point and shoot

My Favorite Point + Shoot Cameras

I have an DSLR and a mirrorless camera AND a point and shoot. There are some really nice point and shoot cameras out there that if I had endless amounts of money, I would totally get. Currently, I use the Sony WX300 point and shoot camera. This is what I usually have in my purse and pull out with friends for snapshots or selfies. You know, the usual. I will be straight up, though, you get exactly what you pay for with a point and shoot. I know this for a fact from my two and a half years at Peoria Camera Shop. If you get the cheapest camera out there, don’t be surprised by the poor quality of the photos and the camera itself. Expect that $100 camera to last about a year or two. That’s it. Just wanted to throw that out there and make it clear. If you invest in a better camera, you’ll get more out of it and it’ll last longer.

Anyways, here are some of the point and shoot cameras that I drool over for various reasons. I will say, too, that almost all of these models are made with professionals in mind that want the quality, but don’t want the size.

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Nikon Coolpix AW130. I like this camera simply because of it’s durability. Waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof. I’m mainly interested in the waterproof aspect, but an almost indestructible camera sounds pretty great, too! The zoom is pretty much non-existent, but that’s to be expected with a waterproof camera. It runs about $300 before any rebates.

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Fujifilm XQ2. I won’t lie, the biggest draw for me here is the aesthetic of the camera. It’s beautiful. And so inconspicuous. This would be perfect for sight seeing and people watching without drawing any attention to you. They’ll think you’re just a hipster with a film camera haha. It’s got a 25-100mm zoom lens with a f/1.8-4.9 aperture. Not bad at all. And only $400 before rebates.

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Canon Powershot S120. This little guy has a f/1.8 5x zoom on it and I just love it. It’s small and compact, easy to use and performs well in low light. It’s $450 before any rebates.

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Sony Cybershot RX 100 IV. Oh baby. All the Sony’s R line is amazing, I must say. What draws me the most is the 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 Ziess lens. Oh man. The bokeh (blurred out background) and low light potential is insane! This has an eyepiece, too, which would definitely come in handy. And it’s tiny! It’ll fit in your pocket! $950 before any rebates.

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Sony Cybershot RX 10 II. This is my absolute favorite. If I had an extra $1,399 to spend, I’d get this. It’s a 24-200mm f/2.8 Zeiss lens! 2.8 all the way through! It is bigger, like the super zoom point and shoots or the small DSLRs. So, it’s not going in your purse or pocket. The potential, though! I’d love this for shows that I’m not approved for, because this lens does not detach and could be taken into any venue. Ah, the possibilities!

There you have it! These are all my “if only” cameras that are produce amazing photos, mainly due to their quality lenses. Are there any others I should know about? Let me know!

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How to Take Better Concert Photos With Your Point and Shoot

As you can probably see, I love taking photos at concerts. I haven’t always had my DSLR on me, though, and I certainly didn’t start off with taking my DSLR to concerts. Sometimes, you’ve got to make the best with your point and shoot camera (aka the lens does not come off). Just remember, concerts are a hard situation for any camera, but especially for your point and shoot. There are a few tricks you can do, though, to get better shots.

Get a decent camera. Sorry folks, but that $100 5x zoom camera is not going to do you any good. You might as well not even bring it, to be honest. There are plenty of moderately priced point and shoot cameras available. I’d look for something with high zoom (at least 10x, but truly the more, the better) and good low-light handling. In my own experience Sony camera’s have excellent low-light software, so I recommend the mid- to higher-priced Sony’s. Nikon and Canon are direct competitors of Sony and have very similar models. I’d expect to spend about $250 for a decent point and shoot that can handle the tough situation of a concert. Now, onto when you’re actually at the concert.

Get as close as possible. Seems easy enough, right? Get as close to the stage as you can. You’ll get the better light, which is most important. If you have a high zoom on your camera, use it! BUT do not go past your optical zoom and into digital zoom. Digital zoom is when it just enlarges the pixels and makes it a gross blurry mess. This is one of those times where the 20x zoom and up can come in very handy.

Don’t use flash. Ever. Ever, ever, EVER! If you’re close, this will just wash the musicians out (and I imagine it’s just plain irritating to them). If you’re more than 5 feet away, it’s just going to light up the peoples heads in front of you and all the dust particles in the air. The flashes on point and shoots are not meant to go very far, so it’s actually best to turn it off.

Automode probably won’t cut it. Use the different scene to figure out what works best. Sometimes sport works well. Sometimes low-light portraits work well. It really depends on the situation and your cameras capabilities. Don’t be afraid to test out the different modes to see what comes out best. I usually do this during the openers, so when the headliners come on, I’m ready.

Keep it steady. Try to keep your arms and camera in as much as possible. Use your own body to stabilize your shot. This will produce clearer, more in focus photos. I know it’s tempting to hold your camera way above your head and shoot, but it’s not likely you’ll get any good photos that way.

Don’t take photos the whole time. As a courtesy to those around you, don’t have your camera out the whole time. Right at the beginning is perfectly fine, but then take some breaks and just enjoy the concert. I know when I’m actually taking photos, I have to concentrate more on enjoying the show, so put it down for a bit and just have fun!

I hope this post helped out a little bit. Low-light, fast moving concerts are seriously the hardest things for a point and shoot. It’s really a lot of hit and miss when you’re taking photos at one. Keep trying, mess with your settings and use your camera as a tool to get the shot you want. The camera does a pretty good job at guessing what you’re taking a picture of, but it’s not all-knowing. You will have to invest a little bit more money into a better camera (pay attention to how it handles ISO and noise, as well as the zoom capabilities) and more time into learning how to use it properly in a concert situation. It’s definitely worth it, though, when you’ve got shots from your epic concert to cherish forever.