AS A PROFESSIONAL photographer it’s likely that your A-List camera is either a mirrorless or a DSLR model, capable of a high level of performance and offering all the bells and whistles that you need when you happen to be shooting pictures for a living.

However, there could also be times when you just have a need to travel light, perhaps because you’re out on a recce or you’re looking to get involved in something like documentary, travel or street photography, where you simply don’t want to be carrying around a bag full of heavy photographic gear. There is still a lot to be said for the freedom that comes from simply heading out with a light and compact camera and single lens and simply looking around for anything that catches your eye. It’s pure and simple, and it’s you as a photographer showing the world what you can do.

If you’re not making your living out of these pictures, however, it can sometimes be difficult to justify the necessary outlay required for a camera of this type, but there is another way you can make the process less financially painful. Trading up is the means by which you can sell on kit that you might no longer use on a regular basis but which is still entirely serviceable, and with the money raised you can then fund the purchase of something that’s more relevant to your current business.

With the buying and selling process having been revolutionised by the likes of second-hand specialists such as MPB, our partners in this series, it’s dead easy and safe as houses these days to buy and sell used equipment online, and you’ll achieve a fair price for the things you have to move on without the hassle of dealing face-to-face with potential purchasers. You’ll also find that there are some major savings to be had when looking to buy second hand kit, and it’s backed up by a guarantee that ensures there’s no risk, and you can be sure you’re buying something that’s up to the job.


Acquiring a fully featured compactstyle camera

JUST BECAUSE A camera is small, light and easy to carry around it doesn’t for a moment mean that it’s less capable than some of the front line DSLRs and mirrorless models that are out there. At the top of the tree think Leica rangefinder models, for example, which can cost more than some of the highest-end pro favourites, while cameras such as Fujifilm’s highly rated X-Pro 3 are particularly beloved by those that love the freedom of being able to walk around and to just capture whatever takes their fancy with the minimum of fuss.

Professionals of all kinds will find that a no-nonsense camera that can tuck into a pocket will be an invaluable addition to their armoury. If you’re travelling, for example, this is the kind of inconspicuous model that can just go everywhere with you, light enough to pop into the carry-on and to take with you even when out on the town in the evening. Wedding photographers can find a smaller camera is perfect for handing to a second shooter, or for capturing some intimate candid-style shots around the main event, while photojournalists will often favour a discreet but well-featured smaller model that essentially becomes a pocket notebook when they’re working on a project and don’t want to attract attention.

Those looking to carry out location recces for upcoming jobs will likewise warm to the idea of a camera that can produce decent quality results across a wide variety of situations, while offering way more in terms of control than the likes of a regular smartphone. In short, small can be beautiful, and it’s just giving yourself another tool in the locker that can come into its own on occasion.

Cameras that feature an interchangeable lens facility are amongst the most versatile that you’ll find, and they are available used at remarkably keen prices. The Fujifilm X-Pro 2, for example, can be acquired in excellent condition (body only) for £739, while if you’re happy to go for a body that’s been heavily used but which is still mechanically sound and comes with a guarantee, then the price would be just £424. Meanwhile, for those on a tighter budget, the still excellent 16MP Fujifilm X-E1 is a snip in Good condition at £199.

The Olympus Pen range is another that’s really worth checking out, with the Pen F, featuring a High Visibility EVF and a 20MP sensor, coming in at £654 in Excellent Condition, and £589 for Good. Meanwhile the Olympus Pen E-PL10, which adds 4K video to the mix, can be yours for a highly reasonable £354 in Excellent condition.

Canon has its M-Series of cameras, with the M6 II priced at £689 in Like New condition, with the original M at £139 in Excellent condition, while Nikon has its 1 Series cameras, with a J5 model selling for £199 in Excellent condition.

Likewise there are stacks of lenses available at a wide range of price points, covering everything from a mid-range zoom through to fast primes and short telephotos. Everything you might need in fact, and for a body and lens price likely to be this side of £1000. What’s not to like?

What are Fully Featured Compact Cameras Perfect For?

❚ They’re small, lightweight and easy to carry about, but are still fully featured and offer plenty in the way of control.

❚ Many will feature an interchangeable lens facility, giving the photographer the same kind of scope that a DSLR or mirrorless model will do.

❚ Being small and discreet you’re less likely to attract unwanted attention when using one of these cameras.

❚ They’re perfect for recces and for BTS shots at events such as weddings.

Disadvantages of Fully Featured Compact Cameras

❚ They won’t offer the advantage of direct viewing that you’ll get with a DSLR or a mirrorless model.

❚ Smaller cameras can be fiddly to operate, with smaller controls.

❚ They might be smaller-sensored models, so won’t offer the resolution of a full frame DSLR or mirrorless camera.

MPB Top-of-the-Range
Camera Prices

Leica M10, Excellent ………..;………£3899

Leica M (typ 240), Good ………….. £2159

Panasonic Lumix DC-GX880, Excellent …………………………………………………… £169

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8,
Excellent ……………………………………. £384

Fujifilm X-E3, Excellent ……………..£434

Sony Alpha A6300, Good ………….. £469

Olympus Pen E-P7, Like New …… £534


THERE IS STILL A certain element of romance about the concept of heading out on a shoot with nothing but a simple camera and lens combination. After all, if it worked for Cartier-Bresson, then who can argue against this approach?

In reality, of course, professionals will usually have more of a commercial angle in mind when they have a camera in their hands, and the fact is that having access to a full set of features and high-quality lenses ensures the best smaller cameras will have the ability to deliver images that are still packed with quality.

It’s very much a case of horses for courses, and if the situation demands that you have to be nimble and able to work around a situation then the fact that you don’t have all of the leverage that will come with the territory when you’re using a bigger camera doesn’t count for anything. Most pros won’t have a smaller camera as their front-line choice, but you can bet that the majority will have one tucked away somewhere, just waiting for the occasion when it comes into its own.

Potential Trade-Ins:

(All excellent condition)
❚ Olympus OM-D E-M10 ……………. £100
❚ Fujifilm XT-2 ……………………………. £310
❚ Canon PowerShot G16 ……………. £115
❚ Nikon Coolpix P950 ………………… £535
❚ Sony Cyber-shot
RX10 Mark III …………………………….. £520
❚ Panasonic Lumix
DMC-FZ2000 ……………………………… £375

TOTAL: £1955

The MPB website is fully geared up to offering trade ins, so the ability to swap in your unwanted gear can very much be part of the transaction and you’ll be able to see as you go along what you’re realising in terms of cash and how much more you might need to add to acquire the kit you’re looking for. You’ll receive an honest quotation and could even come away with a surplus that will be paid direct into your bank account.

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