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Thread: All about compacts

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default All about compacts

    A compact, well as the name suggests is that the camera is compact.
    To many others, they are simply called digital cameras.

    One may find these nearly everywhere, especially in a girl's handbag.
    These are the cameras which has the biggest market in the camera industry.

    They are easy to use, and usually set to auto modes.
    Thus, they have been named point-and-shoots by many professional photographers.

    They have low-powered flash, and rely on live view to capture images.
    In the Point-And-Shoot world, Live View has been an old technology,
    but in the DSLR world, it seemed new with the introduction from the D3 and D300 onwards.

    Compacts, usually have lens that are very wide, say 6.1mm.
    This enables that a greater angle of view.
    However, they are unable to create a shallow depth of field,
    meaning everything in the screen is usually in focus.
    This is one of the main reasons why people choose SLR or TLR, or RF over compact.
    They wish to have more control of their cameras.

    I am writing this more of a small guide as to why people buy compacts and to let you guys know more about compact cameras.
    This is by no means proffessional, but my views and perspective.
    If you see any mistakes, please do state and i'll correct them.

    Let us go into the few main points why people want a point-and-shoot.
    Last edited by Lomographer; 25th June 2009 at 03:48 PM.
    Pentax K-x

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    This is my personal perspective on why i would wanna get a compact instead of a DSLR,

    but of course i will try to stand from a middleman's perspective to write this.

    I will touch on few reasons why people want a compact and facts about a compact.

    1) The price

    Firstly, let's ask ourselves, are compacts THAT cheap?
    A brand new canon ixus 110 is costs $569 with freebies,
    if we minus the freebies, it would probably cost around $500 flat.

    With that amount of money, i could get a D40 with the kit lens (18-55mm II),
    and another manual focus lens to compliment it, along with a decent SD card with good write-speed.
    So why get a compact still?
    Because compacts are a very confined range of products, they don't have much to complement it.
    Sans tripod, memory cards, cases, there really isn't much to buy for a compact.
    Unless we're talking about a new camera, that is.

    Money matters:
    1) People who are just starting to venture into photography may want to get a compact to start first, in case they're not sure whether they want to continue venturing into photography before investing in a DSLR.
    2) People who don't have the budget
    3) Some have the budget, yet don't want to buy a DSLR but instead just a good compact camera.

    2) Size
    The compact's size is well, rather compact depending on models.
    Still, they are relatively small.
    Many normal folks who are not into photography, find it a hassle to bring a DSLR around when going out.
    To us who are into photography, find it normal but to them, it's troublesome.
    First, you will need a bag to put your SLR, DSLR as you won't want to throw it in a bag with too little paddings.
    Secondly, it's not easy to retrieve it if you need to capture and instantaneous moment (unless you're hanging it around your neck).
    That's why people settle for compacts.
    Many youngsters now buy compact cameras and just slip it into their pockets when going out with friends,
    and this is the same for many other people.
    Compacts are better for normal people who do not want the size and bulk of the DSLR as all they want is just to take photos.

    3) Image Quality

    The image quality has nothing to do with how many megapixel a camera has, which is a common mistake.
    The megapixels merely tells you how large you can blow up the photo while printing optimumly.
    The image quality on a compact is honestly quite good.
    They can also produce good shots.
    Most compacts have ability to shoot in macro mode,
    but mainly fail in creating a shallow depth of field needed to singulate the object which the photographer wises to bring out.
    This can happen eve when the compacts are at wide open at f/2.8.

    However, when zooming a different story is to be told.
    When a lens zooms out, the image quality should remain as good as it were when it was at it's widest.
    But understandably, for it's price, when a camera is at 15x, the image quality drops and even the object is barely in focus.

    Casio also recently introduced a compact camera that had the ability to shoot up to 30 frames per second.
    Many were wowed at this and was a good selling point but the image quality was to be lowered to 6.1 megapixels.
    But who cares? No Compact had the ability to do that. That was a breakthrough in compact camera technology.
    This was something they want, burst mode, without having to get a DSLR, they could now get it,
    at an even faster rate then a DSLR, to be exact, thrice the rate faster then the faster DSLR going at 11FPS (Nikon D3 on DX mode).

    4) Convenience

    This partially been mentioned in size where people will want a small camera just to capture simple moments,
    of their kids and family. They don't want something complicated for artistic photography and are not that into photography.
    This appeals to them and they will definitely choose this over the DSLR, SLR or RF.

    5) Niche Market

    In every market, there will definitely be a niche market.
    The compact camera market is no exception.

    Niche camera or the top-grade cameras of compact don't come cheap either.
    Some people just don't want a DLSR, but instead a good compact that looks sleek and works well.

    The LX3 is a "bridge camera between a prosumer and a compact".
    With vario-summicron lens from LEICA AG Germany built-in, setting to shoot on raw or jepg shows that a compact can be complicated and good too.
    With ISO ranges from 80-3200, you're good to shoot in nearly any conditions, coupled with it's powerful flash however for serious shooting, anything above 400 is not recommended,
    but i feel ISO 800 is still ok.

