WTB: Decent point and shoot camera
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Jacob Linton
(gardenhead) - F

Locale: Western NC
WTB: Decent point and shoot camera on 09/22/2013 10:41:40 MDT Print View

I don't really carry a camera much, but I find myself wishing I had one more than I'd like. So I'm in the market for a decent point and shoot camera. This won't only be used for hikes and I generally take care of my things so it doesn't need to be waterproof/outdoorsy, but I'm not opposed to that.
Mostly I'm interested in overall image quality.
It'd be nice to see some sample photos that you've taken.

Let me know what you've got.
Thanks in advance.

Edited to add this:

I'm looking for something fairly small. I know myself, and if the camera's not comfy/convenient to carry around for daily life it'll just sit on the shelf.

Also, I'm not a serious photog, so I don't need anything too fancy, but I would like to have a bit of control rather than just using the auto setting.

I've been eyeing a Canon s100 on my local craigslist. It's priced $200 and at this point in time that's probably about all I could afford.

Edited by gardenhead on 09/23/2013 13:42:06 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Perhaps I can help? on 09/22/2013 10:54:50 MDT Print View

Hi! Photographer here.

A quick guide on cameras and image quality:

Point and Shoot:
Your image quality will generally be okay. You won't be able to zoom in very much without seeing a lot of blur. If you shake a little while taking a picture, you'll blur it. Your options for manual shooting and accounting for different types of light (different times of day) will be very limited, but probably ok for just remembering the moment.

Entry-Level DSLR:
These cost about as much as a point-and-shoot and the image quality is about the same. The advantage is being able to use much more expensive lenses.

Micro 4/3 Camera:
This is probably your best bet. Image quality is good to great, and the performance in low light or while you're shaking a bit will be much better. You don't have to buy really nice lenses to get good quality, and they're substantially smaller and lighter than DSLR's. With a cheap editing software like Apple's Aperture or the more expensive Photoshop Lightroom, your pictures could be printed in a magazine. That's the quality you're looking at.


So, I think for good quality images, don't bother getting a DSLR because you have to spend upwards of $500-1000 before you get really good image quality. Step up over the point-and-shoots with a Micro 4/3's for the best balance between price, weight, and image quality.

Just opinion! I've used all three extensively in the outdoors, thousands of pictures on each. I currently use a very expensive DSLR because I'm an advanced hobbyist and it's worth it to me, but I had to pay for it: about $1700 all told. Worked my ass off for a summer.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re:Decent point and shoot camera on 09/22/2013 11:00:00 MDT Print View

The BPL search function, while not perfect, will get you much info if utilized. Look here.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=79127

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=77006

anyway, look here too

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/display_forum.html?forum=28

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V)

Locale: Orlando FL
Canon DSLR P&S on 09/22/2013 11:16:00 MDT Print View

I have a slightly used Canon T1i DSLR , body only and it comes with a bunch of spare batteries and original box. You can get lenses all day cheaply, if you want the crappy lens that is usually sold with these camera "kits". Or spend a tiny bit more for a better quality lens. $200. + 12.00 shipping, quality guaranteed, body only. Here is a photo I took with the camera, and please respect the copyright if you don't mind. It is a 30 second time lapse of a shuttle launch taken at about 430 am on one of the clearest nights I have ever seen in Florida. The lens used was the legendary Canon 17-55 F2.8 lens. (Edit: Not an "L" series as posted earlier)

Shuttle launch


I have some other cameras, well way too many, and could sell many of them.
For a very good Point and shoot all-in-one I have an older Panasonic Lumix FZ5K Super zoom. I have a few outstanding photos but they are buried deep on a spare drive somewhere. You can google it for sample photos. I'll take 75 shipped with whatever spare batteries I have, and a camera bag for it.

I have a Panasonic Lumix G2 body, or body and 14-42 lens with many extra batteries, all OEM. Not sure of price but won't worry about it unless you are interested in the Micro four thirds system.

