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If you prefer a camera to have a viewfinder, but are looking for something compact to carry around, please check out the updated 2016 list below:-

Sony HX90


Please note that the cameras featured are listed in order of weight with the lightest first.  This should help to give a general indication of bulk. As well as weight though, the physical dimensions are also listed as this may be important to you.

Other information listed for each camera is the zoom range and sensor size. If required, further information on these two topics is available here:-

Zoom lenses and what the numbers mean
Does sensor size make a difference?


 Panasonic Lumix LF1
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Panasonic Lumix LF1(Also Leica C equivalent shown below)
Weight 6.7 ounces (192 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D)
4.0 x 2.4 x 1.1″ (103 x 62 x 27.9mm)
Zoom Range 28-200mm (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/1.7″
Sensor Area – 41.5 mm
Amazon.com Customer Reviews
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews

Notes:-
Super little (shirt-pocket) size camera complete with very usable electronic viewfinder and 28-200mm zoom lens.
Important Note:-
As of October 2016 availability of this model seems very limited so it may be discontinued or about to be replaced? Beware of price hikes as stocks run down. As a guide, it was available for about $200/£200.
Also beware of “Japan Model”. See this note.


Leica C
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Leica C(See also Panasonic Lumix LF1 above)
Weight 6.7 ounces (192 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.0 x 2.4 x 1.1″ (103 x 62 x 27.9mm)
Zoom Range 28-200mm (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/1.7″
Sensor Area – 41.5 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews

Notes:-
Same as Panasonic Lumix LF1 above as far as I know but may have a few Leica tweaks and has the famous and desirable red Leica logo. But at a premium price.
May be subject to same fate as Panasonic Model above. (Discontinued or replaced)?


Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40
(DMC-TZ60 outside of USA)
(Electronic Viewfinder)

(Replaced by Panasonic DMC-ZS50 (DMC-TZ70)
in 2015 but may still be available)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40Weight 8.5 ounces (240 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.35 x 2.53 x 1.35″ (110.6 x 64.3 x 34.4mm)
Zoom Range 24-720mm
18 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/2.3″
Sensor Area – 28.1 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price

Notes
Compact size with the usual 1/2.3″ size sensor (slightly smaller than 1/1.7″) that is normal for this type of camera. Excellent zoom range of 24-720mm and a very usable electronic viewfinder. Has GPS and Wi-Fi with NFC.


 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50
(DMC-TZ70 outside of USA)
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Panasonic Lumix ZS-50

Weight 8.5 ounces (243 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.35 x 2.53 x 1.35″ (110.6 x 64.3 x 34.4mm)
Zoom Range 24-720mm
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/2.3″
Sensor Area – 28.1 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
(Pop-Up Electronic Viewfinder)

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V

 Weight 8.64 ounces (245 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.02 x 2.28 x 1.42″ (102 x 58 x 36mm)
Zoom Range 24-720mm
18 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/2.3″
Sensor Area – 28.1 mm²


Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III
(Pop-Up Electronic Viewfinder)

(Image below shows both the pop-up Flash and
pop-up Electronic Viewfinder deployed)

Sony-Cyber-Shot-RX100-Mk-II

 Weight 10.23 ounces (290 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.02 x 2.28 x 1.61″ (102 x 58 x 41mm)
Zoom Range 24-70mm
21 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1″
Sensor Area – 116.16 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Fujifilm X10
(Optical Viewfinder)

(Replaced by Fujifilm X20 in 2013 and then Fujifilm X30
in 2015 but may still be available from Amazon or eBay)

Fuji-X10Weight 12.3 ounces (348 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.6 x 2.7 x 2.2″. (117 x 69.6 x 56.8 mm)
Zoom Range 28-112mm  (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 2/3″
Sensor Area – 58.1 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Fujifilm X20 Silver
(Optical Viewfinder)

(Replaced by Fuji X30 in 2015 but may still be available)

Fuji-X20-SilverWeight 12.3 ounces (348 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.6 x 2.7 x 2.2″. (117 x 69.6 x 56.8 mm)
Zoom Range 28-112mm  (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 2/3″
Sensor Area – 58.1 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Fujifilm X20 Black
(Optical Viewfinder)

(Replaced by Fuji X30 in 2015 but may still be available)

Fuji-X20-BlackWeight 12.3 ounces (348 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.6 x 2.7 x 2.2″. (117 x 69.6 x 56.8 mm)
Zoom Range 28-112mm  (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size  – 2/3″
Sensor Area – 58.1 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Canon G5X
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Canon G5X

Weight 12.45 ounces (353 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.41 x 2.99 x 1.73″. (112 x 76 x 44 mm)
Zoom Range  24-100mm (35mm equivalent)
20 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1″
Sensor Area 116.16 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


 Canon G16 Powershot
(Optical Viewfinder)

Canon G16Weight 12.6 ounces (357 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.30 x 3.0 x 1.60″.  (109 x 76 x 40 mm)
Zoom Range 28-140mm (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/1.7″
Sensor Area – 41.5  mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Review and Price


