Camera Advice

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Camera Advice

Postby Moh » Sun 07 Apr, 2024 6:02 pm

Camera advice needed. My canon Powershot G12 died, so I’m looking for a new camera. Firstly, some info about me:
- I primarily shoot to share my hikes with friends and family & to look back on (and reminisce) later in life, but I also get joy out of taking nice photos. Usually I will only visit a place once in my lifetime (so many places to see). I've recently also started to creating photo books of all my trips.
- I tend to like long hikes, so weight, size & battery life does play on my mind more than it should :)
- I always take a iPhone but usually leave it in my pack. Battery life, lack of zoom and image quality are all reasons why I am reluctant to use a phone as my primary camera.
- If I am totally honest with myself, I was happy enough with my G12. IQ was ok, zoom range was acceptable, size and weight were ok. Lack of dynamic range was always it biggest issue, and on the last few trips I've resorted to using my iPhone in situations where I had a dark foreground and bright sky.
- I started out using film SLRs, so I'm comfortable with the basics of photography. I never transitioned to DSLRs because the price was too much at the time. Since moving to compacts, I've always missed the ability to have good control over DOF.

I've done a bit of research, but have gotten to the stage where I'm suffering review fatigue and second guessing myself. I see 2 options.
1. Stick with a compact. Ideally I would like to find a Canon G5Xii, but second hand units are scarce and the prices of those I found are ridiculous. The Sony RX100 vii looks like the next best thing, but I would prefer a faster lens in exchange for the zoom range. It also seems expensive for what it is.
2. Move into the world of mirrorless APS-C. I'm leaning towards the Fuji X-T series & 16-80 lens. Weight will be about 1kg, which is a lot for me, but not out of the question if I can convince myself that I will upskill and produce some gorgeous images. A used X-T3 looks like a good mid-price point, but once again, if it was worth it I'd stretch as far as the X-T5.

Keen to hear if anyone has been through similar struggle, or any words of wisdom from those more experienced.

Thanks in advance,
Moh.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby crollsurf » Sun 07 Apr, 2024 8:59 pm

I've won photo comps on this site with my phone. For socials and sharing with friends, a high end phone is all you need.

If, on the other hand, you're walking to get that awesome photo, APS-C or full frame, $$$ glass and a quality tripod is what you need. It's heavy, and maybe only you will appreciate taking that photo.

Just saying. I enjoy the process of photography. I get enjoyment out of it, but for everything else, your phone is more than good enough.

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Re: Camera Advice

Postby north-north-west » Mon 08 Apr, 2024 7:13 am

I'm still dSLR so can't help with first-hand knowledge; still, if image quality matters, your best bet would probably be a good mirrorless but they aren't cheap. In fact, a good mirrorless isn't a whole lot less than a reasonable dSLR. It''s a big investment if you aren't sure you're going to use the unit close to its capacity. And having interchangeable lenses means future temptation to add to the collection.
Sorry, that''s not very helpful.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Warin » Mon 08 Apr, 2024 9:24 am

Moh wrote:I never transitioned to DSLRs because the price was too much at the time. Since moving to compacts, I've always missed the ability to have good control over DOF.


Some water tolerance is also nice.

Panasonic FZ300 ... F2.8 lens 28-600mm lens ... I'd like to go lower on the F stops but then a filter can help there. It will do HDR but I really need a tripod to keep things still for it - add another 800g. All up I'm looking at 2.5 kg... sigh, or just take the cell phone for camera weight saving.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby JohnnoMcJohnno » Mon 08 Apr, 2024 9:45 am

I'm what you might call an untalented enthusiast. I doubt my advice is much good, but in the interest of adding something to the discussion here is my experience:

