At PhotoPlus Expo 2013, small is the new big

Much of the buzz at PhotoPlus Expo focused on the smallest entrants to the market. Small is the new big, as manufacturers pack a shovel of technology into teaspoon-sized containers.

Here are two questions I received about compact cameras: 

I’m the owner of a D5000 that I love, and at some point will upgrade. But, in addition to the dslr, I’m looking for something smaller to carry around when it is not convenient to carry the big camera. I want something more than a point and shoot. So far have looked at Fuji X20, Sony NEX 6 & 7, and the Canon G15. One need I have is a viewfinder I can put to my eye—in some bright light the back screens are very hard for me to see. Any thoughts on these, or the next best thing you may see at the expo?? Thanks....

— Judy B

I’m curious about four thirds gear (currently have a canon rebel t4i) and like the idea of adding something more portable to the mix. I’ll keep an eye out for whatever you share.

— Patrick T

Micro four thirds cameras were initially introduced as a hybrid platform. Some photographers who were used to carrying DSLRs sought a smaller alternative. Like Patrick, they wanted something more portable but were frustrated by the quality produced in compact cameras. In your average point and shoot, you can’t change the lens and the sensor is so small image quality suffers.

No more. This year’s entries to the MFT, or mirrorless camera category, are increasingly smaller yet create images that rival their bigger DSLR brothers. Here are some options that are drawing crowds.


Samsung releases their NX big things

Samsung is galloping into the market with their NX and NX 300 models. Just like their commercials tout “the next big thing is here,” the new models show where photography is heading. They take the mobile phone experience back to the camera.

The NX 300 is Samsung’s winningest camera, according to one of their reps. The new technology has racked up almost 25 awards.

What they brag about at the booth:

  • The NX300 features a new, ultra-sensitive 20.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor.
  • An incredibly fast and accurate hybrid auto focus system with face detection.
  • It shoots at 8.6 frames a second at full resolution.
  • Captures up to 1/6000 second shutter speed to stop any action.
  • Hybrid interface - you can use any combination of touch screen or manual buttons.
  • Amoled tilt display - You can view your images in direct sunlight without glare. The refresh rate is 3,000 times faster than LCD. When you are panning the camera, there is no image lag.
  • The image processor is compatible with Samsung’s 3D/2D lens, a 45 mm f/1.8. In 2D mode, it is your typical portrait lens. Flip a switch to create 3D. It opens two LCD shutters that are offset in a single barrel, producing 3D video and stills.
  • You can share your photos instantly using a built-in Wi-Fi system. A dedicated Direct Link hot key lets you quickly and wirelessly send images to a mobile phone, tablet, PC or Smart HDTV—directly from your camera.
  • Sleek 'retro modern' design.

$699 with 20-50 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens

More info at

The Samsung Galaxy NX is the better connected big brother.

What they brag about at the booth:

  • The Galaxy NX is powered by Android, which means you can download any of the thousands of available apps to your camera. Save your photos straight to Dropbox or post to Instagram, just like your phone. How about taking your friends on a photo walk with you? Broadcast everything you see and capture on Skype in real time. Now everyone can join your vacation.
  • Photo Suggest recognizes your location and connects you to a database of other photos taken near you. Inspiration is at your fingertips, if you want to shoot -- or not shoot -- what everyone else is capturing.
  • Story Album lets you create your photo book from the camera. Samsung partners with Blurb to let you ship your vacation photos while you are still at the hotel.

$1,699 with 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens

More info at


Panasonic gets even more micro with the GM1

Perhaps the smallest camera packing a big punch is the Lumix GM1. The camera you always have with you no longer has to be your phone.

What they brag about at the booth:

  • The DMC-GM1 uses a 16 MP, large Digital Live MOS Sensor that achieves both higher resolution and higher sensitivity image recording with less noise. 
  • The micro four thirds shares the same sensor as the larger GX7, in a smaller package.
  • Perfect for the pocket or purse, travel or street photography.
  • Shoot and share with built in Wi-Fi to the dedicated iOS or Android app on your smart phone or tablet.
  • Literally fits in the palm of your hand.

Available around Thanksgiving with 12-32 mm lens for $749

More info at


Sony brings full frame performance to compact cameras

One of the most exciting cameras at the show is Sony’s new a7R. Sony has long captured the imagination of the compact camera crowd with its NEX series.

Now Sony has upped their game by using a full frame sensor in a compact, interchangeable lens system.

Full frame cameras use sensors the same size as a 35 mm film negative and are usually found in higher end and prosumer DSLRs. With the a7R, Sony introduces similar specs as Nikon’s D800 to a travel sized body.

Whey they brag about at the booth:

  • Full Frame 36.4MP resolution with 14-bit RAW recording.
  • Compatible with Sony E-mount and full frame lenses.
  • Use an adaptor to connect any of your Canon or Nikon lenses.
  • Capture subjects partially turned away from the camera in a shallow depth of field with Eye AF. When you focus on a face, a green frame appears over the eye to confirm the proper subject is locked in focus.

$2,299.99 for body only

More info - click here.


Whether your are practicing street photography or doing a Project 365 daily challenge, you will appreciate the flexibility of a smaller camera producing the same quality you’ve come to expect from your DSLR. Less officially now gives you more.

What would you like to know? 

Do you have a question you'd like me to research at PhotoPlus Expo 2013? Email me, and I'll find your answers for you.