With smartphones doing the duty of a point and shoot camera, for daily casual shooting. You probably need a dedicated digital camera for those special occasions that demand significantly better image quality while assuring you the ability to capture good shots across any (challenging) light conditions. In such situations, a large sensor camera is your best bet to capture high quality images. While DSLR cameras offer you large sensors, they also bring-in the bulk and inconvenience of having to lug around a clunky camera that attracts unnecessary attention when shooting at public places. Here are 3 excellent mirrorless digital cameras that are compact, produce high quality images and don’t demand a heavy investment.
Online Price: Rs. 21,242
The E-PL3 belongs to the popular PEN series of mirrorless Olympus cameras. It boasts of a large 4/3” 12.3 MP Live MOS sensor and interchangeable lens system that allows you to replace the default kit lens with zoom lenses or prime lenses for expanding the capabilities of your camera in the same way as a DSLR camera.
Salient features of the Olympus E-PL3
Compact metal body that is light and rugged at the same time
An overall fast camera in terms of shutter response and focusing speeds
Large 3-inch swivel LCD, offers more flexibility compared to fixed LCD screens
In-body optical image stabilization that works with all lenses
Olympus has one of the best JPEG engines, renowned for its colors and contrast
Enough preset modes for beginners and full manual mode for advanced shooters
Easy availability of Micro Four Third lenses to enhance shooting capabilities
Captures 1080p (FULL HD) videos with stereo sound recording
Related Review: We have reviewed the Olympus E-PL5, the upgraded model of the E-PL3. Read our review to learn more about the Olympus E-PL series of cameras.
Sony Alpha NEX-3NL
Online Price: Rs. 25,490
The NEX-3NL belongs to the popular NEX series of mirrorless digital cameras from Sony. This camera houses a large 16.1MP APS-C type CMOS sensor (same size as DSLR sensors), while offering a compact and good looking body.
Salient features of the Sony Alpha NEX-3NL
Large sensor ensures minimal noise at high ISO settings, producing clean shots in low-light situations
Comes with the new SONY SELP 1650 compact lens, taking less space while offering automatic/motorized zoom control
Large, high-resolution 180-degree tilting screen
Built-in pop-up flash that is surprisingly powerful for its size
Excellent, chunky rubberized grip for better weight balance and steady shots
Offers a wealth of preset modes and auto settings for easy point and shoot operation while allowing full manual control for photography learners and amateur photographers.
Default bundle offers 4GB card, HDMI cable and a carry case
For more details, read our in-depth review of the Sony Alpha NEX-3NL
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3
Online Price: Rs. 22,990
The Panasonic Lumix G3 houses a 4/3” 16.7 MP CMOS sensor, it is the second generation Micro Four Third sensor that improves on noise handling and offers better dynamic range. The G3 is slightly different to the Olympus and Sony cameras mentioned above. It isn’t as compact and the body styling is more on the lines of super-zoom point and shoot cameras. While the G3 is significantly more compact than any of the entry-level DSLR cameras, it does have that extra bit of bulk, giving it a more serious look. Its unique looks might work for you if you are looking for a compact large sensor camera that does not look like a point and shoot and offers extra bulk for better grip, especially for large hands.
Salient features of the Panasonic Lumix G3
The only camera in its league to offer a high-resolution electronic view finder, suited for users who prefer the traditional way of capturing photos. Also helps to save battery-life
The only camera in this list to offer a touch screen display, allows users to accurately select focus points with great ease. Touch input can be configured to capture images via touch command, simply touch the desired area of focus to lock focus and capture the image at the same time
Impressive image quality with low noise and high detail levels
Fast and accurate autofocus system
Well-built body, can take some rough use in its stride
Fully articulating (360-degree) LCD screen
So, there you have it! Three very capable digital cameras that will offer significantly better image quality over any point and shoot camera and advanced point and shoot cameras, while keeping the size and weight in check and giving tough competition to entry-level DSLRs in terms of value and practicality.
Related review: Read our review of the updated Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 to get a better idea of what the G3 is all about.