1. I do not disparage iphones as photo taking devices. I have a friend who regularly uses his iphone on walks. He takes photos that put anything I take with a camera to shame. The downside is every lunch and snack stop he is pulling out his little solar panel and trying to get a little more charge into his phone. At the end of a 3 day walk, he will have a phone with a perilously close to flat battery, and 20 or 30 very nice photographs. I on the other hand will probably have well over two hundred photos, of which maybe 3 or 4 are any good. Make of that what you will.
2. Notwithstanding my limited abilities, when I upgraded to an RX100M2 (after many years of point and shoots) there was a huge step change in quality of output. The bigger sensor made such a difference in low light conditions and dynamic range. I imagine cameras like the Canon G5/7/9 would be just as good - small, light, capable and expensive. It is the RX100M2, with a polarizer filter and a couple of spare batteries that I mostly use on walks.
3. I next bought an APSC camera thinking it would be better again, but while there was further improvement, it wasn't the leap in quality that the RX100M2 had provided. The law of diminishing returns seems to apply, so for me APSC is as big as I need to go. I do find the APSC camera is a lot easier to make adjustments and change settings on than the RX100, partly because it's bigger, partly because it seems to encourage playing around. It tends to get used more on day walks where weight isn't such an issue.
4. I have tried taking two cameras - a small Sony HX90V (small sensor but has a 30x zoom), and either the RX100 or a Sony A5100 (APSC, light, no viewfinder). The thinking was the better camera would mostly stay in the backpack, but would be used in the evenings and mornings when the light was at its best. Then you would use the smaller camera during the day for happy snaps and bird/animal shots. In practice, the best scenery was rarely where I camped so the better camera barely got used.
5. If you're happy with Canon's, I'd probably stick with them. There seem to be differences in colour management between the various brands. I have no experience with Canon's but Sony photo's for example always seem a little cooler than the Fuji or Nikon photo's I've seen. If you change brands, you may not be getting what you're used to.
6. When you say you want control of depth of field, are you more interested in shallow depth of field or deep depth of field? Either way, I'm not sure something like the RX100 will satisfy you, or at least I've never been able to achieve what I used to get with a film SLR. APSC is better, but it's also not that great with kit zooms. You might need a decent prime lens as well in your kit bag to achieve what you are after.

Hope I haven't added to your confusion.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby ChrisJHC » Mon 08 Apr, 2024 11:12 am

I now only carry an iPhone for photos (plus lots of other uses).
Mine fits nicely into the hip-belt pocket of my pack.

I figure the availability and only having to carry one device makes it the right choice for me.
Recent iPhones are very waterproof so that removes another concern.
(I’ve had mine fully submerged in salt water for over an hour and it still worked fine).

Re battery - make sure you turn on Aeroplane mode unless you need it - your GPS will still work and it will significantly reduce your battery life.
I also turn mine completely off overnight to further save the battery.
Finally, I carry a small battery pack to recharge on hikes of a few days and a small solar panel for longer hikes.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Warin » Mon 08 Apr, 2024 4:47 pm

ChrisJHC wrote:Re battery - make sure you turn on Aeroplane mode unless you need it - your GPS will still work and it will significantly reduce your battery life..


You should also turn off wifi, bluetooth and GPS ...unless you are using that.

Even if you are using 'that' your probably not using it all the time, so only trun it on when required, the turn it back off.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Moh » Mon 08 Apr, 2024 7:41 pm

Thanks everyone for your input so far, especially Johnno McJohhno for taking the time to share your journey.

I think I'm starting to lean towards the APS-C, most likely 2nd hand so if doesn't work out it will not be an overly expensive experiment. Should it work out, the lens collection can grow over time as I get better at photography.

I've tired the iPhone thing, and didn't have a great experience and came to realise that it is not for me, but can appreciate that I may be in the minority. Battery life on a 14-16 day hike is the main problem. In plane mode with everything switched off (maybe not the GPS) with the phone itself switched off most of the time), I was only getting 2+ days out of a charge, and 5 charges out of an Anker 700g power bank (the kind normally used to power laptops - largest you can take on a plane, heavier than a camera). Switching on and off takes time, and the need to bump up the display brightness in bright sunshine is also a big drain on the battery. In my experience, the photos always tend to look great on the screen, but could be quite disappointing when I returned home and viewed them on a monitor (especially shots of close subjects taken with the 3x lens). I also had to constantly make sure the lease was wiped clean before taking a shot (the perils of travel in my pocket). I did capture some great stuff, but at the end of the day I decided to a dedicated camera was a much better way to go. I also had one incident where the phone was on in my shirt pocket, and when I took it out after a long climb, I discovered that bouncing around against my chest had incorrectly entered my PIN number more than the acceptable number of times, so I was locked out for 6 or so hours. I also discovered if you turn off your phone, the lock-out timer resets when you turn it back on, so you have to leave it on the entire time. Much profanity was delivered in Apple's direction that day.

