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The Best Prime Lens Compacts

As the quality of camera-phones has improved substantially over the past years, the market for compact cameras has experienced a strong contraction. One niche that has survived the disruption is prime lens compacts. The latter are valued by enthusiasts for the fast aperture, high quality lenses that come with these cameras. Moreover, the absence of zoom convenience encourages the photographer to be more proactive and creative during the shooting process.

Travel prime
The Leica Q prime lens compact

Even though there are fewer options available for prime lens compacts than in other camera categories, it is not easy to decide which one is best. Indeed, what does it really mean to look for the best prime lens compact? The camera that offers the best imaging experience? The one with the highest sensor resolution? The one that is most portable? The camera that does not break the bank? The answers to these questions come down to personal preference, but hopefully the listings below will prove to be useful for your camera decision process.

The highest rated Prime Lens Compacts

Top Elo
The camera with the highest Elo: Leica Q2

The Camera Elo represents a comprehensive rating that takes the body, sensor and feature characteristics of digital cameras into account. It is based on the outcomes of thousands of pair-wise comparisons undertaken via the CAM-parator app.

The Leica Q2 is currently the top-ranked prime lens compact with a Camera Elo of 3083, followed in second place by the Zeiss ZX1 with a rating of 2973. The table below lists the 10 highest ranked prime lens compacts in descending order of their Elo. It also reports the cameras' DXO Mark sensor quality score (as far as these are available), which can be taken as indicators of pure image quality. For both the Camera Elo and the DXO score, higher values represent better performance.

Best Prime Lens Compacts: The Cameras with the Highest Elo
    Camera
Model
Camera
Elo
DXO
Score
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Video
Format
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
1. Leica Q2 308396 Full Frame 46.74K/30p Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
2. Zeiss ZX1 2973- Full Frame 37.44K/30p Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
3. Fujifilm XF10 2626- APS-C 24.04K/15p Jul 2018 499 i i Fujifilm XF10
4. Fujifilm X70 2535- APS-C 16.01080/60p Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
5. Ricoh GR III 2445- APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2019 899 i i Ricoh GR III
6. Leica Q Typ 116 242185 Full Frame 24.01080/60p Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
7. Fujifilm X100F 2415- APS-C 24.01080/60p Jan 2017 1,299 i i Fujifilm X100F
8. Sony RX1R II 236597 Full Frame 42.21080/60p Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
9. Ricoh GR II 211880 APS-C 16.11080/30p Jun 2015 699 i i Ricoh GR II
10. Fujifilm X100T 2070- APS-C 16.01080/60p Sep 2014 1,299- i Fujifilm X100T

You can access more detail on the listed cameras by clicking on the camera's name. Alternatively, you can compare two cameras using the search boxes below. Just enter two model names into the input fields and you will promptly be taken to a respective comparison.

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    The Prime Lens Compacts with the Highest Resolution

    Perhaps your primary aim is to capture images with great detail, for example in landscape photography, or to have the ability to crop images heavily in post processing while still maintaining good image quality. In this case, the best prime lens compact might be the one with the highest sensor resolution. The following table lists the 10 cameras in the category with the highest megapixel count. Again, clicking on the camera's name will reveal further detail.

    Best Prime Lens Compact: The Cameras with the Highest Resolution
        Camera
    Model
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Lens
    (FF equiv)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Sensor
    Class
    Camera
    Launch
    (announced)
    Launch
    Price
    (USD)
    Street
    Price
    (USD)
    Used
    Price
    (USD)
    Camera
    Model
    1. Leica Q2 46.7 28 mm f/1.7 308396 Full Frame Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
    2. Sony RX1R II 42.2 35 mm f/2.0 236597 Full Frame Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
    3. Zeiss ZX1 37.4 35 mm f/2.8 2973- Full Frame Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
    4. Fujifilm XF10 24.0 28 mm f/2.8 2626- APS-C Jul 2018 499 i i Fujifilm XF10
    5. Ricoh GR III 24.0 28 mm f/2.8 2445- APS-C Feb 2019 899 i i Ricoh GR III
    6. Leica Q Typ 116 24.0 28 mm f/1.7 242185 Full Frame Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
    7. Fujifilm X100F 24.0 35 mm f/2.0 2415- APS-C Jan 2017 1,299 i i Fujifilm X100F
    8. Sony RX1R 24.0 35 mm f/2.0 179191 Full Frame Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
    9. Sony RX1 24.0 35 mm f/2.0 172893 Full Frame Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
    10. Ricoh GR II 16.1 28 mm f/2.8 211880 APS-C Jun 2015 699 i i Ricoh GR II

    The most portable Prime Lens Compacts

    Almost by definition, prime lens compacts are relatively small. They are designed to be easy to take along and to avoid unwanted attention when in use. Compactness is therefore a desirable characteristic, and the best prime lens compact might be the one that is most portable. The following ranking lists the lightest cameras in the categroy that have been released since 2015 in ascending order of their weight.

