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5 Best Large Sensor Compact Cameras in 2024 (Great Alternatives to Bulky DSLRs)

5 Best Large Sensor Compact Cameras 2024 (Reviews)

What is the best compact digital camera to buy?

The ones with the largest sensor. It is the soul of a digital camera.

The sensor is something that determines image size, how bright and sharp your photos are, or how well they perform in low light conditions.

And guess what?

Most modern compacts come with a 1″-type sensor size (or larger) which basically increase the quality of pictures.

So, if you’re looking for great alternatives to bulky DSLRs, then have a look at my list of the best large sensor compact cameras for 2024 (across various budgets and brands).

Here’s a table that’ll give you a quick look of my top 5 roundup and the reasons to buy the product. For further details, simply click ‘review>’ in respective row.



Reasons to Get It

1. Leica Q

Best high end compact camera

  • awesome IQ & ergonomics

  • burst rate up to 10 fps

  • full frame sensor

  • great in low light situations

2. Fuji X100F

Advanced compact camera for street & travel

  • retro design

  • unique hybrid viewfinder

  • incredible images & bokeh

  • sweet price-value camera

3. Canon G9X II

Best pocket camera for everyday photos

  • 1 inch sensor

  • fast burst rate of 8.2 fps

  • great for everyday & travel

  • budget compact camera

4. Lumix LX100

Best compact camera for travel

  • 4k compact camera

  • Leica DC zoom lens

  • full manual controls

  • quality stills and videos

5. Ricoh GR II

Best wide angle compact camera for street shooting

  • 28mm lens (wide angle)

  • light and pocketable

  • great AF and image quality

  • best value for money

When choosing which product to include, I didn’t focus on the ‘latest and the greatest’, but rather on great price-quality ratio options, even if they are older models.

In any case, whether you’re a complete newbie or an enthusiast, bootstrapped or not, you’ll find a good option that works best for your needs, skills, and budget.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Leica Q (Typ 116)

Best Full Frame Sensor Compact (Fixed Lens)

Type: Large sensor compact | Weight: 640 g | Resolution: 24 MP | Sensor size: Full-frame (36 x 24 mm) | LCD screen: Fixed | Touchscreen: Yes | Weather-sealed: No | ISO: Auto, 100-50000

Leica Q 24.2 Megapixel Digital 35 MM Compact Camera (Black, Anodized, TYP 116)

Reasons to Buy:

  • compact with full frame sensor
  • excellent image quality
  • great ergonomics and menu convenience
  • the build quality is amazing
  • very fast autofocus
  • pretty compact and lightweight
  • great price compared to newer model

Reasons to Avoid:

  • average battery life (get 2-3 Panasonic Lumix spare batteries)
  • not very flexible configuration of function buttons
  • not super affordable to some people

I’ll say this right off the bat…

Leica Q hands down is one of the best premium compact cameras money can buy

As a rule, Leica products have 2 things in common: insanely high price tags, and features and ergonomics close to perfection.

Either way, it’s a dream camera for many photographers.

Here’s why:

  • burst rate up to 10 fps,
  • it offers outstanding image quality,
  • great placement of manual dials,
  • extremely sharp focus,
  • quiet and vibration-free leaf shutter,
  • good low-light performance,

… Just to name a few.

Leica Q (Typ 116) is a premium compact with a fixed 28 mm f/1.7 lens and a 24MP full-frame sensor. (Basically it’s the best compact with DSLR quality.)

To give you perspective:

It sees the world as an iPhone but gives out photos slightly larger than that of 5D III – 6000 x 4000 px.

Some complain about 28 mm lens but, frankly, it just means you’ll have to physically move to change the distance. And the quality you get is sure worth it.

The f/1.7 lens takes great pics even in dim light conditions and is awesome for macro photography.

Speaking of which…

You’ll love love the ring to move from normal focus ranges to macro mode.

Macro Mode in Leica Q (The best full-frame compact camera)
Switching to Macro Mode made easy.

(Overall, the manual adjustments on the lens are fun to use.)

The autofocus is incredibly fast, you won’t have anything to complain about.

If we compare it with 5D III again with some fast lens, then I’d say they are approximately the same in terms of speed.