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Re: Camera Advice

Postby tom_brennan » Wed 10 Apr, 2024 10:08 pm

If I'm going to take photos seriously, I take a Sony A7RIII or A7III, with a 16-35mm or 24-105mm lens. These are full frame mirrorless, image quality is excellent. It's often hard to pick which lens - 16mm is great for wide angle, but 35mm is a bit limiting on the zoom. I have very occasionally taken both cameras and both lenses, which I find hard to comprehend right at the moment!! I've taken one of these on most of our longer trips (6-10 days). Usually need a spare battery or charger at some point but depends a lot on usage pattern. Timelapses or movies chew through the batteries, but standard photo taking is pretty economical.

I imagine you'd save a bit of weight going APS-C.

I also have a Sony RX100III, which I've had a couple of. When the first one died, I looked at getting a more recent version, but the lens is faster on the earlier models (1.8 vs 2.8). Tradeoff is the zoom, which is only 24-70mm equivalent on the Mark III (vs 200mm on the IV and VII). I will say the zoom is not great on my current one - maybe I dropped it or something? It's fine in unzoomed mode, which is mostly where I use it. Image quality is very good. I can't speak for the quality of the later Sony RX100 models, but the price goes up and up!

I can recommend Sony in general - good quality, but you pay for it...
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby headwerkn » Wed 10 Apr, 2024 10:43 pm

Clearly, the camera you want is a Mamiya RB67 - compact, super quick to setup, focus and compose, cheap to blast through frames and definitely not heavy at all...
IMG_2170 Medium.jpeg
IMG_2170 Medium.jpeg (99.17 KiB) Viewed 5812 times

/s

If you're seriously considering APS-C, take a look at Micro Four Thirds (M43) too. The cameras themselves can be a tad smaller than mirrorless APS-C (and much smaller than crop sensor DSLRs) but crucially the lenses are much smaller, especially telephotos. Many can be had quite cheap on the secondhand market... both my Lumix GX8 and GM5 cost mere hundreds complete with kit lenses. Both take excellent photos, especially when paired with some decent glass. The Olympus OM-D series and Pen F are highly regarded too. You're not giving much away between the 20mpx sensors quality wise either unless you want to shoot astro, and M43 in body stabilisation was way ahead of APS and full frame until recently.

For years, I was a Canon APS-C shooter, 20D then 400D. When bushwalking got serious again, I wanted to lighten the kit and thought a 100D would achieve just that (while adding video recording too). Silly. Yes the camera body was smaller and a bit lighter but it still used the same EF-S and EF lenses, and they were comparably huge. Canon do a couple of pancake primes which had I acquired might have changed my mind at the time, however...

Around that time iPhone camera sensors and computational processing finally got good, and I found myself just relying on the phone instead. In ideal conditions, the images were quite frankly excellent; more than good enough for digital posting, A2-sized prints and inclusion in the occasional published book. However like you I found that in low light and bad weather things weren't so rosy. Even though the phones are mostly waterproof now, they're still a pain when the screens and lenses are wet.

That drove me back to dedicated cameras... first M43, and now Canon full frame for astro and when I want to share lenses with a film body. So much for saving weight :-P
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Biggles » Thu 11 Apr, 2024 2:11 pm

Ricoh GRIII for a compact ready for anything, immediately.
Small, compact, not overly techy to use and carrying with it a long reputation of quality and reliability, right back to the (analogue) GR1 of around 1999-2000.

dSLRs are a dying breed (if not dead already). They have plummeted in sales since 2019-2020, and mirrorless will show you why!
I have a digital camera, a Fujiflm X-30 bought in Dunedin in 2014; it is scarcely used nowadays. I wouldn't say it weighs near 1kg, but around 680 to 750g with case and spare battery.

