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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Pick me a camera on 01/01/2012 10:59:46 MST Print View

A hypothetical question on which I'd appreciate advice:

Let's say I have a firm $1000 budget, and want a new camera. A have an S90 with which I've been quite pleased, but want something which would be more versatile for landscape photography (smaller apertures would be much appreciated), do better at action shots (less lag would be very appreciated), and do high quality HD video.

All three of those are iron-clad must haves. Everything else is gravy. Smallness and toughness would be nice as well.

Have at it folks.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Pick me a camera on 01/01/2012 11:02:37 MST Print View

I like my Oly XZ-1 as a high-end p&s but it only does 720p video.

The Sony Nex line would probably fit well if you're ok with having multiple lenses.

Edited by simplespirit on 01/01/2012 11:05:26 MST.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Pick me a camera" on 01/01/2012 12:35:25 MST Print View

I will spare you the techy camera talk and just list off a few suggestions and let you do some digging from there. These suggestions keep in mind your recent post on your blog expressing your desire to "bump" things up a notch for 2012 in the production department. Point and shoots aren't going to cut it in the video department, so I didn't suggest any.

Two cameras in particular to consider that all tick your boxes (compact, full HD video 1080/60p, <$1000) :

- Sony NEX5n
- Panasonic Lumix GX1 body paired w/ 20mm f1.7 Lumix lens

*If you want a variety of lenses to choose from and expand in the future, the Lumix series is hard to beat, the 20mm f1.7 pancake lens paired with the GX1 is a tinnnnny setup that would compliment your style and goals well I think. The most comparable compact/fast lens from Sony is the Leica 24mm f1.8 which would run you the cost of the GX1 camera body + 20mm f1.7 lens combo I mentioned and tip your budget. Honestly, I don't think you'll be pleased with the kit lens on the NEX5N, it's a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom, not at all compact in comparison to the body it sits on, and it doesn't shake a stick at your Canon S90 in low light conditions.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
Pick a me a camera SUGGESTION on 01/01/2012 13:26:16 MST Print View

Give a Canon PowerShot S100 a look see.

Canon PowerShot S100

Chris Wheeler
(ChrisW) - MLife

Locale: Stratford, Ontario
Pick a me a camera on 01/01/2012 14:11:49 MST Print View

The S90 makes an excellent light weight camera for backpacking.
I have been using one for the last two years for backpacking.
I use Dxo to correct for the optics distortion.

Have you considered a conventional APS DSLR from Canon or Nikon.
A budget of $1000 would get you a body plus kit lens. Look at the
Nikon D5100 and any of the standard zoom lens. Buying into either
a Canon or Nikon DSLR gets you into a huge selection of quality
lenses if you want to expand on the basic kit at a future date.
The modern DSLR is very responsive to use compared to your S90,
more like the SLR of the film era. The DSLR camera is not a
lightweight solution for backpacking, use your S90 for that.

If you are looking to replace the S90 with one camera that meets
all your concerns look at the Sony NEX5 plus a kit lens.

Edited by ChrisW on 01/01/2012 14:12:31 MST.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
Pick a me a camera SUGGESTION#2 on 01/01/2012 14:39:39 MST Print View

.

Edited by KENLARSON on 01/02/2012 06:17:55 MST.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
Pick me a camera SUGGESTION#2 on 01/01/2012 14:49:48 MST Print View

.

Edited by KENLARSON on 01/02/2012 06:18:33 MST.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
Pick me a camer SUGGESTION#2 on 01/01/2012 15:08:37 MST Print View

Check out this site:
http://www.edpostphotography.com

Ed is not a backpacker but an Ottawa County Circuit Judge that dabbles in photography.
A good friend and I know if you put forth what you’re looking for you can get a good opinion from one who knows photography. You can contact him at ed7145@gmail.com and explain Ken Larson “sent you on to him” with your request.
Cheers

Edited by KENLARSON on 01/01/2012 15:09:27 MST.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Much is going to change again soon on 01/01/2012 15:09:12 MST Print View

There are several major photography trade show in the coming weeks and months that will include announcements from major manufacturers, including the much rumored (but isn't it always rumored?) emergence of a Canon mirrorless system to rival the NEXs, m4/3rds, Nikon offerings in that crowded space. There may possibly be some announcement out of Fuji and perhaps even Olympus, although with their troubles, hard to know what we will happen.

