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New Cameras!
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Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Samsung NX20 on 08/24/2012 23:50:49 MDT Print View

"Hey Tom, Betsy (Gadget Girl) here from the JMT -

Just wanted to respond to your comment about my new camera, the Samsung NX20, that I used during my JMT trip. I just finished loading the photos on to my SmugMug and I have to say they turned out fabulous."

Great stuff Betsy, the pictures turned out great. Also, thanks for posting the model as well, I wasn't sure which one you had. The pics look great and I'm going to look further into getting one.

P.S. I recognize those funny looking guys in the pics.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: New Cameras! on 08/25/2012 13:18:14 MDT Print View

I found an interesting site that you might find interesting - seems to be geared towards the outdoorsy type camera user:

I'm a long time photo-buff but I don't have enough interest anymore to be hauling my Ansel Adams equipment around. I'd rather pack my fly pole. So I've been using ruggedized point&shoots for "capture the moment" photography and a little video work. "Ruggedized" is code for "sucky picture quality" in my experience.

Recently I had a chance to play with a Sony DSC HX20V, which retails in the $300'ish range. This isn't a ruggedized camera, so you need a case and some aptitude for keeping things alive. But it had darn near every feature I would ever want and it takes stellar HD video. The only thing it didn't have (or I couldn't find) was a focus lock for video.

The HX20V isn't going to replace my Nikon-goodies for Ansel Adams work, but it comes pretty close for a lightweight non-DSLR camera. And it is more in my price range for a camera that I'm packing into the brush.

Here's a pretty good review you might find helpful -

Andrew Weldon
Sold my T2i DSLR on 08/25/2012 13:30:00 MDT Print View

Picked up a Sony RX100 a week or two ago. Cannot be happier with it. It's almost exactly the camera I've wanted in the backcountry since I got into backpacking.

My only wish is that it had mild weathersealing, but its still a fantastic camera.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: New Cameras! on 08/25/2012 13:38:25 MDT Print View

For anyone interested: DPReview review of the Sony DSC HX20V

They have not reviewed the RX100 yet.

Edited by blean on 08/25/2012 13:40:42 MDT.

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
To DSLR or not to DSLR on 08/26/2012 06:11:02 MDT Print View

Unfortunately, I'm very serious about photo.
This causes me to take my DSLR and lenses.

I want to switch to a smaller format camera to take less weight, but all pictures I saw from, say Sony RX100, Sony Nex 3-5-7 or whatever small/mirrorless camera hasn't that good quality.

You guys post here photos you took with these cameras, but these are not a full-size pictures. When pictures are sized to that small you can't judge the quality.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: To DSLR or not to DSLR on 08/26/2012 10:58:01 MDT Print View

At the risk of sounding flip, you're not looking hard enough. The NEX-7 in particular will match or exceed any/ APS-C dslr, when it's fitted with a proper lens. Check Luminous Landscape for their several-part NEX-7 series or, for that matter, Ryan Jordan's NEX-7 shots here.

The only two remaining reasons to lug a dslr are CAF performance and/or the need for a specific lens not available in a competing system. Every other technical gap has been closed with the latest generation of mirrorless bodies. The next round of advances will dissolve those, as well.



Oh Fool
(dansol) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
Re: To Not DSLR... on 08/26/2012 12:33:39 MDT Print View

First, let me say that in my former life I was a professional photographer so this is a subject near and dear to my heart.

Back in the early 90's as a young medical student I went to work at Everest BC, to take pictures I hauled my Canon A-1 (imo, if you've never shot with film you can not contribute to an intelligent conversation on anything camera related-snobish? yes. elitist? definitely. but theres something to be said for learning the basics). My cohorts laughed at me for bringing such a monstrosity to the wilderness...not to mention the extra lenses, film and other various accoutrement. But when we compared my pictures to that of my disposable-camera wielding brethren, it was clearly worth it. I go back to EBC about every two years to work, and its been interesting tracking the evolution of cameras people/expeditions use.

The point being, for me picture quality is the biggest factor, followed by weight/size. Since that first Nepal trip I have been humping DSLR-size cameras into the backcountry...nothing else available came close to the picture quality. That is, until about 8 months ago when the NEX-7 was released. I got mine just in time to take it to Chile, Argentina, and Easter Island. It comes very close to replicating what a 5D/7D can do, with a tremendous amount of weight and size savings. If your looking for a true DSLR replacement the NEX-7 is as close as you can get (yes, you have to get all new lenses).

