Professional Photography With Compact Cameras

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by RT Panther, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. RT Panther

    RT Panther All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
  2. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    I hate articles like this. It means all those lousy images are my fault.
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  3. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    May 13, 2013
    LOL. That's exactly my thinking.

  4. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    At the risk of blowing my own horn . . .

    I use compact cameras professionally. As a fulltime freelance writer, I use compact cameras to shoot pictures to illustrate my stories.

    If you follow this link -- -- all of the pictures for this story (and the next one, if you keep clicking forward) were taken with a Panasonic FZ150. Over the past dozen years, I have had literally hundreds of pictures published in magazines and on the web (for pay), including many taken with a 3-megapixel Olympus D-550.

    The point is that compact cameras are plenty good enough for magazine and web work. As I have said elsewhere on this forum: " I realize that I give up a great deal in sensor performance compared to cameras with larger sensors, but with the kind of photography that I 'commit,' the convenience of a long-range all-in-one package more than makes up for it."

    There are many photographers on this forum who use a variety of cameras to take far better pictures than I do. But for my work, compacts are good enough to get the job done.

    Cheers, Jock
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  5. jloden

    jloden All-Pro

    Jun 30, 2012
    Tangentially related, but I saw a video the other day of a Maxim magazine shoot from behind the scenes, and the photographer was shooting with 2 Canon G1Xs with one in each hand. I think he was using optical slave flashes and switching cameras in between shots so he didn't have to wait for the on-board flash to recycle, or maybe he just had them at different zoom settings.

    Anyway, it just struck me as funny that no one probably has any idea that shots in a magazine published worldwide are being done with a fixed lens compact zoom camera. Meanwhile photographers (myself included for sure) sit around worrying about megapixels and lenses and resolution and print sizes ad nauseam. Sure it's a print magazine so resolution is not a huge concern, but that's kind of the point - for many applications compact cameras are more than sufficient.

    The photographer obviously had this down to a system that worked well for him, and more power to him. He doesn't have to carry much in the way of gear and it is easily (and cheaply) replaceable & interchangeable. Heck, he can carry multiple spares without even making a dent in a typical gear bag. Pretty cool stuff.
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  6. pictor

    pictor All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
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  7. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY

    That is an excellent thread. I have read all of it and followed all of the links, and it should be an inspiration to all who use compact cameras. I know it was to me.

    Cheers, Jock
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Minor correction

    If you use the link I provided and click through to the bucket shot story -- -- the photo at the top of the page is a publicity shot from the studio.

    The photo at the bottom of the page, however, was taken by me. It was taken at high zoom and illustrates the usefulness of a compact camera for what I do. The bucket target was 55 yards away. I would have been impractical and dangerous for me to "zoom with my feet" because this was a competition shooting range. Fortunately, a small sensor camera also means that a high-zoom lens can be relatively small and lightweight, and it allowed me to get the shot.

    Cheers, Jock
  9. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Thing is, it's all compromise. Remember that wars used to be shot with 2 1/4" inch film and larger. 35mm was originally referred to as "miniature". Newsmen laughed at their colleagues who first started using Leicas and later Nikon and Canon rangefinders then SLRs to cover news stories at the time when the Speed Graphic still ruled. We've come a long way from Roger Fenton... The old "holy trinity" of quality, functionality and portability still holds true today and has driven development towards more and more housed in less and less.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. john m flores

    john m flores All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    I'm what you might call a semi-pro; photography isn't my sole source of income but it's part of a virtuous cycle:

    10 take photos
    20 get paid
    30 buy more cameras!
    40 Go To 10

    A serious compact always finds a spot in my bag when on assignment for RoadRUNNER Magazine.

    This started in 2008 with a Ricoh GX100 and a desire to take photos from the POV of the bike and rider:

    Scooting along in Southern Vermont by john m flores, on Flickr
    This was the lede photo, filling much of a two page spread

    And it continues to this day with the Pentax Q
    On the Million Dollar Highway with a Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour by john m flores, on Flickr
    This was a half page

    L'Uccello Arrabbiato on the Mount Washington Auto Road, NH by john m flores, on Flickr

    This is what it looked like in the layout
    Pentax Q photo published in RoadRUNNER Magazine. by john m flores, on Flickr

    The Nikon V1 has been added to the kit and takes some good shots as well
    Riding up Cadillac Mountain on a 2012 BMW R1200RT, Acadia National Park, Maine by john m flores, on Flickr
    This was a half page

    The largest photo from a serious compact that I've had published was this one in VT
    Fall Road by john m flores, on Flickr

    This is what it looks like as the lede photo, a two page spread
    Small camera, big picture by john m flores, on Flickr

    This was taken with a Canon G10.

    I continue to travel with the Pentax Q and Nikon V1 alongside my bigger cameras and they continue to get shots that I need.

    Pentax Q
    Riding through Algonquin Provincial Park by john m flores, on Flickr

    Nikon 1
    Kentucky Horse Country by john m flores, on Flickr

    I foresee a day when i can travel with just two Nikon 1 cameras and 3 lenses (2 zooms and fast prime) and get the job done.
    • Like Like x 7
  11. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY

    Verrrry nice!

    Serious compacts for professional work? The defense calls no further witnesses.

    Cheers, Jock
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  12. Agreed, great to see professionals getting such great shots.

    The reluctance comes from those clients that believe you have to have big bulky equipment to get good shots.
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  13. flash

    flash Veteran

    May 6, 2011
    I find it's more from other photographers who still believe there is a perfect camera type/system/body/lens. My clients couldn't care less.

    • Like Like x 2