Article Excerpt: “So what if all you have is a good point-and-shoot camera – is nature photography out of the question for you? Not at all. Most decent point-and-shoot cameras have macro settings and zoom lenses that give you a fair range from wide-angle to telephoto which can be extended with adapters added to the camera. If you love nature and have an eye, you can get some spectacular shots without recourse to more advanced equipment…The main skill is in seeing and appreciating what is there and then capturing it as you see it so that you can share with others.”~David Phillips from his article Nature Photography
I lug around a medium-sized camera bag during photo walks and event coverages. Aside from my Canon DSLR with its 18-55mm lens, this bag contains the following: two extra lens (35-80mm and 75-300mm), an external flash unit, flash diffuser, battery charger and extra batteries (both for the camera and flash), lens hood and caps, a set of filters and extra memory cards. If the shooting situation calls for it, I bring along my sturdy tripod with its own carrying bag. If it’s a one week out-of-town trip with lots of possible shoots, my laptop and external hard disk goes with me. It’s a hassle bringing all of these along. And it’s just a hobby. Now imagine a gear guy (not me) with equipment enough to fill a small car, carrying such Fedex-sized baggage on a kilometer long trek up a mountain trail. Only to find upon reaching the top that the sun has settled over the horizon bidding him goodbye…and goodnight. This gear guy faces the perilous journey of hauling all his gear down the steep slope in darkness. The point? For casual city or nearby strolls, I just carry a point and shoot cam tucked conveniently in my belt pouch. I read somewhere that the best camera is what you have. If you have a DSLR and can’t part with it wherever you go, that’s your preference. But since last year I can’t seem to go out of the house without my P&S on my belt. Like my keys, wallet, cellphone and wristwatch, its an item that can not be left behind. Point and shoots now have risen above their lowly reputation with the latest compacts sporting long zoom capabilities, fast processors, large megapixels and tons of creative shooting modes. Others can even capture in RAW. In other words, point and shoots with prices lower than DSLRs have now become your all-in-one travel cam – smart, rugged, stylish, powerful, feature-filled and pocket-sized. Now all you have to do is understand the various settings and options to maximize the use of your P&S. You can start off with this article How to Use Your Point & Shoot Camera Like a Pro which gives a rundown on the most common shooting modes available on point and shoot digital cameras. The above image was captured with a 16-megapixel Nikon Coolpix with shooting mode at Landscape, picture mode set at Vivid, and post-processed with PhotoScape.
The point and shoot camera has been an underdog all along. With limited features, a few options, a tiny sensor and small lens, the lowly P&S cam takes a backseat compared to its more robust, featured-filled big brother, the DSLR. But it doesn’t mean the P&S cam is less capable. We just need to learn how to tap its available features and master its shooting modes. I found an interesting article by photography book author and instructor David Petersen detailing how to maximize macro photography with a P&S. In his write-up Using Macro Mode Effectively: A Point And Shoot Tutorial, Petersen reveals what you can do to get the most of the macro mode in your point and shoot camera. The tips are surprisingly easy to understand and follow that after reading the article you’re bound to say “why didn’t I think of that before.” There is no perfect picture, and photography tips are not meant to make us overnight professionals because if that is the intention, we’re better off enrolling in a photography class or workshop. Tips are guides, handy pointers to help us improve and thus enjoy our hobby, interest and passion. Turn on that macro mode in your P&S and up the ante, challenge yourself and bear in mind that what you put in your camera is your vision. Your photography is always your story. By the way, the dragonfly photo was taken with a Kodak DX4530, a relic P&S by today’s standards.
Oh don’t be! As I said before its not the camera but who is behind the camera. A camera is just a tool, what goes into it is largely dependent on the one who clicks the shutter. Admittedly, the lowly P&S cams have less features and options compared to expensive DSLRs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take great pictures. Understanding the limitations and maximizing what your P&S cam can do plus your knowledge of composition and other essentials (been tackling them in my earlier posts) will go a long way in ensuring you take great photos. Self-taught photographer Max Edin itemizes the shortcomings of P&S cams and how to overcome them in his enlightening article How to Take Better Pictures with Your Point-and-Shoot Camera. You may graduate to a DSLR in the future, but if what you have now is a P&S cam then take heart, it can capture images better than you think. You just need to know how to do it. By the way, I took the above photo with a 5-megapixel Canon S2-IS, a point-and-shoot camera. (Photo location: Waterfalls at Loboc River, Bohol province)