The compact camera is of course what most people will have quick access to, and is an obvious choice if you just want a few quick snaps and are out with the family. We chose the Samsung MV800, which features a flip-out display.

Of all of the cameras we used, the compact camera was the most discreet, allowing for quick detail shots to be grabbed without drawing attention or getting in the way of other customers.

Pros:

  • Discreet
  • (A few) have an articulated screen - though most don't
  • Touchscreen available on many models
  • Quick to grab photos, no extensive knowledge required

Cons:

  • Attractive shallow depth of field effects harder to achieve
  • No viewfinder or EVF (on most compacts)
  • Dynamic range is limited, making it easier to burn out highlights
  • Shadow noise will be more apparent
  • Limited manual settings (on most compacts)

Chucking a compact camera in your pocket is the best option if your primary reason for being somewhere like a Christmas market is to have fun or shop. However, with the lack of manual control and different creative options on most models can limit creativity.

Street photography - compact

Street photography - compact

Street photography - compact

Street photography - compact

Street photography - compact