Panasonic LUMIX LX100
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Weight 13.86 ounces (393 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.53 x 2.6 x 2.17″ (115 x 66 x 55 mm)
Zoom Range 24-75mm
12.8 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – Four Thirds
Sensor Area – 224.9 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Nikon P7800
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Nikon P7800Weight 14.1 ounces (399 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.6 x 3.1 x 1.9″ (117 x 79 x 48mm)
Zoom Range 28-200mm (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/1.7″
Sensor Area – 41.5 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Olympus Stylus 1
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Olympus Stylus 1

Weight 14.25 ounces (402 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D)
4.57 x 3.43 x 2.24 (116 x 87 x 57 mm)
Zoom Range 28 – 300mm (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixels Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/1.7″
Sensor Area – 41.5 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Fujifilm X30 Silver
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Fuji X30 in SilverWeight 14.92 ounces (423 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.69 x 2.83 x 2.36″. (119 x 72 x 60 mm)
Zoom Range 28-112mm  (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size  – 2/3″
Sensor Area – 58.1 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


 Fujifilm X30 Black
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Fujifilm X30 in BlackWeight 14.92 ounces (423 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.69 x 2.83 x 2.36″. (119 x 72 x 60 mm)
Zoom Range 28-112mm  (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size  – 2/3″
Sensor Area – 58.1 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price

Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Fujifilm X100
(Optical Viewfinder)
Black Special Edition Model shown

(Original X100 was introduced in 2011 and superseded
by X100S in 2013 and X100T in late 2014)

Fuji-X100Also available in Silver
Weight 15.7 ounces (445 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 5 x 2.9 x 2.1″ (126.5 x 74.4 x 53.9mm)
Fixed Non-zoom 35mm prime lens (35mm equivalent)
12.3 megapixel Sensor
SLR-sized APS-C sensor
Sensor Area – 372.8 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Fujifilm X100S
(Optical Viewfinder)

Fufifilm X100SAlso available in Black
Weight 15.7 ounces (445 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 5 x 2.9 x 2.1″ (126.5 x 74.4 x 53.9mm)
Fixed Non-zoom 35mm prime lens (35mm equivalent)
16 megapixel Sensor
SLR-sized APS-C sensor
Sensor Area – 372.8 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Fujifilm X100T
(Optical Viewfinder)

Fujifilm-X100T Also available in Black
Weight 15.7 ounces (445 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 5 x 2.9 x 2.1″ (126.5 x 74.4 x 53.9mm)
Fixed Non-zoom 35mm prime lens (35mm equivalent)
16 megapixel Sensor
SLR-sized APS-C sensor
Sensor Area – 372.8 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Canon G1X Powershot
(Optical Viewfinder)

Canon G1XWeight 17.3 ounces (534 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.60 x 3.17 x 2.55″. (116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm)
Zoom Range 28-112mm (35mm equivalent)
14.3 megapixels
Sensor Size – 1.5″
Sensor Area – 261.8 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


Canon G1X Mk 2
No viewfinder as standard
Optional (but expensive) EVF available

Canon-G1X-Mk2-Viewfinder

Canon-G1X-Mk2
Weight 19.5 ounces (553 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.58 x 2.91 x 2.61″ / (116.3 x 74.0 x 66.2mm)
Zoom Range 24-120mm (35mm equivalent)
12.8 megapixels
Sensor Size – 1.5″
Sensor Area – 261.8 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


From the cameras listed above, the most compact models are:-

  • Panasonic LF1 (or Leica C equivalent)
  • Panasonic DMC-ZS40 (DMC-TZ60 outside of USA)
  • Sony Cyber Shot DSC-HX90V
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Mk 3.

Any of these four cameras is small enough to fit into a trouser pocket or a small ladies handbag. And of these, the Sony RX100 Mk 3 model has the largest sensor, shorter zoom range and is the most expensive. As a matter of interest, the earlier Sony Cyber Shot RX100 models (the Mk 1 and Mk 2) have been around for some time (Mk 1 in 2012) but the latest Mk 3 model is the first to include an electronic viewfinder.

Also included in the list above, and slightly bigger and heavier, are what I would describe as jacket or coat pocket size cameras… the Canon G16,  Nikon P7800 and Fuji X10/Fuji X20/X30 models.

The Fuji X30 was introduced around late 2014 and I’m not sure at this point (early 2015) if it will completely replace the X20. In fact all three of the Fuji X10, X20 and X30 models still seem to be available from Amazon.

The Panasonic LX100 is possibly on the borderline in terms of weight/size and perhaps should be included with the larger/heavier cameras listed below.


Moving on up the scale again in price (and larger and heavier again) are the Canon G1X, Canon G1X MkII, and the Fuji X100 and Fuji X100S models shown below.

Considering the Canon G1X has a much larger sensor (almost SLR APS-C size) than the Canon G16,  the Mark 1 G1X is a similar price. From what I’ve read, the Mark 1 G1X might be a little slow in focusing, slow in continuous shooting mode and has limited close-focusing ability but that large sensor is a big plus point for producing top quality images.

The newer Canon G1X Mk 2 was introduced around mid 2014 and it seems to be considerably more expensive. There is no viewfinder as standard with the Mk 2, but it has an optional (and expensive) electronic viewfinder that fits into the hot shoe.

The Fuji X100 and the latest X100S are more expensive again but are regarded by many experts as the very best… but note the non-zoom lens. This no-compromise approach offers the very best in image quality but the lack of a zoom facility may be restrictive.


