A place for me to share my recent work, random musings on photography and reflect on my thoughts, experiences, ideas and revelations.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In my last post I discussed the benefits of shooting with a Point & Shoot camera.  In this second of two parts I discuss the Cons of shooting with a compact point & shoot camera.

The negatives of this camera are few, and I had to work a bit to come up with a meaningful list, but here goes.

Limited ability for shallow depth of field
Depth of field is not unlimited, but you get a lot of it even at the middle apertures like f4.  At f8 (the smallest aperture on the G12) the DOF is pretty huge.  So it’s tough to isolate your subject against an out of focus background.  Even wide open you don’t get the razor-thin DOF you can get with a fast full frame or medium format lens.  In many cases you just work with it and use to your advantage.  Sometimes you can exaggerate the effect by getting close to your subject.

Still fairly noisy at higher ISOs
I’ve gotten some shots at ISO 1600 or 3200 that I’ve printed and they look pretty good.  In-camera JPEG processing does an excellent job at reducing noise, and Lightroom does an excellent job on RAW files as well.  I shot RAW+JPEG for a short while before Lightroom was able to read the RAW files, and it has been an interesting comparison between the camera-processed JPEGs and Lightroom processed RAW files.

Lousy audio quality on video
I didn’t buy my G12 for video and consider that to be a specialty that I’m hoping to avoid or stay at the fringes of.  The little bit of video I have shot has been interesting but the sound is generally useless.  There are probably a number of accessories that could improve that, but for me the whole idea of using this camera is simplicity.

Somewhat limited focal length
It’s the equivalent of 28-140mm so it covers a lot of territory, but it won’t get you a closeup of an elusive grizzly or a closeup of a bee’s knees, but that’s a lot of coverage.  You can go longer or closer with accessory lenses, but that kind of defeats the idea of the compact camera.

A little slow focusing
My G12 focuses pretty well with lots of light, but once it gets dark it struggles a bit.  It has a nice bright blue focus assist light that annoys anyone else taking pictures of whatever you’re taking a picture of (if they even see it, which they might not!).  Don’t count on it focusing on the black bear in the cave.

Optical viewfinder has small area of coverage vs. LCD
I like using an optical viewfinder, and it makes me feel like a doofus to hold camera at arm’s length to take a photo.  But the viewfinder on the G12 only has about 77% coverage, so accurate framing is virtually impossible, and with “only” 10 megapixels you don’t want to do a lot of cropping.

I've heard a lot of "excuseplanations" about why you shouldn't buy a particular camera, but this one has a lot going for it, at least as far as I'm concerned!

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