Maximum effective ISO is an estimate of the highest sensitivity at which a camera can capture excellent quality photos.
Cameras with higher effective ISO will be better choices for indoor photography, night shooting, and indoor sports photography, especially if you intend to make large prints.
You can learn more at our glossary entry.
Maximum effective ISO test data courtesy of DxO Mark.E-PL5 test data on DxO Mark J1 test data on DxO Mark
Cameras with more dynamic range allow you to take photos with dramatic differences in highlight and shadow areas while retaining detail in both.
Think of a brilliant sunset on a rocky beach: Bright sunset in the background, with dark rocks in the foreground. High dynamic range means more of the extremes will be faithfully reproduced.
Dynamic range test data courtesy of DxO Mark.E-PL5 test data on DxO Mark J1 test data on DxO Mark
Cameras with longer battery life can take more photos before exhausting their batteries.
Special note: The measurement standard for battery life stipulates that if a camera has an internal flash, it must be used for 50% of photos taken. For this reason, comparisons of one camera with an internal flash to another without will not be comparable
Very small body, with solid feel; Fast AF; No-nonsense interface. Excellent video capture, Good picture quality.
Body could be smaller for sensor size; High ISO isn't as good as other compact system cameras; Battery life below average; Weak flash; Confusing controls.
Excellent image quality with good color and dynamic range; Great high ISO performance for its class; Extremely speedy performer, with fast and accurate autofocus on stationary subjects; Lightweight, compact and ergonomic design; Touchscreen LCD that tilts all the way forward for taking self portraits; Tons of advanced functions and customizable options.
Confusing and frustrating menu system takes hours to master; AF isn't optimal for taking fast-motion action shots; LCD viewfinding suffers under direct sunlight; Mediocre HD video quality; No built-in flash (but a small external flash is included).