Without a doubt, Leica Q is one of the fastest large sensor premium compact cameras on the market today.

It is is best to use for the following genres:

  • travel,
  • macro photos,
  • landscapes, and,
  • street photography.

Important to note that while you can take decent landscape shots, I’d say it’s more of a walk around camera which is great for taking photos of your family, during travel, and for macro photography.

Remember that it’s a fixed 28 mm focal length.

Generally speaking, video recording is possible in Full HD at 50/60 fps.

However, it’s my understanding that Leica’s target audience isn’t so much interested in video than it is in stills.

This being said, it’s not trying to compete with Canon or Sony products in terms of video. If you’re you are into both photography and videography, then this list of the top rated cameras for hybrid shooters is for you.

All in all, I think Leica Q is close to perfection.

I mean…

  • It has a nice minimalistic body,
  • It shoots amazingly well,
  • and doesn’t take up much space in your bag.

(Definitely a great choice for avid travellers.)

Note: This model is great, but if you can afford a newer one, it’s even better! You’ll absolutely love the Leica camera.

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2. Fujifilm X100F

One of the Best Digital Compact Cameras

Type: Large sensor compact | Weight: 469 g | Resolution: 24 MP | Sensor size: APS-C (23.6 x 15.6 mm) | LCD screen: Fixed | Touchscreen: No | Weather-sealed: No | ISO: Auto, 200-12800 (expands to 100-51200)

Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Silver

Reasons to Buy:

  • retro design
  • unique hybrid viewfinder
  • great build quality
  • incredible image quality
  • 35mm lens resembles the perspective of the human eye
  • Full HD video at 60 fps
  • best price-quality ratio digital camera

Reasons to Avoid:

  • fixed lens
  • face detection is unreliable
  • autofocus could be better

Is Fujifilm X100F worth it?

Indeed it is. It is a premium compact with large sensor and that cool retro-design.

(Just like Leica Q it also comes with a fixed lens.)

This Fujifilm offers a unique hybrid viewfinder, has a solid metal construction yet is light (and pocketable), provides incredible image quality, has a great bokeh and a slightly wide focal length.

It gets a lot right!

If you specialize in street photography or just want to have the camera to document your life as you see it, then Fujifilm X100F is a really solid option for you.

As mentioned earlier, Fujifilm X100F offers a unique hybrid viewfinder. What it means is that it can work both in OVF and EVF.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF):

  • Displays the image with the same brightness and color that you’ll see on the photo, though in low light conditions it might show a bit of digital noise.

The optical viewfinder (OVF):

  • Provides a bright and clear picture in any shooting conditions, but it’s impossible to track the correct exposure and white balance on it.

And it’s made easy. Basically you have a switch and you turn the Hybrid OVF into a full fledged EVF.

Next, X100F features a 35mm equiv. f/2 fixed lens.

This means that you can rely on its confident work in low-light situations and you’ll have a nice background blur. 

Now, it can be seen as a restriction in a sense that you can’t zoom in, for example, to shoot some sports events, but this focal length is sort of a benchmark for street and documentary photography.


Because 35mm focal length most closely resemble the perspective of the human eye.

And that’s why Fujifilm X100F is considered to be one of the best street/travel photography cameras today.

Street photography with Fujifilm X100F (one of the best large sensor compact camera)
ƒ/2.0 · 1/90s · ISO 3200

To be clear, while X100F is great for high quality street photography, it’s also suitable for (full-body) portrait shots, documentary, and, travel.

Some say that it’ll work for landscapes too, if you’re willing to think of it differently, but remember that it’s a 35mm focal length, so you’ll have clear shots of things that are within normal viewing distance.

All in all, Fuji X100F is nothing short of impressive.

It’s especially a great compact camera for travel and street photography.

And the price-value of this camera is amazing. You won’t find a better large sensor premium compact without spending thousands of dollars on it.