If your trying to get into that 7/8oz region I would suggest Canon S100 (or whatever the newest iteration is), its sensor is huge for its size. Im constantly impressed by how well this little guy performs. The Canon G series (which I don't own) is a staple at Everest BC, and most expeditions use them consistently on the summit. The RX100 (which i don't own) has got great reviews and has an even bigger sensor than the S100.

@Gregory Stein-I think you need to take another look at the picture quality from the NEX-7 and RX100 in RAW. Using RAW instead of JPG is always going to get you the best image quality, especially on the NEX-7.

In the next couple years DSLR's will only be used by photojournalists and studio photogs. There a rumors of a NEX-FF, a full-frame mirror-less design from Sony. When that comes out its game over for the DSLR in the backcountry.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
new cameras on 08/26/2012 13:12:33 MDT Print View

This thread began with a 3.5 oz, under $200 camera.
Now we are up to around $2000, and much more weight.
This seems to happen with every camera thread on the GEAR forum.
Since the industry doesn't seem to want to make a water resistant camera that is really light weight, not to mention the mirrors, I'm resigned to using a waterproof bag or case.
So more info about the best little cameras would be very helpful.

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
Re: Re: To Not DSLR... on 08/26/2012 13:28:10 MDT Print View

First of all, thank you guys for your comments.

Maybe I need to take a second look or maybe the pics I saw were taken by "point and shot" technique (In masterpiece mode).

FF mirrorless camera does exist, it's Leica M9 (if I remember correctly). It costs ton ($7000 or so). Dan, you forgot another aspect - optics. While you can, theoretically, increase the sensor size, you MUST build the optics accordingly. It's a "no go" when you attach crappy lens to FF camera. So increasing sensor you'll get bigger and heavier lens anyway. Compare weight of "cropped" (DX) lens to a FF lens.

I'll look at Nex7 again. Because I really really want to believe it will replace my heavy photo gear (not mentioning my tank tripod Monfrotto weighing 3 kilos, OMG! - don't worry I will never take it again to hike. Learnt it hard way). Nex7 may be screwed on a lighter tripod. Maybe even hiking pole. The lenses are lighter and smaller.

The lack of viewfinder is kinda killing factor for me, but I will overcome it, if I can save kilos of photo gear. Ah, yeah, I don't call that thing that Nex7 has viewfinder. It's not. It is a screen, very small screen.

Thank you again,


Oh Fool
(dansol) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
Re: To Not DSLR... on 08/26/2012 16:06:00 MDT Print View

The lens is the linchpin in this whole camera weight/size v. picture quality debate. A manufacturer can make the body as small they want but there's no substitute for high quality glass elements....which are, unfortunately, heavy.

Obviously the lens is important, and that cost might be a hurdle for someone looking to upgrade. In the case of the NEX-7, the only real quality glass available is the 24mm, maybe the 50mm...for now. The M9 is a rangefinder and its body size/weight (not to mention the cost) don't make it a viable option-its over 600g w/o lens, etc.

@SamC.Farrington-I guess my point is (as a former photographer for ESPN, I understand my opinion on this might be slightly skewed)...if your going to take a camera into the backcountry, take a camera that will give you results you can be proud of, i.e. make prints. If you just want to take snapshots of you standing in front of mileage markers...a. don't bother taking a camera (b/c no one really cares) or b. take a disposable camera (around 2oz and 5 bucks).

Honestly, if you NEED to have a cheap sub-4oz camera, get a GoPro. The image quality is decent, you can time-lapse, and of course take HD video...and its waterproof. Yes, yes I know, no viewfinder. But, if you were really worried about how the picture is going to turn out you would get a decent camera.

There is no reason why (again, my opinion might be a little skewed) if your willing to buy a crap camera for $200, you wouldn't invest another $160 and 3oz to get something along the lines of a Canon S100...which has picture quality that rivals all but the best DSLR's.

@GregStein-3kg Holy Crap! If you want a lightweight fully-extendable tripod check out the carbon Velbon tripods. I have the 540L, comes in just over 900g, not bad for a full rig. I agree, the viewfinder on the NEX-7 is a bit crap, but its better than nothing.

The reality is that nothing will replace a 5D Mk.III fitted with L-series glass. But the NEX-7 gets close, and the next generation will get even closer.

