You might think the bare minimum for rewarding photography is obvious, especially since so many of us now walk around with a very capable camera in our phone these days.
But despite trying my phone as my only camera a few times, it’s repeatedly fallen short for the same reasons.
Not much wrong with the images or the performance of the phone.
But the handling, the whole (lack of) tactile experience has always been so disappointing, especially compared with a compact camera with excellent handling like my Ricoh GRD III or GX100.
In fact this is an area I feel has got worse as the cameras and software has improved.
Back in the mid 2000s I had two or three Sony phone cameras which were about as chunky as a small compact digital.
Plus they had proper buttons (even a shutter button with a half press to lock focus), which were positioned so that when the phone was held sideways, gave decent ergonomics and control.
They even had ridges and contours on the body to aid grip, unlike the super sleek slabs of plastic and glass we have nowadays, forever a split second away from sliding out of our fingers and crashing to the floor.
Oh and those old Sonys had a hole in the corner of the body that allowed for a camera strap to be attached to save the phone in such incidents.
No such thing in today’s slender shiny mobile monoliths.
So if my smartphone isn’t cutting it as a sole camera option, what would?
The smallest camera I’ve used that’s still been very usable and enjoyable on the handling front is the Panasonic Lumix XS1.
Although a Sony L1 I had, tiny in a different way, was also cleverly designed to handle far better than its size suggested.
What else would I need, aside from the camera?
Well, a way of viewing the images, aside from on the camera’s screen.
This could be a phone or tablet, but I always prefer a “proper” computer with a keyboard. Plus some kind of associated storage, whether that’s within the computer’s HD, a separate HD and/or cloud storage.
And that’s about it, the bare minimum I need for rewarding photography.
You could also make a case for having somewhere online to share your images, which for me is Flickr and WordPress.
But that’s for getting your photos to other people, and not part of the core practice of making the images in the first place, so I wouldn’t consider it essential for the purposes of this conversation.
So let’s summarise my requirements.
One compact digital camera (the XS1 only cost me £12.50), plus a way to upload the images online.
I recently bought a Chromebook (around £230) though previously used my daughter’s sometimes (even cheaper, around £180). Plus a card reader that cost about £7.
How about you? What are your minimum requirements for rewarding photography?
As always, please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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