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Define: Point and shoot

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Luckypenguin, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Today I had a flickr contact post a comment on an image which got me thinking. To give the full story, this was the image:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Nothing too special, just a beachside scene from Sydney, Australia. The part of the comment that I found interesting was, "Its interesting how much these point and shoot cameras have improved over the time ..."

    Now this image was taken with my GH1 and 14-140mm which was released as long ago as 2009 so the comment about improving over time is not entirely relevant in this case. What does intrigue me about the comment is what defines a point-and-shoot camera.

    My flickr contact shoots with a Canon EOS 60D which while obviously being a DSLR is probably not all that different in specification to a GH1, yet despite that he infers that a GH1 is a point-and-shoot. Based on where the GH cameras sit in the Panasonic hierarchy, that would then make every Micro 4/3 camera a point-and-shoot.

    So, what do you define as a point-and-shoot? Are our Micro 4/3 cameras (or indeed all MILCs) point-and-shoots? Or just some of them? Or does it just depend on how you choose to use them? Of course if the latter case is true, then EVERY camera could be a mere point-and-shoot...
  2. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    S.Yorkshire, UK
    Maybe it depends also on "location" ?

    From Wikipedia Point & Shoot page :-

    Name Confusion

    The terms "point and shoot" and "compact camera" are used differently in different parts of the world. In the UK point-and-shoot predominantly means a fully automatic camera, regardless of size or shape. A "compact camera" on the other hand, has a small body, regardless of any fully automatic capabilities. Thus a DSLR can have point-and-shoot modes, and some compact cameras are not designed for point and shoot operation, with the equivalent controls to a DSLR.

    The use of "point-and-shoot" to mean a small or compact camera regardless of automation capabilities has long been predominant in the US, and in the 21st century it began spreading elsewhere.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    A fellow mu-43 member naturecloseups had once said on a different forum..

    I'd have to agree with his definition.
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  4. merosen

    merosen Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 14, 2012
    Somerville (Boston), MA
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    I was just about to say any camera that falls into my hands usually end up being a point-and-shoot. :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 3
  6. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    I think that's a good definition.

    To the OP - I think this is a fair question to ask, given that much of this forum is devoted to gear. But I wouldn't worry about what other people think about your camera. I agree it was an annoying comment that the Flickr poster left. I have seen a few threads on mu43 about DSLR users looking down-nose at mirrorless cameras, and I think the best response is to focus on the results. I think most of us would agree that DSLRs have certain advantages and mirrorless cameras have certain advantages - it just depends on what your priorities are.

    Btw - nice shot.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I think of a P&S as:

    1) compact;
    2) fixed lens;
    3) designed for automated setting with manual controls as a secondary concern, not fully implemented or not implemented at all; and maybe
    4) no RAW??? (On the fence with RAW. The inclusion of RAW does not necessarily move a P&S into another genre, but does the exclusion of RAW signify a camera as a P&S or is P&S purely a definition of the physical aspects of a camera?)

    My general definition of what constitutes a Point and Shoot. Of course there will be exceptions.


    PS- The physical characteristics of a P&S and the general photographic skill level of the average P&S user, has created the P&S style.
    • Like Like x 3
  8. m1pui

    m1pui Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 30, 2010
    Sunderland, UK
    I agree that P&S is a mode/style of shooting and not a type of camera.

    The 60D (as do most, if not all DSLR's) has a fully automated shooting mode as well as 6 or 7 "scene" modes. To me that makes it as much of a P&S camera as any of the M4/3 bodies.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. MikeR_GF1

    MikeR_GF1 Guest

    I always point and shoot. Best way I know of to capture what I'm looking at.
    • Like Like x 3
  10. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Ive always wondered why we feel some sort of "insulted" everytime someone says m43 are just p&s cameras. Dont we feel "proud" everytime a "pro-tog" uses an actual iphone and comes with great pics and say the cliché (at this point) of : "its not about the camera but the 20in behind it"?

    Take it as a compliment Nic! I would.
    • Like Like x 3
  11. m1pui

    m1pui Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 30, 2010
    Sunderland, UK
    I personally don't feel offended. It's probably more accurate to say that I feel bemused by what I'd interpret as narrow mindedness from people who (perhaps not openly) think of themselves as knowledgeable enthusiasts yet make incorrect statements such as the one we're discussing.

