

Even after I streamed video, ran benchmark tests and used the system to work on this review, the Mac mini never got warmer than 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is only 15 degrees above the room temperature of our lab. That's barely enough heat for it to feel warm to the touch.

It's well below the 95-degree comfort threshold we hold laptops to, and it's significantly cooler than the HP Z2 Mini G4 (94 degrees). Compared with smaller, less powerful mini PCs, like the Zotac Zbox PI225 pico, which hit 126 degrees during testing, and there's no comparison. The Mac mini is one cool customer.

It's also quiet. The Mac mini's larger fan lets it run slowly and silently, while still providing enough airflow for cooling. That's good news for audio pros and home-theater users alike, since it means you won't have to contend with a noisy computer when you're trying to get clear audio.

Software and Warranty

The 2018 Mac mini ships with macOS version 10.14 Mojave, Apple's latest operating system. Some of Mojave’s key new features include a night mode, which offers a darker color scheme; deeper integration with iPhone and iPad, improvements to Finder, including Gallery View; and an automatic desktop organization tool called Stacks; it even brings some iOS apps over to the desktop. See our full review of Mac OS Mojave for a more detailed look at the operating system, but suffice it to say, it's a decent step forward for the much loved Mac OS.

Mojave comes with a full office suite (Pages, Numbers and Keynote, the Mac equivalents of Word, Excel and PowerPoint), as well as Photos, iMovie, GarageBand, the Safari web browser and a rich selection of apps. Some of the iOS apps to come to the Mac include Stocks and Voice Memos. You'll also get Siri, but without the built-in microphones found on other Macs, you won't be able to use the 'Hey, Siri' functionality you may be used to from other Apple devices.

The Mac mini is covered with a one-year warranty, which includes hardware repairs through authorized Apple service providers. Included with the new Mac is 90 days of free phone support. With our top rating for tech support, it's hard to complain.

MORE: Mini PCs - Reviews, News and Our Top Picks

You can also get AppleCare for an extended three-year warranty, which gives you both repair service and technical support. But it should be noted that, if the previous model is any indicator, those three years of coverage may not stretch far enough to keep you covered until a new model comes along. If you bought a Mac mini in the first few months after release, you would also have spent up to a year with no warranty coverage while waiting for this model to be announced.

Keyboard and Mouse

While the Mac mini is generally sold on its own – the package contents are literally the Mac mini, a power cord and some documentation – Apple included with our test unit the space- gray keyboard and trackpad. That's about $300 worth of extra stuff that you'll have to purchase separately, but that matches both the space-gray Apple aesthetic and the capabilities of the Mac and Mac OS.

The keyboard, technically called the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad ($149), is a slim wireless keyboard that uses rubber dome/scissor switches for a low-profile design that still offers a decent typing experience with good tactile feedback. It's no mechanical keyboard, but it's still comfortable to type on.

The trackpad that Apple sent, the Magic Trackpad 2 ($149) in space gray, is also a welcome addition, since it not only offers a sleek trackpad to go with your Mac mini, but also boasts additional pressure sensitivity for Apple's dynamic Force Touch.

This lets you enjoy all of the unique contextual menus and expanded functionality that you'd get on a Macbook in the desktop environment. It's a must-have for media creators who need all of the tools and shortcuts that take advantage of Force Touch, but it's worth considering even for the regular user who might be used to those same dynamic controls from their Macbook Pro.

Configurations

The Mac mini comes in two primary configurations. Our test unit is the base model, which is equipped with a quad-core 3.6GHz Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM and 128GB of flash storage, and sells for $799.

The other ready-to-go configuration starts at $1,099, and boasts a 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and a larger 256GB SSD for storage. Both models use the Intel UHD Graphics 630 built into the processor, and there are no options for a built-in discrete GPU. (You can, however, connect an external GPU via the Thunderbolt 3 connections in back.)

Both of these models can be configured further with up to a 6-core Intel Core i7 processor (an extra $200 to 300 depending on which model you started with). You can expand the RAM to 16GB ($200), 32GB ($600) or 64GB ($1,400). You can bump up the storage to larger capacities, with several SSD options.

