Camera Choice- Compact Cameras

Compact/Point and Shoot cameras have come a long way in the digital era.  There are a wide range of point and shoot cameras on the market, so this means there is a wide range of quality that is available.  There are many very good compact cameras on the market, and many of them have functions that elevate them from being a simple “point and shoot” camera.  These compact cameras are easy to use and many have very useful features and functions.  Some of these features are easy to understand, and there are also often functions that can be taken advantage of by more experienced shooters.

Amsterdam: Sometimes you just want to go out for a drink, and then your beverage looks good enough to photograph. Glad I had my little camera with me, cheers!

“The best camera is the one that you have with you.”  The advantage of point and shoot cameras is clearly it’s small size and convenience.  I’m more likely to carry a camera with me all the time, if it is compact.  There are definitely times when I want to have the ability to take pictures, but don’t want to worry about keeping up with my SLR camera.  So, I usually pack both for a trip, and make sure those times that I don’t want to take the big camera, that I at least have my Point and Shoot.

There have also been times, when I have had both cameras with me, and I used the point and shoot for safety and security reasons, maybe I was in area where petty crime was a problem, and I didn’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention.  Or, I was in a situation where I wanted to be more discreet with my camera, and didn’t want to stand out in the crowd.

Siena, Italy Picture taken with my compact camera. This is a situation where I wanted to quickly take a picture while being discreet. I did not want the women to notice that I was taking their picture, as that might have changed their positions and or expressions.

Image quality can vary widely in the huge range of compact cameras that are available.  I finally broke down and bought a compact camera when they started making some models that shoot 12 megapixel RAW files.  I’m so glad I did, I love my little compact camera, because I can, and do, take it anywhere and everywhere.  There are a few other features to look for if shopping for a compact camera that goes beyond point and shoot.  The first would be exposure controls, preferably manual control.  I recommend having at least shutter and aperture priority shooting modes, and exposure compensation.  This gives you some control over motion and depth of field.  Sure, there might be times when you set it to auto and forget about it, but there are other times where you really need the control over those settings to get the picture you want.

The Netherlands: This picture was taken with my compact camera while riding a rental bike in the Waterlands area outside of Amsterdam. I did have my SLR camera with me, but it was tied down so securely to the back of my bike that I got tired of taking the time to unsecure and resecure it. So, I rode with my compact camera around my neck, which allowed me to easily stop, shoot a few frames, and then be on my way.


  1. Great post, pics, and reminder! I’ve often thought of purchasing another point and shoot, but have shied away from it because of the camera feature on my phone. I believe there is still a place for the point and shoot that a camera phone simply cannot handle. Some of my best pictures were with the point and shoot – not the phone, and your post has just validated my “want” for another camera. Thanks!!!

    1. You’re right, but I also love my camera phone for fun snap shots of friends, family and quirky things I want to remember. That will be a topic of a future post, because the camera phone is the camera that I always have with me. I sometimes think of it as a diary.

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