Why Carrying a Compact Camera Can Make You a Better Photographer

Compact cameras have fallen from popularity in the last decade with the rise of the smartphone, with most photographers working with their full setup and carrying a phone on the side. However, some photographers still carry along a compact camera, and this great video discusses why you should consider doing the same.

Coming to you from aows, this awesome video discusses the benefits of having a compact camera. Really, this comes down to the convenience of portability while still maintaining most of the capabilities of a larger professional camera. If you are anything like me, you shy away from constantly carrying your full camera setup casually simply because of how bulky it is. And certainly, smartphones have come a remarkably long way, but a dedicated camera can still do things a phone can't and provides a more focused photography experience. I have found that carrying a compact camera encourages me to shoot a lot more, and it keeps my creative eye a lot sharper and my technical skills in top shape. It also encourages me to simply go for walks much more and to have a bit of alone time to enjoy the world. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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12 Comments

Matt Williams's picture

The iPhone 11 I recently got can do some incredible stuff - its night mode is particularly impressive. Whatever algorithms they have at work are really something. It's great and I love it, but for a serious outing, I'll still take my Fuji XF10 every time. Even the Ricoh GRII I still have would be preferable. A not insignificant part of it is the feel - the haptics, the feel of a camera in your hand with actual buttons and dials. The iPhone has some great computational capabilities but it isn't exactly inspiring or pleasant to use for photography.

Then also there's the much larger APS-C sensor, 24MP resolution, Fuji color profiles, and all that jazz.

Right. It is not like photography, it is like taking pictures.

Zack Schindler's picture

I keep a Sony RX-100 in the glove box of our van for those "just in case" times. Was stopped a light and had about 10 seconds to get the camera out to get this shot.

I just bought a Nikon Z50 kit for just this reason. It is both light weight and the lenses retract to reduce size. I don't mind walking around with it at all casually where as most times I would leave the full frame DSLR and heavy lens(es) at home. The Z50 is a very impressive camera in its class and I have been happy with the photos that I can get.

Matt Williams's picture

FYI, as of today the Z50 and kit is discounted and you can also get an FTZ adapter for $50 if you buy a camera - so depending on where you got it and when, you can ask them for a refund for the difference and maybe to purchase the FTZ for $50 (which is a hell of a deal). Or you could return and just buy it again, which is what Amazon will tell you to do. B&H and Adorama will refund you. If you got it this past month.

I got an open-box kit that was already quite discounted.

The adapter would be nice but I can't see attaching any of my heavy F-mount lenses to this. Maybe a small prime.

Matt Williams's picture

Fair enough. I sold off all of my F mount gear aside from my 60/2.8G macro, 70-200/4 VR, and my 85/2.8 PC-E macro, because obviously there is nothing in Z mount for any of those. The 70-200/4 is super easy to use on the camera - front heavy obviously but not uncomfortable to hold and carry around at all. I'll probably never replace that one unless the Z version is incredible.

I went for a bicycle ride today. The phone went in one pocket for music. The RX100iii went in another pocket for unexpected opportunities. The bigger cameras were left in the truck or at home.

Stuart Carver's picture

I went ultra cheap and picked up a 2nd hand XM1 last year to pair with the 27mm pancake, it now lives in my car centre console.

I just picked up a used Sony HX90V for this reason. Sometimes the A7R and 55mm is too much to take along so I always felt like I was missing shots that my phone were not going to get. Plus I have never had a longer lens so for $200 it was an easy choice to make. Also with 1 inch sensors cameras now becoming very affordable on the used market, like the Panasonic ZS100 available around $225 or the Canon GX9 around the same, it is a great time to have a little carry around camera for those random moments.

Colin Robertson's picture

About 8 months ago my Fuji X-E3 and all of my lenses were stolen... 😭 That was a killer second camera... That being said, I would probably recommend getting a non-ILC camera as a second camera. I would always stress out about which *system* to bring out when I went out shooting for fun...

With my Canon, I have a larger sensor which performs better in lower light, has slightly better IQ and I have access to my tilt-shifts. The fuji was more fun to shoot with, had awesome color response and was easier to carry and I had some killer primes... I was just starting to draw the line between which system to carry at any given time when the theft occurred, but adding more lenses in a completely different system made carrying the fuji more stressful as "just" a second camera (YES, I know how ridiculous this all sounds).

So yeah, I would love to get back together with a fuji camera, but it's going to have to be a fixed lens model next time to keep my sanity. If I'm feeling indecisive, it's much easier to throw a X100 in the bag along with my canon system than another camera and incompatible set of lenses (or one lens, but then constantly fret about if I chose the "right" lens for that day...).