Expert Recommendation

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Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $1000
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
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January 20, 2012 Updated: February 13, 2012
Overview

Built for creative comfort and portability, the mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera is a revolutionary change in the way cameras are being used to capture our greatest moments. From the latest offerings, the Sony Alpha NEX-5 is my BestInClass pick for action photos under $1000. Based on its light weight, high speed and wide range of compatible lenses, the NEX-5 is a natural companion, or replacement, to your SLR when going to the game, the dance or whatever activity you plan to attend and come back with excellent photos from this super-manageable camera.

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My Best In Class Pick
Sony Alpha NEX-5 (with 18-55mm Lens)

For the photographer who prefers the simplicity of carrying a lightweight camera in their pocket or handbag, but craves the quality and versatility of a DSLR, look no further than the Sony Alpha NEX-5.

Built out of lightweight magnesium alloy, the NEX-5 is a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera that provides a photographic experience that gives you the best of both requirements. Weighing in at only 10.12 ounces and sporting a 14.2mp Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, the NEX-5 features an E-mount design that will accomodate a 16mm F2.8 lens, a standard 18-55mm zoom lens and an 18-200mm superzoom for excellent image capture that expands your creativity further than ever before. Add the LAEA1 adapter for even more lens options.

Powered by the BIONZ processor, expect speedy fast response times and high-speed bursts of full-resolution images at up to 7fps. For video, the NEX5 offers 1080i HD movie recording with stereo sound, zoom capabilities and high speed auto focus.

Use the tiltable 3” Xtra Fine LCD with TruBlack technology to frame and view your images, check your settings or consult the helpful shooters guide to take advantage of Sony’s expertise and expand your creativity under a wide variety of situations.

When operating the NEX-5 you will find the body styling to be compatible to ease of use as well as intuitive when decision making. With a dedicated video button and a comfortable fitting hand grip, the NEX-5 is a joy to use.

Comparison with Nikon 1 V1 (with 10-30mm VR and 30-110mm VR Lenses)

With a much larger sensor than it’s competitors, the NEX-5 provides a more versatile image whether taken in RAW or JPG format. The NEX-5 also has a tiltable LCD screen and great ISO performance, making the lack of a flash less important. The only problem some photographers will have with the NEX-5 is that it doesn’t have a viewfinder.

Comparison with Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 (with 14-42mm Lens)

With the four thirds sensor of the GX1, the NEX-5 creates better images with its APS-C size sensor that makes it more versatile in the same body size. A big advantage when small doesn’t necessarily mean small, at least where quality images are concerned. A game changer for some photographers may be the fact you can purchase an external viewfinder for the GX1.

Sony Alpha NEX-5 (with 18-55mm Lens) is the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $1000
Where to buy
Sony Alpha NEX-5 (with 18-55mm Lens)
Recommended with
  • Sony Alpha LAEA1 Mount Adaptor (Black)
    @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 14.2MP
  • Easy to Use: No
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2
Nikon 1 V1 (with 10-30mm VR and 30-110mm VR Lenses)

The phrase, “Good things come in small packages” seems to be a fitting description for the Nikon V1 mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera.

Built with Nikon’s CX-format, 10.1mp High-Speed AF CMOS sensor, the V1 is a little powerhouse of photographic potential housed in a solid, magnesium alloy body. Attach any one of the 1 NIKKOR compatible lenses and expect a speedy response from the EXPEED 3 image processing engine. Take photos at an unheard of 60 fps without focus tracking, or if the action is on the move, capture speedsters at 10fps with 73 pt. focus tracking for a crisp, clear image every shot. And with the V1 you can frame the action with the high resolution electronic viewfinder, something you won’t find on other mirrorless cameras of this class.

Built with the casual photographer in mind, the V1 has easy to use controls and an intuitive menu system so you can concentrate on the action in front of you. Reading the menu options is easy on the bright, 3.0” LCD screen and the technical choices you have are designed for success. For example, activate the smart photo selector and expect to get the best shot possible each time you trip the shutter. With smart photo selector, when you line up your subject and start shooting, the V1 will take 20 successive images at 30fps and save the 5 best choices to the memory card. When the lighting takes a more intimate turn, switch to 6400 Hi-1and get a balanced shot of low light subjects or, if flash is what you want, attach an SB-N5 speedlight for fill flash and be sure to get the shot no matter what time of day it is.

When the situation calls for video, expect the best of both worlds because while shooting 1080i60 or 1080p30 video, you can capture high resolution still images at the same time by simply clicking the shutter while recording. You can also speed up the video recording to 400 or 1200 fps and enjoy slow motion video as well!

But no matter what you choose to do with this excellent entry into the next generation of digital photography, pick a color that’s right for you and get out there and start having fun taking advantage of all the new technology Nikon has packed into the V1.

Nikon 1 V1 (with 10-30mm VR and 30-110mm VR Lenses) is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $1000
Where to buy
Nikon 1 V1 (with 10-30mm VR and 30-110mm VR Lenses)
  • Best Price: $949
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Nikon 1 SB-N5 Speedlight
    @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • Easy to Use: No
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3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 (with 14-42mm Lens)

For photo enthusiasts who require a camera that can remain by their side for easy access and fast action, the Panasonic Lumix GX1 is worth looking into.

Built with a lightweight, solid metal body and packed with the latest in image capture technology, the GX1 is a removable lens camera you can rely on for speedy auto focus, dependable automatic settings and versatility.

As a micro four thirds camera, the GX1 features a 16.01-megapixel Live MOS sensor with a powerful contrast AF system to provide speedy (.09 secs.) focusing and a 3.0” touch screen LCD that allows you to choose the point you want as your main subject with the touch of a finger, and then snap the photo with a second tap from your finger. You can even track your subject and expect accurate focus every time. The GX1 is as easy to operate as it sounds.

Designed for ease of use and quick menu access , the GX1 has a selection of external control buttons and mode dials that are easy to use and intuitive for every level of photographer. When in doubt, activate the IA button located on the top of the camera for optimum settings for either still or video operation. There’s also a dedicated video button on top of the camera for easy switching between operations.

For added versatility and creativity, the GX1 has a wide variety of interchangeable lenses that can be used for each unique situation you find yourself in, whether it’s at the ball game, sitting in a fishing boat on a hot summers day or setting up a family portrait in a low light environment. Start out with the new power zoom X lens that features a touch control button for ease of operation, or switch to a wide-angle, fish-eye, macro or even a 3D lens to get just the right shot under just the right circumstances. And don’t worry about dust clinging to the sensor from all that lens swapping, with Panasonic’s dust reduction system those pesky dust particles will be removed thanks to a supersonic wave filter that vibrates vertically around 50,000 times per second.

And for video, the GX1 features full HD video at 1080/60i in the AVCHD/MP8 format with high quality sound and trackable auto focus.

If the LCD screen is not your preferred way to frame your images, add the optional high-resolution viewfinder that fits on the hot shoe for pinpoint accuracy.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 (with 14-42mm Lens) is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $1000
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 (with 14-42mm Lens)
  • Best Price: $849
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Panasonic DMW-LVF2 External Live Viewfinder for DMC-GX1 Lumix Digital Camera, Tilts 0 to 90Deg.
    @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 16.0MP
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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