Once in a while I get an itch to try out a new camera, just for fun. Fortunately it is easy to rent cameras and lenses to satisfy that urge.
I’ve always owned some kind of compact, point & shoot camera as a supplement to my main camera gear, and although I’ve taken a lot of good pictures with them, I’ve never been completely happy with the compromises required of the smaller sensors and compact lenses. My first-ever digital camera was a Canon Powershot G5, which I still have. I’ve also owned the G9 and G12 plus a Fuji X10. I currently have an Olympus TG5, which I bought because it is shock resistant and supposedly waterproof, although I have yet to actually that feature!
As camera technology advances, I’ve had it in my mind that, at some point, the quality of compact cameras might possibly advance to where the results from a small point & shoot camera could – in theory at least – be good enough to be a realistic “only camera.” We’re not there yet, but we keep edging closer. I just hope the camera manufacturers don’t give up on the idea before cell phone cameras take over completely!
My definition of the ideal “only camera” would be one with a compact and lightweight body, a large (4/3 or larger) sensor and a high quality 24-70 equivalent lens. There are a handful of cameras that meet the size and sensor requirements, but most of them have fixed lenses. The B&H website shows 21 “advanced compact” point & shoot cameras with 4/3 or larger sensors, but when the box for “zoom lens” is checked, there are only 5, although realistically there are only 3, since two of them are older versions of current cameras. The choices are: Leica D-Lux 7, Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II and Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III. The Leica and Panasonic are essentially the same camera, with the red Leica badge costing a mere $300 (after a $100 rebate on the Panasonic).
Since it was just for fun, I opted to rent the Leica, because what the heck and why not? The box came via FedEx on Thursday and I took it out for a little spin on this morning’s walk. I shot all of these photos in RAW, imported them to Lightroom with the Adobe “Camera Natural v2” profile, hit the “Auto” button and tweaked the white balance. That’s it. Pretty impressive so far.
We’re off on a little road trip to the NC coast this coming week (boy it’s nice to be able to travel during the week!) and plan to use the Leica as my only camera, so I’ll have a chance to put it through the paces. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a few more shots from the road, and will have more photos and a summary of my impressions once we return home. TGIF!