Ever since working at Don’s Photo, I have been contacted by politicians on both sides of the political spectrum and asked what kind of camera they should be using. Basically they want something small but takes better photos than the $129 camera they have now. While Brad Wall might have an entourage to make him look good, even cabinet ministers do things by themselves and don’t have a camera crew surrounding them.
Here are my two picks
The Sony RX-100 and RX-100 II are the two best compact cameras on the market. They are amazing in low light which is where you spend most of your time. I am not talking about back rooms or seedy hotel rooms but rather indoors like your office or in community centres for photo ops. That is where this camera excels. In fact the New York Times called it the best camera they had ever seen.
The problem with these camera is that the RX-100 is around $650 and the RX-100 II is $850. I think they are worth it but unless you are in Alison Redford’s cabinet, you can’t expense something like that or you would have the Canadian Taxpayers Federation all over you. The last thing you want is to be the person that took the media focus off of Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin.
So if you are going to get one, make sure you pay for it out of your salary or get your constituency organization to pick it up. To be honest, you will like this camera so much that you will want to pick it up yourself.
Canon also has an amazing compact camera optimized for low light and that is the Canon S120. It’s smaller than the RX-100 but has a good build quality and fast f1.8 lens. It has a powerful image processor and can be found on sale for around $350. The S200 has a slightly slower lens (f2) but can be had for $250. The best value may be the older S110 which can be had for $250 but still has the faster lens that the updated S120 does. The Canon has slightly more zoom but the Sony is faster zoomed out (giving you better photos when zoomed out)
Both cameras are small enough to go anywhere but more importantly are powerful enough to take good photos of you and the event you are at in poor light without a flash. They also take 1080p video at nearly broadcast quality (which would have helped Stephane Dion the night he gave his ill-fated coalition speech). With metal build quality, they will also stand up the wear and tear of the rubber chicken circuit (even if you won’t).
If you are a politician and rely on good photos as part of your public image, ditch the camera that you have, put down your iPhone and get one of these, preferably from your local camera shop.