As DSLR owners we often tend to dismiss digital compacts as inferior cameras that are hardly worth carrying, due to their compromised image quality caused by the tiny sensor. It's true that at high ISO IQ can leave a lot to be desired, but keep to around 100 ISO in good light and the quality can be surprisingly good.

A compact will never be as good as a DSLR, of course, but how many of us really want to carry our regular camera everywhere we go? A compact is far less hassle and can be carried almost anywhere with the minimum of inconvenience. When an unexpected photo opportunity arises it's far better to have a compact to hand rather than no camera at all.

The above two pictures were both taken using basic, inexpensive compacts when out walking and I just didn't fancy lugging a DSLR. On each occasion I was glad to have a little camera with me. You really shouldn't leave home without one!

Now, of course, those of us with sufficient funds (and at the moment that is sadly not me) can get the best of both worlds. Regardless of any criticism about the lack of a built in viewfinder or focusing speed the fact is that Olympus and Panasonic now each have a camera that is truly compact but with DSLR image quality. Micro Four Thirds has resolved a long standing issue affecting all serious photographers and is set to revolutionize the photographic industry. If you have enough dough you really can have your cake and eat it.

For now, however, I will continue to travel light with my humble compact and dream of the day......