The Week In My Pocket

The Week In My Pocket

The pocket is calling. That wonderful invention that carries money, keys, handkerchief, and lint. The stylish sometimes avoid them in the hopes of appearing slimmer and sleeker – but pay the price in having to carry ever larger bags to hold the tools of modern life. The pluggers amongst us know the vlue of good pockets everywhere – trousers, skirts, and especially coats and jackets. These are places in which you can keep your camera.

Now some readers of this column will instantly think of mobile phones – they can be used as cameras as well as fetching Ubers, pizzas and Pokemon. Some do make quite fetching images, but the ergonomics of them as the picture is being taken can be atrocious. And the principle of a good big’un beating a good little ‘un still applies. The trick for the travelling photographer is to find the compromise point between a number of factors:

a. Size of pocket vs size of camera.

b. Quality of image needed at the end.

c. Type of image that will be sought – in terms of framing and exposure.

d. The amount of extra gear the photographer wants to carry to do the job.

Note that I’m going to leave price entirely out of the equation this week. If you fancy one of the cameras come in and ask the price – then make your own decision on how much you want to spend. Then buy it – don’t just wander off and say that you’ll think about it. Do your thinking while reading the column and do your spending at the counter.

The test this week involves a standard sports coat with breast pocket as the carry-all for the cameras on test. They need to go into it without making me look like I am carrying a .38 roscoe in a shoulder holster ( Though I would be delighted to do just that…) and they must be capable of being drawn and operated easily with the right hand when I see a suitably touristy sight. Then we need to consider what maintenance and charging they need in a travelling scenario. Finally, we need to compare the results – with the realisation that the images are not going to be giant professional project art.

Those of you who are sick of seeing toy airplanes will be happy – I did shoot a fair few of them for my own investigations, but the results will sit in my files instead of this column – the week will be dedicated to being out and about.

Note that all the cameras are different and can have markedly different specifications – some have features that others lack. The various company reps and fussy readers may cavil at this, but the idea is to give an overview of ways of doing something without making minutely painful comparisons.

The idea of a pocket camera that will produce fully professional images while being light, fast, steady, sturdy, and versatile has been going around for a fair while. Of course every manufacturer who starts on this path eventually strays from it as they add bells, whistles, and destroyer sirens to their basic little cameras and they grow past any pocket imaginable. But then someone in the design bureau has a good shake and resets the mechanism and the idea comes forth again. If you are looking for a travel camera, time your buying so that you get it at the small portion of the design cycle.

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