    Best Prime Lens Compact: The Smallest Models
        Camera
    Model
    Camera
    Weight
    Camera
    Size
    Camera
    Elo
    Sensor
    Class
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Launch
    (announced)
    Launch
    Price
    (USD)
    Street
    Price
    (USD)
    Used
    Price
    (USD)
    Camera
    Model
    1. Sony RX0 3.9 oz 2.3 x 1.6 x 1.2 in 1737 1-inch 15.4 Aug 2017 699- i Sony RX0
    2. Sony RX0 II 4.7 oz 2.3 x 1.6 x 1.4 in 1934 1-inch 15.4 Mar 2019 699 i i Sony RX0 II
    3. Ricoh GR II 8.9 oz 4.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in 2118 APS-C 16.1 Jun 2015 699 i i Ricoh GR II
    4. Ricoh GR III 9.1 oz 4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in 2445 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2019 899 i i Ricoh GR III
    5. Fujifilm XF10 9.8 oz 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.6 in 2626 APS-C 24.0 Jul 2018 499 i i Fujifilm XF10
    6. Fujifilm X70 12.0 oz 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.7 in 2535 APS-C 16.0 Jan 2016 799- i Fujifilm X70
    7. Fujifilm X100F 16.5 oz 5.0 x 3.0 x 2.0 in 2415 APS-C 24.0 Jan 2017 1,299 i i Fujifilm X100F
    8. Sony RX1R II 17.9 oz 4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in 2365 Full Frame 42.2 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
    9. Leica X-U Typ 113 22.4 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 3.5 in 1764 APS-C 16.1 Jan 2016 2,950 i i Leica X-U Typ 113
    10. Leica Q Typ 116 22.6 oz 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.7 in 2421 Full Frame 24.0 Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116

    The most affordable Prime Lens Compacts

    Budgetary considerations are almost always important when deciding on a camera purchase, and the best prime lens compact might be the one that is available at the lowest price. The following table displays the least expensive prime lens compacts that have been released since 2015 in ascending order of their launch prices. The latter provide a good idea on the market position of the cameras, but it is often worthwhile to check the current pricing, as all except the most recent models might be available at discounts or as great deals on the pre-owned market.

    Best Prime Lens Compact: The Least Expensive Models
        Camera
    Model
    Launch
    Price (USD)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Sensor
    Class
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    (announced)
    Street
    Price
    (USD)
    Used
    Price
    (USD)
    Camera
    Model
    1. Fujifilm XF10 499 2626- APS-C 24.04K/15p Jul 2018 i i Fujifilm XF10
    2. Ricoh GR II 699 211880 APS-C 16.11080/30p Jun 2015 i i Ricoh GR II
    3. Sony RX0 II 699 1934- 1-inch 15.44K/30p Mar 2019 i i Sony RX0 II
    4. Sony RX0 699 173768 1-inch 15.41080/60p Aug 2017- i Sony RX0
    5. Fujifilm X70 799 2535- APS-C 16.01080/60p Jan 2016- i Fujifilm X70
    6. Ricoh GR III 899 2445- APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2019 i i Ricoh GR III
    7. Fujifilm X100F 1,299 2415- APS-C 24.01080/60p Jan 2017 i i Fujifilm X100F
    8. Leica X-U Typ 113 2,950 1764- APS-C 16.11080/30p Jan 2016 i i Leica X-U Typ 113
    9. Sony RX1R II 3,299 236597 Full Frame 42.21080/60p Oct 2015 i i Sony RX1R II
    10. Zeiss ZX1 4,199 2973- Full Frame 37.44K/30p Sep 2018 i i Zeiss ZX1

    Further Reading

    Additional information on the calculation of the Camera Elo can be found on a respective Elo methodology page. Moreover, there are other rankings of cameras by category that might be of interest:

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