- Oct 31, 2017 at 11:38 am #3499450
I am looking to return to photography and I want something more than my iPhone, even though it does take some great shots. I see everyone is loving the Sony a6000 for backpacking, but there is mixed reviews on the kit lens. Is that the same feeling for the 55-210mm lens? There are some decent deals for that lens included in the entire kit. I wondered if it was worth the extra cost or go another route and get the kit lens and purchase a better quality lens for zoom.Oct 31, 2017 at 9:55 pm #3499556
The transition from phone to big DSLR is difficult, and too hard to justify imho. The A6000 is not quite a large DSLR, but with the big lenses sticking out the front it is almost as bad. You end up putting it in your pack for safety, as it is too heavy to hang from your neck all day and too big to go in your pocket.
The real problem is in use. You can whip a phone out and take a shot in seconds. You end up with lots of good photos. With something like the A6000 you first have to stop and get the camera out. This can take a couple of minutes, and most times you just won’t bother. So you will miss all those wonderful photos.
Now, the body size is actually fine: it’s the lens sticking out the front which makes the (packaging) problem. If you go for a high-end Compact (eg Canon G7 X II), the lens retracts into the body. That lets you carry the camera in a small pouch on your shoulder strap where it is instantly accessible. You can make or buy suitable small pouches for this. Me, I use a Canon G15 (same idea) in a MYOG shoulder pouch.
Note: the Canon G1X and G3x have big stick-out lenses – not suitable imho. And so on.
Nov 1, 2017 at 8:57 pm #3499697
- This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by Roger Caffin.
Thanks, Roger. I am open to all options. If anyone has used particular apps for the iPhone that can turn it into something where you can choose ISO, manual manipulation similar to a DSLR, please share. While in the alps, the pictures I took looked surprisingly good, but there were times that I felt like I wanted more than a point and shoot.
The camera will also be used for other travels, and day hikes, but I really want to move away from a bulky DSLR.Nov 1, 2017 at 9:38 pm #3499701
Noah KBPL Member
The a6000 is a fantastic camera, and probably still the best bang for you buck available. Different cameras of course offer different capabilities, and it depends on what you want to do as to whether a smart phone, compact, crop sensor, or full frame dslr will be appropriate. The benefit of a crop sensor camera like a a6000 is that you get the benefits of have interchangeable lenses in a package thats still pretty compact and light. And these days, the differences between crop and full frame sensors is only noticeable in edge cases such as astrophotography.
Roger is correct that the lens will make it more difficult to carry than a smart phone, but it doesn’t need to stay in your pack either. I and many other hiking photogs use the peak design camera clip to keep your camera at the ready. You can also use a chest or hip pouch.
As to the lens, at its price point and for the range that it covers its a great lens. The photos won’t be as good as a higher end lens, meaning less sharp and more vignette towards the edges, but the images will still be great. For landscape purposes you’ll still want a wide angle, such as the sony/zeiss 10-18 (expensive) or the kit 16-50. The kit isn’t terrible, I took some photos with it that are still some of my favorites. There aren’t actually any great zooms currently available for sony aps-c e-mount, so you’re kind of stuck with the 55-210 or using one of the full frame zooms such as the 70-200 f4, but then you’re paying full frame prices and getting full frame weight which negates the advantage of the a6000.Nov 1, 2017 at 11:32 pm #3499725
You could look at the body only plus the Sony 18-200mm.
Better than either of the kit lenses (16-50/55-200) but about 1 oz heavier than the kit lenses combined weight.
There is a lighter Tamron 18-200mm, but not as good , but probably still better than the kit lenses.
(Tamron makes a lot of the Sony lenses)Nov 2, 2017 at 10:04 am #3499788
For my usage, it would be two-fold: first for backpacking and travel, and second for enjoyment. So my thoughts were using the kit lens for my primary reason, and then as a bonus, the zoom for fun. I also like macro work.
I have some trips planned for next year, one is Death Valley ( hiking all over the area ) and then hiking out in the Badlands area, so this has inspired me to get into the hobby once again. Other trips planned in the next few years is hiking Scotland and Morocco, although Morocco will not be hiking and just with a tour group. But the colors and sights will be really cool.
I don’t vlog, do videos much, so that isn’t as an important factor for me.
That’s good to know about another option for the 18-200mm kit replacement.Nov 2, 2017 at 11:14 am #3499794
All of which is why I use a Compact.
It rides in a pouch on my pack shoulder strap, and I can get it out in a few seconds with one hand. I can take a photo with it while still moving – although doing so can lead to tripping over! I might take 20 photos in one day at least, and quite a few of them have been used in publications at A4 size (12 MPixels, 4000×3000). I can photo mountain ranges on wide angle or telephoto, and I can photo a single orchid flower from 3 cm away.
CheersNov 2, 2017 at 3:44 pm #3499841
I will do some hands-on with these cameras. Roger, any reason why you chose the Canon over other of the smaller compacts like the Sony RX100?Nov 2, 2017 at 8:45 pm #3499949
any reason why you chose the Canon over other of the smaller compacts
I did my research over a number of camera survey web sites, and there seems to be a broad consensus that the User Interface (UI) on the Canon cameras is the market leader. I looked at several other brands and tried them out in the shops, and agreed with that assessment. Some of the others were very clumsy in comparison.
