Why do you take photographs? This is a question of often ask students and occasionally ask myself. It seems a bit of an odd question when first asked but I find that the answer is different for many people and there can be multiple reasons. The answer also effects the techniques you need to learn and more importantly the equipment you might need to buy.. Many years ago I purchased a light weight pair of binoculars that fitted in my pocket or camera bag and used until they fell to bits; I wanted the big, heavy professional pair but the salesman, to his credit, pointed out that after a while these usually got left in the car. This often happens with big flash DSLRs; you cannot use a camera you have locked in the boot because it weighs a ton.
Despite my barrage of Nikons and assorted lenses one of my cameras that has produced the most photograph sales has been a Canon G10 simply because this is always in my pocket when I am traveling, dog walking or visiting the local supermarket. Recently I decided that the images from this were starting to look a bit lower quality than more modern cameras plus the viewfinder had always been difficult to see through and with a trip to Russia planed I wanted to be able to be able to take a lot of personal photos plus some decent stock photographs if the opportunity arose. The alternative was of course to take the Nikons but this would have meant trailing my girlfriend around with a huge camera bag which would have taken up my entire cabin baggage allowance.
A considerable amount of internet research later a trip to Wex Photographic resulted in the trade in of a couple of Nikon bodies and the purchase of a Panasonic Lumix GX80 and a couple of lenses closely followed a week later by a second body. The GX80 shoots RAW (as does the Canon), has a usable electronic viewfinder, a wide range of inter changeable lenses, fits in a pocket or if both are carried go in a small inconspicuous camera bag which weighs less than my Nikon D7000 and that’s before you add the lenses.
One of the other advantages of compact cameras is that you are a lot less conspicuous as a photographer. I you enjoy candid or street photography this is a definite plus. I have had several altercations with security guards in public places in London when using a DSLR but never with the Canon. The Lumix hangs round my neck and discreetly hides inside my jacket until needed and I can then use the tilting screen if I don’t want to put off the subject.
So next time you look enviously at your mate with his (or her) big heavy DSLR and kettle sized lens ask yourself is that what you need to take the photographs you want to take. If you see me at an airshow or on a model shoot that is what I will be carrying X2 but anywhere else the Panasonic will be there -somewhere