Thinking aloud about a go-everywhere pocket camera

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Archiver, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Archiver

    Archiver Top Veteran

    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    DPReview has a very slow Casio forum, which I used to frequent in 2006 in its faster days. At that time, I bought the last Casio EX-Z750 that DigitalRev had in stock, as it had been discontinued and was very much discounted. Due to its small size, very reasonable image quality and advanced functions for that time, it became the camera I carried everywhere, every day, even when I had larger and more capable cameras like the Canon S70, G7 or G10 with me. Even when I had bought the Sigma DP1 and DP2, I still carried the Casio. Having a very capable but pocketable camera was fun and enjoyable.

    But as years went by, I acquired larger and heavier cameras, and even now I never leave the door without a bag containing three cameras, like the Ricoh GRD III, Olympus OM-D and Leica M9. Or perhaps the Fuji X100 and X10. Or perhaps the M9 and Ricoh GXR. Over the weekend my Thinktank Urban Disguise felt like a block of concrete with the M9, OM-D and four lenses, and it bothered me somewhat.

    My browsing of the Casio forum reminded me of the joy of carrying just one pocket camera, and I'm thinking about what a contemporary equivalent may be. It doesn't have to be as small as the Z750, which is about Canon S90/95 size, but it would be nice to fit easily into a pocket and be easy to carry. This rules out larger compacts like the Canon G15, Fuji X10/20 and current GXR.

    I love my Ricoh GRD III as it is so discreet and easy to carry, but the video mode is absolute bollocks and I wouldn't mind a bit of zoom. Time will tell what the upcoming GR (V) will be like, though.

    Canon's S compacts are nice but I find their output kind of plasticky, and the S110 is only a minor upgrade of the S100. My S90 is nice but it never captured me the same way as the GRD III or even the Casio Z750.

    The Panasonic LX7 looks an treat, especially with the multi-aspect ratio sensor giving a 21mm f1.4 equivalent at 16:9, but I wonder just how pocketable it is.

    I've been spoiled by large sensor cameras, too. The GRD III is great but I yearn for an aps-c sensor in that size of body for optimum image quality. The Nikon A is close, the upcoming GR might be the ticket, but we shall see. And of course, neither have zoom.

    Sony RX-100? My Dad has one, and it's a slippery little sucker! I feel like I have to be extra careful with it or it will squish out of my hands like a wet bar of soap! Maybe this is the trick:

    Check out my pimped RX100.: Sony Cyber-shot Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    Does anyone have any thoughts? What camera do you carry if you want just one camera that slips into a pocket? What pocket camera have you really connected with?

    Just thinking out loud... :smile:
  2. porchard

    porchard Veteran

    Feb 3, 2013
    Devon, UK
    I have the RX100. I'm no videographer, but the RX100 has zoom, and its video output looks very good to me (and gets quite a few good write-ups).

    I liked my s90 very much a couple of years ago, but the RX100 simply blows it away.

    I use the wrist strap - problem solved. The half-case + neck strap would be an alternative.

    In conclusion (my apologies if I'm sounding like a stuck record - this topic has come up in another thread) the RX100 is really very good. I'm not aware of any other pocket camera that can match it.
  3. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    I feel your pain... I am not going to offer a solution, just share.

    In days of film I always carried a "quality compact" usually a Contax T2, Minox or Olympus XA. They were all light, compact and, if handled with thought and loaded with the right emulsion, capable of exceptional results.

    Today I don't think there is a single "perfect" carry-everywhere digital compact - at least not for me. Hence at any one time (and when as today photography is not the prime objective) you may find me carrying my Ricoh GRDIII, Fuji X10 or X100, Leica IID or M2 in pocket, belt pouch or briefcase.

    Each is a compromise. My ideal would have a small form factor (think GRD) with manual shutter speed dial and an aperture ring, metal body, OVF, a good quality collapsible 40-50mm f2-2.8 lens and an APS sensor of at least 16mp. Manual focussing should be straightforward, with a proper DoF indicator, preferably on the lens barrel.

    I have yet to find it, but now you understand why I love my 84 year old IID with 5cm Elmar attached...

    Sent from another Galaxy
  4. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    RX100 all day long.

    I put little rubber furniture feet on the front for grip.



    There are also 3rd party grips. IMO so far, nothing comes even close to IQ and portability.
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I'm in love with the idea of a take everywhere pocket camera. But that's the idea - the reality has always ended up leaving me cold. I still like to have one pretty small do everything (sort of) camera, but that's for bike rides or hikes and not to keep all the time. I've tried a bunch and I end up not keeping them with me. I have a very old Pentax Optio something or other that's so small I could carry and not know I even had it, but frankly my iphone is a better camera. And ultimately, the camera in my iphone is the only camera I'll actually ever carry all the time. Even the RX100 (which I never came to like when I had one anyway) is bigger than I'd carry all the time as was the S90 when I had one. And anything smaller just isn't gonna be better enough than my iphone to matter.

