Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Compacts Catching Up

Let's face it. At the end of the day, you would wanna end up carrying light. Sometimes even the smallest entry level SLRs won't cut it. You still need to strap it on your neck or shoulder to lug it around in between shoots. And putting them in the bags can be quite a hassle, especially if you've got a couple of lenses and other accessories to boot. But you'd never wanted to return to compact point-n-shoot cameras after spending all your hard-earned pay checks on those shiny black digital SLRs because you refuse to go backwards as you're literally used to the superb quality of those big guns of yours.

Technology is just getting better and better at a very fast pace its sometimes difficult for us to catch up. I won't be surprised when 12 megapixel sensors suddenly appear in mobile phones (Sony's currently developing one), and there are rumors speculating that a Polaroid digital camera that instantly prints your images like in the old-school Polaroid days are in the works. Over the course of time, new innovations are trying to meet the most critical demand from every product for the end-users; user-friendliness and convenience without compromising performance. Just like mobile phones and laptop computers, these new technologies could just kill the current cameras we're carrying now (which we think are sleek today). Your dSLR could be obsolete before you even know it.

Like SLRs, compact cameras are catching up with technology and introduced new and innovative features which actually appeals to the users. But for dSLR users like myself who are used to the superb quality captures and shooting in manual might be looking for the perfect companion to their toys, without compromising power, performance and the ability to expand. For the typical Canon and Nikon fans, don't be afraid to try out these high-end compacts, the Canon PowerShot G10 and the Nikon Coolpix P6000.

At first glance you'll notice that the two look pretty basic, but don't let their small size and simplistic form fool you. These two digital cameras have full manual controls that function just like how you operate on your digital SLRs and both pack the sensors which can deliver pro-quality shots as good as entry level SLRs. Plus with its small size and built (although slightly bigger than the standard digital point n shoots on the market), its lightweight and more convenient to carry around with you at any place or occasion. This is indeed the perfect camera you'd wanna get if you plan to carry light. The Nikon P6000 and Canon G10 boasts 13.5MP and 14.7MP resolution respectively, with a bearable ISO sensitivity up to 6400, and both have the ability to shoot in RAW if one desire to go even more creative in the digital darkroom.

Image shot with the Canon G10. The colors are superb.

Also, both cameras sport hot shoes to fit in external flash units, so you can mount your available speedlights (Nikon) and speedlites (Canon) into them and bounce light just as you used to with your digital SLRs. Both lenses built-in are of superb quality made specially from their respective manufacturers, the same ones you'd get out of the lenses for your SLRs, so there's nothing much to worry about image quality. Other worthy features include optical viewfinders if you're used to framing your shots through those things as well as internal image stabilizers.

Image shot with the Nikon P6000 (with bounce flash). Click to enlarge for better details if you're unconvinced.

Of course, the major downside is that the Nikon P6000 and the Canon G10 are compact cameras without interchangeable lenses. But that's by far the only compromise you'll need to worry about, and that's just a rather fair trade-off for lightweight and compact yet pro-quality snappers with the ability to manually control your camera just as you would on an SLR. Best of all, These two digital cameras each costs only less than B$1k, and that's cheaper than even the cheapest low-end entry-level digital SLRs on sale. That's pretty affordable to start with for those who are newly interested in photography and wanted to purchase their first camera.

I'd get my hands on the Nikon P6000. I wanna carry light on my next travel and prove to myself that even on the most basics of equipment I could actually capture almost the same (if not exactly identical) quality shots as my Nikon D80 (in certain circumstances of course). I've also fallen in love with the sleek ergonomic design of this baby. In the end, it's all about convenience.


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