A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Point and shoot

Posted date:  July 1, 2010


I’ve recently had the urge to buy a point-and-shoot digital camera. There are times, particularly when doing food-related pics or schlepping around places doing guidebook research that I’d rather have a camera that I can carry with one hand or simply stuff in my pocket. I’ve also been influenced by this article by Peter Hessler, in which he explains how a small digital camera proved helpful in the writing his excellent new book, Country Driving. In the piece he describes how looking at digital snapshots, sometimes several years after they were taken, helped to remind him of details he’d forgotten and contributed to the quality and accuracy of his writing.

I’ve played around with using my iPhone, but its images (an example of which, taken recently in Melbourne, Australia, is shown above) just don’t cut it. Any recs? Ideally I want something with a fast lens (f/2) and at least some degree of manual control. I was initially drawn to Leica’s digital point-and-shoots, largely because I’ve long wanted to own something with the Leica logo, but they’re expensive and generally don’t get very strong reviews. The Canon PowerShot S90 seems to get high ratings and is affordable. And apparently a particular model of Ricoh has garnered substantial praise from those who do lots of food-related photography.

14 Comments for Point and shoot

I have nothing to add other than that I have the same question. My older Canon PowerShot died this week and I can’t decide if it’s worth replacing. Sometimes an SLR is too clunky for casual situations (and restaurants) and a cameraphone just isn’t good enough (though they seem to have replaced the point-and-shoot for most people). I’ll be curious to see if anyone has recommendations; the PowerShot S90 does look appealing.

I just bought an s90 and I love it. Mind you, I’m more of an amateur enthusiast than anything approaching a proper photographer. But to me, its incredibly small form factor, lens ring and manual options gives me everything I need – the freedom to muck around, and more importantly, its constant presence in a jacket pocket.

When were you in Melbourne Austin? I would’ve relished the chance to repay some of the hospitality you showed me when I ran into you while stumbling around Bangkok, diligently checking out your website’s recommendations. Hope you had a great trip.

I’ve had the s90 for 6 months or so now and love it!

Time to move up and get myself an SLR 🙂

We just got an S90 also. I took it on a trip recently, and found I didn’t like it as well as my Sony DSC-T100–but that may just be a learning-curve issue. And I am also purely a point-and-shoot user–you might find the S90 perfect, as it’s closer to where you’re coming from.

I love the Sony–it has a Zeiss lens, and it’s teensy. It takes great shots in low light. But I had to buy it on eBay because it’s out of production, and later iterations aren’t nearly as good.

Check out the Panasonic Lumix LX3 and soon to be released upgrade LX5. These offer pro dSLR features in a convenient P&S package.

Fuji’s F200EXR offers similar features and has respectable low light results as well. Mine was pick-pocketed in Lima ; (

I don’t know if you took the plunge yet, but the Panasonic DMC-GF1 is a Micro Four Thirds (SLR-equivalent) camera, though smaller and lighter than any SLR. With a pancake lens its just about pocketable, if you have large pockets! The folks at dpreview.com said ‘once you attach the wonderful 20mm F1.7 pancake it becomes something special; an unobtrusive creative tool that you can carry anywhere, and one that’s capable of superb photographic results’.

I have the G1, which is a little heavier, but the pictures are great.

Hi Austin,
I’ve recently discovered your blog and it’s very cool.
I live in Bangkok for two weeks and so far, my LX3 has been a very good partner, I sincerely recommend you this model.
Keep blogging!

Canon G11. It’s a great camera!

I second the recommendations for the Panasonic Lumix LX3. I almost went with the Olympus e-pl1 but am glad I went with the LX3 due to the smaller size while still allowing access to manual controls.

Great photo and food blogs!
I can’t recommend the LX3 enough, fantastic for low light photos and when I don’t want to carry my 7D and lenses.

I would recommend an point and shoot with a leica lens 🙂
you get best of both then. I think Panasonic has some with f2.8

I was after the same thing – compact but not just an automatic point and shoot.

I ended up with a Panasonic LX5 – check it out. Leica lens, f2.0, HD video, and other nifty stuff. It’s not as compact as an S90/S95 but it’s not bad. If I had more $$$ to spend on gadgets rather than adventures I’d have gone an E-P2 with the kit 14-42 and the fast Panasonic pancake…

I have a friend that does amazing work with a Samsung Tl 500/Ex 1. F 1.8, 3″ OLED articulated screen, 1.7″ sensor, 10 mp, metal body, image stabilization, VGA and HD output, manual override, Schneider-Kreuznach optics, ISO 80 to 3200, cost is ~ $375-425 US. See some of his shots here:
He loves it…..mick

[…] response to my own post of several months ago, I eventually settled on the Canon PowerShot […]

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