DSLRs: most people don’t really need them. You're probably better off using one of the compact digital cameras on the market in Bangkok right now.
See also: The A-Z of film photography in Bangkok
Sony RX100 IV
Despite cameras getting smaller and smaller, you actually want a really big sensor. Big sensors have outstanding low-light capabilities, and they also produce much more beautiful background blur on food and portraits. That’s why cramming a one-inch sensor in a compact camera is a groundbreaking achievement. Add a very bright f/1.8- 2.8 zoom lens (24-70mm equivalent) and you’ve got a real photographer’s camera. Oh and this one also shoots 4K video. The whole thing borders on science fiction.
Sony RX100IV: 20.1 MP, 1” sensor, B33,000
We’ll just come out and say it: We think “Super Zooms” are stupid. But if you belong to that very narrow category of photographers who somehow believe their next trip to Chiang Mai will involve spotting some rare wildlife, don’t embarrass yourself by packing one of those white 600mm Canon lenses which weigh 5.5kg. The Sony HX90V’s lens goes up to 720mm (in 35mm speak) and fits in your pocket. The Chiang Mai zoo will never have looked so good and neither will you.
Sony HX90V: 18.20 MP, 1/2.3” sensor, B15,500
Part of the charm of shooting with a proper camera was slapping on a bright, fixed-focal lens and going out for some street photography where you did the framing, not a ring that turns on your lens. The trend for compacts that can do just that was kicked off by the beloved Fuji x100. Today, we’d recommend the Ricoh GR. It’s got a fixed 28mm equivalent that opens up to f/2.8. It looks as sober as the kind of photography this kind of non-zoom lens allows. And it’s got a massive APS-C sized sensor just like on many mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses.
Ricoh GR: 16.2 MP, APS-C sensor B27,000
Take a full-frame sensor and attach it to a fixed 28mm lens that opens all the way to f/1.7 and, voila, you’ve got the craziest, most expensive compact camera ever made. Yes, it sounds a whole lot like the Ricoh GR, but the sensor is that little bit bigger, the lens that little bit brighter. Do note that this “compact“ is 3.3 deep. But, of course, it is a Leica, which is the only real reason to buy this thing.
Leica Q: 24MP, full frame sensor, B142,000
This is another crazy compact with an outstandingly bright zoom lens (f/1.7-2.8) and an even bigger sensor––twice the surface of the Sony RX100 IV, actually. It’s stretching the term “compact” to the very limits of your cargo pants, but this is some of the best image quality you’ll find outside of big interchangeable lens cameras with full frame or four thirds sensors. It evens feels like a DSLR thanks to very well-designed controls that reward photographers looking to go manual.
Panasonic LX100: 12.8 MP, 4/3”sensor, B23,000
This phone has Samsung and Apple shaking in their boots, not to mention every DSLR camera out there. First, the lens has an f/1.8 aperture. The best zooms on DSLRs are f/2.8 (smaller is better) and the average kit lens is even worse, from f/4 up to f/5.6. That’s less light coming in and less of those pretty, blurred-out backgrounds. Secondly, the LG G4 shoots RAW, the pro format that allows a ton more flexibility when editing images in Lightroom, in particular for color balance. Thirdly, the LG G4’s lens is optically stabilized.
LG G4: 16MP rear sensor, 8MP front sensor, B21,000
Ricoh GR, Sony HX90V, Sony RX100 IV Fotofile, 3/F, MBK, Phayathai Rd., 02-620-9200 BTS National Stadium
Panasonic LX100, LG G4 4/F, Siam Paragon, Rama I Rd., BTS Siam
Leica Q 2/F, Gaysorn Plaza, Rachadamri Rd., BTS Chid Lom