Is There a “Professional” Compact Camera?

powershotg10Today in the office we were (fairly pointlessly, I admit) comparing the advantages and disadvantages of the DSLR and the compact camera. Eventually, an obvious question was asked; what compact camera would a professional photographer carry?

I think this is a tricky question, because a pro photographer should be able to use any compact and do a pretty good job with it. So I guess the question really is, if you are used to the quality of an SLR, is there a compact that can really cut it as a substitute when you don’t want to carry all the kit?

For me as a Canon owner, I’d immediately go for the Canon G10, mainly for the fact it takes RAW images I can edit in the same software as my SLR shots. I presume Nikon and most other manufacturers have a similar model in their range, but I have to confess to not knowing what they are! I was quite excited by the new Olympus Pen but now I’m reading articles about it being a bit disappointing for not delivering the promise. I have not got my hands on one yet so I don’t speak from experience!

In the “old days” the Leica was king, but again I don’t know if they make a digital compact.

So what I’m asking for is readers’ opinions on top-notch compacts. Not “quite good at the price” compacts, but “fantastic and I wish I had the cash” compacts. Perhaps we can compile a list…

13 Replies to “Is There a “Professional” Compact Camera?”

  1. For me, I was up for the G10 to replace my IXUS 500, but eventually shortlisted the Panasonic LX3 for it’s wider, higher quality lens, faster shooting and overall quality. Smaller and more pocketable too.

    In the end though, it will wait – I’ve bought a lensbaby, I’ll get more use from that!

  2. Canon G10 is a fantastic camera below ISO 400. Since most of my pics are at 80 or 100, I don’t care. The optical viewfinder is terrible but I never use it so I don’t care. GREAT CAMERA!

  3. I use an LX3 and like the pocketable size and high image quality. I wonder how robust it is, though–lots of fiddly little chrome buttons, no built-in lens cover.

    1. I think I need to find out more about the LX3. To be honest, I tend to dismiss Panasonic without a thought, probably because of a bad experience with hard-disk recorder. Not a very mature attitude, I admit!

  4. Being a Nikon user for many of years and I found that the P6000 fits my plan. It’s small, has GPS built in which helps on my current projects. Like the G10 you can photograph in RAW, excellent in the lower ISO as the G10 and with a 13 mb file size is more then enough. The only draw back to all of these pocket size cameras is the speed of taking the image and transferring to the SD card. But, for carring around taking photographs of family and friends, quick ideas that I have at the moment, the P6000 is great.

  5. I’ve had an LX3 for several months and love it for the wide, bright Leica lens, great image quality, RAW format, sane megapixel count and low light performance. What I don’t like is the lack of viewfinder and short reach (60mm).

    I just last week picked up a refurbed G10 from Adorama to add to my stable so we’ll see how that measures up.

  6. The LUX 3 is for all intents and purposes, a Leica, or at least Leica markets it as a Leica. It’s a wonderful camera, 24mm equivalent at its widest, least distortion I’ve seen in a whole drawer full zooms, including most of the lower end Nikkors. I use it at 24mm period. The HD video is good, striking in wide angle if you know what you are doing. The color controls/computer are full feature.

    The only beef I have is shutter latency–it’s about a generation behind the current scene on full automatic, and even with ‘manual autofocus,’ still too slow unless you like walking around with your finger half way down on the trigger. Get an extra battery or two.

    Enjoy and go out to dinner with the $400 bucks you saved not buying the Leica red dot on the front.

  7. There is a Leica model that is exactly the same as the Panasonic LX-3, it’s called the Leica Digilux 4.
    I decided for the Canon G10, some months ago, and I love it. It’s a great complement for my Nikon D90.

  8. I thought we would have a bigger list of potential professional compacts. I’m going to do a little digging and see if I can find a distributor or retailer who might be prepared to loan these for a direct comparison.

  9. There used to be a Leica film camera who compares to the G10: the unforgettable Leica CL. I have been the happy owner of a G10 eleven month now. My Nikon D300 is sitting in a closet since.
    Speaking about Leicas, I think Micro Four Thirds is going to be what the newly-born Leica format was in the 30’s.

  10. I have a very extensive camera, lighting and grip room. And I’ve actually shot two jobs with this G10. One was a fashion shoot for elite eyewear utilizing the on camera flash (a bit of Terry Richardson and Roxanne Lowit were in the style). The other for The Parker Meridian however, my digital back went down and I put a pocket wizard on the hot she and the client was blown away with the results! Point – and shoot away!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *