Happy new year! I hope you had a wonderful festive break.
I’m regularly asked what camera parents should buy. I even wrote a whole article about it to make it easy for me to answer! However in the last few years lots of things have changed in the world of cameras.
The biggest change is the improvement of compact cameras. When people used to ask me which compact camera they should get, I used to just say they were best getting an iPhone rather than a compact camera. Or a DSLR camera where you can change lenses if they wanted to get really creative with their photography.
But in the last few years, compact cameras have come a long way. I started seeing impressive photos that other professional photographers had taken with their compact cameras and so last year I started looking into buying one.
I had started using my DSLR less and less on my own family and was taking the majority of my own family photos just on my iPhone. After shooting with heavy cameras at my professional shoots, I didn’t love then picking up my big camera again with my family.
So I decided to sell my Canon 700d which is what I used to photograph my own family and on holidays/trips, and swap it for a compact camera.
I wanted to write this blog post to talk about the new compact camera I bought last year, the Panasonic Lumix LX100. This isn’t a technical review, you can find plenty of those via a quick Google! This is just my thoughts and a few images to show you the results.
Even as a professional photographer, I found all of the information about the compact cameras overwhelming and it took me some time to narrow it down to a few options. In the end I narrowed it down to the Panasonic LX100, the Canon GX1 mark ii and the Canon GX7. They are all great cameras, but in the end I decided on the Panasonic because it has a slightly faster lens which means it can achieve a slightly blurrier background and is better in lower light. And also because it has a viewfinder which is very handy when you’re shooting in bright light and struggling to see the screen.
The benefit that the Canon has over the Panasonic is a longer zoom length. The Canon Gx1 mark ii has a 24-120mm focal length vs 24-75mm for the Panasonic LX100. What this means is that the Canon can zoom in a lot further than the Panasonic can, so if your children are playing further away, it means you can get a lot closer in with the Canon camera.
A few months ago I posted these photos on my Facebook page that I had taken with my new Panasonic camera. Lots of you then asked for more info about the camera and my thoughts, which is why I’m writing this blog post!
Here are the photos I posted from our family trip to West Wittering.
So you can see what the camera looks like and how teeny tiny it is, here is a shot of me holding it. I bought a pretty camera strap from Amazon which you can see in the photo, and this lovely tan leather case for it. So rather than lugging a big heavy camera round my neck, this feels like more of a fashion accessory! 😉
Here are some of the photos I took on our recent holiday to Krabi, Thailand so you can see the kind of results you can get with it. Then you can see my thoughts about the camera at the bottom.
You may notice there are a few more children here that aren’t my boys… it’s because we had some friends come out to see us so I snapped some of their girls too!
And also it’s so easy to work that you can set it up, hand it to someone else and get a lovely family photograph. It doesn’t intimidate strangers like a DSLR does! (I just make sure I don’t tell them I’m a photographer! ;-))
I hope you enjoyed looking at some of our holiday photos!
Here are my thoughts on the camera. As I said, not overly technical, but just my thoughts after using it for a few months.
1. It’s tiny. SO much easier to take on holiday and out on family trips than my old DSLR and 2 lenses! Yes an iPhone is smaller, but you just don’t have as much flexibility with a camera phone.
2. It takes really good photos. I’ve been really impressed with the sharpness, clarity and the depth of field it offers. Yes of course I can get better photos with my professional kit, but I’m not going to be lugging a professional camera and 4 massive lenses on holiday with me!
3. It’s really customisable. I studied the manual and then set up up so it’s exactly as I want it. I even set up buttons to quickly toggle the focus points and to change from One Shot to AI Servo (this might not make much sense to you unless you’ve done one of my courses!) It’s probably not the best camera for you if you just shoot in auto, but if you understand aperture and ISO, you can set it up really easily in a semi-automatic setting or fully manual. I adjust my aperture and ISO manually and have it set to auto shutter speed.
4. It has wifi so you can send images straight to your iPhone. Handy if you’re away and want to share something instantly.
1. The limited focal length. As I mentioned before, the focal length is 24-75mm (full frame equivalent to those in the know!) This is similar to the kit lens that comes with most DSLR’s, but I still found myself wanting to zoom in more sometimes. Probably because I’m used to shooting with very long lenses in my professional work!
2. It’s not amazing in low light. Still better than the iPhone, and it has the capability to go up to really high ISO’s, but the grain/noise is obvious at anything higher than ISO 1600. It was only after dark on holiday that I missed by professional cameras and fast lenses! To be fair, it does come with a little attachable flash that I didn’t try out.
3. The zoom is a little slow. I’m used to using my professional zoom lenses that I can manually zoom in and out very quickly, so relying on it to zoom in and out slowly was a little frustrating.
4. It’s not cheap! I paid close to £500 for it which is more expensive than a beginners DSLR with a kit lens. But for what you get I would say that it’s definitely worth it. I bought mine through Clifton Cameras as they had a £50 cash back offer on (which I believe they are still doing).
So there are my thoughts. Despite the little niggles I have above, I am so pleased I bought this camera. It’s so lightweight and portable and takes gorgeous photos. I am using it with my family and on holidays so much more than I did my DSLR.
I certainly won’t be trading in my professional cameras, but for my own family snaps, it’s just perfect!
Please let me know if you decide to purchase a compact camera after reading this, I’d love to know how you get on!
PS. If you would love to learn how to use your camera properly, I have just a few spaces left at my workshop on Wed 31st January. See all of the details here.
PPS. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to create some lovely family albums from your photos, check out my blog post with lots of tips on how to create digital family albums.