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Pointers by Paul's Photo

The Compact Camera Conundrum

After years of searching there is a solution that works! What camera fits in a pocket, delivers great picture quality, has a pleasurable user-interface and meets the needs of a discriminating photographer?  The solution is at hand.

The most popular cameras today are full-frame mirrorless cameras because of the superb picture quality, intuitive controls and amazing performance. Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras top the best-sellers list with amazing choices that are smaller than ever. Yet every photographer longs for a pocket-able camera for a night on the town, dinner with friends, a hike, just to fit in a pocket or when we need discretion! How can we have our cake and eat it too? It’s possible.

The first option is the mobile phone. Yes, we all make phone-photos but most of us are not satisfied with the quality of the results or the creative options (ISO, shutter speed, aperture). In the past we have all bought the “premium pocket camera” like the Sony RX or Canon G and found the pictures and experience un-inspiring compared to our “big cameras.”

We bought M 4/3 and APS-C cameras and discovered the size is not-that-much-smaller than our Full-Frame cameras and the picture quality, camera utility, and photographer experience leaves us dissatisfied. Another good try yet fail.

YES, there is a workable and satisfactory solution to the compact camera conundrum…

Your favorite brand’s smallest Full-Frame mirrorless camera with a compact prime lens is the answer. For me, that’s the Nikon Z7ii with the 26mm 2.8! For you it might be the Canon R8 with 28mm 2.8 or Nikon Zf with 40mm 2 or the Sony a7C paired with the 35mm 2.8. These small Full-Frame cameras slip easily into a small purse, jacket pocket or walk-around in your hand. They offer the user interface, camera performance, picture quality and photo experience that makes you happy! Now, you have to agree to go with “no kit” to keep it small.

Go light and have some fun! Charged battery and formatted memory card in the camera and a minimal strap (Peak Designs CUFF wrist strap or LEASH neck strap recommended). Leave the case, bag, lenses, filters, charger and stuff at home. Just your camera in the pocket or purse.

On a recent rainy afternoon, I wanted to test my new compact camera concept. Off to LAX to do some street and location photography with Nikon Z7ii and 26mm 2.8. The camera fit ideally in my raincoat pocket and was 100% unobtrusive…. avoiding the gaze and ire of travelers and security alike. Using the flip-up screen, face-detect auto focus, AUTO ISO and manual exposure the photos appeared magically. It was freeing and exciting to walk and shoot effortlessly.  The images were sharp, in focus and well exposed in a variety of lighting conditions…. just like you expect from your Sony, Nikon or Canon camera and lens!

The true test of concept was a night at Disney’s California Adventure with the wife and friends. This was a dinner-date and fun evening not a photo shoot. Camera in my pocket and a smile on my face. Low light, moving subjects, walking and talking all night and my kit captured amazing photos! What a joy to make pictures and have fun while not being “that guy” with my camera kit.  Being able to control the focus square, shoot high ISO and wide aperture made me “feel like a photographer” without the baggage, while still being the attentive spouse! It was so much fun.

Having our full kit of photo gear is amazing. It captures superb photos. Sometimes, we need a smaller kit. My compact mirrorless Full-Frame camera kit allows us to tell our story and record the memories and be the photographer with just a camera in the purse, pocket or in my hand. Yes, they are available at PAUL’S PHOTO. In store, online or by phone.