I had a blast trying the micro.blog 30-day photo challenge (link is to all entries — mine are here. I decided to play with a self-constraint: despite owning a Canon DSLR, I decided to only use photos from my Lumix LX100.

The LX100 is a fixed-lens, compact camera from 2014. It has a micro four-thirds sensor (I guess that’s appopriate for a micro.blog challenge?) with an output resolution of approximately 12MP depending on the selected aspect ratio. Its Leica-made zoom lens has a focal range of 24-75mm (FF-equivalent) and attains f/1.7 at its widest.

Despite it being an old, small-sensored, and relatively low-resolution camera, I absolutely love it. It was my first “proper camera” (barring a Pentax K1000 I had as a child), acquired second-hand during the first lockdown for about £250. Although I have only been taking pictures as a hobbyist for only a few years, and am nowhere close to being an actually good photographer, I think many of the pictures this camera and I have produced together are very Okay, and a couple may even be Quite Good.

In design, it’s essentially a poor man’s Fujifilm X100-series camera, with a zoom rather than prime lens and no built-in flash. It uses similar “retro” physical dials and rings for controlling exposure, has an electronic viewfinder rather than the X100-series' fancy hybrid, and is quite a bit smaller.

This size advantage is key — in most cases, it’s still the camera I reach for over 90% of the time. It’s easier to carry, and less intrusive in social environments. I know how to use it inside-out, with everything set just the way I like it. The design, as well as the number of settings, makes it clear this is a compact camera for a “serious” enthusiast. The dials and rings are an invitation to shoot with intention, and not just “point-and-shoot” – the usual name for the market in which cameras of this size compete.

12 mega-pixels sounds very small by today’s standards. But 12MP is twelve million pixels. My laptop screen is around two million pixels. How many pixels does a non-professional photographer really need? I’ve never made a print bigger than my laptop screen either. The pain only comes if you need to crop an image. One of my biggest photographic regrets is that Day 17: transcendence was taken from too far away and I had to crop — the resolution does suffer a bit here.

The micro four-thirds sensor is basically fine for everyday shooting. I don’t need ultra-fine control of depth-of-field for most scenes, and in fact the increased DoF means I rarely miss focus (which can’t be said when I’m using the full-frame DSLR…). I also get a zoom from 24 to 75mm with a lens about 7cm long.

The only real drag of this camera is that the zoom lens’s mechanism sure loves to eat dust, and being a fixed-lens camera, there’s no way to clean the dust from the sensor without disassembling the camera. This happens a lot, though it’s usually not too visible unless you’re stopped down to f/11 or beyond — you can see it clearly in Day 11: sky.

Would I really like an X100VI? Of course I would. But I don’t have two thousand pounds to spend on an out-of-stock-everywhere camera. And that’s fine. A £250 everyday-carry is fine. I’ve not outgrown it in terms of skill. I’d even guess learning on an older, cheaper camera has been good for pushing me to develop my skills. You really don’t need an expensive camera to get into photography. Just get an affordable camera that’s small enough you’ll actually take it with you, used with intention. I hear some phones have cameras these days, so you could use one of those as well. It’s just about shooting with intention.