I need some help!  Recently I had the idea of creating a Pro P&S camera review corner as an interesting addition to the blog.  To that end, I am compiling a short list of P&S cameras that would be useful material here for the reading audience to have.  However, since most of my experience thus far has been with SLR gear, I could use some help in ensuring my final selections are both useful and of interest to the audience here.  So – I need your help!

You see, it’s a given that there are limitations to the “point and shoot” grade of cameras.  You simply don’t have the same degree of flexibility – no changing out lenses, a smaller sensor, more inherent noise, etc., etc. etc.  Yet, when you take an SLR, there’s a lot more gear involved, even if you “go light”.  At a minimum, you’re likely to have a camera body, a lens, a flash, and a tripod.  So, which do you do?  Thankfully, with the advancement of the “P&S” grade cameras, the differences between SLR’s and the “P&S” category has narrowed substantially.

So, the question becomes:  which P&S is a good alternative for the SLR when you just want to take something and go, yet still have the malleability to capture the kind of images you want?  Now, if you ask ten different photographers this same question, you will likely get ten different sets of cameras in varying degrees of priorities.  That being said, a short list of high-end P&S cameras is always helpful to consider.  Here’s the short list I picked:

CanonPowershot S95, Powershot G12
Nikon:  Coolpix P7000
Sigma: DP1x

There were some others I considered including a few from Panasonic, Sony, and Olympus, but in looking at the specs of those, all had an interchangeable lens feature, which makes them more SLR-like than most P&S counterparts, so I removed them from consideration.  Here’s the criteria I am using to consider cameras for inclusion in a P&S review section:

1.  True point and shoot design (no interchangeable lenses)

2.  Cost should be less than the entry level SLR for that vendor

3.  Raw or sRaw capacity is probably going to be a requirement…most high end P&S cameras I’ve seen have this feature.

These are of course, just subjective takes on which P&S cameras stand head and shoulders above the rest, and the criteria to classify ones for inclusion as “true P&S cameras”.  As they come through the doors, I’ll share thoughts and feedback with you, but for the time being, I’d also like to hear what others think of these selections.

Can a P&S really stand toe to toe with an SLR?  Is it even worth looking at?  What about the cameras themselves?  Are there others that you wish were included?  Do you own any of these?  What have your own thoughts and experiences been?  Sound off in the comments, and I’ll see what I can to do add others to this roster for upcoming review!  In the meantime, happy shooting, and we’ll be back tomorrow!

3 thoughts on “A Pro Level P&S?

  1. I use a canon 400D and 5D and recently shot a whole weekend holiday with a G12. i liked the small size the G12 offers along with video shooting. I had fun with the hot-shoe mount and sync speed and tried a bit of flash photography – especially overpowering the sun – that cannot be matched by a DSLR. However, things that I really like about DSLR shooting such as shallow depth of field, fast shutter response, and image quality can’t be matched by the G12… the tiny sensor still isn’t a match for an APS-C or full-frame and P&S such as the G12 still does not have the reflexes match an SLR design in ease of use and shooting speed. (of course you can shoot a P&S easily with one hand and even shoot video with one hand – but would have a hard time with a DSLR)
    the G12 will be a good addition to your bag for family outings where you don’t want a bulky DSLR getting in your way of having fun, but still offers some creative control over your pictures. You’ll still need a DSLR for ‘serious’ photography where image quality and quick camera response as well as image ‘malleability” is needed.

  2. Hi Jason,

    I thought I’d recommend the Lumix LX5.. I have the LX3 as my P&S and love it. it is not a camera for everyone but certainly suits my needs.

    also worth noting that DPReview has a preview of the Canon S100 and that also looks pretty interesting with the changes they have made



  3. Great idea. I would add a hot-shoe mount as another criteria (3 of your 4 already have that). From my understanding these P&S have an electronic shutter, which allows you to sync at much higher shutter speeds when compared to a dSLR. I’m not sure if this is still the case, but I know that it was a couple of years ago.

    I’d be interested in seeing their high ISO (400 and up) performance.

    And, one of the main reasons I haven’t bought a P&S in a long while, is because they don’t have the ability to go wide (~20 mm equiv). That would be and awesome feature to have with a P&S!

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