For decades there have been little pocket cameras that made it easy for anyone to take a relatively good photograph under a wide range of conditions. Technology, however, has made the pocket camera, or the compact camera, more high-tech than ever imagined.
Consider that a well-made modern compact will come with everything from optical and digital zooms, dozens of presets and modes, and even the option for taking video clips. The main question for many is – are they suitable for use for an enthusiastic photographer to start getting some good shots? The answer is “yes”.
Just like DSLRs, however, no two compacts are identical, and it pays to understand how they can be used to best effect. For one thing, they are a great way to scout out locations and make photographic notes about the types of settings and equipment that a photo session might require.
For example, let’s say that an enthusiast photographer has been invited to a wedding, but there are some serious limitations about the use of flash in the church. With their compact camera in hand, the photographer can go to the location and use it to capture images of the areas in which they will photograph the couple and the event, and to also take all kinds of metering from the various sites as well.
Of course, a compact isn’t just a tool for weddings or Sunday family BBQ shots; they can take some good images on their own. This is enhanced by the availability of manual settings that allow a skilled photographer to control the camera’s behaviors, but most also make some very interesting presets available too. Consider that many have upwards of twenty preset modes that can allow someone excellent photographic results within candlelight, nighttime, sporting events, and a host of other scenarios. These are especially benefited from the photographer’s pre-existing knowledge about the needs of different settings too.
Where zoom and wide-angle photography are concerned, the modern compact has a nice array of lenses built into their little frames as well. Some go as low as 10mm to allow for a nearly “fisheye” wide angle image to be recorded, and others have a digital zoom of up to 12X as well. While the digital zooms are usually considered somewhat inferior to optical zooms due to their massive amounts of blur and noise, they can still be exceedingly helpful to a photographer out in the field.
It may be helpful to have a compact camera in a modern photographer’s store of tools and equipment.