Seven Reasons to Pick Up Your Point-and-Shoot Camera

I know what you’re thinking: “But I’ve got my pricey DSLR that I absolutely must use. We’re inseparable. Plus, I spent so much money on it I want every photo I take to scream, ‘This was taken with the Big Fancy Camera!’” Or maybe you didn’t spring for the Big Fancy Camera, but you’ve stopped taking pics with your point-and-shoot because you’re the last one on the block without a Canon. There is a certain amount of pressure we put on ourselves when we become serious amateur photographers or, slightly worse, professionals. We can’t possibly be seen to take a less-than-stellar photo, right? If we take a photo with our smartphone, well, who can help us? It’s fun and everyone else is doing it. Not to mention, Instagram. So, why pull out the point-and-shoot again? Didn’t we buy Big Fancy Camera to get away from the inferior point-and-shoot? Charge that tiny little battery and put in a fresh SD card.

7. This is not your mother’s camera or format

If you’ve purchased your point-and-shoot in the last five or so years it probably takes pretty good photos. I have no idea how old my Canon PowerShot is, but it’s a 14.1 megapixel camera. It’s not the old Kodak Instamatic with the adorable flash cubes on top. My mother took many a photo with that Kodak and I have fond memories of going to the tiny Fotomat kiosk (was there even a human in there?) to pick up the Christmas photos that we had taken not four months before. So exciting! The best part is, you’re shooting in JPEG. No Photoshop, no Lightroom. I uploaded my Disney pics and printed them locally so my kids could take them to school for Show and Tell as soon as we got back, which is more than I can say for the hundreds of digital photos languishing on my external hard drive right now. At least with the Fotomat you were forced to actually print your pictures.

6. Video, too!

Like your smartphone, it takes video as well. I keep it on my bedside table the night before major unveiling holidays (Christmas morning, Easter morning…). Then I stumble out into the living room, half asleep, press a single button and announce, “Ok, I’m ready!” This works out well for several reasons. Firstly, I never have any room left on my smartphone for videos. Secondly, the kids are raring to go and have little patience for me futzing about with my lenses, scoping out the perfect light and angle, etc.

5. Let someone else take some pictures for once

I’m rarely in family photos. I am forced to take selfies on vacation to prove that I was even there. People sometimes feel uncomfortable taking photos with your (let’s face it, filthy) phone but everyone knows how to operate a point-and-shoot. It’s why they named it that after all. And whomever you prevail upon to take your photo with your DSLR absolutely does not have the stamina to endure your detailed instructions. “Ok, so you’re going to frame your shot, press this button halfway down, reframe—make sure the strap is around your neck! Oh my, you almost gave me a heart attack! (Recovery pause) So where were we?”

4. Some vacations don’t require the high-priced, fragile DSLR

I took my point-and-shoot to Disney. It’s my favorite story to tell about how I didn’t bring my pricey DSLR on vacation. I knew I had done the right thing when I sat down on the Expedition Everest rollercoaster in the Animal Kingdom. It was quite a thrilling ride for my children and me, but would not have been for my treasured DSLR. We would have departed the ride breathless, except I’d be breathless in a not good way. I’d be seen cradling what remained of the source of my income as I struggled to get air into my lungs. I suppose I could have left my DSLR with the kind folks running the ride, but then we’d have to be separated. And I wouldn’t have enjoyed that. What lenses do you bring on a trip to Disney World anyway? I probably would have wanted to pack the portrait lens as well as the kit lens. Even the telephoto lens would have come in handy, right? Then there are the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom every night and you can’t really take firework photos without a tripod. Of course, if you’re taking all those lenses and the tripod, you have to bring your flash. So now we’re talking about 10 pounds of equipment, which would have gotten seriously heavy, fast. Carrying all of that would have been impossible since I had to carry my children on my back every night because we neglected to rent a stroller. Do yourself a favor and don’t take your Big Fancy Camera on a rollercoaster or the flume (the flume? Are you mad??). If you’re going on a safari or a mountain-climbing expedition of course bring it. Bring all the lenses and extra batteries and SD cards and borrow a card reader if you don’t own one. Another good way to mess up your camera is to bring it to the beach with you (especially if there are small children present). Niagara Falls is a tough one. It is quite spectacular. It’s also quite wet. If you’re spending the day shuffling your children on and off of water slides (or the Maid of the Mist) maybe just take the little camera. You can probably fit it into a Ziploc sandwich bag and keep it dry; I did.

3. Better selfies

Ok, so I’m not really “forced” to take selfies, but the selfies I take with my cell phone are not the greatest. I take them with the reverse camera, which is a poorer quality pic so I prefer point-and-shoot selfies. You can’t post them instantly, but you can feel good about using them as your profile pic because they’re a better quality.

2. For posterity

I had to look this word up to make sure I was using it properly. It literally means, “for future generations.” I want my children and my children’s children to have literally thousands of photos to pour over. Well, that’s how many they’re getting whether they want them or not. The majority of those photos will not have been taken with the DSLR.
The most beloved photos I have were grabbed with my cell phone or my point-and-shoot
because they were within arm’s reach.

