Last week I was all ready to buy some kind of high-end P&S camera to carry around with me on a regular basis, as a supplement to my Olympus E-PL5 mirrorless camera and lenses which I don’t carry with me on a regular basis. But then I asked myself: why don’t I carry the E-PL5 more often?
I came up with 2 reasons:
- While it’s small, the E-PL5 even with the tiny Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 lens is too big to carry in a pocket.
- It doesn’t have wifi for quickly zapping a photo to my phone for sharing.
I looked at all kinds of P&S cameras, and it became apparent that to get the image quality I wanted, I’d need something with a 1” sensor. The cameras with 1” sensors and the other features I want are all $500+, and while they’re smaller than the E-PL5 + Panasonic 14mm combo, they’re not tiny.
I also realized that I already owned almost everything I needed to have a relatively complete mini camera kit: a nice Manfrotto pouch that I use to carry the E-PL5 and a lens attached to it, a couple small prime lenses (the Panasonic 14mm and also the 25mm f/1.7), a 46mm circular polarizer filter that works on both of them, and a micro USB SD card reader to get files onto my phone.
Pulling the SD card out of camera and plugging it into the little reader dongle is a bit annoying, and the E-PL5 does have the ability to control wifi SD cards through its menu system. You can use a wifi SD card but keep the wifi turned off except when you need to transfer files, to keep from draining your battery.
So, I decided to finish out my carry-everywhere kit. I got a Toshiba FlashAir 32 GB wifi SD card, an Op/Tech neoprene lens case to hold the Panasonic 14mm in the Manfrotto pouch while the 25mm is mounted to the camera, and a replacement knockoff proprietary Olympus USB cable for updating the camera’s firmware—it needs the latest update to work with the FlashAir III cards—because I don’t know where the hell I stored the original box with the USB cable.
Now, for a grand total of $59.01, I can upload files to my phone wirelessly, and everything comes together like those Russian nesting dolls. Starting from the pic at the top of this post, observe!
Sure it’s too big for a pocket, but I already have bags I carry with me to the two places I go most often, my job and the gym. The rest of the time, it’s easy enough to grab and toss in the car. Will I bring it in to every store with me when I’m running errands? Not necessarily, but I do love taking pictures of the ridiculous things I often find in grocery stores, so it might be a regular grocery cart companion.