  6. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    The RX100 is far from the ideal for me. A sloooow (at the top end) zoom, bulky form factor, playstation-style controls, no shutter speed dial and most critically no OVF. I would forgive almost anything except the lack of an OVF. It is the biggest drawback of my GRD, and GRDs in general and I will not buy another serious camera without one.

    Sent from another Galaxy
  7. nippa

    nippa Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    I seem to end up with cameras that aren't great to use but the IQ is fantastic ie the DLux4 , G1X , X1 and RX100.
    My great to use cameras often end up leaving me unhappy with their results ie X10 ,X100 , Lumix G3 and Sony A55.

    Am I perverse or what?
  8. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    Dec 15, 2011
    Those are two very different questions.

    I have connected with the X10, in most every way. Unfortunately, it is most definitely not a pocket camera. I can't say that I've connected with any camera that I consider truly "pocketable". It is always a compromise.

    Given that compromise, the camera I sometimes grab (it is my wife's) is the Sony TX5. It is small - slightly less wide and tall than the Canon S100, but 33% thinner and lighter - easily pocketable. It has a metal plate that slides over the non-extending lens which provides total protection in a pocket with keys or just tossed in a bag. It is water, dust, freeze and shock-proof, so it is truly a "go anywhere" camera without worries.

    It also has a small P&S sensor, and the sort of IQ you'd expect from that. Still way better than an iPhone, but limited.

    It's hard to recommend such a camera to photography enthusiasts, but I guess my thought is that if you are compromising in one direction it is nice to really enjoy maximum benefits in the other direction. Latest version of this camera is the TX30 for $350. TX20 is < $200. Other manufacturers make similar options, but I think the TXs are the smallest.
  9. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Hall of Famer

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    It does seem as if there is no perfect solution. The best pocketable one I owned was the S90 Canon, but it didn't do it for me image wise. Now I have an LX7 Panasonic that I'm very happy with but I carry it in a tiny sling pouch unless I'm wearing a jacket since it's not shirt-pocket sized at all.

    At some point you grab a hold of the compromise that suits you best I suppose.
  10. Lili

    Lili Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    +1 save replace iPhone with my Nokia or htc
  11. ReD

    ReD Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Shirt pockets sag & need a button down for when you bend forward
    trouserpockets look a bit bulky with a camera in them
    coat pocket for winter wear

    I personally favour a decent belt pouch for easy access which also frees up the size question of the camera
  12. Hikari

    Hikari Veteran

    Jan 5, 2013
    Maine, USA
    How about bigger pockets...
  13. Lili

    Lili Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    I find my phones far more compact and hence they have that whole 'be-there' thing down pat.
    Sadly they do not have the user interface of say the grd , although the Nokia 808 come close in a way (sadly that phone is not reliable in operation). The IQ is superb on the Nokia and more than good enough on the more reliable HTC.
    The apc-c ricoh might change my mind though.
  14. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    So do I, but size still matters - my GRD does not ruin the line of my suit but my X10 makes me look like I have a colostomy bag - or a particularly nasty hernia.

    Sent from another Galaxy
  15. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Funny you should say that. Ricoh GR: Upcoming APS-C Compact - Pentax Camera News & Rumors -
  16. The Franeic grip helped a lot w/ the rx100. I can put the rx100 in my front jean pockets w/o problem. The grip actually helps getting the camera out faster as well.

    The new Nikon Coolpix A and the soon to be announced Ricoh are all 28 fixed focal length (fov) apsc cameras that are just as small as the rx100. I have the lx3..from a long time ago... Never needed to upgrade until the rx100 came out.

    There is a lot of interesting choices today. I still really like my rx100. It gets used standalone and paired as a backup camera.. If u want something smaller u are going to be looking at canon s100 or Fuji xf1 or Sony tx20 types of cameras.. Due to their thinness maybe harder to hold..

    Good luck
  17. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I've found I have a different mindset between analogue and digital. I mean.. I can carry a tlr or a single lens rangefinder, even a lomo lca.. and I'm good with it but when it comes to digital I want it to zoom and to macro and I want a shallow dof capable lens and high iso capabilities etc..

    The closest to a film camera in a compact digital was the GRD IV I had.. but it did lose due to the lack of zoom at vacation time. There is no perfect camera so i think one just has to weigh the most important points to the least and try to get closest to what will work most of the time for them :)
  18. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Veteran

    Nov 10, 2010
    Los Angeles

    LOL- here would be mine-
    (otherwise my sentiments are same as Ray. Between iPhone and a mirrorless camera, most 'go-everywhere pocket cameras' are kinda jack of all trades and master of none, for me. That's not to say there aren't nice pocket cameras of course, just don't really fit my needs anymore. Unless someone gives me $1000 to buy this new Ricoh. :cool: )
  19. Lili

    Lili Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
  20. +2 except don't replace. I'm finding I am using the iPhone more and more, when I am out and about *not* specifically to take photographs. And sometimes even when I am. Yesterday was an exception, I wanted to take photographs with the XZ-1 but in the end, couldnt be fussed. Had the iphone in my pocket and the XZ in a case in the bottom of my bag. Guess which I used.