Mar 11, 2011 at 5:21 am #1270369
@harry-nLocale: Western US
Looking to replace my armored Olympus at the cost of a couple oz now that I've gotten a few pounds off my pack. I've dented the Olympus but it still takes pictures; the jpgs do not represent what I see in the backcountry, so the primary concern is picture quality.
The Sony NEX series or Canon G12 are on my short list, as I do not want a full DSLR.
Also what type of system would be best for carrying? Thinking about a Mountainsmith carrier spray with Nixwax hanging off a shoulder strap or hipbelt. Hip carry would be best I suppose for keeping the weight low.
Thoughts?Mar 11, 2011 at 6:28 am #1707368
I have the NEX 5 and am very pleased with it. The pictures are as good as those from my Canon 450D DSLR at low ISOs and better at high ones.
I carry it in a padded case slung across my body so it rests just above my hip. The case I have is long discontinued. There are many similar ones.Mar 11, 2011 at 8:46 am #1707401
Out of curiosity, why the G12 and not the S95? S95 is a lot smaller/lighter with the same size sensor as the G12; the only advantage to the G12 that I know of is the (rudimentary) optical viewfinder, but you're considering the NEX which is LCD-only so that doesn't appear to be a deal breaker.
If I was in the market for a new small-sensor camera I think it would be an S95, but I'm still lugging my XTi while I wait for Canon to come out with a NEX-killer.Mar 11, 2011 at 8:58 am #1707413
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
The NEX will surely deliver dslr results, although Sony's still lacking in compact lenses for it. The Canon G is an odd fit, as while it offers RAW it's a small-sensor camera and will not match the Sony, nor the Panasonic or Olympus µ4/3 cameras (which I'd add to your short list). I'll also suggest considering a camera with an EVF (built in or accessory) for outdoor shooting. They're a huge help.
I've found I can carry a decent-sized camera in a case strapped to the base of my shoulder strap. It's easy to access, it doesn't get in the way and it won't fall off at rest stops like a camera case on a waist belt. Whether that works depends on the actual camera and lens, and the size of the case (too large and it's no longer comfortable).
RickMar 13, 2011 at 11:39 am #1708319
@harry-nLocale: Western US
Thanks all and will take all into consideration; went on a hike/scramble to some hidden peteroglyphs and again editing images due to picture quality (a number are just unusable), so I will be making a choice shortly.Mar 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm #1708348
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
RAW isn't the end-all-and-be-all. Dynamic range is important. If you want to get a real change in the quality of your photos, going to a camera with a larger sensor is the only thing that will do it.
The Canon S95 will provide RAW and is light and compact, but won't give the quality that a larger sensor can provide. The Sony NEX cameras strike me as fragile and lack a flash and viewfinder. You will need spare batteries.
I went with a small waterproof point and shoot for snapshots and "shots of record" and a DSLR for the "serious" stuff.Mar 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm #1708472
delMar 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm #1708481
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"The Canon S95 will provide RAW and is light and compact, but won't give the quality that a larger sensor can provide. The Sony NEX cameras strike me as fragile and lack a flash and viewfinder."
Canon S95 doesn't have a viewfinder either.
–B.G.–Mar 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm #1708487
"The Sony NEX cameras strike me as fragile and lack a flash and viewfinder. You will need spare batteries."
I've had a NEX 5 since October and have used it through the winter and most recently on a 13 day walk along the Southern Upland Way, mostly in wet weather. It's not fragile at all. It comes with a detachable flash but does lack a viewfinder, which I haven't found a problem. Spare batteries are needed, as they are for other digital cameras.
I am using the NEX 5 for "serious stuff"!Mar 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm #1708503
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
From the reviews I read, the NEX cameras are a little harder on batteries due to the live viewfinder. I haul spares for any camera I'm using.
No doubt the NEX delivers higher quality images than the point and shoot cameras, but APS-C still doesn't match the larger sensors. If it works for you, that's great. I didn't like the balance and handling of the camera. The lack of an optical viewfinder makes bright light use difficult in some situations. As far as being fragile, the NEX cameras aren't made of eggshells, but you don't want to drop one. I think a camera used for outdoor photography should be more robust.
Here's what it comes down to for me: a pro spends a great deal of time and money to get to the assignment and keep working once on site. It's not the time to play games with equipment that can't produce the best possible image and the equipment needs to be dependable. An extra pound becomes a lower priority.
For amateur hikers, weight and cost have higher priorities. Compromises will be made.Mar 14, 2011 at 7:33 am #1708668
Dale, I am a pro and have been using lightweight "amateur" cameras for over thirty years. I've only ever had two failures and that was with a Pentax ME Super film camera on the Pacific Crest Trail many years ago and a Sigma DP1 on the Pacific Northwest Trail last summer. In both cases I was carrying two cameras, as I always do on any trip where photos are vital.
I hiked the Southern Upland Way in February (not the time of year I would choose) because I had a contract for a route description with hundreds of photos to be delivered this week. I carried the NEX 5 with 18-55mm lens, which I used for most of the images, and the Canon 450D with 11-18 and 55-250 lenses as back-up and for when I needed those focal length ranges. My intention is replace the Canon and those lenses with another NEX body and equivalent lenses when they are available. The NEX 5 has better dynamic range than the 450D and the images are higher quality at high ISOs.
