Sony NEX-3N

Key specs: 16.1mp APS-C sensor, 3-inch 180° tiltable LCD, Full HD video

Price: US$562 / £349 / AU$597 (with standard zoom lens)

Best compact camera system 2013
Sony NEX-3N

Making its debut earlier this year, the Sony NEX-3N took the title as the world's smallest and lightest CSC to sport an APS-C sized sensor − equivalent in size to that of a DSLR.

The entry-level model to Sony's CSC range cuts a sleek silhouette, particularly when coupled with the 18-55mm power zoom lens that comes bundled with it as standard.

Aside from its large 16.1mp sensor, the NEX-3N's other standout features include a Full HD movie recording mode and a very versatile 3-inch LCD that can be tilted through 180-degrees. Flip the screen into this position and the built-in Self Portrait mode that's on board is automatically activated: a nifty feature that's a bonus for social snappers that don't want to be left out of the frame.

Pros:

  • 180-degree tilting screen
  • Full HD movie mode
  • Large APS-C sized sensor
  • Faithfully-coloured, clean images

Cons:

  • No touchscreen
  • Lacks advanced features
  • Some operational niggles

Fujifilm X-A1

Key specs: 16.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, tiltable 3-inch LCD, Full HD movies, Wi-Fi

Price: US$804 /£499 /AU$854

Best compact camera system 2013
Fujifilm X-A1

Another APS-C sensor-toting CSC, the Fujifilm X-A1 is a stylish-looking camera that's based around the prestigious design that wowed us all at the launch of the higher-end X-Pro1 and X-E1 before it.

The entry-level X-A1 inherits the award-winning build and accessible interface of its predecessors, sporting a light and compact body and a comprehensive range of controls that cater for more advanced users as well as beginners.

Its 3-inch 920k-dot LCD is tiltable for added versatility and displays live view images and HD video in wonderful detail.

Built-in wireless connectivity is another asset this camera has to offer, providing scope for instant image sharing.

Pros:

  • Large APS-C sensor
  • Twin command dials for manual control
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • High-resolution tilting LCD

Cons:

  • No touchscreen
  • No viewfinder

Panasonic Lumix GM1

Key specs: 16mp Live MOS MFT sensor, 3-inch touchscreen, Full HD movies, Light Speed AF, Wi-Fi

Price: US$1,014 / £629 /AU$1,077 with 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens

Best compact camera system 2013
Panasonic Lumix GM1

This palm-sized Micro Four Thirds CSC almost defies logic when comparing its featherweight 204g mass and tiny body to the amount of technology Panasonic has managed to cram inside.

The Lumix GM1 is currently still a new kid on the block; however, early testing suggests that it's every bit as good as its extensive specs promise.

The high-resolution touchscreen the GM1 offers is superb, delivering a responsive performance when navigating menus and settings, with the added bonus of enabling the AF point to be precisely positioned and/or the shutter to be fired instantly on-screen.

Good looks, great build quality and handling plus a host of technologies like Full HD movie recording and built-in Wi-Fi all add up to a very appealing pocket-sized prospect.

Pros:

  • Very compact
  • Touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Built-in digital filters

Cons:

  • No viewfinder
  • No integral hotshoe
  • Manual functionality lost when digital filters used

Canon EOS M

Key specs: 18mp APS-C CMOS sensor, Full HD movies with AF-C, 3-inch touchscreen, DIGIC 5 processor

Price: US$724 / £449 /AU$767 (with EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM)

Best compact camera system 2013
Canon EOS M

It's worthwhile noting that − following a firmware update − the EOS M's performance has been much improved since our initial assessment of Canon's diminutive DSLR alternative.

The EOS M packs in plenty of impressive features, not least an 18mp APS-C sized CMOS sensor, DIGIC 5 processor, a good quality Full HD movie mode with the added bonus of Continuous AF available while shooting, and a very responsive touchscreen − to name a few.

With the latter on hand for fast navigation and an equally as intuitive set of physical controls on hand for traditionalists, the EOS M offers easy operability for beginners and more advanced users alike.

Pros:

  • Large 18mp APS-C sensor
  • DIGIC 5 processor
  • Robust build quality
  • Top-notch touchscreen

Cons:

  • Lacks a decent grip
  • No optional EVF
  • No built-in flash