A professional compact camera is the ideal tool for landscape photography (especially travel landscape photography) and it is possible to capture stunning landscape shots that will not only impress your peers, but are also high enough quality for commercial purposes.
You can take landscape shots at many different focal lengths and I have seen great shots taken at every focal length from 12mm right through to 300mm, although it is worth noting that most landscape photos are taken using shorter focal lengths. Professional compact cameras are typically 28mm at the wide end (although some of them go down to 24mm) and whilst this is still considered wide it is not ultra-wide. To get those wide angle landscape shots you need to use lenses with focal lengths shorter than 28mm (or 24mm if your professional compact camera goes this wide) and whilst the lens your compact camera is fixed, i.e. you can’t change it or swap it for another one, there is a way in which you can increase the focal range of the lens and increase its field of view, i.e. make it wider.
If you want to take some wide angle landscape photos with a professional compact camera you are going to need a wide angle converter. If the lens of your compact camera has a filter thread all you need is a wide angle converter with the same size filter thread as your camera. If you can’t find a wide angle lens converter with the same filter thread size (some professional point and shoot cameras have “strange” filter sizes) you will need a step up or step down ring to attach the wide angle converter to the lens.
If your professional compact camera is like mine (a Canon G1X) and doesn’t have a filter thread in the lens you will need to buy a lens filter adaptor ring. The lens filter adaptor rings are specific for each model of camera so make sure you get the right one.
Wide angle converters will reduce the image quality a little, and this should be expected. I mean, you are placing another bit of glass for the light to travel through so a reduction in image quality is bound to happen. The good thing is that the reduction in image quality using a wide angle converter is slight and the chances are you won’t even notice it unless you go pixel peeping on your computer.
Landscape photography with a professional compact camera is done in the same way as with a digital slr camera. Rather than use the camera in automatic mode (the landscape mode) you need to set the camera in aperture priority mode or manual mode (the decision is up to you) in order to get maximise the depth of field and get front to back sharpness in the final image.
When setting the exposure you need to keep an eye on the shutter speed to make sure that camera shake isn’t going to rear its ugly head. Even though professional compact cameras are small and light camera shake can still be an issue at slow shutter speeds. You need to be prepared to use a tripod if necessary.
Filters are often necessary to get the best landscape photos and this is possible using a professional compact camera. Rather than using screw in filters I use small square filters because they are easier to arrange and use when using multiple filters. Using multiple screw in filters is not only a faff but the reduction in image quality is too much for me. Square filters (obviously using a square filter holder) are best for landscape photos. My filter holder of choice is the Lee system (to see why check this out), and whilst it is expensive compared to other filter holders it is worth every penny.
Using a compact camera in full manual mode for landscape photography is no different than using a digital slr for landscape photography. It’s just that the compact camera is smaller, lighter (which is obviously less bulk to carry around) and rather than having to mess around with changing lenses and risk getting dust or dirt on the sensor all you have to do is decide on whether 28mm (or 24mm) is wide enough or whether you need to use a wide angle converter.
The image quality of professional compact cameras is awesome and it is easily possible to capture high quality and commercial landscape photos that are good enough to sell and generate some cash.
So can a professional compact camera be used for landscape photography? You bet.
Other compact camera articles you may find interesting
If you found the above useful/interesting below are some links to other related articles you may want to take a look at.
“WHY YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA” My camera of choice is my dslr however I also get great photos using my top end point and shoot camera, therefore I am of the opinion a top end is a camera all photographers should have in their kit bag. If you can’t see where I am coming from this article may shed some light on it.
“WIDE ANGLE PHOTOGRAPHY WITH A POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA” Many people think you need an interchangeable lens camera to take proper wide angle photos, however this is not the case. Yep, you can capture proper wide angle photos using a point and shoot camera, as explained in this article.
“LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY USING A COMPACT CAMERA” Long exposure photography results in some interesting and stunning photos, and it is something you can do with a compact camera. If you want to know how check out this article.
“USING A POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA FOR MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY” If you want to know how to capture stunning macro photos with your point and shoot camera this article is something you may wish to take a look at.
“CAN YOU USE A TOP END POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA FOR FAST ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY?” So you want a camera for some fast action images and want to know if a top end point and shoot is going to suit your needs. This article should be of use.
“USING A POINT AND SHOOT CAMERA FOR FISHEYE PHOTOGRAPHY” As well as wide angle photography you can also use a point and shoot camera for ultra-wide angle, i.e. fisheye photography, and all you need is an inexpensive converter as detailed in this article.
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.