Southern California makes a great base for a photographer and travel writer. It gives me easy access to the eclectic beach communities as well as the immigrant neighborhoods and cultural attractions of Los Angeles. I enjoy seeking out what makes this area special—and mainly shoot with a digital SLR camera.

Still, I don’t always want to haul around my entire kit; it can get tiring and cumbersome. So when Canon and AFAR gave me the opportunity to use the PowerShot G5 X, I was excited and curious to see how it would compare to my usual equipment.

As I explored Southern California, I tried to capture the elements that make this place distinctive and vibrant. The G5 X helped me do so, and I especially appreciated these four features.

1. Unobtrusive Size
One of the things I liked most about using the PowerShot G5 X was its size; a compact frame and lightweight construction make shooting with this camera effortless. I find it burdensome to take my large SLR cameras with me on short excursions, and it can be stressful trying to anticipate which lenses you might need. The lens range on the G5 X (film equivalent 24-100mm) is perfect for capturing both atmospheric shots and detailed close-ups. And since it’s less than 15 ounces, your arms and hands won’t get fatigued throughout the day.

2. Continuous Shooting Mode
I’ve always found point-and-shoot cameras experience significant lag when shooting moving objects, but the PowerShot G5 X performed very well on the occasions I was able to shoot people playing sports, like these basketball players in Venice. The continuous shooting mode allows you to follow the action while capturing images that are clear and detailed, even when zoomed in on.

3. Connectivity
Most of my travel assignments require some type of social media component, and the PowerShot G5 X makes social sharing remarkably easy and seamless. Prior to using the G5 X, I’d capture images on my SLR and wait until I returned to my computer to save and select those that were most compelling to be shared on my social media platforms. With the Canon Connect app, all I have to do is sync my phone to the camera—and in seconds the images are posted to my Instagram account.

4. Intuitive Dials
Ergonomics can make or break a camera, and the PowerShot G5 X gets it right by me. For instance, this may seem obscure, but I like a camera with dials. They provide a sense of assurance and proficiency when I shoot; I want the camera to feel like a machine and not a toy. The controls on this camera feel very similar to those on my SLR, and I find the intuitive layout of the G5 X controls allow for a short learning curve.