The best camera that fits in your pocket is not your smartphone
...if you know how to use it. We all have a great camera in our pocket, but it doesn't have to be the best camera you can fit in your pocket. Smartphones have come a long way and I really like taking pictures with mine. But let me tell you about my favorite camera that fits in my pocket.
Micro Four Thirds
I always liked photography but around 8 years ago I decided to ditch my smartphone for something more "pro". I bought a compact canon camera, which is not much of an upgrade from a smartphone. But it did have manual controls which made me understand photography a bit better.
After that, I bought my first interchangeable-lens camera, the Olympus E-M10 mark I. I loved it, and I really got into photography because it allowed me to learn more about cameras but also about light and glass, just by changing the lens. This last part was a game-changer.
This camera was a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera. MFT is a standard made by Olympus and Panasonic. You can use Panasonic lenses with Olympus cameras and vice versa. It also means that they have a standard sensor size, smaller than APS-C (used by intermediate-level cameras) and full-frame (the standard in "pro" photography).
This allows manufacturing really small cameras while still having a big enough sensor to achieve great image quality.
Panasonic Lumix GM1
And here it is. The best balance between image quality, compactness, and beautiful hardware:
The GM1 is so tiny it fits in the palm of my hand. I have bigger cameras. I own a Panasonic Lumix G80, and I love it, but the GM1 is always in my backpack and it's the camera I'll never sell. Actually, if you want one, good luck finding a used one. I bought it for about $180, and have seen it for $150, but they go fast. And I get it, who would wanna sell this thing?
Okay, I know what you're thinking. No matter how small the camera is if the lenses are huge. I do have big bulky lenses that look hilarious on the GM1:
Panasonic 20mm f1.7
"That's not pocketable!" - You might say. And you're right. Here's where I tell you about my favorite lens: the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. Look how tiny the whole setup is!
Now that does fit in my pocket. And the best thing is that you can still have big lenses when you need them, and it will handle them.
Actually, the best thing is that you might not need other lenses for casual (but good) photography. This setup delivers great image quality. And it just costs around $300 used ($150 camera + $150 lens). I can't tell you how sharp this lens is, and how good the bokeh looks, but I can show you:
The stickers you see in some pictures are actually designed by me! If you want to make your own, go to stickermule.com, they are really good!
The field of view that the 20mm (40mm equivalent in Full Frame) gives you, in my opinion, the perfect balance between wide and telephoto. It's not a landscape lens, it's not a portrait lens, but it can do both, its own way. You can take great landscape pictures with a subject, and they'll be so sharp. You wouldn't wanna do headshots with this lens but it's the perfect focal length to take pictures of people or even waist-level portraits.
That's it! I like this camera and now you know about it.