Are the best compacts as good as mirrorless cameras and DSLRs?

Panasonic LX100

Smartphones have successfully eaten into the space that was long occupied by budget compact cameras, and this has meant that many manufacturers have shifted their focus to the higher end of the compact spectrum. 

The enthusiast compact camera was always viewed as a credible alternative to a DSLRs for the kinds of situations in which the latter was impractical. Most users, however, will also have been familiar with their various limitations, and the advent of small, mirrorless cameras has also rubbed off some of their sheen.

But now, in 2018, are the differences between the formats as defined as they used to be? Or are compact cameras just as good as interchangeable-lens models? The answer to this depends in large part on how exactly you define a cameras as good, or ‘better’ than another – so let’s take a look at the key points of difference.

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Matt Golowczynski

The former editor of Digital Camera World, "Matt G" has spent the bulk of his career working in or reporting on the photographic industry. For two and a half years he worked in the trade side of the business with Jessops and Wex, serving as content marketing manager for the latter. 

Switching streams he also spent five years as a journalist, where he served as technical writer and technical editor for What Digital Camera before joining DCW, taking on assignments as a freelance writer and photographer in his own right. He currently works for SmartFrame, a specialist in image-streaming technology and protection.