It’s the question professional photographers get the most from their family and friends: “What camera should I buy?”

Not everyone wants to lug around a large DSLR with one, two or three lenses. But among the hundreds of options available in the compact range — from point-and-shoot cameras to mirrorless, bridges and advanced compact cameras (yes, that’s really a category) — it’s not always easy to find the right fit for your needs.

TIME LightBox asked seven professional photographers — conflict shooters, portrait masters, documentary experts and artists — to reveal their compact camera of choice. Their answers might surprise you. While new models like Fujifilm’s X100T made the cut, oldies are also revered by some of the world’s best portrait photographers and photojournalists.

Shannon Martin photographed with the Yashica T4 Super camera (Landon Nordeman)
Shannon Martin photographed with the Yashica T4 Super camera
Landon Nordeman

For Landon Nordeman, who’s known for his stunning fashion photographs, the holy grail – a Yashica T4 Super with a cult following – is now only available second-hand on eBay. Yet, looking at the results he gets, it’s not surprising to see why he’d swear by it for his most precious photographs: those of his family.

In recent years, the iPhone and other smartphones with their ever-improving camera systems have supplanted the need for stand-alone compact cameras. But, as these photographers tell TIME, nostalgia and flexibility are strong factors for their continued existence – at least for now.

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