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A question for the photographers....

A question for the photographers....


Postby IamAJMiller » Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:12 pm

Hi photography buffs, I'm looking for your advice on a new camera. I used to have a Panasonic Lumix compact which did me fine on the hills as it took decent shots but was light enough to take out on big days. Unfortunately I got it wet too often and it went to the big darkroom in the sky! My replacement was a Ricoh waterproof shockproof camera which is brilliant and I love it, however I definitely notice the degradation in the picture quality.

As such I'm looking for a second one which I can take out on smaller days when I know it's unlikely to get damaged by rain etc. I'm enjoying my photography more and more so I don't mind upgrading and using it for landscape shots other than hiking it to the top of a hill, so weight isn't really an issue. The top end of my budget is £600 as I'm still just an amateur but keen to lean more and take better shots. There is an seemingly endless amount of info and options out there so if you can help me I'd be grateful.

Three cameras which have been recommended to me so far are:

Panasonic Lumix GX7 - £579.99. Suggested as it's mirrorless and therefore much smaller and lighter than regular DSLRs. However I'm concerned that with the fact it's lighter and newer technology my money might be better spent elsewhere, as I said I'm not really fussed about weight.

Nikon D5200 - £425 (with £40 cashback bringing it to £385). I liked the look of this one and the price seems good for the quality of camera you're getting. The reviews seem good too, but hard to know as I'm a beginner.

Canon EOS 1200D - £285. Well within my budget but seemed a bit cheap and at the basic end of the DSLR range.

As I said before I plan to use it on short days in the hills and I like the idea of going on a low-level photography trip too. Any advice would be very welcome and also any other recommendations would be very useful. Cheers, Andy.
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby Backpacker » Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:37 pm

I recently bought myself a Nikon D3200 with a couple on lenses (18-55 & 70-300) and couldn't be happier with the results so far.

Total outlay was £350ish
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby electricfly » Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:00 pm

Andy, I was having the same dilema as you around about September last year. I had been using a 16mp Samsung compact (ST66) and it had served me well, (and still does) but I knew that I had reached the point with my photography where I needed something that could perform better than a compact.

Having used SLR cameras before I knew that they could be cumbersome to use when hillwalking, also add to that the bother of carrying and switching between two types of lenses, made it an option I was reluctant to take.

Everyone it seems is raving about the lighter but equally expensive mirrorless models e.g. the Sony RX100 III and the Fujifilm X1-T. T Although they are light, they still require a variety of lenses. Their biggest drawback for me was the conditions I'd be shooting in, and Sony especially don't like it when it's only "spitting".

The majority of bridge cameras available didn't satisfy my tick list either. Big zooms, huge megapixels but poor sensors, no RAW file capability and no resistance to inclement weather had me in a catch 22 with every conceivable camera option.

Then I found something which pretty much covered everything in my wishlist...

...The Fujifilm Finepix S1. Here's the spec below.

http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n140106_03.html

It's like a nice small DSLR that can shoot in both RAW and Jpeg formats, with an attached x50 zoom lens. (which unlike other superzooms, does actually deliver good results when fully extended.) I don't need to carry an extra lense and the weatherproofing is working well.

Here are a few images from mine to show it's image quality...

Low light
Image

Grey sky day
Image

Zoomed in x50
Image

What it looked like zoomed out
Image

At the end of the day, you will know best about what features and functions are most important to you. Everyone will come on the thread and tell you that they chose a great camera, in much the same way as if you asked what waterproof jacket should I buy, you'll get 100 different answers.

The Fujifilm Finepix S1 ticked all my boxes and didn't break the bank, (by much). :lol:
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby IamAJMiller » Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:01 pm

Electricfly I'm going to have to ask a very novice question here: What is a bridge camera and what are it's pros and cons? Cheers, Andy.
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby electricfly » Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:11 pm

A Bridge Camera is for want of a better description a hybrid between a Digital Compact and a DSLR.

They offer the ease of use of a compact, but have many of the technical features you would find with a DSLR and zoom lens.