Edited by Diablo-V on 09/22/2013 13:36:57 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Nikon on 09/22/2013 11:29:02 MDT Print View

The Nikon Coolpix 310 might be a good bet. A salesmen at Wolfe Camera (who didn't have it so he had no ulterior motive) told me the Coolpix 310 would give me the best P&S for under $400.

Its a bit heavier and bulkier then some but its still small enough I can hang it off my shoulder strap in a camera pouch. Look at "Off Trail in the Teton Wilderness Take II" for the most recent pictures I took with it. These were after I'd put the earlier pictures on my computer and gotten a better idea what settings I liked better.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V)

Locale: Orlando FL
Advice eh? on 09/22/2013 11:34:39 MDT Print View

"So, I think for good quality images, don't bother getting a DSLR because you have to spend upwards of $500-1000 before you get really good image quality. Step up over the point-and-shoots with a Micro 4/3's for the best balance between price, weight, and image quality."

Well this is just plain wrong. I offered him a decent DSLR body for 212. and he can pick up a decent Tamron multi-purpose zoom for about 450.

http://www.amazon.com/Tamron-18-270mm-3-5-6-3-Aspherical-Canon/dp/B001DYE1B6/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

I'll admit it's a tradeoff of convenience vs image quality but one can get very nice results. Total cost: 662.00.
One can find any number of better lenses by canon if they will accept used. And of course the kit lenses get put on ebay as soon as people buy the Canon kits, by people who already own better lenses, so they can be had very cheaply for new lenses. It IS true that there aren't any "L" series canon zooms for less than a grand, but the average guy certainly doesn't need them.

Agreed on the micro four thirds - good advice. Panasonic leads the industry in my opinion. Best deals are for used or new old stock G2 or G3, and GH1.

Edited by Diablo-V on 09/22/2013 11:36:05 MDT.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V)

Locale: Orlando FL
Tamron lens review on 09/22/2013 11:42:42 MDT Print View

I trust DP review.
Here is the review and lots of samples taken with the lens.
You will not come close to this with any point and shoot.
I owned one of these at one time before I sold the camera and lens as a package.
Once again, photos are not readily at hand, but I do have some very nice shots.

http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/tamron_18-270_3p5-6p3_vc_n15/page4.asp

Best of luck.

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Re: Canon DSLR P&S on 09/22/2013 11:54:50 MDT Print View

"the legendary Canon 17-55 F2.8"L" series lens"

Legendary indeed; the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 is a very good lens, but it's restricted to APS-C crop bodies and is definitely not an L.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V)

Locale: Orlando FL
L series on 09/22/2013 13:34:27 MDT Print View

You are correct - I somehow thought the gold band gave it the L rating, or maybe because I paid $1100 for it.....
I own all APS-C cameras : Canon 50D, 60D, and the one I'm selling.
They work fine for my needs. I'm not able to justify the 3 grand for a 5D MK III
I do have the 28-200 F2.8 L IS and the 100-400 L IS. I found that I don't use the 28-200 at all, which is the opposite of the rest of mankind. Maybe because I don't shoot sports and portraits. I will sell it when i get around to it.

Thanks for correcting me on that lens.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Re: Advice eh? on 09/22/2013 13:49:18 MDT Print View

"Well this is just plain wrong. I offered him a decent DSLR body for 212. and he can pick up a decent Tamron multi-purpose zoom for about 450."