In addition, the optics in the Canon compacts is excellent: the zoom ratio is not the biggest in the market but the image quality is preserved over the full range. The sensor noise levels are very low so that higher ASA settings are quite usable at low light levels.
Finally, Canon provides very good product support. There was a problem with the sealing on the sensor in one camera (I have had several): unquestioned free replacement even though it was way out of warranty.
I used to use an Olympus OM-2 with interchangeable lenses. But getting it out was always a pain, compared to the ease of use of a Compact.I hesitated over the transition, but eventually made it – and never looked back. Anyone want to buy an OM-2N or an OM-2Ti, with a range of lenses?
CheersNov 3, 2017 at 3:40 am #3500007
There’s no shortage of folks in photography and backpacking who are happy to sell their one true religion. Find what works for you whatever that may be.
a6000 is a great camera and the 55-210 is a great lens. The only drawback is that with its slower/variable aperture, it struggles in low light. However, that also means you save a lot of weight.
Telephoto lenses of this focal range also make great landscape lenses. It allows you to use the glass to compose your picture instead of cropping, which will result in a loss of resolution. Landscape shots tend to be in the f8 or so aperture range so you don’t have to spend thousands on a f2.8 piece of lens if you don’t want to.
This lens also functions well as a inexpensive portrait lens with reasonably nice bokeh (blurry background) for the money.
Short answer, I absolutely do recommend this lens.
My opinion of the 16-50 has improved some over time. It’s not the sharpest lens out there but stop it down to f8 or so for landscape shot and you’ll be just fine.
The 18-105 is reported to be a sharp lens that covers a decent focal range so you get 27mm on the wide end and 157mm on the tele end once you adjust for the crop factor. This will likely be my next lens.Nov 3, 2017 at 4:05 am #3500009
“My opinion of the 16-50 has improved some over time”.
I think that there is only one version of it.
What I think has happened is that Sony has included better software in the new bodies (and possibly firmware upgrades in some older ones ) so that the images are better corrected before you see them.Nov 3, 2017 at 6:25 am #3500020
Yeah as far as I know, there’s only been one version of the 16-50 but there should be some firmware updates, although I’ve never updated any of my lenses. I should get around to doing that.
Its predecessor was a 18-50. A few comparisons shots I’ve seen from other photographers convinced me that there isn’t any appreciable optical difference between the two so you might as well opt for the modern 16-50 for a slightly wider capabilities and small form factor when it’s off.
Ive been shooting more video than stills lately and this lens perform admirably on that side of things.Nov 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm #3500081
Yes, no shortage of folks in photography and backpacking, that’s for sure. And this forum doesn’t help with the affliction of aquiring more of more.
No good camera shops here in Richmond, but one of the Best Buy stores cater to camera buffs and have lots of cameras to play with and talk to the sales people who actually know what a camera does. So I played and handled Sony’s Fuji’s, Canon’s….you name it. In the end, I came home with a Sony a6000 and I will tell you why:
- the eye piece. I had a hard time focusing my eyes on a regular screen without reading glasses and I would need to have my readers out while hiking to take a photo. Also when I am just out for the day to just shoot, I don’t want my readers.
- You get what you see when taking a picture
- interchangeable lenses. I want to be able to use some primes, or other lens, not necessarily Sony
- Price. I purchased an open box model that was never used but returned to get the upgrade 6500 so I got it for $444. I chose not to get the additional lens.
I did like the Canon G7 mark ii and it really is a nice camera, but I decided that I would have more fun with the Sony. I had a hard time seeing the screen clearly on that Canon. It was a tough call to decide. The Sony just felt better in my hand too.
So I did get 25% off of accessories so I bought another battery, SD card, and a small case. They had the shoulder strap attachment for a backpack but I am waiting on that for now. In the end, for all I bought, it still was less than if I bought the camera unopened.
I can blow the dust off of my tripod…the taller kind, and maybe get a small one.
Pictures to follow when I figure this puppy out. Thanks for your help! I am really excited to get back into my old hobby.Nov 3, 2017 at 8:45 pm #3500118
the eye piece. I had a hard time focusing my eyes on a regular screen without reading glasses
Ah yes, that can be a stopper. If the camera does not have an optical View Finder (OVF), then a long-sighted person has problems. I know that adding an OVF adds to the complexity of the optics: compromises.
CheersNov 3, 2017 at 9:16 pm #3500127
Yes, the Canon really is a nice camera. I don’t have vision trouble looking at my phone, or the other cameras that I looked at without any OVF . It’s also the number one camera for vloggers. I peeped thru the Sony RX 100 OVF and that thing was blurry. I don’t know if that is adjustable but it sure wouldn’t work for me. I liked the size, and the auto focus, plus low light use. I think if the view finder was better, I probably would have gotten it.Nov 3, 2017 at 9:22 pm #3500129
A lot of OVFs have a small dial or thumbwheel next to them which will allow you to focus the thing for your eyes. Just like focusing binocs. Don’t know about the Sony.