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3. Canon PowerShot G9 X II

Budget Compact Digital Camera with 1 Inch Sensor

Type: Compact | Weight: 206 g | Resolution: 20 MP | Sensor size: 1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm) | LCD screen: Fixed | Touchscreen: Yes | Weather-sealed: No | ISO: Auto, 125-12800

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact Digital Camera w/ 1 Inch Sensor and 3inch LCD - Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth Enabled (Black)

Reasons to Buy:

  • small dimensions and weight
  • improved built-in image stabilizer
  • quite accurate autofocus
  • large buffer for continuous shooting
  • built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth interfaces
  • can charge via micro-USB
  • best affordable pocket camera

Reasons to Avoid:

  • no tilting display screen
  • short battery life
  • can’t change most settings during video shooting

Low cost compacts with large sensors is a rare class of photography equipment. 


Because the larger the sensor, the more expensive the camera is.

While the 1-inch type cameras are not as great as micro four-thirds, they still provide an awesome image quality.

A highly portable Canon Powershot G9X II is one of the best, most affordable 1-inch sensor compacts on the market today.

Its lens has a large aperture (f/2 in wide-angle position) and 3x optical zoom.

This viewing angle is approximately equal to that of the smartphone lenses.

It also offers a smart autofocus system, fast burst rate of 8.2 fps, and a built-in Intelligent image stabilization. All of this ensures that you have shake-free, sharp photos wherever you are.

(It’ll be enough even for dynamic documentary photography.)

If you’re tired of lugging your photography bag around and long for portability, Canon G9X II is a great alternative and has everything you need in a pocketable camera.

Its wide functionality, advanced technical characteristics, and the ability to provide excellent image quality (even in the difficult shooting situations) will allow you to take photos in any photography style of yours.

Think of this advanced point-and-shooter as a photographer’s notebook, which helps in the daily pursuit of awesome pictures.

Below is an example of on-the-go everyday life things captured:

A picture taken with Canon G9X II (A great 1-inch compact camera for everyday life shooting and travel).
10.2mm · ƒ/4.0 · 1/250s · ISO 250

So I think it’s an excellent 1-inch compact for every day life.

Canon G9X II is also a great lightweight alternative when traveling.

Wi-Fi is a sweet bonus if you don’t travel with your laptop. Basically you can transfer your pics to your smartphone for editing and then post on social media (while on the trip).

Bottom line:

Canon G9X II is one of those pocketable cameras around $500 that will give you everything you need, even if you’re a DSLR enthusiast photographer.

In term of light traveling purposes, this is as good as you can get.

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4. Panasonic Lumix LX100

Still a Great Compact Camera for Travel

Type: Large sensor compact | Weight: 393 g | Resolution: 13 MP | Sensor size: Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) | LCD screen: Fixed | Touchscreen: No | Weather-sealed: No | ISO: Auto, 200-25600 (expands to 100-25600)

PANASONIC LUMIX LX100 4K Point and Shoot Camera, 3.1X LEICA DC Vario-SUMMILUX F1.7-2.8 Lens with Power O.I.S., 12.8 Megapixel, DMC-LX100K (USA BLACK)

Reasons to Buy:

  • Leica DC zoom lens and a M43 sensor
  • very shallow DOF
  • 4K video
  • hotshoe and 1/2000 flash sync speed
  • full manual controls
  • great low light performance and results at ISO 1600
  • compact and lightweight (perfect for travel)

Reasons to Avoid:

  • EVF lag
  • not the greatest battery life
  • not a tilting/articulated LCD screen
  • awkward video record button position
  • may have a dust on sensor problem
  • no external mic jack

Even though Panasonic Lumix LX100 was released in 2014, it’s still one of the top rated digital compacts.

If we consider all things LX100 offers, such as price, versatility, customizability, time-lapse feature, quality of video and stills, compactness and portability, then this might be one of the best photography deals you’ll come across.

And its micro 4/3 sensor with a fast f/1.72.8, 2475mm zoom lens are a steal.

For comparison purposes, the price of Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens ALONE is twice as much as the whole LX100 compact.

While you shouldn’t expect the same level of IQ as in high-end full frame DSLRs, Lumix LX100 still offers great quality.

(Even in low-light conditions).

You should keep in mind that it’s a product in the micro 4/3 sensor department, so it can’t be pushed too much. I’d say you can go up to ISO 3200 without seeing much noise.

Because of this lens, both video and still photos of this compact are stunning.

Overall, Lumix LX100 will work well for street photography, vacation and travel photos, food pics, and landscapes.