If you're starting with the base model's 128GB, you can expand to 256GB ($200), 512GB ($400), 1TB ($800) or max out at 2TB ($1,600). You can also upgrade the included Gigabit Ethernet port to 10x Gigabit ($100), which offers a major improvement in speed for local networks and network connected storage. All told, you can spec out a custom configuration that totals $4,199 – a far cry from the $799 base price.

MORE: Top Mac Games

Our recommendation? Unless you need it, you can skip the Ethernet upgrade, but you'll want to be smart when it comes to memory and storage. RAM can be added after the fact, with standard DDR4 memory available for much less than Apple's charging for it. When in doubt, keep the memory low, and upgrade later. Storage, on the other hand, cannot be upgraded, but can be supplemented via Thunderbolt 3.

We'd recommend getting a healthy amount of onboard storage (512GB would be a good amount), and then adding external storage down the road. We'd probably opt for the Core i5 processor option instead of the Core i3 we tested, if only to provide more power. But if you need real muscle for professional use, the hex-core Core i7 is your best bet.

A note for the technically minded: The Core i3 model that we tested doesn't offer either Turbo Boost of Hyper-Threading technology. If you upgrade to a Core i5 model, you'll get Turbo Boost, which lets the clock speed ramp up for short bursts. If you opt for the Core i7 model, you'll get both Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading for more multithread capability.

Bottom Line

One major benefit of Apple's four-year gap between updates is that there's no confusion about the new Mac mini — it's better than any of its predecessors. And if you've been looking for a chance to upgrade from an older model, there's no reason to wait.

It's also much more versatile, with a wide range of configurations that should appeal to home-theater users and media pros alike. And Apple has trumpeted the Mac mini's flexibility for things like building computing clusters, offloading code compiling from a Macbook, or even racking multiple minis together as a server.

Comparing against other mini PCs, the Mac mini 2018 also manages to squeeze exceptional power out of its Intel Core i3 processor, and I'd expect similarly optimized performance from the Core i5 and i7 models.

That said, there are plenty of reasons to choose something different. If you need more graphics horsepower for professional use, the HP Z2 Mini G4 is still our top pick for workstation-grade mini PCs, thanks its Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics. And if you're looking for something aimed at gaming or office work, then the Intel Hades Canyon NUC and the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny might be better fits.

But if you want a compact Mac desktop, a great mini PC for streaming media, or even just an affordable way to jump to the Apple side of the computing world, the Mac mini 2018 is a fantastic choice, boasting great performance, excellent design and great value.

Credit: Tom's Guide

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From simple snappers for beginners to high-end powerhouses, here are the best compact and point-and-shoot cameras you can buy right now.

Compact cameras and the compact camera market have changed considerably over the last few years. Smartphones, with their ever-improving cameras, have decimated budget models and as a result camera manufacturers have concentrated on putting more advanced features into compact cameras to make them more attractive than ever before.

Top 5 compact cameras

Here's our pick of the 5 best compact cameras - click on the links below to go through to the full review for each

1.Fujifilm X100F
2.Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
3.Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
4.Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
5.Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

Compared to compact cameras of old, manufacturers are now tending to design models based around physically larger sensors than used to be the norm. The result of this change is that you're now going to get significantly better image quality than even the best smartphone. In some cases, the sensors in some high-end compact cameras can rival DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

The wide variety of different compact cameras means there's a wealth of choice out there to pretty much suit all photographic needs and budgets.

There are small compact cameras that can slip in a pocket yet have huge zoom ranges, and large bridge cameras that look like DSLRs, but have a large, fixed zoom lens and lots of automated easy-to-use options (though don't expect DSLR-rivalling image quality).

That's not forgetting waterproof options and high-end models that are a great alternative to a DSLR or mirrorless camera should you want something a bit more portable.

If you need a bit more help figuring out what kind of camera you need, then your best place to start is by reading this article: What camera should I buy?

Otherwise, read on to find out our pick of the best compact cameras you can buy right now.