    Similar to the LX3, aka the sister of the LX3, the Leica Digilux 4 has been hailed haute couture of the compact camera line.
    Nearly identical in function to the LX3, it has the same abilities as mentioned above but of course is more stylish and cost ALOT more then the LX3.
    With a hot-shoe on the top of the camera, it allows the camera to mount a flash, external viewfinder.
    There are also specialised lens accessories from panasonic for their LX3 such as a neutral density (GND) filter meant sepcially for the LX3.
    The leica digilux 4 also offers 3 different aspect ratios, namely 4:3, 3:2 and 12:9.
    They even have a AE-L and AF-L button, and one may ask, all these advanced features on a compact?

    Well, i won't call this compact. The leica digilux-4 has even it's own line of accessories, cases and even limited edition series,
    such as the safari green one which comes with the leica nylon bag, and the titanium version, only 275 pieces worldwide, with the calf leather casing.
    These compacts have became a fashion icon, and everyone wants to own one.

    6) Conclusion
    In conclusion, if you're a DSLR user, no harm getting one right?
    If you're new to photography, why not get one to start your photographic journey?
    Pentax K-x

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Personal experiences with compact , where i used it:

    1) Class Outings

    I'm at the beach, or i'm playing football at cage, and i don't want to lug an SLR camera along with me.
    The compact is perfect for situations like that, and i mean a basic compact not one with oppulent features like the LX3.
    Should in any case i do misplace the camera, i wouldn't just faint there because the pinch is not that bad.

    2) Rugged Overseas Trip

    There are good cameras who can withstand kinda harsh condition, but a normal one with do, too.
    I will bring these cameras for rock-climbing trips, fishing trips and scuba-diving trips.
    These are camera that can operate with one hand and can be easily reach when in awkward positions.
    Pentax K-x

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Another reason why i would use a compact camera:

    It has video recording abilities.
    Though many say it's rather crappy at 720 fps or the sound is bad, sometimes, i wanna just have something to record the moment.
    Not so much of a video-camcorder but just one that can do both photos and videos.
    Simple videos just to relive some memories is all i need, and the compact fits the bill well.
    Pentax K-x

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Which compact do i use?

    I myself personally am quite a frequent user of compact camera but i don't own alot.

    I feel really one or two is enough.

    I have 2 from canon, my favourite compact camera brand.

    First is my newest addition :

    IXUS 100 IS

    I bought mine in crimson red, and it looks stunning.
    From a consumer's point of view, it has everthing i need,
    HD videos, Blink Detection and 18 pre-set modes.
    The modes include macro mode to against the sun.

    In macro mode, the camera focuses as close to 5cm from the lens! (Not sensor plane, sorry to dissapoint)
    I especially like against the sun mode where one can be directly infront of the the sun and face still can be seen clearly, as i don't want a contre-jour effect.
    This camera looks stylish as a plus point.
    It also has a optical viewfinder (96% coverage), which i often look into and don't rely on the live view, but it looks a little like a fisheye lens is attached on due to it's small (really small) viewfinder.
    I like cameras who have viewfinder as i'm more used to looking into the viewfinder.
    The camera has lens equivalent to 33-100mm on 35mm and aperture of f/3.2 at widest and f/8 at the end (100mm).
    Good point is that this camera has a evaluative metering system, an improvement over the previous generation of IXUS ( ie. IXUS 970 is)


    IXUS 980 IS

    This one feels solid in your hands and is heavy as well.
    It is the top of the lin compact camera and has all the features you need.
    HD movies is in too, to my surprise and the normal preset modes but now have the new 18 modes including against the sun.
    This camera sans out all amateurish features like blink detection and goes straight into serious shooting.
    1 thing i like about the camera is that the viewfinder looks good, unlike the IXUS 100 IS, and is nice for wide-angle shots. (98% coverage)
    The camera also has a easy access switch to go straight into manual mode, where i will have full controls of the camera and it's controls which i like.
    This doesn't confine me as much as auto where i merely apply some force onto the shutter release button and all is done by the camera.
    Sometimes, i still want more controls and this camera gives me the best of both world.

    The noise control on this camera seems better then other newer ixus despite using the same sensor.
    ISO 800 is usable on the ixus 980 is unlike the ixus 100 is, it is only usable to up to 400.
    The ixus 980 is also gives you to choice to push the iso up to 3200, of course it will be really noisy but some people don't really care, and just want a photo. This is perfect!
    I don't want to call ISO 3200 function on the camera "night mode" but it looks just like night mode on a camera phone.
    The zoom's equivalent on a 35mm is 36-133mm, not exactly wide at all but it's zoom is not bad (3.7x) as image quality is not really.
    The aperture is also at f/2.8 at widest (36mm) and f/5.8 at the end of the zoom (133mm).
    This is good, as most compacts fail to achieve a shallow depth of field and this helps a little, but still need to do manual work (moving camera closer to object... blah blah).