Other Digital Cameras with a Viewfinder

There are of course plenty of modern Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras, Bridge Cameras and a few Compact System Cameras with (usually optional) viewfinders. But they are not exactly compact and all but the less expensive Bridge Camera Models are quite costly. There’s a quick note about SLR and Compact System Cameras and more information about Bridge Cameras available via the menu or by clicking here:-

Bridge Cameras (worth considering)

Single Lens Reflex Cameras

Compact System Cameras


Conclusion & Recommendations

The above list includes some cameras that probably veer a little too much into the larger and heavier side of things. As an example, the Nikon P7800 weighs twice as much as the Panasonic Lumix LF1 and the main purpose of this site is to help you, dear reader,  find a good “compact camera with viewfinder”. 

So to maintain the spirit of this site and to give a meaningful recommendation, it’s probably quite easy to narrow things down to cameras that can comfortably be carried in a trouser pocket or a small ladies bag. In fact, the cameras listed below may just about be considered to be small enough to be called shirt pocket size viewfinder cameras.

The truly compact camera with viewfinder models currently available therefore are:-

  • Panasonic LF1 (or Leica C equivalent)
  • Panasonic DMC-ZS50 (DMC-TZ60 outside of USA)
  • Sony Cyber Shot DSC-HX90V
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Mk 3.

Of these, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 (DMC-TZ70 outside of USA) has a wealth of features including a Leica branded lens with a truly impressive Zoom Range of 24-720mm (35mm equivalent).

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V is equally impressive and features a Zeiss lens and also has a Zoom Range of 24-720mm.

Not bad for trouser pocket size cameras. Just imagine the size, weight and cost of a SLR outfit with that sort of range!

The Sony RX100 Mark 3 is a remarkable camera with a large 1″ size sensor but has a smaller zoom range and comes at rather a steep price. See this page for more information on sensor sizes.

The Panasonic LF1 is slightly smaller, lighter and less expensive than either its big brother, the ZS50 or the Sony DSC-HX90V but has a shorter zoom lens range of 28-200mm (35mm equivalent). But note that it still has a Leica branded lens and has a slightly larger sensor. The Leica C is (in my opinion) a much more expensive version of the Panasonic LF1 with no notable differences… apart maybe from the sought after red circle Leica logo!

My recommendations then for a really good compact camera with viewfinder are:-

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
(Pop-Up Electronic Viewfinder)

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V

 Weight 8.64 ounces (245 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.02 x 2.28 x 1.42″ (102 x 58 x 36mm)
Zoom Range 24-720mm
18 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/2.3″
Sensor Area – 28.1 mm²


 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50
(DMC-TZ70 outside of USA)
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Panasonic Lumix ZS-50

Weight 8.5 ounces (243 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.35 x 2.53 x 1.35″ (110.6 x 64.3 x 34.4mm)
Zoom Range 24-720mm
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/2.3″
Sensor Area – 28.1 mm²
Amazon.com Customer Reviews and Price
Amazon.co.uk Customer Reviews and Price


 Panasonic Lumix LF1
(Electronic Viewfinder)

Panasonic Lumix LF1(Also Leica C equivalent)
Weight 6.7 ounces (192 grams)
Dimensions (W x H x D) – 4.0 x 2.4 x 1.1″ (103 x 62 x 27.9mm)
Zoom Range 28-200mm (35mm equivalent)
12 megapixel Sensor
Sensor Size – 1/1.7″
Sensor Area – 41.5 mm²


Any one of the above three cameras would be an excellent choice for taking great photos while on vacation or just when generally out and about when a bigger camera would be a bit of a nuisance.


If anyone can advise me of any models that I’ve missed, please leave a comment below so that I can include them here for the benefit of all us viewfinder fans.

Harry

Comments

  1. Jay dickinson says:

    The newly announced Nikon Coolpix P7800 includes a 921k EVF.

    • Hi Jay,
      Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know about the new Nikon P7800. It’s great to hear that Nikon have re-introduced a compact camera with a viewfinder and I’ll certainly now include it in the site for the benefit of all.
      Harry

  2. Thank you! Exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ve been killing myself trying to find a small P&S with a viewfinder for an older relative who won’t like the LCD screen aiming.

  3. Pauline Hayton says:

    Thank you for the information. Viewfinders are essential when it’s impossible to see the subject/view through LCD screens because of bright sunshine. Now I can buy a new camera after holding onto my ancient Canon Powershot A710 for years because I couldn’t find an inexpensive compact with viewfinder.

  4. Beatrice says:

    Hello! It was really helpful to look at your page, thanks! I’m thinking of buying a Canon PowerShot A1400, but I would prefer to buy a 35-140mm camera – I don’t suppose you would know any other model apart the Fujifilm X100? I have searched extensively, but I don’t find anything that has the three characteristics: optical viewfinder, 35mm lens (I don’t like the way things are distorted by wide-angle lens) and… well, a price that would be around 250 dollars at most. 🙂

    • Hi and thanks for your interest and I understand what you mean. The current range of compacts all seem to come with a zoom lens with a 28mm setting at the default “wide” end. The Fujifilm X100 has a fixed (non-zoom) 35mm lens and is very expensive.

      I don’t know of any current models that would match your three main criteria but perhaps you would be willing to consider another option?

