My search for a quality compact

For some years I have been looking for a compact camera that takes great pictures. In the 90's I bought a Minolta Zoom 110 Mk II that handled perfectly as a mini SLR. The problem was that it used the 110 film and the image quality was poor.

Years later I bought a 35mm Pentax ESPIO 140 Zoom in Hong Kong for a trip into China. Took some great shots, but found it limiting creatively.

My first digital camera was an Olympus C-720UZ which was remarkably capable, but very slow. This was replaced by a very expensive (at the time) Nikon 5700.

In the mean time I had started using DSLRs like the D70 and D200, but I was still looking for something compact. A Pentax S4i was useful for parties and the like, but again the IQ was not up to it.

Back to film then with the purchase of some Leica stuff such as a IIIc, IIIf and M3. The quality was back, but the processing and scanning was a schelp. An M8 was on the cards, but the cards did not produce the money for it!

When the opportunity to get a Ricoh GX100 came up, I grabbed. Loved the feel and user interface to bits, but again the image quality and noise was not great. See samples Chinese cultural evening.

So now I have a used Sigma DP1. I took my first shots today. After using a manual Leica IIIf, the slowness does not worry me at all. This is the first image from the DP1. Some more examples at DP1 examples

 Below are pictures of some of the cameras mentioned so far.

 2014 Update:
I have since tried the Canon G10 and loved the way it works and feels in the hand. The IQ was not what I was looking for so I sold it on to my sister-in-lay who is taking great shots with it. Examples at Canon G10 examples.

 I also tried the Leica D-Lux 4 which I use with the Sigma viewfinder. It works well, but I needed a bigger sensor.

So I tried the Leica X-2, but found the operation very slow. Also quite expensive, so I sold it before I lost too much money.
2016 Update
After the X-2 I gave up on having a quality compact. But the arrival of the Fuji X100 changed all that. I grabbed one and was in love. When the X100s came out, there was a great deal and I upgraded. Also got an X-30 for my wife.

Taken with the X100:

 But the fixed lens proved to be too limiting. So when a used X-E2 with a bag of lenses became available at an extremely good price, I bought it and sold the X100s. Then when the X-T1 came out, I upgraded, giving the X-E2 to my wife and selling the X-30.

It has been a long and VERY expensive journey. I still do not really have a very compact camera, but my cell phone camera is better than many of the early digital compacts I have had.

We now travel with our Fujis, perhaps adding a lens or two. But the 18-55 kit lens is so good, there is not often a need for anything more.

So I am fine for now.

Some more examples of images taken with the X-T1:
 Fuji on safari
Midland Air Museum


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