For the professional photographer, a point and shoot is never going to replace a full frame DSLR. The DSLR provides the versatility of being able to select specific, high quality optics to get the job done and the full frame sensor to provide the image quality and dynamic range demanded by professionals.
Yet there are times when a large heavy camera just won’t do and even professionals seek the compact, light weight qualities of a point and shoot camera – that is if the point and shoot cameras don’t let you down on the back end.
Some of the features professionals seek in point and shoot cameras are:
1. High megapixel count for the ability to print large prints.
2. Build quality to hold up the rigors of shooting on location.
3. A viewfinder! This is rare in the world of point and shoot cameras these days but in full sun a viewfinder is a must even if its just from being used to shooting through a view finder.
4. Large sensor – larger sensors capable of extended dynamic range that can bring back more usable shoots in low light is important.
5. Quality optics – good lens with low distortion and low chromatic aberration, also known as “color fringing” or “purple fringing”, is a common optical problem that occurs when a lens is either unable to bring all wavelengths of color to the same focal plane, and/or when wavelengths of color are focused at different positions in the focal plane. Stock agencies will reject image for this so again, the professional is looking for a camera which will bring back more usable and sell-able images.
- World’s first 1 20.1 MP 1″ Exmor RS stacked back illuminated CMOS, High resolution 4K movie recording with direct pixel readout and no pixel binning, Super slow-motion movie3 HFR (High frame rate) up to 960 fps (40x)
- Super-speed Anti-Distortion Shutter at max. 1/32000 sec. up to 16fps, Bright F1.8- F2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonar T* lens (24-70mm), Fast Intelligent AF thanks to the new Exmor RS CMOS sensor
- Retractable XGA OLED Tru-Finer viewfinder and Sharp 3″ multi-angle LCD, Simple connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi and NFC w/ camera apps, Dual record of 16.8MP photos while shooting movie w/ auto settings
- Enhanced pro-video functions and NTSC switchable
I’ve had good luck in the past with the Panasonic LX line of 10 megapixels cameras with Leica designed lens. These camera are affordably priced but lack a view finder.
I’ve also had the FujiFilm x100t which is a 16 mega pixel retro rangefinder camera with a fixed 23 mm (35 mm on full frame which is slightly wider than a normal lens) but I found it too bulky to be considered a true point and shoot. It’s certainly smaller than a DSLR but its not pocketable. It uses a large crop sensor but I found the RAW processing to be a little wonky. Users swear by the JPGs produced in camera which are available in popular Fuji film styles. The FujiFilm x100t is probably more of a DSLR replacement than a point and shoot. Its major fan base is street photographers who see it as an inexpensive Leica but for the point and shoot crowd its rather pricey.
Having traded in my FujiFilm x100t after a trip to Europe and having handed my Panasonic LX5 to my son, I’m point and shoot free at the moment although my wife twisted my arm to use an old 4 MP Fujifilm point and shoot camera which quite frankly takes great photos, the only problem is that they are limited being a 4 MP.
With my trade money, next trip that comes along, I’m going to serious look at Sony’s RX line of point and shoots. The newest flag ship model, the Sony DSC-RX100M IV is just under $1,000 and features some fantastic specs including a pop up viewfinder, 1 inch sensor with a whopping 20 MP and 4K video recording. Not bad for a pocketable camera. The zoom is 24-70mm which is a nice range. Wider than my Fujifilm x100t and zooms in a bit. I’m not taking bird photos so this range covers most of what you really need.