I was out walking over the weekend and as I like to on these occasions, I took along my camera. Actually I took along two cameras; my Sony NEX-5 and my new Panasonic LX5. Whilst I have taken some test shots with the LX5, this was the first time I had taken it out with the intention of capturing usable images and was interested to see how it coped with extremes of contrast and other typical landscape conditions. Overall I am very pleased with the results. The images when printed at A4 are very sharp and loaded with detail. Even when I blow the image up to A3, all it does is make the detail visible to the eye without needing to stand with your nose pushed up against the print.
What shooting with the LX5 has also made me realise is that my Sony NEX-5 is also a super camera with great image quality. The pictures from the Sony are super sharp and make my old Canon 400D shots using Sigma EX lenses look very second rate by comparison. It’s interesting that when we grow used to the quality of something, we often grow to accept it and then perhaps consider it to be poor. Only when we take the time to experiment with other cameras and lenses do we appreciate the quality and strengths of what we have.
The real reason for this blog post however is to say how great it was to wander the hills without the restriction of a DSLR. I found myself taking pictures I would have previously ignored because it meant changing lenses, but with these little compact cameras I could shoot close-ups, low to the ground, super depth of field images. Everything was there at my fingertips and easy to use. The weight or lack of it was also a significant benefit allowing me to carry both cameras around and still walk easily. And whilst the results won’t be up to the standard of my current SLR, they will still be great printed at A3+.
I think there is a huge benefit to carrying a small compact camera around and for using it capture our landscape. It might not be the ideal tool but it can be a better tool than an SLR in some respects. If you play to the advantages of the compact and recognise its limitations you should end up producing some great work.