      Previous compacts with a viewfinder often had a zoom lens starting at 35mm and two of the upper-end models that spring to mind are:-

      Canon PowerShot G9
      Nikon P5100

      Both of these were the top models in their range around 6 years ago and they are often available on eBay today. If you have a search on eBay and sift through the listings looking for a good honest description, decent photographs and a seller with good feedback you could easily pick up a bargain.

      Hope that might help.

      • Just had another thought on the above… Amazon have sellers that sell used cameras etc too. So it’s worth a look at both eBay and Amazon. Try doing a search using the search boxes I’ve included in the right-hand sidebar.

    • Hi Beatrice, I own a Canon G15, it has a step zoom feature which when set up correctly allows me to use the front dial to make the zoom “step” through common focal lengths like 28mm, 35mm, 50mm etc. Unfortunately the A1400 does not have this feature. I think I am correct to say that the other cameras in this list that have a step zoom feature are the G16, G1X, LF1 and P7800.
      The G15 has 2 custom positions on it’s mode dial. I have my 35mm shooting settings saved to the C1 position. I have set it up so that when I turn the mode dial to C1 the camera zooms to 35mm, uses the Program Auto mode, uses auto ISO, turns off the screen and disables the review. When I use those settings it reminds me of how I used to shoot when I had a cheep automatic 35mm film camera 🙂

      • Thanks for your input “togwood” and a good point you raise there. It reminded me of something that I would mention too about the two Fuji models (X10 and X20). They both have a manual zoom lens rather than a button on the camera to zoom in and out. In fact, twisting the zoom ring on the lens is also how the camera is switched on and off. So when it comes to taking a shot, it’s pretty easy to turn the camera on and move it immediately to 28, 35, 50, 85 or its maximum zoom of 112mm… and all in one simple action.

        I think the Fuji X10 is something of a bargain at the moment and it still seems to be available from Amazon as I write this (April 2014).

        See also this Blog post – http://www.compactcamerawithviewfinder.com/fuji-x20-manual-zoom-lens/

  5. Duane Mayhew says:

    Thank you for your evaluations and analysis. My current P & S has developed a ‘lens error’ problem which might be an expensive ‘fix,’ so I am in the market for a new one (my Nikon DSLR is great but sometimes problematic to carry). I’ll look further into the Panasonic Lumix and the Panasonic LFI. Thanks again, DGM

    • Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. I think you are probably right about a “Lens Error” problem fix being expensive. I wish you well with your further research and trust you find a suitable compact for use when out and about.

  6. I have read your review with interest. On a sunny day I can’t see the screen and looking to up grade to a compact with a view finder. I will definitely look at the Fuji’s, thecanonA1400 and the Lumix LF1. Can any one tell me if the canon G15 has a view finder? I note that your page says 2014. have there been any new models out since you wrote this.
    Thank Sue

    • The Canon G15 does definitely have a viewfinder Sue. The G15 has been discontinued by Canon and was replaced by the Canon G16 model which is very similar. If you want to find the Canon G15 model, eBay would be a good place to look. Why not try the search box on the fight-hand side of any page on this site.

      Note that some of the cameras I’ve included for comparison in this site have an electronic rather than an optical viewfinder. Nothing at all wrong with this in my mind and it’s useful to have some information available when looking through the viewfinder (it’s a mini version of what appears on the rear LCD screen). This is perhaps subject to individual preference of course but why not try out an electronic viewfinder like in the Panasonic Lumix LF1 in a camera store to see what you think. The Canon G15 and Canon G16 models both have an optical viewfinder.

      Harry

  7. Thanks so much for the info. You gave me a springboard to jump from. As far as your next update, you may want to include the Sony rx100 m-3 or m iii. It sucks about the a1400. I bought two for my daughters. No manual controls but you could “trick” to the settings you wanted through the scene modes for purposes other than what they were intended for. Thanks again!

    • Many Thanks for your input Manny. I’ll be sure to include details of the Sony RX100 Mark 3 when I update the site. You’ve just given me the incentive to update things and I thank you for that. My plan now is to complete the update by the end of the month.

      Harry.

  8. I guess you don’t like Olympus??

    Olympus Stylus 1 is about the same size as the Canon G1X.
    Not that compact, but has almost everything an enthusiast amateur photographer wants/likes.

    • Thank you for your input Arnoud. I appreciate all feedback and will certainly include details for the Olympus Stylus 1. As a matter of interest, I do very much like Olympus cameras and used to own an OM2 when using 35mm film. It was an excellent camera and the Zuiko lenses were/are superb.

      The Stylus 1 may very well be a camera that would be of interest to readers of this site. It’s a bit tricky to decide whether to have the details showing in the Home Page or in the Bridge Cameras page. Which do you think would be best?

      I don’t pretend to include details of all the Bridge cameras available as that would be outside the scope of what this site was really intended to be about. I do take your point though about the Stylus 1 being about the same size as a Canon G1X and on that basis it is certainly worth including.

      I do wish there were more truly compact “shirt-pocket” size viewfinder cameras available. I think there is a market for this type of camera as not everyone wants to carry around something bigger all the time. I’m thinking here of someone who is interested in photography but needs something smaller than an SLR or Bridge camera (or indeed quite a few of the ones I’ve included above) when on holiday or just when out and about.