At the other extreme, if you're deadly serious, and stress and strain are secondary to getting the photo, tote along a Pentax 67 and 4 lenses (13kg), preferably on a mule behind you... :lol: @Headwerkn in the foregoing post has the idea, but I do believe he is travelling a trifle light... :lol:

On some of my walks I go real basic...a teakwood ZeroImage 69 multiformat 120-film pinhole camera, tripod and exposure meter. So not just simplicity of photography in a basic, considered way, but crafted memories of places I'd rather be.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Moh » Sun 14 Apr, 2024 9:02 pm

While I was at Uni, I had access to a dark room and used to develop my own B&W photos and became very interested in photography. I lusted after a medium format camera, but had no money so instead go my fix with a second hand Minolta and 50mm prime. Luckily for me, the desire to go down the Medium format path has well and truly passed.

I've started taking a closer look at M43 as suggested. Much cheaper than APS-C. Even a new OM-5 body isn't that expensive compared the bigger sensors (about the same as a well used X-T3). What's the catch? Dying format?

Cheers,
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby JohnnoMcJohnno » Sun 14 Apr, 2024 10:17 pm

Moh wrote:I've started taking a closer look at M43 as suggested. Much cheaper than APS-C. Even a new OM-5 body isn't that expensive compared the bigger sensors (about the same as a well used X-T3). What's the catch? Dying format?

Cheers,
Moh.


I don't think there's a catch as such, M43 is certainly worth considering. Years ago when I looked at M43 I ended up going APSC, because at the time you could get an APSC camera like a Sony A6000 with kit lens that was smaller, lighter and cheaper than an M43 camera like an Olympus E-M10. A lighter camera with a bigger sensor was enough to swing the argument for me. However M43 cameras definitely have an advantage if you want to use telephoto lenses. And if weather sealing is important to you there seem to be a lot more weather sealed M43 cameras available than there are in APSC. OK, the sensor size may be a little smaller, but whether you'd actually notice any difference in practice I'm not so sure. Now if only the budget would stretch to one of each . . .
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby headwerkn » Mon 15 Apr, 2024 3:22 pm

Biggles wrote: @Headwerkn in the foregoing post has the idea, but I do believe he is travelling a trifle light... :lol: .


LOL... my pack contained another RB lens, another 120 back, a Canon 6D, Canon EOS 620 and two EF lenses, plus all the usual safety gear and snacks. My back can confirm, the trifle was not light on that day ;-)

Micro Four Thirds isn't dead at all. People have been ragging on the format and claiming its demise for over a decade, and they're still wrong. In the past year or so Panasonic have released the GH6 and G9ii, OM Systems the OM1ii and OM5. Yes, the big lead M43 had over full frame once upon a when in terms of video features and sensor stabilisation has been lost, which is a bit of a shame. If you want/need crazy high native resolution M43s aren't matching full frame, though for most use cases it really doesn't matter (and for those whom it does, sensor shift high res mode can negate that issue if you're working off a tripod).

But for typical use the much smaller and lighter lenses very much lend themselves to bushwalking and wilderness photography.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Moh » Sat 20 Apr, 2024 6:09 pm

Have been looking at M43 + I have also borrowed a friend's PD capture clip (v3) + Sony APSC camera (about 1kg with lens) to trial on a few local walks to see if I think I can live with that much weight on my strap. I quite like the capture clip & would probably head that way in the future. The only thing stopping me purchasing an OM-5 is the plastic body which from lots of reports does not play well with the capture clip. Life is never easy. Have looked for a used OM-D EM5 II which still has a metal body, but nothing is jumping out at me. The OM-1 is too big. Any Lumix recommendations? All the new Panasonic stuff seems to have quite large and heavy bodies which partially defeats the reason for choosing M43 over APS-C (I appreciate the M43 lenses can be much lighter/smaller).

Cheers
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Aushiker » Sat 20 Apr, 2024 6:53 pm

For what it is worth, I have an Olympus OM-D EM5 II, which works great with v2 of the capture clip. I do plan to upgrade to the V3 as my Osprey pack straps are really too wide for the V2.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby headwerkn » Sat 20 Apr, 2024 7:46 pm

GX8 (secondhand) and GX9 (still current) are the lighter and more compact options from Panasonic, Olympus equivalent would be the Pen F. Yes the G9 and G9ii are pretty chonky though the new G9ii, I have to say, looks quite compelling especially now it’s got phase detect AF finally.

