I just noticed that the Panasonic LF1
combines some features of possible interest:
- an eye-level EVF in addition to the rear screen
- a 1/1.7" sensor, bigger than in any other EVF compact with zoom lens. (Other EVF compacts I know of either have a fixed focal length lens or a sensor of about 1/2.33" in order to offer huge zoom ranges.)
- highly pocketable
- in the OP's price range: $500 in the USA.
To OldRoy's comment: for my style of camera usage, the big disadvantage of optical finders like that of the X20 is that they do not give any focus information, so cannot be used either for manual focusing, or for verification that auto-focus has focused at the place where I want it. Even when I am using AF, I like to get that feedback in situations where I am focusing on a distant object, but there is a nearby object close to it in the field of view (or vice versa), because often the AF makes the wrong choice in that situation. And sometimes, manual focusing is the only solution.
Of course these problems are solved by using live view on the rear screen, and maybe the OP is satisfied with that solution, but many photographic enthusiasts do not like having to always depend on the rear screen for composing, so it surprises me that so few "pocketable enthusiast cameras" offer an EVF, except with the trade-off of either a very small sensor or being limited to a single focal length.
Actually, one or two other pocketable enthusiast zoom compacts do offer an EVF, but as an accessory: the Olympus XZ-2 and Panasonic LX-7, which have 1/1.7" sensors and can use the same accessory EVFs as their maker's Micro Four Thirds cameras.
P. S. A Nikon V1 or V2 with even one zoom lens is bulkier than something like the Panasonic GX1 with 14-42 pancake and accessory EVF, and that kit gets even more compact at times when one can leave the EVF at home, like evening outings when sun on the screen is not a worry. Here is without the EVF: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/PanasonicDMCGX1/images/comparedtog3withxlens.jpg
I wish Nikon would do more to give its 1" format system the compactness that its small sensor deserves.