The following cameras are first-ballot inductees to this Fall's Small Cameras We Love list:
Sony RX100 series
Sony A7 series
Panasonic GX7 (Currently favorably priced.)
Fuji X100 series
Fuji X-T1 (Everyone has his or her own favorite Fuji; I think the X-T1 embodies the best of the "knobs and dials" retro style of ergonomics that Nikon attempted with somewhat less success with the Dƒ. And an interchangeable-lens Fuji definitely belongs on the list because of the sheer beauty of the XF lens line—the Fuji XF 23mm ƒ/1.4 R and Fuji XF 56mm ƒ/1.2 R lenses, among others, are utterly superlative and very pleasing products, and actually inexpensive for the level of perfection they offer.)
Leica S (Although not "small" in any absolute sense, the S camera is so well designed that it seems handy and light for its sensor size and IQ, and is relatively simple to operate. I've seen lots of my friend Jack's work done with the S2—most recently a book he created that included several pictures he made as I photographed alongside him—and the quality of the camera's images speaks eloquently for itself. Confined to an exclusive club because of its price, the S is nevertheless one of the crowning achievements of the digital era in cameras.)
Chamonix 45N-2 (inexpensive, lightweight 4x5 view camera that embodies the design principles of Dick Phillips of R.H. Phillips and Sons. Chamonix does not license the intellectual property, but Dick decided that since his own business is shuttered he's okay with that so that his design ideas live on. I think it's important to give him credit when discussing the Chinese-made Chamonix cameras.)
This is not the complete list, but a "first pass." A number of other candidates remain in contention.
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