The plus side is if that fi you are not in too much of a rush, there will be discounts on current models. But more importantly, there may be more information regarding systems - clearly it's going to be difficult moving forward if there are four or five competing mirrorless lens/body systems of which few are compatible. You are buying a system after all in this space, and if you are going to invest in serious glass, you want to have a roadmap ahead.

The funny thing is that Pentax/Olympus/Sony/Samsung have been cutting into the traditional heavyweights (Nikon, Canon) marketshare in recent years. I have to think that Canon will respond, but like Nikon they are in a difficult spot, not wanting to poach their SLR sales.

Dirk

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Pick me a camera on 01/01/2012 16:38:02 MST Print View

In the context of the size/weight restictions of a BPL camera, the new Canon S100 probably meets most of your basics. If continuous shooting speed and video performance for family/kid shots are emphasized, I think the Nikon 1 system cameras rule the roost now.

I prefer the utility/IQ of the Nikon D5100 to any of the m4/3 or NEX systems, but I already have the lenses too.

Edited by rmjapan on 01/01/2012 16:57:50 MST.

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 01/01/2012 17:35:14 MST Print View

deleted

Edited by rOg_w on 05/28/2012 17:14:33 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: the "perfect" camera on 01/01/2012 18:54:38 MST Print View

Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I'm in no rush here, and am not set on any sort of camera. I'll continue to bring the S90 when I really care about size and weight, and if I need to haul a full DSLR to get the job done otherwise, so be it.

I'm not interested in the S100. Consensus seems to be that better video is the only major improvement, and that's not good enough. I find the S90 only going to F8 to be a fairly major limitation as far as controlling shutter speed goes, and won't consider a camera that doesn't go at least to F11 (ideally smaller).

I suppose the question than becomes what is the difference in video quality and functionality between a micro 4/3s, junior DSLR, and a full DSLR (like the 7D).


On a side note, recall that Luc increased both his pack weight and size by 1/3 during the Wilderness Classic last year to haul that darn camera. It was funny to see him and his partner decide to only bring one raft, then add 7 pounds of camera and bag.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: re: the "perfect" camera on 01/01/2012 19:28:53 MST Print View

"I'm not interested in the S100. Consensus seems to be that better video is the only major improvement, and that's not good enough. I find the S90 only going to F8 to be a fairly major limitation as far as controlling shutter speed goes, and won't consider a camera that doesn't go at least to F11 (ideally smaller)."

Why? Do you often shoot into the sun and overexpose? Using an ND filter will fix that. Certainly can't be because you want more DoF! A slow aperture is the IQ great equalizer between a cheap camera/lens kit and a pro kit.

FWIW, I think there are noticeable improvements over your S90 in the S100's lens, not only in focal length range, but overall sharpness. In addition to the HD video, the the Digic5 engine has improved distortion and chromatic aberation for in-camera jpegs. Continuous shooting is also noticebly faster than the S90. Really the only con is if you need to take pics of kids and need fast AF focus tracking, in which case the Nikon 1 system is the only mirrorless solution that excells.

Anyway, the Nikon 1 is also the only system camera that lets you grab stills while doing video at full rez and without interruption with AF tracking that rivils the best dslr. The kit lenses are certainly smaller than other system lenses covering the same ~27-300mm focal lengths!

Edited by rmjapan on 01/01/2012 20:27:23 MST.