Great value option: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV

Sensor: 1-inch type, 20.1MP Lens: 24-70mm, f/1.8-2.8 Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle screen, 1,229K dots Viewfinder: EVF Continuous shooting: 16fps Movies: 4K User level: Intermediate

Great sensor for such a small camera
LCD not touch sensitive

Before we take a look at our pick of the compact cameras out there today, we wanted to highlight an older option that still packs a punch. The RX100 IV sits in the middle of the RX100 family, and while newer models beat it for burst shooting, autofocus and focal range, for most people this cheaper alternative would still serve them brilliantly. The 1-inch sensor at its heart captures lovely images and super-crisp 4K videos, and while the 24-70mm (35mm equivalent) lens range isn't quite as broad as on the RX100 VI and RX100 VII, the lens itself has a wider f/1.8-2.8 aperture. The 2.36 million-dot viewfinder cleverly hides away when not in use, while optical image stabilisation inside the lens keeps everything steady. You might want to pair it with a separate grip for better handling, but if you need a powerful compact to slip into your pocket – and you don't want to spend a fortune getting it – you'll find the RX100 IV delivers plenty.

  • Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV review

Best compact cameras in 2019

1. Fujifilm X100F

The X100F is the perfect compact for the enthusiast photographer

Sensor: APS-C CMOS, 24.3MP Lens: 23mm f/2 Monitor: 3.0-inch, 1,040,000 dots Viewfinder: Hybrid optical/EVF Continuous shooting: 8fps Movies: 1080p User level: Expert

Beautiful design
1080p video

We admit that with its fixed-focal-length lens and bulky body, the X100F isn't going to be everyone's idea of compact camera fun. But as the fourth camera in a hugely popular series, Fujifilm has done a grand job to take the best bits from the previous triplet and elevate its performance once again – and the result is a mighty powerful camera. The 24MP APS-C sensor spits out detailed images with low noise and superb colours, while the manual dials for shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO and aperture connect you with the camera in a way that just doesn't happen on most other compacts. The hybrid electronic/optical viewfinder also gives you the freedom to adjust what it displays to better suit your environment. Our only reservations are that video is limited to Full HD recording, although that's not a deal-breaker for many photographers.

  • Read our in-depth Fujifilm X100F review

2. Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

The best travel zoom camera you can buy right now

Sensor: 1-inch type, 20.1MP Lens: 25-360mm, f/3.3-6.4 Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,240,000 dots Viewfinder: EVF Continuous shooting: 10fps Movies: 4K User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Large 1.0-inch sensor
Small electronic viewfinder

Panasonic invented the travel-zoom camera genre - compact cameras that you can fit in a pocket but that have long zoom lenses built-in. Despite strong competition, the ZS range (known as TZ outside the US) has continued to dominate sales, and it looks set to continue this with the brilliant Lumix ZS200 (called TZ200 outside the US). As we first saw with the Lumix ZS100 / TZ100, Panasonic has been able to keep the camera body about the same size as earlier ZS-series cameras but squeeze a much larger 1-inch sensor into the camera to deliver much better image quality. The zoom lens isn't quite so extensive as some, but the versatile 15x zoom should be more than enough for most users, while you also get (an admittedly small) electronic viewfinder, 4K video and a great touchscreen interface. If you're looking for a neat all-in-one compact camera that delivers great images, this is it.

  • Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200 review

3. Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

Expensive, but highly capable and offering a huge focal range

Sensor: 1-inch CMOS, 20.2MP Lens: 24-600mm, f/2.4-4 Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1.44m dots Viewfinder: EVF Continuous shooting: 24fps Movies: 4K User level: Intermediate/Expert

Superb sensor
Expensive

If you're looking for a powerful all-in-one bridge camera, then the RX10 IV from Sony is the best there is. You'll pay a premium for that performance, but when you look at what else is out there for the same price, the RX10 IV is virtually in a league of its own. Featuring a huge 24-600mm f/2.4-4 zoom lens, the RX10 IV builds on the RX10 III with an overhauled AF system that now does justice to the rest of the camera, while the 1-inch, 20.1MP sensor is capable of achieving excellent levels of detail. Handling is very polished, feeling like a DSLR in the hand and complemented by a large and bright electronic viewfinder. That's not forgetting the ability to capture video in 4K and shoot at up to 24fps. Impressive stuff.

  • Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV review

4. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

Perfect for vloggers shooting on the fly

Sensor: 1-inch, 20.1MP Lens: 24-100mm, f/1.8-2.8 Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots Viewfinder: No Continuous shooting: 20fps (30fps in Raw Burst mode) Movie: 4K User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Super-fast burst shooting
Lens can be a little soft

We're just putting the finishing touches to our review of the PowerShot G7 X Mark III, and we're confident that this will be just a great a hit with vloggers as previous G7 X models proved to be. With the new advantages of 4K shooting, a mic port and live streaming to YouTube joining the previously seen built-in ND filter and flip up LCD screen, this is arguably the strongest compact right now for vlogging. But if you've no interest in video there's still plenty to keep you happy, from 30fps shooting at full resolution to a super-sensitive touchscreen, in-camera raw processing and the added convenience of USB charging. It's a shame there's no viewfinder or hot shoe, but then not everyone needs these.

  • Find out more about theCanon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

5. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

A brilliant compact for the enthusiast photographer

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, 17MP Lens: 24-75mm, f/1.7-2.8 Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,240,000 dots Viewfinder: EVF Continuous shooting: 11fps Movies: 4K User level: Intermediate

Excellent image quality
Sluggish zooming

Compact cameras with sensors larger than 1-inch in size are typically limited to fixed-focal-length lenses, which is great for quality but less so for flexibility. But not the Panasonic LX100 II; it manages to marry a 17MP Four Thirds sensor – the same size as those found inside Panasonic's G-series mirrorless cameras – with a zoom lens equivalent to 24-75mm in 35mm terms, proving that sometimes you can get quality and flexibility at once. The original LX100 was something of a landmark camera for offering something similar, and this latest iteration takes the baton, with a nippy AF system, robust body, clear 4K videos and a useful electronic viewfinder among its highlights.

  • Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix LX100 II review

6. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI

Sony's super-high speed sensor tech is brilliant but pricey

Sensor: 1-inch, 20.1MP Lens: 24-200mm, f/2.8-4.5 Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 921,000 dots Viewfinder: EVF Continuous shooting: 24fps Movies: 4K User level: Intermediate/expert

High-speed shooting and 4K
The tech makes it expensive

Sony's original RX100 was a landmark camera that fused a 1-inch sensor in a compact, metal body with the controls and image quality demanded by enthusiasts. The RX100 VI goes several steps further, though, with a 'stacked' sensor design for high-speed data capture. This means it can shoot 4K video, amazing 40x slow motion and still images at 24fps in continuous burst mode. That's not forgetting the neat little built-in electronic viewfinder that its rivals lack, while this sixth generation model now packs an impressive 24-200mm zoom lens. It's a pricey option and does have its quirks, but if you're looking for a versatile, pocket-sized compact with a quality zoom lens, you won't be disappointed.

  • Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI review

7. Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500

The FZ2000 / FZ2500 combines a bridge camera zoom with a big 1-inch sensor

Sensor: 1-inch, 20.1MP Lens: 24-480mm, f/2.8-4.5 Monitor: 3.0-inch articulating display, 1,040,000 dots Viewfinder: EVF Continuous shooting: 12fps Movies: 4K User level: Intermediate

1-inch sensor
Comparatively large

This trend towards bigger sensors shows up in the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 (known as the FZ2500 in the US). Bridge cameras are very popular because they offer a colossal zoom range at a modest cost. To design a big zoom, though, the makers have to use a tiny sensor – and here Panasonic took the wise choice to sacrifice zoom range for better quality. The Panasonic FZ2000 uses a 1-inch sensor, and while the zoom tops out at 480mm equivalent, which is relatively short for a bridge camera, that's still plenty for all but the most extreme everyday use. We love the FZ2000 because it delivers both image quality and zoom range - if you're looking for something a bit cheaper, the older FZ1000 is still available.

  • Read our in-depthPanasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500 review

8. Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

A unique compact, thanks to an APS-C sensor and zoom lens

Sensor: APS-C CMOS, 24.2MP Lens: 24-72mm, f/2.8-5.6 Monitor: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots Viewfinder: EVF Continuous shooting: 7fps Movies: 1080p User level: Intermediate/expert

Big sensor, small body
Limited zoom range

Keen photographers usually go for a DSLR or mirrorless camera, but they also want something that will slip in a pocket for those days when the big camera needs to stay at home. Usually, that means putting up with a smaller sensor – but not this time. Somehow, Canon has shoehorned a DSLR-sized APS-C sensor into a compact camera body. There's also a built-in electronic viewfinder and refined touchscreen interface. The zoom range is a bit modest at 24-72mm, but there's nothing else quite like it.

  • Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III review

9. Olympus Tough TG-5

The best waterproof compact you can buy

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS, 12.2MP Lens: 25-100mm, f/2-4.9 Monitor: 3.0-inch display, 460,000 dots Viewfinder: No Continuous shooting: 20fps Movies: 4K User level: Beginner

Rugged credentials
Average battery life

Waterproof down to 15m, the Tough TG-5 is also crushproof to 100kg and drop-proof from 2.1m. It can even be used in temperatures as low as -10°C. If you want a rugged, go-anywhere camera, this is it. Olympus has taken the unusual step of actually dropping the pixel count from 16MP on the TG-4 to 12MP on the TG-5 for a better high ISO performance. Add in raw file support and this makes image quality that bit better than its predecessor, while it can shoot 4K video at 30p or high speed footage at 120p in Full HD. Our pick of the waterproof bunch of compacts. The recently announced TG-6 offers a small scattering of benefits, although the TG-5 is still very much available and a camera we continue to rate if you need something as rugged as it is capable.

  • Read our in-depthOlympus Tough TG-5 review

Best Mini Video Camera To Bring On Travels

10. Panasonic ZS100 / TZ100

A superzoom at a super price

Sensor: 1-inch type, 20.1MP Lens: 25-250mm, f/2.8-5.9 Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,040K dots Viewfinder: EVF Continuous shooting: 10fps Movies: 4K User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Large sensor considering the lens
Screen fixed in place

The ZS100 may have been refreshed by the ZS200 (position 2) but don't let that put you off; this is still a fine camera, and its last-gen status means it's at a better price than ever. Part of its charm is that fact that it partners a large 1-inch sensor with a 10x optical zoom lens, which provides better image and video quality than other superzoom compacts, but with the flexibility of a broad zoom lens – not something many cameras can claim. Other niceties include a built-in EVF, very good quality 4K video and Wi-Fi, along with image capture in raw.

  • Read our in-depthPanasonic ZS100 review

Also consider...

None of the above take your fancy? Got some cash to play with? Here are two further options.

Leica Q2

Expensive? Yes. Brilliant? Hell yes.

Sensor: Full-frame 47.3MP Lens: 28mm f/1.7 Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots Viewfinder: EVF Continuous shooting: 20/10fps Movies: 4K User level: Intermediate/expert

Stellar images
Video specs could be better

The Q2 is a thing of beauty, and right now it's arguably the best compact camera around. It's not for everyone – not least because it costs a small fortune – but if you genuinely want the best compact you'll be hard pushed to find a finer one than the Q2. Leica hasn't compromised on the spec sheet, with the 47.3MP sensor producing masses of detail and keeping noise impressive low, while the 3.68 million dot electronic viewfinder is bright and sharp. Also bright and sharp is that 28mm f/1.7 lens, while 4K videos show plenty of detail. It's not the easiest to handle (although you can get an optional grip) and some may have preferred a tilting screen, but its build quality is near-faultless. If you're pining for such a camera in your life but can't quite find the funds, consider the previous Q1 model, which offers a slightly stripped-down feature set by comparison for a hell of a lot less.

Best Pocket Video Camera

Ricoh GR III

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Also fairly niche, but great at what it does nonetheless

Sensor: APS-C 24.2MP Lens: 28mm f/2.8 (35mm-equivalent) Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots Viewfinder: No Continuous shooting: 4fps Movies: Full HD User level: Intermediate

Tiny, rugged body

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Video quality is poor

We had mixed feelings when we came to review the GR III, but it still deserves a mention here. Why's that? Because, despite a few quirks, Ricoh managed to get a lot right, and it delivers something no other compact quite manages right now, namely the combination of an image-stabilized 24MP APS-C sensor inside a body that you can squeeze into your pocket. Other advantages include a high-performing lens, fast operation, a revamped menu system and understated styling to help keep you discreet when you're out shooting. The fixed 28mm-equivalent lens won't be to everyone's taste, and the battery life is also disappointing, but for those who need to travel light and take great images, this is a very capable alternative to an interchangeable-lens camera.

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  • Read our in-depthRicoh GR III review