      Harry

  9. Thank you very much for your job! I found your site simply by searching “viewfinder cameras”, but apart of the information about them there are so many interesting things which I never understood before (about sensor size, lenses, etc).
    The information is concentrated and clear! No need to read those huge articles.
    I still haven’t found a camera of my dream and budget, but this site is of big help!
    (and of course any advise is welcome: 250€, viewfinder, not AA batteries, better than Samsung Galaxy II mobile phone camera 🙂 )

    Daria

    • Thank you Daria for your kind words. Much appreciated. As regards finding your dream camera, a famous photographer (can’t remember who) once said that the best camera in the world is the one you have with you at the time. You are one step ahead of the game with your Samsung Galaxy II in this respect but I think you might possibly be looking for something with more options?

      It’s hard to know what to recommend as a lot depends on how you view things (pardon the pun). Personally I think a viewfinder is essential and a camera with a useful zoom range is very useful but that leads us on to physical size and weight. If you want something really compact and light in weight the Panasonic Lumix LF1 has a 28-200mm zoom lens and is what I would describe as a shirt-pocket size camera. At the other end of the scale, and if you want something really quite impressive with lots of features, there’s the substantial and chunky Fuji XS-1 Bridge camera as featured in the “Bridge Cameras” page of my site. It has a 24-624mm zoom range and I think is something of a bargain at around £250 compared to what an SLR with lenses covering that sort of zoom range would cost.

      Either of these cameras are around your budget figure, both have a viewfinder, rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries and offer lots of features. Try to imagine how you would want to use a camera though. A large camera like the Fuji mentioned above can be quite cumbersome to carry around. Even to the point of thinking that you don’t want to take it with you on an outing. And this kind of takes us back to “the best camera in the world is the one you have with you at the time”.

      Harry

  10. Thanks for your kind answer Harry! Panasonic Lumix LF1 seems what I need! Meanwhile I also read about Nikon V1, despite it has ambiguous characteristics and can be bought only used, still looks quite attractive.

    Daria

    • The Nikon V1 is a very good “Compact System Camera” with a 1″ sensor. The 1″ size sensor is much larger (that’s a good thing for ultimate image quality) than that fitted to the usual compact type cameras featured in my site. If you want to see a visual representation, have a look at the chart on this site:-

      http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikonv1j1

      You will already know I guess that it is an interchangeable lens type camera and this is something to bear in mind. A quick check on eBay shows quite a number available (some body only) but this would give you the opportunity to choose the type of lens (or lenses) that would best suit your needs.

      Might be worth checking on the physical size with a lens fitted as depending on intended use, it might just be a little bit larger than you imagine.

      Just trying to help and I’m sure you’ll be able to pick up a bargain on eBay if you decide to go for one. I think the Nikon V1 was around £1,000 (with kit lens) when it was introduced and I reckon you could probably buy one now for a quarter of that. Just have a good read at the eBay listings and check on seller feedback and look for good honest descriptions and detailed photos.

      Harry

  11. Hi Harry,

    Today I ordered Nikon V1 from eBay, seems the seller is good and the camera described “as new”.
    If you don’t mind, I will share my opinion concerning Nikon V1 (and electronic VF in particular) here. Besides my mob.phone, I have used both – very simple compact cameras w/o viewfinders and SLR cameras of my friends. This Nikon seems to me interesting alternative of both. Will see…

    Best regards,
    Daria

    • Good for you Daria in taking action and I hope you have great fun with your new camera. I’ll be delighted to include a guest post from you after you have got to grips with the Nikon V1. Your findings could well be of interest to other visitors to this site. Just let me know in due course what you would like to say and I’ll include it in the Blog section.

      Harry

  12. Thank you, Harry! This is wonderfully useful.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment David. It’s much appreciated and I’m really glad that you found my little site useful.
      Harry

  13. Great website, gave me lots of information I needed to make an informed decision about my next compact camera with viewfinder. I am finally homing in on the Sony Cybershot HX90V – which seems pretty similar to the Panasonic TZ70. The Sony has to be pre-ordered so I am guessing it has just been launched (so no reviews sadly either), but from the spec, do you or indeed anyone have any comments or thoughts I should consider before splashing out? Thanks a lot 🙂

    • First of all thank you so much for letting me know about the new Sony Cybershot HX90V. I’m “a one man band” and started this site off to try to help others who were trying to find a compact camera with viewfinder. This new Sony model fits the bill perfectly and I’ve updated the site to include details.

      I know there’s not much in the way of reviews for it yet, but coming from Sony, I’m sure it will be a proper little gem of a camera. I did a little bit of research and came across an early “hands-on first look” review by the respected UK Amateur Photographer Magazine and have included the link below for you to check out.

      http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/reviews/compacts/sony-cyber-shot-hx90v-review-hands-on-first-look

      Many thanks again for taking the time to post a comment and I’m sure it will be of great interest to other visitors to the site.

      Harry.