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 01/01/2012 19:46:17 MST Print View

deleted

Edited by rOg_w on 05/28/2012 17:15:32 MDT.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Pick me a camera on 01/01/2012 20:25:09 MST Print View

If you've got the time to wait for more improvements in the m4/3 and EVIL categories by all means wait. But the S90 is a great little camera for the interim. I have both the NEX-5 and the S95. They're different cameras to be sure, but both have their benefits. I haven't done it yet but I've been thinking of getting filter kit available at lensmate http://www.lensmateonline.com/store/s90v2.php. This should fix your issue with getting longer shutter speeds I believe.

Mike W
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Panasonic Lumix LX3 on 01/01/2012 21:40:43 MST Print View

David-
Would you be interested in my Lumix LX3 setup? I won't go into the tech specs of this camera since you can find countless sites with this information. The LX3 is a great landscape photography camera with its 24mm f/2 lens. I rarely find the need to go wider but if you do, there is the wide conversion lens (0.75x) which brings it to 18mm...but you need the lens adapter tube. There are a couple of cool things about the lens adapter tube in spite of it adding size to the camera: 1. you can use filters (I have the multicoated Hoya UV, ND8 and circular polarizer filters) and 2. the lens tube with a filter on it completely protects the lens from getting any dirt or sand in it. I keep the lens tube and UV filter on it all the time. I have all of the above in addition to two spare batteries, 3 lens caps (different types), the charger, original box and manuals.

Cheers,

Mike

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Pick me a camera" on 01/01/2012 21:58:01 MST Print View

The Lumix LX3/LX5 is not an improvement nor is it any more capable than the Canon S90 that Dave already has in his possession, they're essentially the same camera.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 01/01/2012 22:06:03 MST Print View

I was just looking at this - ended up with an ELPH 300 for a song, rather then a S95/S100/LX5/ect
It seems like there are some incremental increases over the ELPH (incl RAW files) for the above cameras, but that for the cost its the GX2/ect. Fuji has some really nice viewfinder P&S cameras.
The D7000 with the 18-200 lens is a favorite with a lot of the climbing photographers in terms of weight/performance/cost/replacement, D90 might be nice to. You can also run faster lenses with them
For 350ish new w/zoom I really like the GH2 rangefinder type camera, with a pancake its about the size/cost of a LX5 but much better images I'm told from the larger sensor. Neither are pocket cameras like the S90 though.

Mike W
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: "Pick me a camera" on 01/02/2012 00:27:07 MST Print View

"The Lumix LX3/LX5 is not an improvement nor is it any more capable than the Canon S90 that Dave already has in his possession, they're essentially the same camera."

They are and they aren't. The reason I went with the LX3 (and now LX5) is the additional control I have with the camera like setting focus point, choosing from three aspect ratios, hotshoe for flash (although I use mine for a cable release mount when doing time lapse photos). Some people like those extra controls; some don't.

Mike

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
If video is more important than reduced lag on 01/02/2012 10:20:55 MST Print View

If high quality video is very important the best camera would likely be the panasonic gh2. It has been optimised for video along with a bunch of the panasonic lenes. Things like internal focus and power zooms. Most slr lenses have noisy focusing that shows up in video. The gh2 plus the 14-140 lens is 1200 right now but the gh3 is coming out in the nex 3 months so that should push the gh2 into your price point.

The drawback of the gh2 compared to a fullsize slr is focus speed and tracking of moving objects. It would be significantly better than our p&s but not as good as a slr.

I would say that any slr would work for you if you are willing to carry it but i think it would bw worth considering the mirrorless options from nex, u4/3, and nikon before jumping into the bulk of an slr

I noticed you want smaller aperatures for landscapes beyond f8. One thing you run into when going to smaller aperatures is difraction which will reduce your picture quality. It starts to appear between f8 and f11 on 4/3 and f11 and f16 on apsC. An ND filter would be a better approach for longer exposures.

Edited by GregF on 01/02/2012 10:24:07 MST.