A few years ago Audrey, Alain and I attended a lecture in the National Museum, Collins Barracks given by two Dublin street photographers.
One of them lived locally in Stoneybatter and always used a small compact camera as he found it was far less intimidating for use in the streets and on subjects – gangs of local kids who lived in the infamous O’Devaney Gardens complex who got used to him – with care of course.
His results were outstanding.
My compact camera is a Canon S-90 which I bought second hand on Ebay UK for approx. £80 several years ago; the initial reason being that it had to match my underwater waterproof enclosure for scuba diving down to 60 metres.
I mostly bring it as a standby camera on field trips for possible less intimidating snaps where my larger dSLR might be a hindrance.
It fits into my pocket quite easily with it’s case. It’s lens is 6-22.5 m/m, quite a wide angle with an aperture of 2-4.9. Shutter speeds of 15 to 1/1600 secs, ISO 80-3200 with a 3” colour LCD screen on the back. The camera takes 3Mg Jpegs or 10Mg Raw format photos with all the aperture, speed and ISO easily adjusted to suit the occasion. There is an auto setting for fully automatic shooting.
The battery is of course smaller than those used in dSLR’s but upwards of 80 to 100 snaps are easy.
I used underwater cameras in their enclosures for many years employing a very welcome land practice of keeping the camera still while shooting; it’s easy when you know how as while underwater one ‘kisses’ the shutter button gently to both focus without stabbing down which jostles the camera.
I’d heartily recommend new photographers to practice with these cheaper digital cameras until they can progress to the more upmarket dSLR’s as picture composition and ‘making’ a photograph are exactly the same. For those of us with main cameras, bring your smaller and possibly older compact out with you as well. Last year when I went to Malahide Castle, my dSLR condensed up while inside the greenhouse when attempting to photo the numerous butterflies, my smaller Canon S-90 however was warm in my pocket, and I took great Raw close ups of the insects which were usually in tight locations.
Enjoy and experiment.