Once most photographers upgrade to a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) they never look back at point and shoot cameras. I have a Digital Point and Shoot camera from many years ago, a Nikon Coolpix 5000. I don’t use that camera much anymore. The Coolpix 5000 was the first digital camera I owned that really got me working with images from a digital camera. Within a couple of years of purchasing that camera I bought a Nikon D100. After the D100 I upgraded to the D70 and then to the D2x. Having used the DLSRs for several years I thought I’d never go back to a digital point and shoot camera again. Well, I was wrong. I started looking at digital point and shoot cameras because of the Beginning Photography Class I teach for Digital Photo Academy. I was looking for a camera that would give me all of the manual setting of a DSLR that would be compact and easy to carry around. As Jay Maisel says “Always carry a camera” and I do. Toting a DSLR, and three lenses around, can get a bit heavy after a long day of running here and there but as Jay also says “It’s hard to take a photo if you don’t have a camera.”
As far as cameras go, especially digital cameras, I’m not much of a “techie” guy. I look at some of the specs and try to figure out if the camera will do what I want it to do. Reading the spec sheet is usually not as successful as I’d like it to be. Take a look at the specs on a digital camera and you will know what I mean. I like to hold the camera, see how it feels in my hands, look at where all the dials and buttons are and then make a decision. I know there are several websites where you can go to get a review of a camera. I have personally not found them to be of much use though I know others swear by them and won’t buy a camera that gets panned. I’m not one that puts much stock in reviews. Its been my experience, with the film industry anyway, that when a film gets a not so good rating I generally like it and the ones that get rave reviews have me wondering “Why did I bother?” Sometimes I just don’t get it. So for me, a review is a very small factor in choosing a new camera.
I looked at several point and shoot cameras online and most did not seem to have the features that I was looking for. I made a list of a few possibilities and then I went to a store to take a look at the cameras on my list to compare them with one another. Well none of the ones on my list had all of the features I was looking for. I looked around the display a bit more and I saw the Nikon Coolpix P7000. It looked pretty good so I did a bit more research and then made a decision. I settled on the P700 because it had all the features I wanted in a compact design that would be easy to carry around all the time. When I got home I was just like a kid at Christmas. I could not wait for the battery to fully charge!
While the battery was charging I flipped through the manual reading the information that I felt I needed to know about the camera. Yes, in that sense, reading the manual, I am a bit different from some people. I do read the manual and I carry it around with me. Have you ever been out making photos and then wanted to try something but could not remember how to find that option in the menus? That’s the reason I carry the manual with me until I feel I know the camera well enough not to. The more I read the more excited I got to start using the camera. Once the battery was charged I went about getting the camera set up as I wanted it to be. I tried some of the options that the camera offered to see if I liked them and wanted to use them on a regular basis. Once the setup was done I was ready to go and play!
I have been using that camera almost exclusively since I got it. Some friends of mine (Tom, Edwige, you know I’m talking about you guys!) give me a hard time about shooting with my “little camera” but I don’t mind. I just look at them, grin and say “I have a 28-200mm camera and lens that ways under a pound!” If you are looking for a new camera don’t automatically reject buying a point and shoot. You may find that it gives you a new way of creating images in a compact and light weight design that is easy to carry all the time. All the images above are from my “little camera”.