Daniel,

$212 + $450 = $662

I believe that $662 is upwards of $500.

dave e
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
canon sd600 on 09/22/2013 13:52:41 MDT Print View

I have a big dslr but now carry a small canon that takes excellent pix.You can get a canon sd600 for 25 -45bucks on ebay...i dont miss the weight or biulk of the dslr and i dont care if this gets lost or stolen or if i drop it.That is a load of stress off my mind.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V)

Locale: Orlando FL
DSLR vs Mirrorless on 09/22/2013 21:23:11 MDT Print View

Matt I was disagreeing with your apparent dislike of DSLR systems.
But I did agree that the micro four thirds systems are good choices.
But due to sensor size differences, the micro systems will never replace the image quality of a decent DSLR. One must determine one's needs. If weight is a factor I would without hesitation choose the micro four thirds. Either choice fulfills the needs of "point and shoot" and both go far beyond in features.
A used Panny G2 can be had for about 330. with the 14-42 lens.
In my case, both systems are too heavy for my needs, so I'm going with a Panny FZ200 which is the latest incarnation of my old FZ5. It weighs 18 ounces with battery.
Again, it's a tradeoff in image quality vs weight.
If one needs only snapshot quality and not large prints, then a Panasonic Lumix or Canon mini P&S is the way to go, but you wont get RAW capability or high zoom ratios.

Edited by Diablo-V on 09/22/2013 21:24:14 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Let Me Clarify, DSLR's are great... on 09/22/2013 21:35:06 MDT Print View

Point well-taken. Sorry if I offended. I was being catty.

I actually ONLY shoot with a DSLR. I've got a Nikon D7000 that goes right next to my ultralight hammock and my $300 sleeping bag :) it's funny trimming ounces by cutting off tags and then putting a 2lb camera in your bag, but that's my life.

At any rate, the entry level DSLR's like the Nikon D3100 are pretty terrible. I think their "niche" in the market is to let hobbyists play around with DSLR features, which goes a long way to image quality but for an amateur, is probably just going to result in disappointing pictures. By disappointing, I mean that it'll likely be on par with a point-and-shoot and look rather generic, when you might expect to have "Nature" magazine shots when you put your card into your computer.

A more expensive DSLR, like a D7000 or even a D5100/5200 is going to do a lot of the work for you and produce consistently good to great images using a kit lens and the "Auto" setting, which for casual backpack photography is great.

But

You have to pay out the $1500+ just to get that system, and it's still an absolute brick.

Enter the Micro 4/3 format. You get all the potential for image quality of the D3100 or D5100, since you can mess with aperture, shutter speed, color correction, white balance, etc. PLUS you can purchase zoom lenses and expand your shooting capabilities substantially. And it weighs half of what a DSLR weighs, and packs in a smaller bag.

So, Micro 4/3 is what I really believe to be the ideal format for UL backpack photography. I sometimes ponder trading out my DSLR for one. But no, I'm in love with my Nikon, I could never stray.


P.S. A good photo-editing software and the ~2 hours it takes to master the basics of it will go MUCH farther, dollar for dollar, than a camera upgrade. I would take a $200 camera and PS Lightroom ($150) over a $350 camera every single time. If you're a student or professor, PS Lightroom is $75.

Edited by mdilthey on 09/22/2013 21:38:14 MDT.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V)

Locale: Orlando FL
More advice on 09/23/2013 06:11:15 MDT Print View

One thing I should have posted earlier is - no matter what you end up getting- try to get something at least a few months after it's "premier" on the market, otherwise you pay a lot. I paid pre-release pricing on both my Lumix cameras when waiting a few months would have saved me literally hundreds.

In just a few short weeks the worlds first underwater interchangeable lens camera hits the streets- the Nikon AW1. 7 ounce body and so far two submersible lenses for it.
I will try to resist .... but it is tempting as a stormproof camera light enough for backpacking. Less than a thousand with kit lens but adding a telephoto will add another $900+. No viewfinder is a big negative.

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikon-1-aw1

Only a few of the actual tiny point and shoot cameras can shoot RAW, and they are usually priced much higher, but per the previous post - much magic can be done in Lightroom to correct photos, but ONLY with RAW. You can actually see the results of how the photos would look if you used a different camera setting by altering exposure and color temperature in the software rather than in the camera.

