Text by Alice B. Miller & Diane Berkenfeld
Images by Photographers as noted
You're a working photographer from 9 to 5, or Monday to Friday, or whatever schedule you've carved out for yourself. Even when you're off duty, you can't supress the urge to capture great photo moments.
But while you want to tool around with a camera close at hand, it may not be practical or desirable to tote a bag full of pro gear.
The solution? More and more photographers have started to carry a compact, mid-range digital camera wherever they go, off duty or on, in-studio or on location.
As you know, consumer digital cameras are being packed with an ever-growing list of features that essentially echo the pro models: Manual focus and exposure control, multiple shooting modes, PC Cord terminals, hot shoes, tripod mounts, filter mounts, add-on lens capability, and megapixels climbing to the 5-plus range . . .
All of which means you've got an outstanding chance of finding one that suits you just right as an "off-hours" camera or backup, when on assignment.
So shoot away. Your photographic vision won't be compromised by these small but mighty 'take anywhere' digitals. Check them out. If you don't already have one of these super mid-rangers, you may find one of these models irresistible.
Canon PowerShot S230
"I've been a Canon film shooter for years. Then I tried the EOS-1D a year ago and haven't shot a roll of film since. Then came the D30, D60, and now the 1Ds-everything got better all at once. Being a visual person, I've carried the Elph around with me for over two years as a sort of photographic sketch pad.
"I use my S230 to shoot props, for setups in the studio, and to send clients test shoots of models. It's quick and easy, and small enough to fit in my shirt pocket. And of course it's perfect for when I just want snapshots to capture memories. This little Elph is shockingly good."
Kodak EasyShare LS443
"Walking around or waiting for stars in the hot sun during the Cannes Film Festival with 40 pounds of camera gear can get exhausting. But after the last big screening, it's time to get out of my tux, put the cameras away, and grab something to eat.
"Although no one would stop me from entering a Cannes restaurant to order dinner, with a cameraI couldn't relax if I didn't have all my bases covered. Even when shooting in a studio all day, any photographer would feel a little powerless without a camera should Sharon Stone sit down at the next bistro table.
"That's when the EPSON PhotoPC 3100Z digital camera proves useful. The compact camera is designed mostly for consumers, but it can sing in a pinch. With its enhanced resolution 4.8 megapixels, 3x optical zoom, and Print Image Matching that makes it work perfectly with my Epson inkjet printer, I'm constantly surprised at the quality of images from a camera one-tenth the cost of my pro digital SLRs. If the picture is in front of you, that little Epson camera will produce the goods."
Kodak EasyShare LS443
"Like most travel photographers, I love the tools of my trade, my toys: pro SLR cameras (digital and film) and the usual array of lenses, flashes, filters, film, memory cards, and laptop computer.
"On occasion, however, I like to travel light, simply toting my compact 4 megapixel digital camera: a Kodak EasyShare LS443. This tiny wonder, with a 3x optical Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens lets me get great shots, without a lot of fuss. In fact, I've used images taken with the LS443 in my past articles, and a few are included in my next book: The Complete Guide to Digital Imaging.
"With a compact camera, I can walk around and not look like a pro, which has certain advantages when photographing in foreign lands. Another advantage to a compact camera, which looks less intimidating than my pro SLRs, is that I can photograph strangers and show them the images instantly.