Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alternate Way to Get a Compact Camera with a Full 35mm Frame "Sensor"

I've been wanting to have a compact camera with me sporting a high-quality lens that could take "publication" and "stock" quality photos. Most of the digital compacts have somewhat second-rate zoom lenses with puny & noisy sensors. The few exceptions (Sigma DP1/DP2 and the soon available Olympus E-P1) either have usability issues (Sigma) or aren't yet available and will be quite pricey (Olympus). The other issue with these cameras is that they don't come with optical viewfinders (though they're sometimes available as an expensive accessory)...which may not be an issue if you prefer using the rear LCD to frame shots anyway. I don't particularly like using the LCD because:
  • I prefer using a viewfinder for some reason
  • Having the LCD constantly on really drains the battery quickly
  • Even having an LCD adds quite a bit to the weight of the camera (any of you camera manufacturers considered a lightweight digital camera without an LCD? I think it would be interesting, because it would be more like shooting film where you don't see the results until you're done shooting...:-).
So, I've decided to try some highly-rated 35mm film compact cameras. I'll shoot the film and have it developed and scanned right to digital--like having a compact digital camera with a full 35mm frame sensor. My first acquisition: the Leica Mini II. It has a fixed 35mm f/3.5 lens. I will also be trying the highly rated Ricoh GR1s. Cost for the Mini: $90.

I'll publish results of my "experiment" in future blog posts.

Michael Grace-Martin is a professional wedding, portrait, event, stock, and fine art photographer based in Upstate New York. He is also the author of this blog. All images and text are (c) Michael Grace-Martin Photography. His main website is:

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