That said, I happily hang a 6D and 20-35/2.8L off my V3 capture clips, at least when walking out in the option and not banging into stuff. In that case, back to the GX8 ;-)

Btw make sure you have lens cap retention loops on your lenses if you’re going to use them on Capture Clips. Otherwise you’ll be losing caps (and hoods) regularly.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby north-north-west » Sun 21 Apr, 2024 7:30 am

I am obviously carrying far too little camera gear: Canon 70D with macro lens and ring flash, Canon 5dMarkIV with either 24-105 or 18-200 or 17-40 lens and sometimes all three. Tripod, spare batteries, remote control ...
No, I don't know how much it weighs, nor do I want to. I did take camera quality into account when updating the phone but am yet to actually use it because it feels weird trying to capture an image without a kg or more of glass etc in the hand.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby crollsurf » Mon 22 Apr, 2024 4:21 pm

Doesn't sound like you're keen on Sony, but the Sony a5100 with a 16-50mm (semi pancake) kit lens is a good compact option, that can do most things. Sony don't make them any more, but you can pick one up for around $400-600 second hand with lens.
Pros: Small, 24MP, RAW and JPEG, lightweight, almost pocketable. A heap of Sony 3rd party lens to choose from. Point and shoot or manual control.
Cons: No view finder (screen can be hard to see properly in sunlight, but good enough to compose a shot), not weatherproof. No image stabilization.

Full frame pixel peepers pan the kit lens, but its actually pretty good.
Get something like a Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lens, and you'll get excellent IQ, good low light +astro without breaking the bank.

I've had one for almost 10 years and still use it more than I use my a6400 or A7RIV because it's small and IQ with a decent lens is as good as the a6400
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Moh » Mon 22 Apr, 2024 7:33 pm

Thanks for the input crollsurf. Nothing against Sony, they are arguably better at most things than the options I am considering. I have realised however that the more options I give myself the longer I will live in indecision without a camera. The fuji appeals to me because I recognise that digital has made me lazy. I gotten into the habit of firing off lots of shots with no consequence, hoping that one will turn out. I am hoping that having the main camera settings front and centre rather than buried in menus will encourage me to approach photography in a more considered way again (less photos, more creativity). Only time will tell. M43 has the appeal of lower weight & cost. I think I will give myself until I get back from Girraween at the start of next and then flip a coin. Stay tuned.

Thanks again, Moh.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Warin » Tue 23 Apr, 2024 12:15 pm

Moh wrote: I gotten into the habit of firing off lots of shots with no consequence, hoping that one will turn out. I am hoping that having the main camera settings front and centre rather than buried in menus will encourage me to approach photography in a more considered way again


2 kinds of photos;

Take it now before the instant is gone. A flash of sunshine on a cloudy day that high lights a feature. Gone in 30 seconds. Something on a creek surface quickly vanishing..

The considered and posed shot. Can take half an hour for one shot...

------------------- One professional photographer travels with his wife. Her job is to take the first type of shots using a small camera that is stowed in her pocket. Quick to take out and quick to boot up, set to auto everything. Takes him at least a minute just to get the DSLR out, then probably change lenses, get the tripod, select a filter etc.

------- Me?
I'd use my phone foe the first kind, it is 'waterproof' and inside a rugged and waterproof case on the outside of my pack.
The other kind is for the camera inside my pack...
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby Moh » Sun 28 Apr, 2024 6:25 pm

The coin has been flipped, the cosmos chose heads. M43 may still be in my future, the Fuji X-T3 is today's winner. Thanks to everyone for their advice.

Cheers,
Moh.
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Re: Camera Advice

Postby whynotwalk » Tue 30 Apr, 2024 1:07 pm

I moved from a Canon 6D (great, but a bit heavy for me) to a Fuji X-T3. Very few regrets, except in very low light. I think you’ll be happy with your choice

cheers

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Re: Camera Advice

Postby rcaffin » Sat 22 Jun, 2024 12:22 pm

Canon G15.
The user interface is superb, and renowned.
I suspect there are more modern versions.

Cheers
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