Beware of compact cameras with tiny sensors that advertise "big" megapixels. Image quality comes from bigger glass in front of larger sensors. The megapixel thing is mostly for marketing to make people feel like they got a better camera. A lower megapixel count with a good lens and decent sized sensor will get you better results every time vs a tiny P&S with "14 megapixels".

Daniel White
(wvlawyer) - F

Locale: Wasatch Front
Canon EOS-M on 09/23/2013 12:39:08 MDT Print View

I bought this a few months ago for about $300 with the 22mm pancake lens, as a small lightwweight alternative to my larger DSLR to take backpacking. I have been incredibly impressed with the camera. It has taken some phenomenal pictures. I also got the adapter to use canon's full line of lenses, and while you wouldn't take this backpacking, I put the 100-400L (large and heavy lens) on it and I got as good or better pictures with it than the full size DSLR. Just to be clear, the pancake lens that comes with the camera is truly excellent. The pictures you get just on the smart auto setting are extraordinary. I just got the adapter to have more versatility with the lenses I already own.

Don't know if this would be right for you and I haven't used the more versatile zoom micro lenses with it, but for the money, not mention the size and weight, this camera produces the best images I've seen. I just came back from alaska, and I would not have believed the images I got with this camnera, if I didn't see them and know what I used to take them.

I still see them on sale occasionally, and I think it's at least worth considering.

Edited by wvlawyer on 09/23/2013 13:30:37 MDT.

Jacob Linton
(gardenhead) - F

Locale: Western NC
Woah. on 09/23/2013 13:41:28 MDT Print View

Hey all, thanks for all the info and offers. I should have been a bit more specific about things.

I'm looking for something fairly small. I know myself, and if the camera's not comfy/convenient to carry around for daily life it'll just sit on the shelf.

Also, I'm not a serious photog, so I don't need anything too fancy, but I would like to have a bit of control rather than just using the auto setting.

I've been eyeing a Canon s100 on my local craigslist. It's priced $200 and at this point in time that's probably about all I could afford.

Sorry to have wasted folks time, but feel free to contact me or post here if you've got something that's fits this new description a bit better.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Lightweight on 09/23/2013 14:02:02 MDT Print View

You can get an Olympus E-PL1 with a 14-42 lens for less than 200 on Ebay or refurbished from Olympus, and it will blow the Canon s100 out of the water in image quality. It's very small.

Here's an auction:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-PEN-E-PL1-12-3-MP-Digital-Camera-Black-Kit-w-14-42mm-Lens-/261283564620?pt=Digital_Cameras&hash=item3cd5b6cc4c

Edited by mdilthey on 09/23/2013 14:02:33 MDT.

Daniel White
(wvlawyer) - F

Locale: Wasatch Front
Still worth considering, but... on 09/23/2013 14:10:53 MDT Print View

Jacob, I know its $100 more, but I think the Canon EOS-M is still worth considering. It's a truly excellent point and shoot with the 22mm lens, very small and light and you have all the control of an SLR if you want it.

Having said that, I don't know your finances and I can appreciate that an extra hundred may make it impossible. I do have a waterproof pentax optio that I picked up for well under $200. I've used it a good bit when I knew I was going to get wet. It's not pro quality photos or anything, but I've been happy with it. You might consider something along those lines. The Pen above, is also probably really worth considering.

Edited by wvlawyer on 09/23/2013 14:11:53 MDT.

masculine ├╝ber linear logical club
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
S100 on 09/23/2013 15:57:53 MDT Print View

You said you want something small. If I were you, I'd get the S100 - very small and great image quality (i have the S90).
Most people will be plenty happy with the results.
The Olympus pen is a large camera compared to the S100.

Well, just my opinion.

Edited by prse on 09/23/2013 16:01:23 MDT.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: S100 on 09/23/2013 19:21:15 MDT Print View

I take mostly video but love the control I have with the S100. My only beef is battery life. You can do some cool stuff with chdk firmware, too.