Whilst I mainly shoot a dslr camera, a Canon 7d for sports, wildlife and action and a Canon 6D for everything else, I had to buy a point and shoot camera for a trip to Italy. Whilst I would have liked to take my dslr camera to Italy pre-vacation research suggested the larger cities of Rome, Venice, Naples and Verona were full of pick pockets, snatch and grab muggers and other thieving scum only too happy to take expensive photography equipment. With this in mind the only option I had was to invest in a digital point and shoot camera.
I have not used a point and shoot camera for many years and I have to say I am amazed how far they have come. Okay, there are basic and entry level models still available, which aren’t so good, but there are also top end models available with sensors larger than that of interchangeable lens micro four thirds cameras and with image quality to rival entry level dslr cameras, all in a tiny package small enough to fit in a pocket.
The top end point and shoot cameras also offer full manual control (as well as automatic), the possibility to shoot in RAW and loads of creative options to boot. I have to say that I am impressed by the top end digital point and shoot cameras, and I can see why photographers using dslr cameras or micro four thirds cameras and only use the kit lens and nothing else are starting to revert back to point and shoot cameras.
Even though I have used other brands of digital camera over the years (including Olympus, Sony, Nikon and Panasonic) I have to admit that I am a Canon fan so when I was looking to buy a top end digital point shoot camera I instantly gravitated to the Canon line up. At the end of the day I like Canon, I trust the Canon brand, I know Canon cameras are reliable and well-built, and I know that if I have a problem the Canon customer service is second to none.
Being a Canon user I know the image quality of Canon cameras and, more importantly, I know the menu settings, knowing what to change to get the shot I need and also where to go in the menu to actually change it. I like the Canon interface and find it user friendly.
As I am sure you have guessed it would take something special to make me change from Canon (a Leica would do it but I don’t have the budget for one of those) and in my quest to find a point and shoot camera for my Italian adventure I didn’t find a suitable alternative.
I had a look at the new top end digital point and shoot Panasonic cameras, Nikon cameras, Sony cameras, and just about every other brand out there but none of them felt “right”. In the end I opted for the Canon G1X and I have to say that my first opinion is very positive.
The Canon G1X is an awesome camera and even though I had seen pictures of it online and read reviews before seeing one in the flesh I have to say I was mighty impressed.
The Canon G1X is tough, sturdy, well built and oozes quality. Okay, it may not be the smallest point and shoot camera around but it is way smaller than my 6D and 7D, and it is also less conspicuous.
The G1X is comfortable to hold, has dials and buttons to change all the important settings close to hand, and feels like a professional bit of kit, even though at the end of the day it is still a point and shoot camera.
The Canon G1X has a useful focal range of 28mm – 112mm and whilst it is not ultra-wide at the short end it is wide enough to get some pretty decent shots. I have to admit I do like my wide angle photography so when I discovered I could get a filter adaptor and wide angle converter to be able to shoot at anything from 5mm (full fisheye) to 20mm I have to say that I was pretty excited about the prospect. I also discovered that with an optional filter adaptor I can use close up filters (for macro photography), ND filters (for long exposure photography) and a whole range of other specialist filters. How cool is that? As well as this I can also use a lens extender to increase the 112mm focal length by anything up to 2x, for a longer reach.
These accessories are obviously going to affect the image quality however if I don’t push things too far and edit the photos using a decent bit of editing software (and not one of those basic free programs available) I should be able to capture usable (and hopefully commercial) images.
The Canon G1X has a hot shoe adaptor which means I can use a whole range of hot shoe accessories, including speed lights, flash triggers (for off camera flash), an off camera flash cord (for macro and close up photography) and a spirit level (to ensure the horizons are nice and straight when taking landscape photos).
Yep, digital point and shoot cameras have come a long way since I last used one and I have to say I am pretty excited about using one on my Italian adventure. Can a digital point and shoot replace a dslr camera? Personally I don’t think so but when you look at what you can now do with one it is clear to see they are a good alternative for those instances when you simply can’t take and use a dslr camera.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.