Its probably a good time to mention that I no longer work for ESPN and have no connection or relationship to any camera manufacturer. I'm just a bloke who cares about taking good pictures, and think others should be too.

Edited by dansol on 08/26/2012 16:18:36 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: To Not DSLR... on 08/26/2012 16:25:30 MDT Print View

Dan, some people will make the argument that they never get photos blown up to large size, so they aren't interested in that kind of quality, so they never get a quality camera in the first place. All they are interested in is computer screen size or smaller. Besides, it is hard to move 100MB photo files around.

I think what they are missing is that a high quality photo blown up, framed, and hung on the wall can be something to be proud of.


Oh Fool
(dansol) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
Re: To Not DSLR... on 08/26/2012 16:47:13 MDT Print View

Bob, I agree completely. As backpackers (and especially as UL backpackers) we go to some of the worlds most amazing locations. Most people can't or won't ever find themselves in the places we are so privileged to see. The pictures one takes during these trips should not be condemned to a hard drive or some Facebook gallery.

...sooo thats why you should spend $350 on a new camera...haha

Edited by dansol on 08/26/2012 20:06:44 MDT.

Andrew Weldon
The price/performance ratio? on 08/26/2012 17:48:30 MDT Print View

The correct answer is (and will probably remain for a little while) the Canon S100. It easily wins out the price/performance issue.

When it comes into waterproofing, you lose out on quality, both of the camera, controls, interface, lens, etc. I've always been inclined to just be careful instead.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: The price/performance ratio? on 08/26/2012 19:38:06 MDT Print View

Since price came up, Amazon was slinging the Lumix GX1+kit lens for four-hundred bucks this weekend. For anybody looking for a killer backpacking camera that will grow with you, I couldn't imagine a better launchpoint for the money.



Jamie Healy
Re: Camera GPS on 08/26/2012 20:16:58 MDT Print View

I also have a NIKON AW100. It is currently sitting in a box ready to head back for warranty work. It is locking up on me and won't respond. I cannot even power it down.

I had the same issue with the GPS so I keep it off. Battery life didn't last me but a few hours and several pics.

I did use it in Hawaii this year underwater. Took good pictures and performed light years beyond the disposable cameras.

Have you used yours for hiking yet? Were you satisfied with the pictures?

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
2DSLR or not on 08/27/2012 04:22:53 MDT Print View

Great post Dan!

Another thing to consider is how many shots you do on single battery charge. Generally speaking on DSLR you do much more. I did over 1500 shoots.

I started to investigate the Nex-7. So far looks really good camera. Not comparable with Canon 5D Mark II :). But is still nice. Is worth to buy the NEX-7 in addition to existing DSLR? Seems too much money for lenses...

Ah, and there is no crazy sharp lens such as 50mm f/1.4 on the NEX...

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Remember, there's more than pixels on 08/27/2012 15:07:04 MDT Print View

Sometimes we get carried away with the technical specs. I learned a long time ago that photography is art, and has little to do with pixels. A $350 feature rich camera you have with you is infinitely more valuable than the monster you left at home or the one you can't afford.

Joseph R
(Dianoda) - MLife

Locale: Chicago, IL
Re: Remember, there's more than pixels on 08/27/2012 22:50:05 MDT Print View

Exactly. As much as I love my Canon 7D and L glass, a Sony RX100 fits in my pocket and weighs significantly less than the 7D combined with the lightest lens I own. Image quality wise the RX100 won't replace the big camera, but there are times when carrying a little camera just makes a lot more sense.

Some samples from a recent trip to Alaska/Washington:

When it has good light and isn't diffraction limited, the RX100 gives the big guns a run for their money, and as light becomes limited, it puts other compacts to shame. Feel free to download full size samples from the link above and judge for yourself, just click on a photo and go to Actions -> Download Photo.

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
Re: Remember, there's more than pixels on 08/28/2012 08:08:19 MDT Print View

The problem is not that you leave your monster DSLR at home. My problem is that I'm taking it with me. Quality of photos is important for me.

I'm sure there are a lot people here who have DSLRs and switched (at least in backpacking trips) to something lighter. but still are happy with photos they get.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Remember, there's more than pixels on 08/28/2012 10:58:48 MDT Print View

Then the good news is there's no image quality difference between the best mirrorless and the best dslrs. The former gap has been closed, for good. We can now look forward to class-leading technology being released in mirrorless bodies first, dslrs second.