Pros: Much lighter than a DSLR and no need for carrying/switching lenses.
More zoom capability than a compact.
Less shutter image smear than with a lighter compact.
Viewfinder as well as an LCD screen.
Cheaper than shelling out for a DSLR and multiple lenses.

Cons: Heavier than a compact.
More expensive than a compact.
None except for the Fujifilm Finepix S1 are weatherproof.
Better image sensors on a good DSLR.
Requires a good image stabilisation feature otherwise Superzoom is blurry.

I found myself on numerous occasions leaving shops with more questions than answers, be patient and research all the models on your list thoroughly. Take plenty of time when making your decision and do not rely on anything a Salesperson says. They will tell you it cooks your breakfast if they think they can make a sale! :lol:
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby doggy » Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:38 pm

I have a Canon 600d, now updated to a 700d I think? Awesome camera.
A used quality camera body Is also a really good option.
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby foggieclimber » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:30 pm

Could the degradation be due to the software you use rather than the camera?
You have to watch when doing any work on jpegs (resizing, cropping, etc.) that the compression isn't set too high.
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby Tinto63 » Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:05 pm

Here is a useful link explaining the different size of sensors used in digital cameras:

http://www.gizmag.com/camera-sensor-size-guide/26684/
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby protean » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:55 am

Well, it seems like you have some options already and all of them look good.

With regards to DSLRs it can be a bit daunting going in to the DSLR ring and it's easy to over think which system you want to invest in so one bit of advice I can give is to go second hand. The new bodies will depreciate pretty quickly and used quality lenses will retain their value and even go up in a few cases! So you can usually sell off on ebay should you want to upgrade or switch lenses later without breaking the bank. The only issue I can think of is that the warranties are only 6 months usually. I think 90% of my stuff was bought second hand and I've chopped and changed my lenses quite often. Fickle I am.

I recently bought my sister the d5200 + 35mm prime lens for about £325 used so there are bargains to be had!

eg.

http://www.mpbphotographic.co.uk/nikon-d5200-1

As I'm currently on the lookout for a compact mirrorless I've become obsessed with as many physical controls as possible (SLR -like) as I totally hate menus!.

Anyway good luck :)
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby Helz » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:15 am

Slap me if you like but if you're a fan of Sony kit and don't want to take huge amounts of equipment out, have you considered using an Xperia Z2 or 3 with a Bluetooth lens? Waterproof (the phone anyway, you can default to using that alone in the worst conditions), have had it out in silly low temperatures and dropped it onto rock and ice and snow. Also handy for Maverick/ other GPS app and throwing those lovely photos to your media system when you get home to show them off. For brief tinkering when you're not proper editing, the built-in software isn't bad.
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby IamAJMiller » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:33 pm

Yeah like I said I already have a very good bombproof camera which I absolutely love. It's waterproof to a depth of 10m and temps of -20* as well as crush proof. It comes out with me in the rubbish weather. The camera I'm looking to buy next is all about image quality. So far the Nikon D5200 is top of my list. Anyone want to talk me out of it? I'm genuinely open to all opinions :D
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby Riverman » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:07 pm

IamAJMiller wrote:Hi photography buffs, I'm looking for your advice on a new camera. I used to have a Panasonic Lumix compact which did me fine on the hills as it took decent shots but was light enough to take out on big days. Unfortunately I got it wet too often and it went to the big darkroom in the sky! My replacement was a Ricoh waterproof shockproof camera which is brilliant and I love it, however I definitely notice the degradation in the picture quality.

As such I'm looking for a second one which I can take out on smaller days when I know it's unlikely to get damaged by rain etc. I'm enjoying my photography more and more so I don't mind upgrading and using it for landscape shots other than hiking it to the top of a hill, so weight isn't really an issue. The top end of my budget is £600 as I'm still just an amateur but keen to lean more and take better shots. There is an seemingly endless amount of info and options out there so if you can help me I'd be grateful.

Three cameras which have been recommended to me so far are:

Panasonic Lumix GX7 - £579.99. Suggested as it's mirrorless and therefore much smaller and lighter than regular DSLRs. However I'm concerned that with the fact it's lighter and newer technology my money might be better spent elsewhere, as I said I'm not really fussed about weight.

