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The best compact cameras of 2016

Panasonic’s ZS100: Also excellent, but priced at $700.
Panasonic’s ZS100: Also excellent, but priced at $700. TNS

Sometimes you need a camera that can take better pictures than your phone can, but you don’t want to lug around a dSLR and all its accessories. That’s where these models come in. These are the best cameras to stick in your pocket or small bag, according to independent researchers CNET.com

Leica Q (Type 116)

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Leica Q produces great photos and videos, sports a stellar lens and delivers a surprisingly good performance.

The bad: There’s a lot more to clean up in the photos and a real grip would be nice for the money.

The cost: $4,250.

The bottom line: A terrific, if expensive, full-frame compact, the Leica Q is worth every penny for landscape and street photographers.

Panasonic Lumix ZS100

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Panasonic’s ZS100’s 10x zoom lens is thus far the longest we’ve seen in a compact camera with a 1-inch sensor, and it offers a broad set of features including 4K video.

The bad: It lacks a flip-up display and its autofocus speed is just middling.

The cost: $697.99

The bottom line: The Pansonic ZS100 offers great blend of quality, size and features for people who want better photos and are willing to trade off a little quality for a lot of lens.

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: Great video features to supplement its 4K capabilities distinguish the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV from the rest of the advanced-compact pack. It also retains the nice design perks, like a popup electronic viewfinder, of the earlier RX100 models.

The bad: Like its predecessor, the autofocus system could be more consistent and the battery life has gotten even worse.

The cost: $948 to $998

The bottom line: A nice choice if you’re looking for an advanced compact with class-leading video capabilities, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV is a little expensive if you just want a good camera for shooting stills.

Fujifilm XQ2

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

The good: The Fujifilm XQ2 is an attractive advanced compact with a fast f1.8 maximum aperture and good low-light photo quality. It has a satisfying mix of manual and automatic shooting options and plenty of things with which to experiment. There’s ample direct control over settings given the camera’s small size.

The bad: The XQ2 has limited Wi-Fi functionality; no built-in neutral density filter; it’s essentially the same as its predecessor, the XQ1; and video quality is just OK.

The cost: $399.99

The bottom line: The Fujifilm QX2 doesn’t improve much on its predecessor, but with its larger image sensor, bright lens and fast performance even in low light, this stylish pocket camera is an excellent step-up from your smartphone or average point-and-shoot.

For more reviews of personal technology products, visit www.cnet.com.

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