One gadget-loving, world-travelling, excellent enthusiast photographer told me his ideal digital camera would: (1) be compact enough to fit in his pocket, (2) be connected (Wi-Fi or WLAN) and run Android so he doesn’t have to lug around an additional phone, (3) have interchangeable lenses, and (4) be ultra-sensitive in low-light conditions. For him, the key factor is whether the camera can fit in his pocket. Though he loves taking photos, he doesn’t like to be encumbered with a bulky, heavy camera. He is somewhat of a minimalist—the type that leaves for month-long trips with only carry-on luggage.
Not everyone prioritizes a camera’s portability this much, but they do say that the best camera is the one you have with you. And given the many people using camera phones to take and share photos, I am guessing that other people also hesitate to reach for their bulkier cameras on a day-to-day basis.
I still think about the morning last summer when I was on my way to work and saw the most amazing, charcoal-grey sky that perfectly highlighted the white, puffy water vapor coming out of the local paper factory’s chimney. I knew right then that I would regret not having that shot, but the only camera I had with me was a semi-broken cellphone camera. And just a few weeks ago, there was the shot I missed of two bundled-up women on a snowy Quebec City street looking in a shop window at two headless mannequins in bikinis. The reflection of one woman’s face was in the exact spot where the head of one of the mannequins would have been, perfectly capturing the ennui of a lingering winter. Only I didn’t have my camera that day either.
Of course, from this I could learn to carry my best (heavy, bulky) camera around with me more frequently. Or I could decide to carry my good, lightweight one with me, since it is better than my camera phone. But what if I had a excellent camera that was also lightweight and easy to slip into my bag? I am guessing I would carry it with me on a regular basis (and have less photographs not taken).
A while back all this would have seemed like a pipe dream, kinda like the “good, fast, cheap” triangle—you can only have two. But these days, there seem to be less compromises to make when buying a camera. There are some very compact cameras and smartphones that take high quality photos. I am curious and eager to see how things continue to develop over the next couple of years.
What about you? Is having a very compact camera important to you? What are the qualities of your dream camera?