Beyond the Phone: 5 Reasons to embrace compact digital cameras
Explore the edge compact cameras have over smartphones. Dive into 5 compelling reasons why these pocket wonders are a must-have for every photographer.
In 2022, I took a chance on the Fujifilm X100V just before embarking on a trip to Italy’s mesmerizing Amalfi Coast. Sleek, lightweight, and irresistibly stylish, this compact mirrorless gem quickly became more than just a camera; it became an extension of me. It’s always by my side, urging me to capture moments with a clarity and passion I never knew I had.
With time and extensive use, this compact digital marvel proved its worth in every shot. Nearly two years in, I’m convinced of its unparalleled value. I’ve pinpointed five undeniable reasons everyone should think about investing in a compact digital camera.
Let’s explore them.
5 Reasons Why You Should Invest in a Compact Digital Camera
#1. Portability and Convenience
The beauty of a compact digital camera lies in its name – compact. The Fujifilm X100V, for instance, has become my trusty companion on numerous trips, from the alleys of Istanbul to the bustling streets of Malaga, Spain.
With its lightweight and unobtrusive design, I found it convenient to carry around, be it in a backpack or casually draped across the shoulder.
This ease of transport means I’m more likely to have it on hand when a photo-worthy moment arises, like a spontaneous laugh from my son Nikita or an impromptu street performance in a foreign city.
In fact, one of the main reasons I chose to purchase the Fujifilm X100V was because of a trip to Milan at the end of 2021. During that trip, I primarily used my Sony A7III. While the Sony A7III is undoubtedly an exceptional camera, I noticed that I often left it behind when my wife and I went for walks. Its bulk and weight made it cumbersome to carry around, especially in temperatures exceeding 30°C.
Consequently, I missed numerous opportunities to capture stunning photographs. I vividly recall deciding after that trip that I wanted a more compact camera—one I could effortlessly take with me wherever I went without feeling burdened by its size or weight. Looking back, I genuinely believe that decision greatly enhanced my skills as a photographer.
#2. Unassuming Presence
One of the subtle advantages of a compact camera is its ability to blend in. Its small form doesn’t scream “professional photographer”, which can be a boon when trying to capture candid moments.
When traveling, using my Fujifilm X100V made it easier to approach locals. The camera’s retro, almost nostalgic design frequently led to delightful conversations, with people mistaking it for an old-school film camera.
The non-threatening demeanor of a smaller camera, compared to something like the Sony A7C, can make subjects more comfortable and approachable, resulting in amazing portrait photos of the locals.
Sidenote: My personal observation shows that when you approach foreigners to ask to take their portrait photo with a bigger camera, such as a Sony A7III or Sony A7C, they are much more likely to refuse. For instance, during my latest trip to Istanbul, on one of the days, I decided to take my Sony A7C with me for the evening walk, and there was a really interesting local person that I wanted to take a portrait of.
Compact digital cameras excel in diverse situations. From capturing heartwarming personal moments like a child’s spontaneous laughter to documenting the vibrancy of travel destinations, they ensure every memory is vividly recorded.
Their small form factor is an advantage in professional scenarios, too. In environments where authenticity is key, their unobtrusive design ensures candidness, allowing for genuine interactions and emotions to be captured.
Moreover, during family events, their lightweight nature ensures they complement rather than overshadow the celebration. In sum, the adaptability of compact digital cameras, fitting effortlessly into a range of settings, underscores their immense versatility.
#4. Focused on Photography
There’s a tangible difference between using a dedicated digital camera and snapping shots with an iPhone — and it’s not just about the technical aspects. In my personal journey, I’ve consistently observed that the images I capture with my camera surpass those taken with my iPhone. But why?
Beyond the superior specs and features of a dedicated camera, it’s the psychological shift that plays a pivotal role. Using a digital camera places me in a “photographer’s mindset”. Suddenly, the world transforms into a canvas of potential shots. I find myself actively seeking the perfect angle, the ideal composition, and the most complementary lighting. There’s a deliberateness to the process; each click is a culmination of thought and intent.
With my iPhone, while I can capture decent photos, there’s often a lack of intentionality. The convenience often translates to hurried shots without much contemplation.
The comparison might be likened to the difference between listening to a song on a vinyl record versus streaming on Spotify. Both can offer quality, but the former provides a richer, more immersive experience. Similarly, while you can get stunning shots with an iPhone, the depth, intention, and overall experience of using a dedicated camera is simply unmatched.
#5. Physical Controls: A Tactile Experience
One of the underrated joys of using a compact digital camera is the tactile feedback provided by physical dials and buttons.
While smartphones primarily rely on touchscreens, compact cameras offer manual controls that many photographers find satisfying and intuitive.
Adjusting settings like aperture, shutter speed, or ISO with physical dials can make the photography experience more immersive, connecting the photographer to the process in a deeply tangible way.
This is precisely one of the reasons I love my Fujifilm X100V so much: it has physical dials for every essential setting needed to capture stunning photos. I love the tactile experience of changing the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed on my camera. It gives me a sense of delight, which in turn encourages me to take more photos. And the more photos I take, the better I become.
Example of Photos That I Took With My Fujifilm X100V
Here are a few photos showing how I use my compact digital camera to take photos in many different photography genres.
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/2.0 . 1/125″ . ISO 100
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/2.0 . 1/1600″ . ISO 200
To Sum Up
In an era where smartphones often overshadow traditional photography tools, the enduring appeal of the compact digital camera is a testament to its unique capabilities and advantages.
From its unparalleled versatility to its tactile connection with the photographer, it offers an enriched, focused, and genuine experience that few devices can rival. While smartphones have their place in the realm of quick snaps and social shares, the compact digital camera remains a steadfast ally for those who truly cherish the art and craft of photography.
Whether you’re an aspiring photographer, a seasoned professional, or someone looking to elevate your photographic journey, investing in a compact camera might just be the best decision you’ll make. Embrace the world through its lens, and you’ll see and capture it in ways you never thought possible.
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/2.8 . 1/250″ . ISO 400
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/2.5 . 1/4000″ . ISO 250
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/4.0 . 1/2000″ . ISO 250
Aleksandrs Karevs is a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 he became obsessed with photography and decided to create a photography blog where he shares his knowledge about both photography and digital marketing. In his free time, Aleksandrs enjoys taking photos with his everyday companion – Fujifilm X100V.