In the past I have laboured with hulking DSLR's only to find that I couldn't be bothered to take them anywhere due to their size and weight. It is oft said that the best camera is the one you have with you. For many of us that it the iPhone - which is brilliant. However sometimes you just need more.
I should say that no compact camera will produce pictures as good as a DSLR - it is a fact. Their appeal is their convenience, size and weight. You are just more likely to take them with you.
I recently blogged about my Sony RX100 which is a truly incredible little beast. It produces pictures that are excellent. If you know what you are doing you can get brilliant results. It is not however my favourite. The camera I love using more than the Sony and in fact any other is the Ricoh GRD IV.
It is small and incredibly well built. The magnesium alloy body makes it strong and lightweight. The 1.25 million pixel screen is crystal clear. Its ergonomics are bordering on perfection. It has a fixed 28mm prime lens (yes you read right - no zoom), can shoot in raw and has a f1.9 lens that is super sharp for a camera with such a small sensor.
I love it and although the Sony would eat it for breakfast in terms of megapixels and picture detail, I still like it much more. It can produce pictures that are very close to a film camera which I really like. When taking pictures in black and white, few cameras can beat it.
It is discrete, understated and not just quiet in operation, it is silent and stealthy. It is near perfection for street photography. The amount of customisation and user tweaking is quite breathtaking. You can play around with a range of settings and have different set ups for alternative conditions or shooting styles. Officially the battery lasts for 390 shots but I have got closer to 450.
I have had this little GRD IV for quite a while now and the GRD III before it and further back a film version. I sold this ages ago but wish I'd kept it as film has made a slight comeback. Ricoh are pretty good with their cameras. Every so often a firmware update is issued, not to fix bugs, but to add features - many suggested by users. An example of this was a recent update that included a function to display copyright information on photo files.
When out on my Brompton bikes this for me, along with my iPhone is the camera that always goes with me. For those into their premium compacts, the GRD series with their fixed focus prime lens may not be to everyones taste, but I absolutely love them!