Oh, and the macro abilities of this Panasonic model are AMAZING.

A landscape photo of Lake Louise made by Panasonic Lumix LX100 compact camera.
Lake Louise, AB, Canada · 10.9mm · ƒ/5.6 · 1/1300s · ISO 200

As you can see, its highly versatile lens has very little it can’t do… from landscapes to portraits.

While the lens is versatile it does have its minor drawbacks.

For example, you’d have awesome portrait shots but the it won’t give you that bokeh as an APS-C sensor with a f/1.4 can.

And if you’re taking landscape photos, the lens won’t be able to go as wide as a 15 mm lens.

This being said, while it’s discontinued in 2024, it’s still available and a great advanced point-and-shoot option for a lot of people.

You have a camera that:

  • has a fixed zoom lens (no need to worry about additional lenses),
  • suitable for most photography styles,
  • is great for travellers as it’s light and portable,
  • features a built-in time-lapse feature, and,
  • offers both video and stills of amazing quality.

Keep in mind…

It has a challenging menu system and it might take you some time to figure out how to set it up. While this Lumix is very customizable, it’s something that beginner photographers might have a hard time with. 

But if you’re familiar with manual controls, LX100 is awesome.

If you’re looking for a 4K travel camera that doesn’t involve interchangeable lenses, works for most situations, and is affordable enough, then LX100 is for you.

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5. Ricoh GR II

Best Compact Wide Angle Camera 2024

Type: Large sensor compact | Weight: 251 g | Resolution: 16 MP | Sensor size: APS-C (23.7 x 15.7 mm) | LCD screen: Fixed | Touchscreen: No | Weather-sealed: No | ISO: Auto, 100-25600

Ricoh GR II Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)

Reasons to Buy:

  • 28mm lens (wide angle of view)
  • easy to use
  • light, pocket-sized
  • great image quality
  • fast autofocus
  • best value for price today

Reasons to Avoid:

  • no tilting screen
  • NOT for video shooting
  • average battery life (get a spare DB-65 battery)

Ricoh GR II is special.

Why? Because unlike most cameras, this one was created for photographers BY photographers.

And so, all controls are in exact place where you expect/want them to be.

Ricoh GR II can be used for:

  • macros,
  • travel/family photos,
  • shooting landscapes and nature,
  • street photography,
  • everyday life shots.

And because it features a 28mm lens, it offers a relatively wide angle of view and is a great choice for landscape shooting, as well as street photography if you come close to the subject.

Ricoh GR II is pretty much legendary among street photographers.

I mean, check out all the GLOWING reviews it has on Amazon!

I think the only thing you’ll really miss is having a tilting screen (especially when shooting from unique angles). And be sure to grab a spare DB-65 battery.

All in all, Ricoh GR II sure is a great DSLR alternative.

It’s a budget-friendly, pocket-sized and has everything you need if you follow the “travel light” philosophy.

Now, if you consider image quality, size, and price, you’ll see how it’s probably the best value for money that you can get.

Without a doubt, it’s one of the best compact cameras for street photography today.

Note: If you can afford to spend extra few hundreds, then go for the Ricoh GR III (newer) model – it’s even better!

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What Is a Sensor In a Digital Camera?

What’s the big deal about large sensors inside the cameras? Are big cameras better than small ones?

A large sensor allows you to:

  • achieve high resolution, 
  • reduce crop factor,
  • get high image quality in low light,
  • increase the wide dynamic range of a photo,
  • create a stronger amount of background blur, also known as “bokeh”.

Clearly, there are a lot of benefits to it.

Below is a quick video I recommend you watch:

That’s why all the good mirrorless and DSLRs have big sensors that are 1-inch or larger.

And that’s why you want to get the best compact cameras WITH large sensors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are compact cameras still worth it?

Honest answer: It depends on what your purpose for buying one (and of course your personal preference).

Compacts are very easy to use (compared to professional bodies). It offers a lot of features not normally seen on an average smartphone. It allows you to do more and explore photography in a whole new perspective.

If you plan to learn photography, then it could be worth buying your very own compact to start with.  Although, only get a high end compact camera like Leica if you already have experience and desire to shoot consistently.