1. Enjoy life a little bit

I’m constantly either taking photos or thinking about photos I’d like to take. On the very rare occasion that I’m completely without a camera, I’m left wishing I had one with me. I left the house once with only my old-school classic iPod. What was I thinking? The main reason I left my DSLR at home when we went to Disney was because I was paranoid about smashing it or losing it. The reason that was a close second was that I wanted to enjoy myself. I still managed to take 600 photos. Hey, I tried. When we love photography so much that it creeps in and starts to wrap itself around our DNA, stepping out of that mode is difficult to do. We focus too much on the perfect lens or the most flattering light. All of that focus is wonderful when you’re on a photo shoot with clients or if you’ve flown to Hawaii to get a breathtaking sunrise shot of Kilauea Volcano. For every day life, however, capturing the moment can sometimes take over actually being in that moment.

So maybe you’ll never get to the point where you can leave all of your camera-taking devices at home. Then grab your point-and-shoot, snap a few pics to say, “We were here.” *Click* “This happened.” *Click* Then slip the camera back into your pocket. Enjoy the rollercoasters; life is full of them.

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    • If you have a full frame point and shoot, it is of course a good idea to leave the DSLR at home. I just don't see why anybody would be scared of shooting RAW and manipulate the tones in Lightroom in one batch. This does not take a whole lot of time. Yes, you will argue that the moment is a beautiful moment however it is captured and awfully saturated or out of focus it is, but it would be an even more beautiful moment if the pictures were better.

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    • My phone takes better photos than my cheap P&S, so the same 7 reasons I can apply to "leaving any camera at home and take my phone only".

      The article is full of false dichotomies. It seems to assume that "taking photos" is the opposite of "relaxing durint the holidays"- well, for me, it isn't. The notion that a DSLR would be fragile - since when? Most P&S cameras are much easier to damage. An advantage shooting JPEG directly? Not for me, no advantage at all. Selfies and video? ...OK.... The idea that we all want a small and light camera because the bigger one is a pain - not universally so. Each of the seven reasons is highly debatable.

      There is nothing against using a P&S over a mirrorless or DSLR, but it is horses for courses and each of us should identify his own needs and wants. These seven reasons might be true for the writer, for me not a single one of them really holds up.

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    • i got one reason why i wish i had one:

      use the timer and throw it in the air.


      thought about that with my 1dmk3..didnt do it.

      thought about that with my d3...didnt do it.

      thought about it with my holga 120fn..didnt work

      then one would want to see that photo..

      so i dont have a reason why i would use one.






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    • This article misses some rather obvious uses for a point and shoot not mentioned in the author's seven reasons. with the smaller sensor of point and shoot cameras, they have deep depth of field and rarely get anything out of focus. that makes them ideal for posed group shots without fiddling with a lot of settings. most P&S cameras also have very good close-focus capabilities, which makes them good for handheld macros. in the right hands, any camera can be a compelling tool for creative expression. i have various point and shoots, most with full manual capabilities as well as RAW capabilities. my favorite is the fuji x100, which has a large APS-C sensor and a fixed-focal 35/2 lens. i often take that when i dont have room for a larger kit.

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    • I agree with the article! There is time and place we go to SHOOT. But life happens every second, and being a photographer you really miss that missed shot. That is why compact cameras, including phones, are great! Those who argue about extra noise, some lost details, etc think about the filters that exist to be put on those perfect pictures: toy, noise, blur.... And crying /or smiling face of your child or grand child is priceless, just because it was not staged... The article doesn't suggest any specific cameras so what? It inspired me to look for one, because for a few months already I have been trying to persuade myself that I don't need it after mine was stolen during vacation to Vienna last winter... Yes, I need my little camera in my life. Thank you for your attention
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    • Nice family shots, kids are adorable..enjoy them now......some day they will be teenagers!!

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    • This seems to me a construct composed entirely of made up points and subjective choices.  Anything a point and shoot can do a more sophisticated camera can do better and faster -- assuming the owner has learned to use it. Small or large, a DSLR or sophisticated small mirrorless, far and away superior. JPEG large / fine will do an excellent 13x19.  If I need RAW the flick of a switch or accessing the second card and I have that as well. As to burdensome equipment carried, I usually go with camera, lens mounted, a fresh battery and empty SDHC -- good for more photos than I would take on a four day trip. I only bring the bag if on a photo self assignment. The single valid usage for a point & shoot might be under circumstances which put the camera at high risk of loss or damage, but even there, replacing my excellent mirrorless (now a few years old) on Ebay would be under $200.  Since I have managed to go decades without seriously damaging a camera or lens, it is worth the risk to use good equipment. To each his own.  I very much enjoy the photographic process and habitually use the best equipment I can afford. Less diminishes enjoyment.

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    • Comment more pertinent than ever.  My Canon G9 X snaps large JPEG files with close trueness to accurate color rendition -- in Auto mode (flash lighting set to Off).  I carry this snapshot camera with me everywhere in a sling pouch.  Yes, the camera sensor has limitations, and produces some JPEG artifacts and noise.  But the camera has a sharp lens.  

      Careful photo editing minimizes artifacts and  noise.  I make the most of the pictures from this powerful little camera thanks to my use of effective composition.  The camera captures a perfect to near-perfect exposure almost every time (again, on Auto setting).  It beats the pants off any camera in a cellular telephone, and I have it just as handy as a telephone camera.  

      I have recourse to my Canon 6D with a top-notch lens mounted on it for my road trips to do landscape photography in the national parks.  The Canon G9 X goes with me for various snapshots and signage.

      Thanks to advances in technology, we now live in a golden age of photography.

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