Thinking of getting a compact camera to carry around

CompactCameraBuyingI am playing with the idea of buying a lower mid-range compact camera. To make this a little more clear I have drawn a picture to help explain it. The arrow coming in from the right-hand side indicates the value point where I am looking to buy a compact.

This has come about because I want to get back into taking pictures but taking my awesome Pentax K-5 DSLR with me everywhere has become burdensome; to the point where, for the last 18 months or so, I have not taken it anywhere. It is large-ish and needs to live in its own padded bag. Keeping track of this and keeping it with me it just too much trouble. Especially with my DIDO (drive-in drive-out) work roster of the last three years.

But I often see things I would like to capture ‘on film’—so to speak.

I started out thinking I would upgrade my smartphone to a new one with a generation 3 camera in it. Something like the amazing Lumia 920, or the HTC 8X, or the Samsung SIII. But to buy any one of those phones outright is between $600 and $750 and the reality is, when it comes to the phone function, none of these can touch the four day battery life (it is never turned off) and the awesome grey-zone reception capabilities of my Motorola Defy. Most new smartphones battle to get two full days of battery life even if you turn them off at night, and the antennas in even the best mobile phones seem to get worse with each new model—rather than better.

Buying a lower mid-range compact camera is probably going to set me back about $300, which is around half the cost of upgrading my phone. Plus the compact camera is going to be significantly better than a smartphone camera from a number of viewpoints, not the least of which is the quality and versatility of the lens. I don’t think there is a single smartphone that has optical zoom, and yet this is something every mid-range compact has. Every picture you take with a smartphone is super-wide-angle—like it or not. This is because phones are targeted at taking self-pictures and party-pictures. This kind of picture taking needs a wide angle lens.

Also, as good as the new Gen 3 cameras are in the latest smartphones, even a low-end compact still has a much larger image sensor and, hence, takes all-round better quality picture with less digital noise and pixel averaging.

So by getting into a bottom end mid-range compact I would save money and be able to take significantly better pictures than I could with a smartphone.

I am type-2 diabetic so I have got into the habit of taking my bag everywhere with me. It contains my diabetic kit and medication, as well as some lollies in case I have a sugar low. Seriously, this bag goes almost everywhere I go. Even when I go into restaurants or over to visit my friend. So all I have to do is keep my new compact camera in the bag and then it will be with me everywhere I go.

That’s the plan anyway.

BarryMark