  14. Nick Leapman says:

    Thank you for this excellent site. Until recently I had one of the first Lumix bridge cameras with a 3.2 Mp sensor. I just loved this camera because it had a good zoom, was much more compact than modern bridge cameras and had a great EVF and felt wonderful in the hand. I must have had it nearly 10 years and unfortunately it has just died. I hate carrying large cameras so a new bridge is not for me. I thought the solution would be the Panasonic TZ 70 from looking at the specs but having tried it in the shop it does not feel brilliant high quality in the hand and the EVF seems so small. I live in the middle of rural France so getting to a big camera shop is a problem and even if you do there is no guarantee you will find the camera you want to try and even when you do the cameras often don’t have batteries in, so you can’t test the EVF. My question is simple – you recommend 3 really good compacts – would the Lumix LF1 or Sony HX90V have better viewfinders or feel any more solid than the Lumix TZ 70? The Sony of course has the advantage of better zoom capabilities than the LF1. What do you think?

    • Thank you for your very interesting input Nick. I understand and appreciate the conundrum you have and will try my best to help. Rather than give a hasty reply, I’ll mull it over for a few days and as I’m due to visit a large shopping mall later in the week I’ll visit the large Currys/PC World store and try to get my hands on the models you mention to try them our for “feel” and viewfinder quality.

      I’ll then include an entry in the Blog section of the site with anything I can discover as the interesting point you raised will no doubt be of interest to others too.

      Harry.

      • Nick Leapman says:

        Thanks a lot Harry – I hope you can do that but from what I understand the Sony won’t be on sale until end June. No rush for me anyway – I will look forward to reading what you discover all the best Nick

        • A quick update and sorry for delay Nick. I’ve published an entry in the Blog Section and hope you find it to be of some use:-

          http://www.compactcamerawithviewfinder.com/lumix-lf1-or-sony-hx90v/

          Harry.

          • Nick Leapman says:

            Thank you Harry – I have read your report and I found it very useful. It pretty much confirms what I thought from my brief handling of the TZ 70. It also confirms what I find more and more with electronics and some other consumer products too – you can’t just rely on specifications. It makes buying the right kit more and more difficult in particular as few shops, even big ones, can stock everything. And it gives me a problem – I don’t like going to a shop to try something and then buying it online. I think that is unfair unless the shop prices are significantly higher. But if you can’t find a shop with all the models you want to compare, what do you do? Do you intend to try the new Sony as soon as it comes out in June? I would be very interested to hear your verdict as I doubt I will find one to try out for some time here in rural France. Thanks again Nick

          • Nick, I managed to get my hands on the new Canon HX90V model. Please see the undernoted post (and the email I sent you):-

            http://www.compactcamerawithviewfinder.com/sony-hx90v/

            Regards,

            Harry

  15. Harry R. Meyer says:

    Thank you very much – finding this site was a real breakthrough for me. My current Nikon P7100 is getting rather worn and I hadn’t been able to find a replacement, partly because I was searching for ‘optical’ rather than ‘eye level’ viewfinder. I have now ordered a Nikon P7800.

    • From one Harry to another:- Thank you for taking the time to post a comment and I’m so pleased that you found this site to be useful. It makes such a difference to me when I receive comments like yours and gives me great encouragement to try to keep things updated for all of us viewfinder fans.

      Harry.

  16. Tim Williams says:

    I just found this website, which looks really handy.

    With reference to the Canon A1400 Powershot, this is definitely discontinued. I bought one of these in 2014, but it developed a fault which required a warranty return after less than a year (Feb 2015). The replacement offered by Canon was an alternative model with no view finder, the reason being that they no longer made an equivalent to the A1400. I refused the replacement, making it clear that I considered the view finder to be a critical feature and got them to give me a refund instead.

    The last time looked, the remaining new stock of the A1400 was retaliating for about 2x what I paid, and 2nd hand eBay examples were also selling for prices in excess of what I paid (which was about GB £60).

    Right now I haven’t bothered to replace my camera, a viewfinderless compact doesn’t offer enough of an advantage over the camera in my mobile phone to make it worth spending the money.

    • Many thanks for that information Tim. I’ll add a note to the site to confirm that the Canon A1400 has definitely been discontinued.

      Thanks again for your very useful input.

      Harry

  17. The fuji X30 has the same size sensor as the X20 not “Four Thirds” as you stated

  18. Thanks for publishing this. I don’t always want to take my SLR (and 4.5 kg of gear), but I do regard a viewfinder as essential. Unfortunately it seems that one can have a viewfinder, or a larger sensor, but not both in the same package…

  19. Hello!
    Thanks for this page i had a hard time finding compact models with an optical viewfinder. Would you recommend any of the cameras with optical VF as the best one in hinsight of picture quality?

    • Thank you for your question. If you are looking for the best possible image quality the answer is to look at the models with the largest sensors. Unfortunately, this tends to mean high prices, larger (less compact) cameras and with more limited zoom options.

      It’s the physical size of the sensor that matters – not the pixel count and these details are shown in my site for each of the models that I’ve listed.

      Are you sure that you need ultimate image quality? Printing out very large prints etc? Just a thought.

      Hope this helps.

      Harry

  20. ANY camera can have a good eye-level viewfinder: it’s called a Clearviewer – a fairly inexpensive device that attaches to the camera’s tripod socket and magnifies the image while shading the LCD.

