Here’s the Deal
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Having owned a “prosumer” compact, early mirrorless/CSC (first generation Sony alpha), and weighty, weatherproofed Canon at one time—the preference still falls with the Canon. It’s large, awkward, and often makes me want to not bring it places . . . but when I know I’m going to experience something memorable, it still goes with me, backache and all. For all the simplicity and user-friendly features—and superior image quality, to be honest—of the CSC, its user interface was cumbersome and its lens selection was minuscule (though the lenses were not), comparably overpriced, and exclusive. Adapter options seemed cumbersome, expensive, off-balance, and to miss the point entirely. My Canon has exceptionally speedy AF (and back-button focusing!) and its lenses heft are justified by weather-sealing which has served me well. It’s simple to make adjustments to settings through muscle memory alone. While the body has aged (released ten years ago) and noise reveals this, the performance leaves little to be desired, despite its lacking specs on paper. Never has the battery failed me in a day of shooting, and never did a utility like Lightroom fail to support new Canon raw images before those from my Sony mirrorless (or even Canon 1” P&S . . . worst option). See More
While there are excellent large sensor (even full frame), compact cameras out there, the cost and physical design limitations as far as providing variable focal range in a fast lens and small body are prohibitive. More importantly, the designs do not lend themselves to user growth, as upgrading entails replacement of both the body and lens as one unit. Regardless of one’s experience level, when approaching photography as a long-term activity, it is wise to choose a system with a large lens selection and focus primarily on the flexibility and quality of lenses while learning—begin with lenses that will work in many situations, go for fast primes or well-built zooms with fixed aperture, pay attention to mount for future upgrades—so the user can carry the lenses with them as they upgrade to more sophisticated bodies in the future. This strategy will also ensure maximum resale value when unloading old equipment. See More
Within a price range of about $1000 USD best point and shoot cameras can sometimes come close to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras in terms of image quality, but they don't offer anything comparable beyond that price point. See More