Nikon D5200 - £425 (with £40 cashback bringing it to £385). I liked the look of this one and the price seems good for the quality of camera you're getting. The reviews seem good too, but hard to know as I'm a beginner.

Canon EOS 1200D - £285. Well within my budget but seemed a bit cheap and at the basic end of the DSLR range.

As I said before I plan to use it on short days in the hills and I like the idea of going on a low-level photography trip too. Any advice would be very welcome and also any other recommendations would be very useful. Cheers, Andy.


Andy

The big conundrum with cameras for the outdoors is finding a big enough sensor in a small and tough enough package to deliver good prints at enlargements above 8x10 inches.

Generally speaking the tough, outdoor ready compacts have the same tiny sensors as every other compact so they'll deliver fine images for sharing electronically but rubbish for prints. And for what it's worth, I think it's pointless comparing the output of different cameras without looking at the prints they can give you. It's all about the print.

I settled on a Ricoh GR which is in your budget. It's not weather proof but it is pretty tough and very versatile. I keep it in a tiny waterproof lowe pro bag attached to my pack strap. All the usual parameters can be controlled fully manually. The smallest camera I can think of with an APS-C size sensor. It's a fixed 28mm lens which is a great length for the mountains, though obviously can limit composition choice. The print output I get from my 2013 Ricoh GR (which has a 'crop' APS-C sensor smaller than full frame 35mm film) exceeds the print output from the 2008 (full frame sensor) Nikon D700 which I used to have. In fact, at print sizes up to 11x14 inch, that Ricoh GR gives me prints that hold their own against prints from 6x6cm negs I shot in years past on a Mamiya 6 - a phenomenal camera. The GR is a camera killer and I sold my D700 because of this. Most of the recent stuff on my flickr was shot with the GR, though over the years I have hauled round 35mm, 6x6cm, 4x5 and 5x7 film systems.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sbk21/sets/

The fixed lens would make the GR a no go unless you know it's a length you can work with. If you want choice of focal length then in my opinion, the best outdoor ready, lightweight interchangeable lens camera out there right now is the Fuji XT1. It's expensive though, so if you wanted to spend less and are prepared to take the weight of a prism based SLR, look seriously at the Pentax K50. The sensor is excellent and the choice of lenses is immense (old K mount lenses will fit). The K50 is also much better bolted together and ready for the elements than anything from Canon or Nikon at a similar price point. Certainly preferable and much more suited to the mountain environment that the Nikon 5200.

Good luck and happy shooting

Sean
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby alanhid90 » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:05 pm

In short I would go for the Nikon.........bought the D3200 last year and very happy with it on the hills.

Can anyone recommend a good tripod for the hills - I was looking at the manfrotto beefree due to its compact size/weight but open to suggestions.
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby Navvarr » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:30 pm

I use a Nokia 808 Pureview for my trips- takes excellent photos, whilst its not going to beat a top end Nikon, its a very versatile phone / camera.
In addition, my Nokia 808 has preloaded maps on it so I can use it to navigate without having to rely on a patchy mobile coverage.
Its a bit of a wild card, you've maybe not heard the the Nokia 808 - but check it out, it does get very good reviews -and you can pick them up for about £150 these days.
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Re: A question for the photographers....

Postby BobMcBob » Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:16 am

alanhid90 wrote:In short I would go for the Nikon.........bought the D3200 last year and very happy with it on the hills.

Can anyone recommend a good tripod for the hills - I was looking at the manfrotto beefree due to its compact size/weight but open to suggestions.


Just make sure it's stiff enough to support your camera and lens on a windy day. Some of the lightweight aluminium ones are a bit wobbly and the heads don't lock stiffly enough. Manfrotto are always good in that regard though, though I don't have experience of the beefree. From experience I would now never buy a tripod if I hadn't fitted my camera to it and given it a good shake - made this mistake twice. Currently I'm using a Velbon Ultralux iM, which when fitted with my D90 and favourite Sigma wide angle lens, slowly creeps downwards, especially in the cold.
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