Even the most seasoned pro or devoted amateur occasionally longs for a small, light camera that yields great image quality.At times, a DSLR is a physical burden, a social inconvenience, or simply too much camera around your neck.Vacations and other carry-everywhere opportunities cry out for smaller cameras that fit in your pocket yet provide image quality rivaling that of their larger and heavier digital siblings.
For photo enthusiasts, a run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot simply won’t do. They want an easily transported camera that holds its own for tasks like capturing family outings or settling down to serious landscape photography; the only catch is, it has to weigh a tiny fraction of the DSLR they carry for heavy- duty photography. Finally, this pocket camera has to deliver files capable of producing great 16×20-inch prints.
I have a long and intimate history with small cameras. Their fluid handling and low weight have a magnetic appeal that no larger camera can duplicate. Back in the days of film, I had a passionate affair with the stunning Con- tax Tvs, a titanium-clad beauty whose finely crafted looks were only surpassed by her superb 28–56mm Zeiss Sonar lens. Jumpahead10yearstothepresent, and I’m finding, once again, that I’m searching for that tiny wonder— albeit in digital terms this time around—that yields big print quality while keeping the photo baggage to a minimum. With that combined goal of portability and high image quality in mind, let’s examine some of the options.