Martin Webb pays homage to his pocket Panasonic

Like many amateurs I?ve built up a substantial 35mm system, but avoided digital until the summer of 2004, when the wife?s trusty Canon Sureshot bit the dust. She wanted a digital camera to replace it, and our daily newspaper was, at the time, carrying ads for a Panasonic Lumix LC80 model which had 5MPs and, although basic in functionality, seemed to offer very good value for £150. We bought it shortly before our holiday, a Caribbean cruise, and of course took it with us, along with my 35mm EOS system.

It didn?t take long for the benefits of digital to become apparent. While I was lugging my Billingham bag around in the hot sun, the missus kept the LC80 in her bumbag. While I had no real idea how my pictures would turn out, I was able to get a rough idea by viewing my wife?s almost identical snaps on the LC80. When we went out for the evening I left the Billy bag in the room and took the Panasonic. One night there was a fantastic sunset and, with no time to go back for my EOS, I used the compact, resting it on the rail for extra stability (though on a moving ship stability is relative!)

It wasn?t till we got home that the LC80?s true value became apparent. I was able to make excellent quality, pin sharp A4 prints from which equalled those I got from my EOS. I even had the sunset blown up to A3 and it looks great on the wall (if you don?t get too close).

The LC80 inspired me to trade in my 35mm EOS 50 for a digital EOS 350D, and I?m delighted with it. But I still carry my LC80 with me (yes its mine now ? the wife has a new one) on occasions when I don?t want to carry the whole system, safe in the knowledge that if I see a good shot I?ll be able to capture it without disappointment.