Best Interchangeable Lens Compact System Cameras - 2012

by TerriRexson

2012 is looking like the year that the compact system camera with interchangeable lenses will really take off. Which is the best interchangeable lens camera for you?

Compact System Cameras

Mirrorless Digital Cameras with Interchangeable Lenses

Compact System Cameras offer high quality photos without the need for a bulky DSLR camera. This is due to large sensor size and the ability to swap lenses to get the right lens for the shot. These cameras are mirrorless which means they are much more compact than an DSLR. 

The cameras are either a less bulky semi-pro option for the serious photographer who wants to travel light, or the next step up for someone who has reached the limits of a consumer point and shoot digital camera. 

In this article we'll look at the best compact system cameras with interchangeable lenses for 2012. This includes the latest models due for release in 2012 as well as the latest established models at a range of price points. 

If you're looking for the very latest in interchangeable lens cameras for 2012 then take a look at the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and the Pentax K-01. Both of these interchangeable lens cameras from highly regarded brands became available for pre-order in Feb 2012. The Sony Nex-7 is also due out in early 2012. 

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Interchangeable Lens Camera

Innovative with lots of cool features
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a new high-end interchangeable lens camera for 2012. Can it make you leave your DSLR at home?

Pentax K-01 Interchangeable Lens Camera

Supports existing Pentax lenses without an adapter
The Pentax K-01 is a new interchangeable lens camera for 2012 which is compatible with existing Pentax lenses.

Sony Nex-7 Interchangeable Lens Camera

The Sony Nex-7 is new in early 2012 and upgrades the very successful Sony Nex-5. Well worth checking out. 

Sony NEX-7 24.3 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera - Body Only

More than a pocket camera, the 24.3 megapixel NEX-7 exceeds expectations. Here’s performance that would give most DSLRs camera envy, including interchangeable lenses, a 2359K ...

Only $388.0

The models above are new for 2012 and offer the latest and greatest technology. Now we'll look at the best high-end interchangeable lens digital cameras available at the beginning of 2012. 

20 MP Interchangeable Lens Camera

Samsung isn't the most obvious brand for a compact digital camera, but the Samsung NX200 deserves a mention. 

This interchangeable lens camera has a 20.3 Megapixels APS-C CMOS Sensor. (Even the new 2012 models we are seeing are 16 MP.)

You can choose from a range of reasonably priced Samsung NX lenses to get just the right shot. 

The Samsung NX200 is definitely worth a look if you are looking for a high-end compact system camera. 

Samsung NX200 20MP Compact Digital Camera

Samsung NX200 20MP Compact Digital Camera
Only $599.95

Olympus Interchangeable Lens Camera with Touchscreen

Olympus have been active in defining the new interchangeable lens camera category and have good cameras at a range of price points. 

Their current top of the range camera is the Olympus PEN E-P3. With a 12.3 MP CMOS Sensor this won't take the largest photos you'll find with a compact system camera, but what it does do, it does with quality. 

This is a gorgeous camera with a 3-inch OLED touchscreen. 

Nikon Compact Camera System

I've included the Nikon 1 V1 here as it will be a popular choice for fans of the Nikon brand. This is a high quality camera which helps you move from point-and-shoot to gradually taking more control over your photos. 

The 10.1 MP Sensor is smaller than many, but most people will find it adequate for high-end amateur use. 

Nikon 1 V1 10.1 MP HD Digital Camera System

with 10-30mm VR and 30-110mm VR 1 NIKKOR Lenses (Black)
Nikon 1 V1 10.1 MP HD Digital Camera System with 10-30mm VR and 30-...
Only $1149.00

Best Mid-Price Interchangeable Lens Cameras

16MP Interchangeable Lens Camera

If you're looking for an 16 MP CMOS sensor for taking large pictures and an all round good quality compact system camera then the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is an excellent choice. 

Panasonic has removed some of the non-essential features from this camera to keep the cost down and created an interchangeable lens camera that offers great value for money. 

This camera is much smaller that a typical DSLR but has professional styling to look the part. 

14.2 MP Interchangeable Lens Camera

The Sony Nex-5 interchangeable lens camera offers a big 14.2 MP camera in a slim stylish frame. 

This camera looks very different to a typical DSLR and different from a point-and-shoot as well. People will ask you about this camera.

The Sony Nex-5 gets excellent reviews and is a popular choice. 

Pentax Q 12.4 MP CMOS Sensor Kit

with 8.5mm 1.9 AL [IF] Prime Lens(White)
Pentax Q 12.4 MP CMOS Sensor Kit with 8.5mm 1.9 AL [IF] Prime Lens(...

Very Small and Light Interchangeable Lens Camers

If you're looking for a really small and light interchangeable lens camera then take a look at the Pentax Q. 

It really is tiny for a compact system camera! The dimensions are: 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 inches. Yes, that's really small. It even fits a built-in flash into that space. Or course you do need a lens as well. 

But this camera isn't a gimmick, it has a big 12.4 MP sensor and is high quality very portable option.  Great if you need to travel light and look stylish. 

It comes in traditional black, but I love the white version. 

Low Cost Interchangeable Lens Camera for Beginners

Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera

If you want an interchangeable lens camera, but you're on a tight budget then you might consider the slightly older Olympus PEN E-PL1. 

This camera is designed to be a step up from a point-and-shoot camera. Getting you close to DSLR quality images but without the bulk and complexity of a DSLR camera. 

Because this isn't the latest model you should be able to pick it up for a reasonable price, often under $300. 

The camera has a built-in flash and comes with a general purpose lens, so you have everything you need to get started with an interchangeable lens camera for a low start up cost. 

You can buy a range of Olympus PEN lenses which also work with more recent Olympus PEN models so you can upgrade to a more recent Olympus PEN camera in future and reuse your lens collection.  

Updated: 03/27/2012, TerriRexson
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