CheersNov 3, 2017 at 9:42 pm #3500134
The A6000 also has a dioptric adjustment wheel.
Have a look, you might even improve what you see.
an old trick some sales people used to put people off a particular product was to change the setting on those wheels to either plus or minus. Just enough to look wrong but not obviously so.
Nov 4, 2017 at 10:37 am #3500198
- This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by Franco Darioli.
Yes, I was reading the manual and found it. I suspected the RX100 had one as well. I couldn’t imagine it not. What I didn’t like was the camera was just too small in my hand….small everything. More glasses to wear.
I just wonder if the LED screen on the Canon was a bit blurry due to it being a touch screen…which I LOVED! Touch the area you want to focus and boom! It found it’s subject much faster than if I left it on it’s own to search and focus.Nov 16, 2017 at 8:12 pm #3502441
At the moment my favorite lens for the a6500 is the 28mmF2. It’s wide enough for landscape, but you can get close up on people or flowers for a shallow depth of field. It’s even great for low light and milkyway shots. It’s really contrasty, lightweight (7oz), and small enough that it doesn’t get in the way while hiking, and affordable. The 28mmf2 is a full frame lens, but works great on the a6500 APS-C sensor. You just get some crop. The BackpackingLight Film fest photos Ryan sent out were actually taken by me with the a6500/28mmF2.
I can understand the desire for a zoom though. I have the 16-70mmF4, and the 18-105mmF4. The 16-70mmF4 is lighter (10.9oz) and smaller. But the 18-105F4 (15.1oz) feels sharper, has power zoom, further reach, is cheaper ($600 vs $1000). The only downside of the 18-105 for me is that it doesnt fit well in my Zpacks multipack. The 16-50 really isn’t bad either. Just not as good as the 18-105 or 16-70. The size of the 16-50 is really hard to beat though.
I echo others comments that a big camera is a pain, and not as easy to whip out like a phone. My solution has been the Zpacks multipack attached to my chest. Works great for all my lenses except that darn 18-105.
I actually have err…maybe a dozen Sony lenses. I have them all listed on my website along with my thoughts on each lens. Not sure it’s appropriate to post here since I have amazon affiliate links on the site and I make billions of dollars if you buy via the links. (I’ve actually made $13.89 to date). Google chrisisawesomeproductions if you’re interested.Nov 25, 2017 at 11:42 pm #3504074
Hey Chris, thanks for th einput. I looked at your gear that you used shooting “Alcove” and wondered how you got the star shots without having those tails during a long exposure. Did you use the Sony 28mm F2 for it as well?
Love your work. I like how you throw in some humor.
DonnaNov 26, 2017 at 6:47 am #3504117
Yep I used the 28mmF2 for all the night and star shots for Alcove. I kept the shutter kinda low. I think 10-15 seconds max. Iris wide open, and I think 1600 ISO. For the Rae Lakes star shots I used the Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 which was awesome. I was worried the slower aperture wouldn’t capture enough light but it was great. I heard you can go longer on the shutter, like 25 seconds…but I haven’t had any success with that yet.
Glad ya like my stuff. I take my work and hobbies seriously, but I never take myself seriously. So perhaps that comes out as humor sometimes. :)
My new project on the High Sierra Trail will be a major step in quality. So stay tuned for that one!Nov 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm #3504122
The cow with the red eyes is humor and unexpected, which makes it even more humorous.
I am going to try some night sky shots. I noticed you had a shooting star go across in one segment, so I just wondered if that was photoshopped or not. I am preparing to go hike around Death Valley and find it will be a dream to just be there and take some awesome shots. Never been to the desert. A childhood dream of mine.Nov 26, 2017 at 5:05 pm #3504139
No photoshop on the shooting star. They are pretty common to capture during time-lapses.
Speaking of which, I just ordered the Rokinon 12mmf2 for my a6500. It’s a cheap lens that astrophotographers seems to be raving about.
Haha the cow thing has a story! I had no usable footage for that sequence. We were walking pretty quick to get away from the angry cows. The shakey footage I did get had exactly 6 single frames that weren’t blurry. So I composited and animated them to make the crazy cow thing. Took me like 5 hours for only a few seconds of film. So I’m glad ya liked that part!Nov 26, 2017 at 11:27 pm #3504198
Like all hobbies…more stuff!!
Yes, I fell over laughing at that cow. I am such a child at heart.
I will try to share some shots from my upcoming trip to DV trip in February.Nov 29, 2017 at 7:10 am #3504610
Tom D.BPL Member
@dafiremedicLocale: Southern California
The 55-210 will not make anyone forget about a good 70-200 F/2.8 in terms of image quality, but it takes good images, and weighs (and costs) a fraction of what a fast 70-200 does. It also focuses very fast on the a6000/a6300/a6500. The bottom line is that it gives you a mid range telephoto that is small and light enough to hike with. I take it on quite a few local hikes.
Another thread with some discussion on it:
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