Of course full frame sensor cameras will produce higher quality images than APS-C sensors just as medium format film produces higher quality images than 35mm film. However for my work APS-C and 35mm are fine.Mar 15, 2011 at 10:46 am #1709196
I'm looking at the Panasonic GF2 w/ 14mm lens to replace my full throttle 50D w/ 17-40L for hiking. With lens (which is interchangable and = to about 25mm on a 35mm system), its about 12 oz. My current setup with lens is 3 lbs. Ugh.Mar 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm #1710836
@cobbermanLocale: Northern Colorado
I thought that I would chime in as another NEX5 user. I've been using it for about 6 months now and have been very happy with the results as I was upgrading from a much older Canon Powershot with a PASM dial. I decided on the NEX based on professional reviews and because I wanted to get into the interchangeable lens market. Despite the current lack of Sony lenses specific for this camera there are a multitude of adapters to use your Sony, Pentax, Nikon, Canon etc lenses. It is a bit large and not very "pocketable" with the 18-55mm lens which sometimes makes me question my decision. But for family trips and weekends at the park I'm extremely happy to have a smaller camera than a full size DSLR. If money weren't an object I would probably have purchased the S95 and a Midrange/Prosumer Nikon with more lenses but so far I'm still happy with my compromise.Mar 19, 2011 at 11:06 am #1711191
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I own a G12 and it takes great pictures. I mostly view on LCDs or make smallish prints for framing. I wish it had more wide angle and a bit longer reach, but live with the trade off for the lower weight. I carry it in a Lowe AW case and am looking for an after market strap so I could carry it around my neck like an SLR.
If you are not making large prints. it is not clear to me how much you need to worry about the "quality". IMO the key is your ability to have access to the camera when you want to take a shot and to have mastered the exposure controls so you get the shot you want.
I have been shooting with Canons for a long time and own several film SLRs. I find the Canon Powershot menu system very straightforward. You might want to go to camera store and experiment with the menus with the cameras on your short list to see how quickly you can set up the camera for the type of shots you take.
I am looking at the S95 for the weight saving. On some days I think about selling all my Canon glass and using the cash for buy into a micro 4/3 system. I wonder when the traditional camera vendors will wake up and provide consumers with firmware and software upgrades. iPhones will eat their lunch if they do not respond.Mar 19, 2011 at 11:39 am #1711201
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Can anyone comment or have experience with the newer line of Olympus Pen 4/3rds cameras?Mar 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm #1711291
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I liked this E-LP2 review–and this is the model I'd choose among the current lineup.
Tempting. (I need another camera like I need a hole in my noggin.) I'd get the EVF, which adds cost and some fuss but really extends its value outdoors. Kits with the 14-42 kit lens are as low as $550.
It's commonly reported the Olympus bodies produce better jpgs than the Panasonics–RAW results are much closer. I like Oly's IBIS approach.
RickMar 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm #1711364
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
I'm a long-time pro who uses the big cameras at work, but for personal work and hiking I've been using the Panasonic m4/3 system. Love it. I use a GF1 with the 14mm and 20mm lenses, and my wife now has a G-1 with the 14-45 and 45-200. Image quality is very good even at higher ISO values, shooting raw files and processing in the latest version of Lightroom (BIG differences in noise handling in the Process 2010 version.)
I've been using the GF1 and the 20/1.7 as an "everyday carry" camera at work, and the images from it have been quite good. Good enough for print publication and/or very good 13×19 inch prints. Not only are the small cameras easier on my back and neck, but they tend to avoid scaring the subjects too. Carrying a small, quiet, unobtrusive camera with very good image quality is a joy. I'll be buying another m4/3 camera and trying to integrate them more into my professional work, and of course I'll keep taking them on the trail.Apr 17, 2011 at 9:49 am #1725588
@geokiteLocale: Southern California
Only because I didn't notice anyone mention it, you might want to check out the cameras that the hack CHDK can run on. That will get you a section of smaller cameras that can do RAW (only running CHDK)
SteveApr 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm #1727162
not on your shortlist, but I have the Samsung NX-10 and 30mm F2, and I like it a lot, high ISO not as good as the NEX stuff, but very good detail and files clean up well up to 3200 (haven't used 6400 yet). The viewfinder is helpful in bright sunlight where you can't see the LCD very well… also the AMOLED is pretty sweet… lighter wieght and smaller than my pentax with LTDs. I usually just carry mine with the shoulder strap and a neoprene sleeve.
so sensor isn't great, but it's good, just don't use jpeg…30mm is great. Reviews say the 20mm is good, but I don't have one and will wait for the 16mm 2.4 due out in may.
have fun.Apr 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm #1727371
"RAW isn't the end-all-and-be-all. Dynamic range is important. If you want to get a real change in the quality of your photos, going to a camera with a larger sensor is the only thing that will do it."
The dynamic range of film is also remarkable. If you're into rangefinders, the Bessa R, Leica, or Mamiya 6 or 7 will make astounding pictures for minimal weight penalty compared to most DSLR body/lens setups.
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