    Here are two posts on the subject, with photos:

    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/42244601

    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3517628#forum-post-51813710

    Years ago, I was a huge advocate for a small camera with an electronic viewfinder (EVF) bur when a real “Travelzoom” came out and I bought one, I discovered that I already had a far better viewfinder in the Clearviewer.

    -Erik

  21. I’d just like a light weight compact camera with a short zoom with which to take snapshots of butterflies/dragonflies – a 7x or 8x zoom would be ample; an optical/electronic viewfinder and a ‘larger’ sensor – LF1 perhaps or current equivalent
    Any ideas?

    • I really like the Panasonic LF1 and it could be a good choice. Something else to consider before deciding though is the aperture range of the lens that would be best suited for your subject matter. The LF1 lens starts at a bright f2 aperture at the wide setting of the lens but this closes down to f5.9 at the telephoto end. There’s more information on this topic where I tried to explain this in more detail on this page:-
      http://www.compactcamerawithviewfinder.com/what-do-aperture-numbers-of-a-lens-mean/

      Hope that might help Geoff.

  22. My family always say that I am killing my time here at net,
    however I know I am getting know-how everyday by reading
    such pleasant articles.

  23. WOW just what I wwas looking for. Came here by searching for Canon A1400

  24. One criterion that photographers who wear eyeglasses should keep in mind is the material the viewfinder eyepiece is made out of. Many eyepieces are hard plastic that will scratch a photographer’s very expensive eyeglass lenses. That’s why I may be sticking with my Olympus Stylus 1: the camera body is bigger than I’d like, the sensor is on the small side, and there’s no in-camera HDR, but I can rest the soft, rubber eyepiece right against my eyeglasses–more camera stability, and no scratches on my glasses.

  25. Great website!
    Here is my opinion for what it’s worth – if you are going to buy a camera, a viewfinder, be it optical or electronic is an essential feature for any photographer.
    I have owned many, many cameras since the early 1980’s and a decent viewfinder has always been at the top of my list when l have been contemplating a purchase. It took me a long time to buy a digital camera even when film photography was no longer the supreme ruler of the photographic world because there was very little choice when came to buying a digital camera with a decent viewfinder at a reasonable price.
    My first “real” camera was a Pentax MX 35mm SLR and that had arguably one of the best viewfinders ever designed for a camera as it was big bright and covered 95% of the field and that set the standard for me when I was looking at buying a camera, but in the mid 2000s the average mid priced digital SLR had pokey pentamirror viewfinder systems which are inferior to pentaprism systems, though pentamirrors are cheaper to make and lighter, so that explains their popularity with camera manufacturers.
    At that time anyway, I was no longer interested in investing in a digital SLR as I wanted something smaller and lighter for general family photography and so I was looking a good compact digital camera with a fixed zoom lens but you only had the choice of cameras with a simple optical viewfinders, with no information for aperture, shutter speed etc, or you had just the LCD screen on the rear of the camera. The LCD screen gave you all the exposure, focusing and other info you needed but in bright Australian sunlight where I live, they are very difficult to use as they are hard to view and of course holding a camera at arms length goes against everything you learn in regards to holding a camera steady to take a photograph and that’s really your only choice when you are using the rear LCD screen and that technique is fine for video shooting but for still photography its really not suitable especially when using slower shutter speeds.
    So I waited several years and finally a camera maker came out with the sort of camera I was looking for that had a optical viewfinder with exposure and focusing information and the manufacturer was Fujifilm and the camera was the X20.
    At the time it was the only mid sized, zoom compact with this viewfinder type and despite a few issues with parallax and the fact the accessory lens hood that could be used with the camera, partially obscured the viewfinder at certain focal lengths, it was a very good system.
    So I took the plunge and bought the Fujifilm X20 and I was happy with my purchase for a while but then Fujifilm released the X30.
    Initially I thought the X30 was an inadequate replacement for the X20 as it had the same sized image sensor and a identical zoom lens, which was pretty much the same opinion of most experts who reviewed the camera but it wasn’t until I happened to actually pick up a X30 in a camera store one day and look through the new electronic viewfinder, that I realised how much superior it was.
    No more parallax problems, no issue with the accessory lens hood blocking the viewfinder, its a decent size, the information for exposure, etc is clear and well placed, so it doesn’t clutter the viewfinder and it is easy on the eyes as I seemed to find the X20’s optical design was a bit blurry.
    That’s not to say EVF’s aren’t perfect – they can struggle in low light and image lag can be a problem, more so with action photography, but they are getting better and better as the technology advances and I love the fact you can view your cameras settings and menus through them and with my typically poor middle aged eyesight its much better than fumbling with eye glasses to read the settings on a LCD screen or find out which dinky little button or dial does what.
    So now the X30 has been discontinued but I will hang on to it for the foreseeable future as Fujifilm have given up on introducing a “X40” and while other camera makers have similar type cameras with bigger sensors, it really doesn’t give me an adequate enough reason to replace it.
    I have rambled on enough, so all I can advise any reader of my too long comments is this : if you decide to buy a new digital compact, try and purchase one that has a viewfinder. It will most likely be an EVF type as optical ones as far as I am aware no longer exist in compact cameras but whatever the case may be despite the extra cost a digital compact with a viewfinder will be more useful for you in the long run.

