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Yet another does this camera exist question
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Yet another does this camera exist question on 11/09/2009 13:16:00 MST Print View

Summary: I'm looking for a new digital camera for adventuring and am hoping the experts here can help me out.

Me: I went through a period years back when I pursued landscape and outdoor sports photography with film and my Nikon FM for cash purposes. It soon stopped being fun, digital became too convenient, and I sold the Nikon. This year I've had more fun than ever taking my cheapo Insignia along, and have been taking my best stuff ever with a more mature eye and better material (ie better trips and more of them). A few things have gotten published. I don't envision ever being too serious about photography, but there are some things about the Insignia that drive me crazy.

My research has revealed that my perfect camera would be a Sigma DP1 that was (much) faster, more weatherproof, and less than $300. Impossible for now.

Even better would be a digital version of the only film camera I still have, my grandfather's Rollei Rangefinder. Make that digital with a fixed ~24mm lens and I'd be very pleased.


Things that are mandatory:
-fast, both w/r/t startup and especially w/r/t between shots, and most especially w/r/t shutter lag
-easy and quick to use manual setting, or at least exposure priority

Things that would be really good:
-waterproof or darn close
-decent macro setting
-big aperture
-uses AAs
-full manual focus

Things I don't care about:
-face recognition, auto-compensation, auto-steady, etc

Any thoughts would be most appreciated.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Yet another does this camera exist question on 11/09/2009 13:58:37 MST Print View


Since speed and manual controls lead your list I'll suggest considering a weatherproof Pentax dslr, perhaps with one of their very good pancake prime lenses (although I don't believe the Pentax primes are weather-sealed). No AA batteries of course, but folks need to let go of that paradigm since fewer and fewer models take them even as an emergency backup.

Image stabilization is actually a very useful feature in extending the photographer's ability to shoot keepers in spotty (dim) conditions, as well as leave camera support at home. Pentax puts IS in the body, where it belongs.



Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
actually on 11/09/2009 14:19:54 MST Print View

The Pentax K-m uses AA's. And there are plenty of slightly older K series Pentax dslr's around that can be snapped up used that take AA's

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Yet another does this camera exist question on 11/09/2009 14:52:16 MST Print View

Nothing exists today which hits all your requirements, though if small isn't really small then there are weathersealed DSLR. The closest to your list does indeed seem to be the DP1 or DP2 (faster lens at the cost of wideness). If you haven't looked at it yet, the Ricoh GR3 might be interesting.

The closest to matching your requirements are the small sensor Panasonic LX3, Canon S90, Ricoh GRD3; larger u4/3 sensor like the Panasonic GF, Olympus E-P1/E-P2; or the Sigma DP1/DP2, and the soon to be released Leica X1.


Edited by verber on 11/09/2009 14:53:19 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
thanks, and keep it up on 11/09/2009 15:50:09 MST Print View

I appreciate everyone grappling with an impossible set of criteria. Some evolving thoughts:

I have no interest in an SLR or anything big. If I can't keep it in a small case around my neck then I won't take pictures. Plain and simple.

The DP1 and 2 sound really good. Problem is, there's no way I'm whiling to make big compromises and spend so much cash, and the lack of processing speed is a deal breaker.

The WP60 seems like a pretty good option. The durability, most of the features, and the price are all just about right. Can anyone comment on the manual features and the processing speed?

(Who is very psyched to get good skiing photos this winter.)

Ross Williams
(xavi1337) - F

Locale: Korea
Rollei on 11/10/2009 00:10:58 MST Print View

Its very easy to make your Rollei digital; just have the lab processing your film scan it for you as well. That way you get your film back with a CD of 20-25MP scans. That would fit all your needs.

If you aren't going to use your film, go ahead and sell it. It will get you at least $800, more if you have some good lenses. With that I would suggest the upcoming Leica X1, which should be out in a months time. The only problem is that I don't know what the price will be yet, but I would guess it to be in the $1200 range.

It has an APS-C sized sensor, 35mm eq. fixed length lens, very compact, full manual, and probably pretty weatherproof.

If your going to get picky about what you want, you'll have to put up the cash. Luckily you seem to have a $1000 brick of metal on your hands at the moment to trade in.

Julian Thomas
(jtclicker) - F
Re: Rollei on 11/10/2009 02:36:43 MST Print View

no compact camera will ever be 'fast', but it may be 'fast enough'.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Yet another does this camera exist question on 11/10/2009 10:52:03 MST Print View

the ricoh gxr has just started to get press. It has the potential to be very interesting.

Edited by verber on 11/10/2009 10:53:04 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
S90 on 12/26/2009 15:03:36 MST Print View

I got an S90 for Christmas. Thus far, very impressive, especially in the ease of use department. The Ring function is very cool.

We'll see how it goes.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: S90 on 12/26/2009 18:54:24 MST Print View

Richard Franiec makes this grip for the S90, and it has many fans over at dpReview.

S90 Grip2

Details can be found here.

Apparently the S90 is a slick little bugger in many ways, and this grip makes a huge difference.

Edited by greg23 on 12/26/2009 18:56:22 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
reply to Rick's comment on 01/10/2010 21:56:57 MST Print View

Yes, Image Stabilization is a valuable feature to have, especially when we are not carrying the heavy tripod around.

Image Stabilization in the body only makes sense if this is a compact camera without interchangeable lenses. In other words, it is sealed with the lens on.

For those of us who use interchangeable lense DSLR cameras, it only makes sense to have the IS function in the lens, since each different focal length of lens has a different reaction to vibration. Most IS lenses are of the range of 100mm out to about 500mm. Well beyond that, and you better have a few kilograms of tripod underneath it.


Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: reply to Rick's comment on 01/11/2010 11:52:48 MST Print View

Hi Bob, thanks for your comments.

You're correct that IS is matched to the lens but perhaps dated on your information about DSLR (and now ยต4/3) in-body IS. In both Pentax and Olympus bodies the lens and body firmware communicate as to what lens is mounted and importantly, what the zoom setting is. The result from both brands is very competitive IS preformance. Whether the added stops of handholding range compares favorably to a particular IS lens would have to be considered case by case of course.

There's a benefit to the consumer in not having to purchase (and carry) IS with each new lens, and Oly has a second trick--IS works with any lens, including manual focus legacy lenses. The exception would be legacy zooms unless you either leave it at one focal length or are prepared to change the setting each time you zoom.