Best interchangeable-lens digital cameras (Updated May 6, 2013 5:00 PM PDT)
Are you betwixt and between? Have you outgrown the limited capabilities of your compact point-and-shoot but not quite willing to tote around a relatively large dSLR? These cameras offer the power and flexibility of an interchangeable-lens system, with full manual features and generally better-than-point-and-shoot performance, but without the bulk that a mirror imposes on a dSLR design. While these models have a lot of attractive characteristics, though, keep in mind that without an optical viewfinder you'll probably find continuous shooting--whether it's pro sports or kids playing soccer--rather hit and miss, and as with any camera system lenses can get surprisingly expensive.
While it's not the best in any particular aspect, and you probably don't want to use it for video, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 offers an excellent balance of size, features, performance, and photo quality for the money.
Price: $379.00 - $599.00 (check prices) 4 stars Read full review
Though it doesn't wow us for any particular aspect, the Sony Alpha NEX-F3 is a nice overall package for photographers looking for something with better photo quality and more flexible than a point-and-shoot.
Price: $399.00 - $468.00 (check prices) 4 stars Read full review
A well-designed camera with an interface that creative photographers can customize to their liking, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 deserves serious consideration if you're looking for a modestly compact interchangeable-lens model.
Price: $499.00 - $1,026.99 (check prices) 4 stars Read full review
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An especially good option for people who want a relatively inexpensive ILC for shooting video, the Sony Alpha NEX-5N's photo quality's about the same as its cheaper sibling's.
Price: $698.00 (check prices) 4 stars Read full review