If you just want to have a camera to capture family events and travels (or even just everyday life), a compact with large sensor is ok, but a lot of people now use high-end smartphones for that purpose.

Ultimately, it’s up to you.

Do professional photographers still use compacts?

Many are wondering whether professional photographers still use compacts today. Most of the time, this kind of gear is seen as inferior compared to high-grade DSLRs and mirrorless ones.

So, are point-and-shoot still relevant in the lives of professional photographers?

Yes, most pro photographers likely have one premium compact in their collection. It’s likely they started practicing with it and was their first ever serious camera, or that they use it for purposes other than official photoshoot sessions.

Let’s face it:

Point-and-shoot offers convenience over heavy DSLRs, one reason why even pro photographers prefer bringing it during personal travels or during intimate family gatherings. Plus, it’s relatively easy to use making it a constant go-to gear for everyone.

Are point-and-shooters better than phone camera?

Compact cameras have strengths and features that may not be found in mobile phones. It generally has bigger sensors than most smartphones, so you can expect it to produce clearer and sharper images.

On the other hand, some very high-end smartphones can outdo the average point-and-shooters in terms of convenience and quality.

Some phone cameras even have as much as 64MP image resolution and full HD video recording at 1080p. The only downside about phones with amazing specs is that they normally have expensive price tags.

A lot of people prefer convenience and they just go with your phone and be more comfortable in taking pictures everywhere.

Heck, now there’s a new genre these days – smartphone/iPhone photography.

Do compact cameras have viewfinders?

Optical and electronic viewfinders are very common in mirrorless and DSLRs.

But do point-and-shooters have one of those, too?

In the past, it would be hard to find even one compact camera with a viewfinder. But in 2024, several models from popular brands like Sony and Fujifilm already include viewfinders.

One of the advantages of having this feature in a compact is that it allows you to shoot images even under the bright sun. If you are shooting outdoors and the sun is glaring, the LCD will be of no use (you can barely see anything as the sun’s light turns the screen almost black regardless of brightness settings).

And while most non-photographers rely on the rear LCD to see what the lens is capturing, photographers prefer seeing it through a viewfinder.

The reason is that viewfinders allow you to see proper subject framing and it also lets you see various settings before pressing the shutter button. This way, you can adjust the settings to your preference and liking.

Advanced large sensor compacts vs DSLRs?

With the recent advancement of compact cameras, many are asking whether it has the potential to replace the big and bulky DSLRs today.

Truth is…

Compacts (even those with large sensors) still cannot match the quality of images taken through a DSLR.

Of course, there are so many things to consider aside from sensor size, but it still has the most significant impact on any type of camera. The larger the sensor is, the better the image quality.

And as you may have already known, compacts really do have smaller sensors (hence the lighter they are, by the way) than their pro-grade rivals.

So even if you compare a compact and a DSLR both with 20MP photo resolution, you would see the difference between photo quality with one look.

Best Digital Compact Cameras 2024

As you can see, there are a lot of advantages to large sensor digital compacts.

Such cameras…

  • are pocket-sized and therefore are great for travel,
  • offer amazing image quality,
  • perform well in low-light conditions,
  • have a stronger bokeh effect,

I mean, what else can you ask for?

Here’s a recap of the products covered today:

5 Best Large Sensor Compact Cameras (2024)

  • Leica Q – Hands down the best fixed-lens mirrorless camera money can buy. 
  • Fujifilm X100F – A great compact for travel and street photography in 2024.
  • Canon G9X II – Best budget premium compact with 1-inch sensor (for travel).
  • Panasonic Lumix LX100 – Great 4K point-and-shooter with micro 4/3 sensor.
  • Ricoh GR II​ – Best value for money. Legendary among street photographers.

Bottom line:

If you’re looking for a travel camera or a camera specifically for street photography, one the compacts listed above should work for you regardless of your needs and budget.


While there are definitely other choices out there, I thought these 5 choices represented the best large sensor premium compacts currently available.

And without doubt, these are great alternatives to bulky DSLRs.

Now, I’d like to hear from YOU!

  • What is your favourite compact camera with the biggest sensor?
  • Do you prefer using a smartphone instead?
  • Did you enjoy these compact camera reviews?

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you for reading!

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