A new guidebook has been released by respected photography journalist Margaret Brown that aims to help consumers make the jump up from fixed lens cameras, or compacts, to compact system cameras, such as the successful Micro Four-Thirds ranges from Panasonic and Olympus.

Called Compact System Camera Guide, this 80-page illustrated book is full of practical, ‘how-to’ advice on getting the most out of compact system camera photography.

The compact system camera market has exploded over the past five years as consumers look to take better photos but without the bulk that comes with a fully-fledged DSLR range. Compact system cameras are able to be smaller and lighter because they remove the mirror from inside the body, giving them one of their more famous nicknames: mirrorless cameras.

“Today, the differences between DSLRs and compact system cameras are largely irrelevant,” Brown says in the book.

“Compact system cameras now account for more than 20 percent of the interchangeable lens camera market and, according to GfK, this new lightweight, compact version of enthusiast camera experienced 40 percent growth in the last 12 months, while sales for traditional DSLRs remained static.”

In addition to Panasonic and Olympus, compact system cameras are marketed by Nikon, Sony and Samsung, among others. Proponents of compact system cameras say they are cheaper, lighter and easier-to-use than DSLRs. Drawbacks include the lack of a through the lens optical viewfinder, smaller sensor sizes and incompatibility with already purchased lenses.

The book is available for cameras retailers to sell to its customers and David O’Sullivan from Media Publishing said, “Ted’s and Camera House have expressed positive initial interest in the books”. Other retailers are also invited to stock the guide, which can act as both a saleable product carrying “decent” margin and as a helpful guide for sales staff looking to bone up on photography knowledge to share with consumers.

“Retailers can use this book to give their sales staff a high level of expertise in what is a relatively new breed of cameras. The hard copy edition offers retailers a decent margin, and retail customers who read the book are likely to buy more compact system cameras, lenses and accessories,” O’Sullivan said.

The hard copy version of Compact System Camera Guide is RRP $19.95 and it is also available as an Ebook for RRP $9.99.