I loved my compact camera, sure it wasn't the greatest camera in the world but I'd taken enough pictures with it (which was many) and had gotten to know it well enough that I could produce some pretty decent snaps using it within the scope of its capabilities. In fact I was more often then not pleasantly surprised if not "pleasantly surprising" with it. Then one day it just disappeared from my front room without trace to never return and I've not replaced it since. 

However a year and a half on the urge to shoot has returned, and I'm also thinking its time to move on in order to be able to produce more of the kinds of snaps I want, the way I want, and more easily with some sort of more in depth manual camera with the option to switch to auto modes when required too. I was also looking for something that had a broad ISO threshold too just for the petite annoyance of never being able to nail decent pictures at night or in low lighting conditions with the compact I previously had. As far as I was aware its usually only with SLR's that you can achieve the kinds of high speed shutter burst rates to experiment with too, but I just wasn't up for the price tag, and definitely not the bulk of a full SLR. So what options did I have on the compact front that could achieve SLR result with the options to use it in manual and auto modes?

Initially I was almost drawn in by Samsungs Android camera phone hybrid, but then I got to thinking, aside from the fact that it had 3G, Wi-Fi, and an android 4.1 phone built into it, what exactly would I be paying for other then a novel gimmick at almost £300 to £400? In pure camera hardware terms I'd merely be getting a £65 compact camera with an Android phone stuck/built into it. So it just seemed a waste as far as money spent on actual camera equipment was concerned for the price. 

Top end Mirrorless compact camera's with interchangeable lenses and huge sensors is where it's at...  

After much research and deliberation, whilst weighing up the options across various brands, it seems Sony (...even I was surprised in thinking they would price themselves out of the running...) offered the best specifications and equipment for the money on top of the fact that you'd know you'd be getting quality premium grade hardware that’s built to last. The specifications in many crucial aspect even went way beyond all mid range as well as many top end SLR camera's from across the brands. 

Most notable was the Sony Alpha (a) NEX C3. But if you're looking for slightly higher specs and vastly broader ISO range with crazy high top end threshold that would put many mid and some high end SLR's to shame, you couldn't go too far wrong with the Sony Alpha (a) NEX 5.

 They even make adaptors for the NEX range so that you can use canon lenses on them too. I guess they just don't necessarily look the conventional pro PAP part in terms of external appearance/design.