Photography: In Praise of Tiny Compacts


When I go a wandering, with only one subject on my mind – that being photo-snapping – I take (at least) one hefty camera along for the ride. Usually my Sony DSC-HX400V. But I have a few others that I give an outing from time to time – which often includes compacts of various brands and ability. But if I’m just doing ‘other stuff’ – like shopping or walking the dogs – I pop a small compact in my top pocket. They vary in size from heavy and chunky (thinking Sony W15) – to others such as the one hiding here behind this credit card-sized travel card…

Sometimes they aren’t always totally wonderful. Some really need perfect photographic conditions to produce an acceptable result. Those, when my patience is exhausted, I tend to move on to charity shops. Others just hang in there because of (for example) their comparatively long zoom lenses. But some are just darned good – no matter what. And often it is the tiniest cameras in my collection that give the most pleasing results. In particular I refer to this little beaut, which I bought in a charity shop…

It is a 12 megapixel Canon Ixus 100is. Here is the result of a test shot taken just outside my front door…

Its a tricky shot for such a tiny camera. It demands that it handle extremes of light and shade, colour, and texture. And I think it did a good job. I have (supposedly) better cameras that wouldn’t produce this quality of photo. But, I was surprised to discover, I have (supposedly again) inferior cameras that make a pretty good fist of the task too. Look at this…

Not too shabby either, huh? This is the culprit…

Its a mid-2000s 7 megapixel Olympus FE230, which is maybe a couple of millimetres larger than my much-admired Canon – which means its SMALL. But the pictures it takes refute any ideas that small, aging cameras are a waste of a photo-snappers time. To prove this assertion of mine, check out this…

As good as the Canon?

Maybe. But can it (or many other cameras) equal this Canon shot?

Probably not. So now its time to dig out another mini-compact. My bright pink Canon Ixus 130…

Let’s see how this little 14 megapixel bugger makes out!

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