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Six compact mirrorless cameras with leaf shutters that you’ll adore


Cameras with leaf shutters are few and far between these days; however, look hard enough, and you can find a few compact mirrorless cameras that still use this incredible technology.

As mentioned above, cameras with leaf shutters are unfortunately a dying breed. Focal plane shutters soared in popularity thanks to their breakneck speeds. This need for speed — and the lower cost to make focal plane shutters — saw them effectively kill off leaf shutters. However, there are still some cameras out there that use leaf shutters, and this is a great thing because leaf shutters do have some advantages over other shutter technology.

The main advantage of a leaf shutter is that it allows cameras to sync with a flash at nearly every available shutter speed. This is because leaf shutters expose the whole sensor at the same time. A focal plane shutter cannot do this, so cameras with focal plane shutters have to rely on HSS (High-Speed Sync) to use strobes at high shutter speeds. Other pros of leaf shutters include the ability to lower or eliminate rolling shutter, being nearly silent in operation, and introducing less camera shake.

These days — as you’ll see below — most cameras that use leaf shutters are compact cameras with fixed lenses. This is because leaf shutters are found in the lenses rather than in the camera’s body. It’s much easier for manufacturers to use leaf shutters when they only have to worry about one lens. Hasselblad is the exception to this rule. Cameras like the Hasselblad X1D II 50C rely on lenses with leaf shutters, but we all know how expensive those lenses can be.

So, without further ado, let’s look at our favorite compact cameras with leaf shutters.

Fujifilm X100V — The perfect camera to show what leaf shutters can do

The Fujifilm X100V compact camera has a cult following for good reasons. One of those reasons is the leaf shutter, which is so satisfying to use. In addition, the X100V features the 26.1-megapixel sensor found in the Fujifilm X-Pro 3 and Fujifilm X-T4. This iteration of Fujifilm’s X100 series cameras also has new optics. The fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent) f/2 lens has been completely reworked to optimize color rendering and sharpness.

The autofocus system in the X100V is quick and reliable. The Fujifilm X100V can also become fully weather-sealed when used with an optional adapter ring and a 49mm screw-in UV lens filter. On top of this, you’ll also have access to gorgeous Fujifilm film simulations like Provia, Acros, Classic Chrome and more. It’s the perfect camera for those who love to shoot JPEGs. There’s also a built-in flash, which can be used at any shutter speed thanks to the leaf shutter. The leaf shutter adds a whole new level of creative options. The X100V is a gorgeous Rangefinder-style camera that won’t let you down. Be sure to check out our full review.

Ricoh GR IIIx — A pocket APS-C powerhouse that embraces leaf shutters

The Ricoh GR IIIx is the latest fixed lens compact camera from Ricoh. Following on from the success of the Ricoh GR III, the GR IIIx introduced a 40mm equivalent lens that many GR fans had been craving. Like all GR cameras to date, the Ricoh GR IIIx continues with the tradition of using a leaf shutter, which adds to the appeal of this pocket powerhouse.

The 24-megapixel sensor used in the GR IIIx is fantastic. The image processor churns out sublime JPEGs. Despite being small, this compact camera is ergonomically sound, even for those with large hands. Oh, and we cannot forget about Snap Focus! What a delight it is to use. Like other cameras with a leaf shutter, the operation is nearly silent and rolling shutter is minimized to levels that make it a non-issue. Read all about this brilliant camera in our review.

Panasonic LX100 II — An absolute gem with a stunning lens

The Panasonic LX100 II is a compact camera that never seems to get the attention it deserves. This compact camera packs a 17-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor into a gorgeous retro-inspired body and then pairs it with a stunning 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 Leica Vario-Summilux lens. This rangefinder-style camera also features a leaf shutter.

The ergonomics of this camera are fantastic, and it has an excellent EVF and LCD. The LX100 II can record 4K video and has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. You can rattle off 11 frames per second and save your images to a single UHS-I SD card. If you want one of these stunning cameras, you’ll have to hurry as Panasonic recently announced that they will discontinue them so they can focus on larger cameras. It’s a shame because this camera is a beauty.

Ricoh GR III — A beast on the streets thanks to the nearly-silent leaf shutter

leaf shutters

Like many other photographers, I quickly fell in love with this small, fixed lens camera from Ricoh. While it might look unassuming, this pocketable APS-C camera is beyond brilliant. This compact camera features a stunning 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, IBIS, built-in ND filters, a fast 28mm equivalent f/2.8 lens and a leaf shutter.

Like the GR IIIx — the 40mm equivalent version of this camera — the Ricoh GR III doesn’t have a viewfinder. However, it does have an excellent 3-inch touchscreen. You’ll also find an outstanding autofocus system. On top of this, the biggest selling point of any GR camera is Snap Focus. This feature is alive and well in the GR III, and it makes this camera fun to use. Set your focal distance, point, shoot and profit. Snap Focus, along with the leaf shutter, makes operation silent and pairing with flashes at any sync speed possible. These features make the Ricoh GR III a must-own camera for those who like to travel light. Read all about it in our full review.

Sony RX100 VII — One of the most versatile pocket cameras around

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Sony’s take on the compact camera comes in the form of its RX100 series. The RX100 VII is the latest in a long line of capable mirrorless cameras that use a 1-inch Exmor sensor and a leaf shutter to power the f/2.8-4.5 24-200mm equivalent lens.

Don’t let the size of this camera fool you. In true Sony style, the RX100 VII can fire off 20 frames per second with blackout-free operation. The camera features 357 phase-detect autofocus points and uses Sony’s Real-Time tracking and eye-AF. The RX100 VII has a pop-up 2.36-million dot EVF, a fold-up LCD touchscreen and it can record 4K video too. It’s one of the most versatile compact cameras with a leaf shutter.

Leica Q2 — Leaf shutter excellence, a luscious lens and so much more

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If you like the finer things in life, like leaf shutters, look no further than the Leica Q2. Master crafters, Leica, have expertly crafted this compact camera, and in true Leica fashion, it will leave you with a sense of pure joy every time you use it. The Leica Q2 looks stunning; however, this camera is more than eye candy. The Q2 features a 47.2-megapixel full-frame sensor that — when paired up with the Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens — pumps out images with that classic “Leica look.” In addition, the leaf shutter adds to the experience of using it.

The 3.67 million dot EVF is bright and clear, and the 3-inch 1.04m-dot touch screen makes it easy to look at the gorgeous images this camera will help you create. Other features of the Q2 include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, IP52-rated weather sealing and a UHS-II SD card slot. The Leica Q2 is meticulously crafted and will inspire you to create images every time you pick it up.



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Rafael Jones

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