A few thoughts on Serious Compacts and where the market is going

I'm wondering what's going to really turn out to work in the market.

Right now, the Serious Compact market is mostly tiny sensors cameras like the G7/G9/G10 or the LX3. There's the Sigma large-sensor compact.

There's also the more-compact-interchangeable lens cameras that, so far, have not impressed me that much, largely because I think the design goal was "Like a dSLR but smaller" instead of "Like a G10 but bigger" But, clearly if you take a hacksaw to the tiny compact-interchangeable-lens-cameras you can get them down to a nice small size.

I've written about this before, before we started seeing them hit the market. We're starting to see them hit the market, and assuming that camera-makers don't give up on trying to sell people who might be scared of making their next mortgage payment in the present economy new toys, we're starting to see variants on the model. Thus, I was thinking... if there's a few cameras like the Sigma DP1/DP2, a few cameras like the G-series, and a few compact-interchangeable-lens cameras like the Samsung NX and Panasonic G1 on the market, which one would I pick?

I kind of like having the zoom lens for my compact camera. I don't think that my serious compact needs to be a do-all camera, but I do find myself getting a lot of use out of it. Thus, there is some resistance in my head to getting a prime-lens-only compact, unless I was building a collection of digital cameras... which I'm trying to avoid.

On the other hand, if I got something Olympus G1-ish that was more compact, plus a pancake lens, I could play the jacket-coat-shuffle with the camera in one pocket with the pancake, plus a more capable zoom lens in the other.

Or, I could just accept that I'm OK with not taking the most excellent high-res picture (My favorite camera is still a RB67, after all) and just stick with whatever successor to the G7 is on the market when the G7 breaks.

So, I'm agonizing over the details. I'm not actually looking to buy, but since buying anything other than groceries requires a substantial amount of agonizing before I actually buy it, I might as well get some of that over sooner rather than later. Given that I got the G7, pronounced it good, and now I'm spotting G7/G9/G10 series cameras everywhere, it's clear that other people think like me. Will each of the three models for a serious compact stake out a place in the market, or will we see one or both of the three alternate models go away entirely, much like the serious-superzoom totally lost out to the dSLR?


I'm not kidding about the agonizing for long periods of time part. You should see how nasty my sneakers look right now.

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