    • Hi Greg,

      Thank you so much for this great article and I completely agree with all that you say. As a matter of interest, the digital camera that I use is the Fuji X10. Not as good as the later X20 and X30 models but I like the decent lens and the old school look and feel.

      Now here’s an admission – I missed my old Nikon F2as so much that I decided to take a “backward” step and bought a Nikon F4. It’s big and heavy (really heavy) but it’s such a pleasure to handle and use and has a wonderful viewfinder. So it’s back to good old Fuji films (Amazon) and the joy of man-size controls.

      Quite an admission from me as the author of this site and most readers will think I’m nuts… but there you are.

      Thank you again for your great article. It’s much appreciated.

      Harry

  26. Gerald Gerling says:

    Hi, I know that when these little cameras have a large sensor they do not have a very large zoom range but I don’t know where to make the best compromise. I would like the largest sensor which still gives a decent zoom range. Do you have any test results showing where a good cut-off point would be?

    • A good question Gerald. Larger sensor cameras need larger lenses to be able to deliver the image. This in turn means a bigger and heavier camera. That’s just the way it is and as you say there needs to be a compromise somewhere along the line if you want something that’s not too cumbersome to carry around.

      I don’t have any test results as such but what I would say from experience is that a wide-angle lens is much more useful than telephoto lenses of more than around 100mm (35mm equivalent). So on that basis, a camera (that’s not too heavy) with a really useful 24mm wide angle view to around 100mm telephoto along with a bigger than usual sensor might fit the bill.

      One camera that would fit the above brief would be the Canon G5X. It has a bigger than usual 1″ sensor, a 24-100 zoom range and weighs in at just under a pound in weight.

      Quite expensive and if something more affordable would appeal then a look at an older model like Canon G1X might be of interest.

      Harry.

  27. Edward Melko says:

    I have a Nikon D50 with three lenses that takes fantastic pictures. But I got tire of carrying all that hardware on overseas trips. So I bought a Nikon Coolpix L820 which also takes great pictures and is much easier to travel with. However at 75 years old I found it very frustrating taking pictures in the very bright sun in tropical countries like Thailand and Mexico. It got even worse when I needed to take the shot in a hurry because of something moving. I like the size and features of the L820 and would like to find a comparable viewfinder camera. I also like using standard AA size batteries. I use rechargeables but like that I can buy AAs anywhere in the world if I need them. I would like to keep the price around $300 -400 or less. Any suggestions?

  28. Renato Cunha says:

    Hi Harry,
    I like to travel very much and take photos of my trips. However, I’ve always done that with the smartphone and now I am looking for a camera to start improving my pictures. I am looking at the compact cameras not really for the size but because I want an all-in-one camera (that I dont have to add flash or lenses, etc.) that can fit in one bag, so I dont mind buying the more bulky ones. So, I would like to know if there is a camera that you would recomend for travelling, for a beginner, around 400€ and that does standout from the best smartphone cameras, like the most recente samsungs or iphones?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Renato,
      First of all my apologies for the delay in replying. Second apology is that I need to update this site as I have neglected it somewhat recently.

      You are quite right about smartphones having very good cameras now. That being the case a smartphone may be all that you actually need. They have a couple of fairly significant disadvantages though.

      The first is that they do not have a viewfinder (I’m a fan of a viewfinder – see this page:- http://www.compactcamerawithviewfinder.com/advantages-of-a-viewfinder-camera/ ). The second is the lack of a good optical zoom lens. What I mean by an optical zoom lens is where the lens does the work of homing in on a distant view and delivering a good quality image to the camera. That’s opposed to the digital zoom method of enlarging a portion of an image as that results in a loss of quality.

      Are you sure about size? I have a Fuji X10 (since replaced by the X20 and then X30). I really like it and it delivers really good quality images but sometimes I find myself somewhat reluctant to carry it around when travelling light as it’s just a little bit too big for anything other than a large jacket pocket or in a case with a strap.

      Anyway, to answer your question, a camera with a good specification (and not too big) that I think would suit your needs is the Sony DSCHX90. Or another option could be the Panasonic Lumix TZ70 or TZ80 or TZ90 depending on your budget. The “TZ” in the title I believe signifies “Travel Zoom”.

      Hope the above might help a little and thanks for your enquiry.

      Harry

  29. To anyone listening; I have a question for you concerning compact cameras. I am wanting to upgrade from my Nikon L-120 to a camera with more up to date features such as: EVF, Tilting LCD screen, Wi-Fi and NFC, and at least 30X zoom. I understand that the Panasonic DC-ZS70S does not have NFC or GPS as does the Sony DSCH-X90V, but the Sony camera does not have LCD touchscreen. Shooting RAW is not that important to me. Which of the two cameras would you choose?

  30. I don’t know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else
    encountering issues with your blog. It looks like some of the text on your content
    arre running off tthe screen. Can somebody else please commet aand let
    me know if this is happening to them too? This
    mmay be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had
    this happen before. Thank you

    • Thank you for commenting Dian and I’m sorry that you are experiencing problems with text running off the screen. It’s not a problem that I’ve heard of from anyone else but that is obviously no consolation. I’m keen to try to sort it out for you and as a first step can you please advise me which browser you are using and what size of monitor you have.

      I would be very grateful if anyone else who might happen to come across this post could comment to say whether they have (or have not) experienced any similar problems.

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