compacts vs the world



It seems to me that much is made of IQ, noise and a lot of other shortcomings of the "small sensor camera". It often feels like the we are all in the midst of one great big apology for using a compact instead of a more "serious" camera. we even go so far as to say that the images we take "aren't bad for a small sensor camera". While it's true that larger sensors (and larger cameras, glass and such) will deliver images that may be cleaner, sharper or have one or another level of technical superiority I think we are missing the fact that compact cameras by their very nature are able to do things that larger systems cannot.

Compact cameras are with you all the time. It may seem trite but you can't get that image if you don't have a camera. In some ways the cell phone camera is the epitome of this. These cameras are flexible in that you don't need to stop and change lenses in order to get a macro or telephoto. Additionally, I think the compact camera fosters a sense of spontaneity and play that I just don't get from larger systems. Of course your mileage my vary but I find compact cameras to be a wonderfully competent and flexible photographic tool.

Now here's the catch...I don' t think these qualities only apply to "serious compacts". I love this site and the terrific community that lives here but I do do think on occasion we lose sight of the fact of just how amazing these little things are. For instance, I just picked up a little refurbished Panasonic Zs3. It's a tiny little thing that easily fit in the pocket of my shorts. It has a 25-300 zoom, can shoot the equivalent of 10-20 rolls of film in one battery charge, has IS and can shoot a macro and video with the switch of a button. If we put IQ, shadow noise, high ISO, 720p, continuos auto focus and all the other buzz words away for a bit we can see that it and all of the similar little cameras are pretty amazing little gadgets. Granted we all have our particular tastes but even the cheapest $10 digicam found in a blister pack at the local Walgreens is in it's own way an amazing little device. It may not suit your needs and/or wants but that doesn't make it any less amazing.


View attachment 34884


betwixt and between
I'm with you, Kevin. To me any camera I use that is small enough for me to carry with me equals a "serious" compact. Really, the "serious compacts" umbrella has a very flexible reach - which is one of the reasons I find it so appealing, and useful.:D

I got back into photography initially with the Olympus PEN cameras...I won't repeat my oft told saga...but I soon found that for me, as much as I got some fantastic pictures with them, that I like to travel even lighter than the PEN cameras... I still use my little Canon Elph SD870 and I think the only control it has is a little zoom button. I've gotten some very memorable pictures with it and even had prints made that are good. All this goes to say, that I definitely hear where you're coming from.

P.S. Beautiful spring blossoms!!