Enthusiast compacts: those serious about shooting
These blend the small form of compact cameras with relatively large sensors and excellent optics. Build quality will generally be strong too, often using magnesium alloy for rigidity and low weight, and you’ll typically have things like 4K video, Raw shooting and an electronic shutter option for more discreet shooting. Many models also offer electronic viewfinders, which makes them ideal for those used to composing images more traditionally (and in harsh light).
Pros: Better image quality than the average compact camera in a body that’s still relatively compact and typically sturdy. In terms of having the latest tech, many models tick the same kind of boxes as mirrorless cameras. Some even have APS-C and full-frame sensors.
Cons: Large sensors and small bodies often means a limited zoom range, and some models will only have a prime (fixed-focal-length) lens. Many models won’t offer the same kind of handing as mirrorless cameras either, and most don’t have focusing systems designed for fast-action photography.
Great for: Occasions when a DSLR isn’t practical, but when you still need image quality to be better than that of the average compact.