    I have a cousin who bought himself a Canon 500D (T1i) a couple of years ago, about the same time as I jumped from my 500D to a GF1 actually. He's since built up a canny collection of kit (nifty 50, tele lens, backdrops, possibly some cheap lighting stands and god knows what else) and even has made himself a FaceBook page [his name] photography. I was talking to him just before Christmas and as the conversation drew on, it turned out that he shoots everything in either full auto or the "appropriate" scene mode. Didn't have a clue about what the Av/Tv modes meant.

    That is P&S photography. The camera used is completely incidental.

    FWIW, Lucky's contact also shoots with a Canon G15, looking at his flickr content, so perhaps he shouldn't be so surprised at the capabilities of a "P&S" camera :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  12. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    Or to borrow a phrase from "Fight Club". You are not your F#$%ING CAMERA!!!
    • Like Like x 2
  13. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    I've noticed recently a bunch of instances where people were defining the term P&S differently, glad it's not just me :tongue:

    My personal definition of a "point & shoot" is pretty much what Gary said above. However, I also agree it's a lot more to do with a style of shooting than physical specs.

    Elsewhere on this forum someone referred to the RX1 as a point and shoot camera. My initial response was "yeah, right, a full frame sensor camera at $2800 is a point and shoot". But then I realized it had less to do with the capabilities of the camera and more about how it ends up being used. The RX1 has a lot of auto modes, and it's equally possible that someone could enable all the automatic features, point, and snap away versus putting it in manual mode and using it as a compact rangefinder camera with an exceptional sensor.

    At the end of the day, what defines a point & shoot camera to me is lack of manual control (either not offering manual mode at all, or treating it as more of an afterthought). What defines a point & shoot user (a.k.a. "point & shooter") is the mentality of aiming the camera in the general direction of the subject and tripping the shutter, without regard to creative exposure and/or composition.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    When used about cameras I think "point and shoot" tends to mean one of two things:

    (a) What Gary said;

    (b) Not a camera I would shoot with, not really a serious option (Note that the "I" in this definition refers to whoever is making the point and shoot statement—obviously M43 cameras aren't point and shoot for me because they're the only cameras I shoot with. That leaves me free to refer to dslrs as point and shoot if I like).

    When used about photographers/photographic style, we're all point and shooters. None of us shoots anything the camera isn't pointed at. Some people simply have more extensive and convoluted fiddle rituals during the preparatory pointing process.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Unfortunately, the original post didn't clarify "style" or "camera", simply "what is a point and shoot".

    So I guess all of our answers are correct or incorrect or varying degrees of correctness ... or varying degrees of incorrectness, lol.

    I can see P&S as an adjective and as a noun.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. Well, that wouldn't have been any fun now, would it? :smile: So far the broad nature of the question seems to match the broad nature of the definition.
  17. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Lots of cameras have controls on menus. The E-PM1 is an ILC, yet has far fewer controls than an X10. You can use the E-Pm1 in a point and shoot style ( I do this often) but I don't think it's really a P&S in the sense that folks use that term. RX1? :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Zariell

    Zariell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    Bountiful, UT
    Personally I don't care if they classify my camera as a neon banana, I know what it can do, and to me my definition of my camera is all that matters. It's the age old saying assume makes an a$$ out of u and me. Pay no attention to the masses and just enjoy yourself.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I suppose that in the very simplest sense any camera in full auto mode is a point and shoot. Some just cost more than others! :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  20. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2011
    I used my EP1 (black leather skin cover) 17mm and FL600 at a recent event. I did not receive any comments about using a point and shoot. However I was chastised by some DSLR owners for carrying an old film camera. Of course these guys were using pop up flashes in the middle of the day, and their results were horrible. I even heard one say to another, "I have no idea why the shutter speed keeps flashing".

    I would think the term point and shoot applies more to the style of use and settings applied, than the camera. Many cameras now can be used in different modes and achieve great results. Many expensive DSLRs are also never switched from auto mode. I was speaking with a FF canon user recently who never takes the camera out of auto mode in daytime, because he cannot get consistent results. Unbelievable...

    Nice shot by the way, and that is all that counts.
    • Like Like x 2
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