New Zealand D-Photo
GEAR SHOWDOWN LEADERS OF THE FIXED-PRIME PACK
D-Photo’s review round table compares four of the best compact fixedprime-lens cameras currently available
With smartphone cameras growing ever more powerful and slim mirrorless models offering as much punch as a DSLR, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the time of the fixed-prime-lens compact might have passed. But the market for slick, powerful, and pocketable take-anywhere cameras is as competitive as ever, with brands parking some of their strongest models in this category. There is a lot to recommend a finely crafted, fixed-primelens compact. Not only are they very small and lightweight, making them easy to keep with you at all times, but, because they are designed and optimized for their one specific lens, they are often able to deliver some of the best quality imagery around.
Fujifilm is largely responsible for the revival of these retro-influenced compacts. The company’s film camera– inspired X100 won hearts and minds in 2011, and new, more refined iterations have issued forth ever since. The latest on that list is the Fujifilm X100V, the fifth edition of this modern classic, boasting an improved lens and loads of new features.
When it comes to quality-crafted photo equipment, you just can’t go past Leica, and the fixed-prime-lens compact category is no exception. The Leica Q2 is a stunner to look at and hold, flawlessly evoking the minimal aesthetic that the company is known for. It’s not all looks, though; with a 47MP full-frame sensor, this little package has both beauty and brawn to spare.
Another model that wears its film-era legacy on its sleeve is the Ricoh GR III. The GR series originated in the mid ’90s and quickly became a point-and-shoot favourite with serious photographers looking for a smart backup. Still going strong in the digital era, the Ricoh GR III is a tidy little nostalgia trip backed by modern digital power.
Sony has long been making waves in the interchangeablelens mirrorless arena, but the company has by no means abandoned the fixed-lens market. The Sony RX1R II offers a smooth blend of advanced features from the interchangeable crowd, combined with the gutsy, solid performance of the brand’s previous fixed-lens successes.