    In anycase, i say canon compacts are quite good.
    I really like them, as they are rather stylish and still have good functions.
    Pentax K-x

  6. #6

    Default Re: All about compacts

    Hey good on there fred.
    Hurrah for Revographers !
    hehe
    D60 | 35 f/1.8 | Primes only :)
    Founder of Revographers

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Thank you.
    Hope to just spread some little knowledge i have.
    Pentax K-x

  8. #8
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    There are other advantages to a compact such as cheaper entry into bird/wildlife and underwater-photography. A 3x zoom compact, coupled with a 20x magnification on the spotting scope (get cheap ones such as Nikon ED 50 or Bushnell etc, not Leica/Swarovski/CZ) can amount to a equivalent focal length of 2800mm and still obtain good image quality. Underwater housing for compact is also much cheaper than the DSLR-equivalent.
    RICOH GRD I / II / III / IV / GR / GXR

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    agreed.
    Pentax K-x

  10. #10
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Quote Originally Posted by shadowpartner View Post
    Hey good on there fred.
    Hurrah for Revographers !
    hehe
    Ya!! Woohooo Quite Informative..haha Keep it up man!
    Nikon D300|MB-D10|Nikon F2|Nikon 24-70mm f2.8G ED|Nikon 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF-D|SB-80DX|Next:70-200mm

  11. #11

    Default Re: All about compacts

    Thanks for the writeup. ,I am also interested in Lumix LX3 and appreciate you classifying it in niche market.

    Mmmm, any reasons why u choose Canon and not Lumix LX3? Thanks in advance for sharing your thought process.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Quote Originally Posted by jpcc View Post
    Thanks for the writeup. ,I am also interested in Lumix LX3 and appreciate you classifying it in niche market.

    Mmmm, any reasons why u choose Canon and not Lumix LX3? Thanks in advance for sharing your thought process.
    hi jpcc, thanks for reading.

    hmm, because i simply want a simple camera with no "nice features" merely just to capture the moment.

    and because i saw the canon before it was launched in singapore, so i set my eyes on it due to it's nice design. it's also very compact.

    these are my reasons, but do get a LX3, it's a great camera.
    Pentax K-x

  13. #13
    Senior Member Diavonex's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    I love compact also. It's so easy to carry around.

    This compact follows me every where I go.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Ups for my thread!
    Pentax K-x

  15. #15

    Default Re: All about compacts

    This thread is cool
    Thank you

  16. #16
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Quote Originally Posted by LomoPhotographer View Post
    This thread is cool
    Thank you
    thank you.

    wrote this when i was bored.
    Pentax K-x

  17. #17
    Member Shin Howard's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Hi Lomo, I'm looking to buy a simple compact camera for everyday casual shoot.
    Read your post and looked at some of my options.

    Have look into details for these 2:
    - Powershot A480
    - Panasonic FS4

    Both are cheap and value for money. (diff of $45 on price)
    The powershot feels really plasticky but is really cheap and uses the norm AA batts.
    While the Lumix is slightly better in performance but uses it's own li-ion battery.

    My only fear is that after 1 yr, the batt on the pansonic dies. Will it be a problem to find a replacement? Kindly provide advise, and your experience.
    I'm looking at a different perpective of life.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Lomographer's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Howard View Post
    Hi Lomo, I'm looking to buy a simple compact camera for everyday casual shoot.
    Read your post and looked at some of my options.

    Have look into details for these 2:
    - Powershot A480
    - Panasonic FS4

    Both are cheap and value for money. (diff of $45 on price)
    The powershot feels really plasticky but is really cheap and uses the norm AA batts.
    While the Lumix is slightly better in performance but uses it's own li-ion battery.

    My only fear is that after 1 yr, the batt on the pansonic dies. Will it be a problem to find a replacement? Kindly provide advise, and your experience.
    Hi Shin, i would recommend the powershot A480.

    However, do take note it may not be as good as you expect it to be,

    and it is made out of plastic.

    I would sincerely recommend the LX3 from panasonic,

    if you're serious about getting a good compact that will last.
    Pentax K-x

  19. #19

    Default Re: All about compacts

    one huge advantage of p&s /bridge cameras with smaller sensor, that is often neglected.

    the dof is a lot less shallow compared to dslr, so you can get a lot more dof for a larger aperture, that can be an advantage especially when it comes to certain areas of photography like macro photography.

  20. #20
    Member Shin Howard's Avatar
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    Default Re: All about compacts

    Thanks for your recommendation.
    I've looked at the LX3 before.
    Think it's a great camera just that the price tag is above my budget.
    Guess I would still go for the A480.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lomographer View Post
    Hi Shin, i would recommend the powershot A480.

    However, do take note it may not be as good as you expect it to be,

    and it is made out of plastic.

    I would sincerely recommend the LX3 from panasonic,

    if you're serious about getting a good compact that will last.
    I'm looking at a different perpective of life.

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