I am positively impressed by the quality and the numbers of new products released in 2012, and the compact cameras are becoming even much better. However, I am still missing a few ones:
The wide-angle compact
There are not really any small compact 16-35 mm (Eq. Full-frame), which is very sad because that would be a great zoom for a tiny and fully manual camera. A small sensor – I mean smaller than mirrorless or DSLR, would mean a bigger depth of field which is often even something you may look for such a length. Of course, it should be fast enough to let you both shooting action / low light pictures and play – at least a little bit – with the depth of field. It should be in the range 200 g / Canon S100 size and weight.
Why it is still missing: building a compact wide-angle and retractable zoom is not trivial. And it is not flexible enough for the mainstream. Too bad, this one would rock. I would have it always with me…
The RAW/manual underwater camera
Whereas you will find over half a dozen of outdoors cameras, none can shoot RAW – so far – and their controls are really those of basic point and shoot. If you want those features, you have to buy an expensive high end compact camera, and an underwater case also very expensive, which makes you camera not compact any longer by the way!
Why it is still missing: I see no reason. Just a missed opportunity which should end soon, hopefully.
Hybrid VF for a small compact
Whereas you may find terrific view finders (VF) on mirrorless / big compact cameras (Fuji X100, Fuji X-Pro 1, Sony NEX-7), there are no small compact with VF and the big compacts which have some (Fuji X-10, G-1X) have very basic ones. We need a small compact with a great VF!
Why it is still missing: it is obviously a technical challenge but I mean, what Sony did with the NEX-7 proves it is not infeasible… At this time, it looked impossible to have such a big sensor and a VF into such a small body. The other reason: cameras manufacturers have obviously a stupid problem with VF and try to avoid them as soon as possible. They may add a lot to the total costs whereas many photographers can’t care less about them. But we need this model…
The market looks still very conservative. There is room for niche markets. The manufacturer able to make money on them, would proves its dedication to photography and will make his brand much stronger.
And you, what kind of compact cameras do you miss?