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Thread: Cameras, Again

  1. #1
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    Default Cameras, Again

    I know we have this discussion periodically, but I'd like to bring it up again since technology changes so frequently.

    I'm thinking about buying a real camera again, after years of just using my iPhone. The last decent camera I owned was a Nikon N75 that I bought during college and kept until the end of the film era. With a fixed 50mm Nikon lens, it took incredibly clear pictures with great depth, even on full auto, and it was small enough to hide under a coat while traveling.

    I'm thinking of buying something like a Canon Rebel body and putting a high quality fixed 50mm lens on it to recreate what I used to have for the digital era. Digging around Amazon, it looks like that sort of setup could be put together for $300 or less, so it wouldn't have to be any sort of precious object.

    But, now I understand that people are making compact cameras that are really good, and might have all the virtues I enjoyed in the old N75 setup while being more compact. Fuji's X-series seem to get good reviews, but they also run at least twice what the Rebel setup would cost. They might fit in a jersey pocket, although I'm not sure how I'd feel about riding with a $600-1200 camera.

    Is there anything out there around the Rebel's pricepoint that will provide similar performance in a smaller package?
     

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    Ooh cameras. Keh.com is the place to go for used equipment-- their BGN rating is pretty much "lightly used" and their LN is basically new condition. The 50mm lens you want is the 50mm f/1.8; don't worry about the low price, it's as good as it gets, and the more expensive options (f/1.4, f/1.2) will have pretty much the same sharpness at f/1.8. Keep in mind that on crop sensors (anything that isn't full frame) means that your 50mm lens will have the same field of view anywhere from ~75mm to 100mm (Canon/Nikon at 75, Panasonic/Olympus at 100).

    As for deciding between compacts (mirrorless) and DSLRs, the image quality between the two are virtually on par. It's a matter of the amount of control you want with your camera. A DSLR will have the controls as buttons on the outside of the body, while the compacts have a few buttons and you access most of them thru menus. Mirrorless cameras can take adapters to run lenses from other manufacturers too.
    I'd suggest you skip the Rebel series, as you get the form factor of the DSLR but minimal controls of a compact. People seem to really like the Sony mirrorless cameras (NEX series), and their compact-point&shoot RX100 is also liked. Sony also makes some sensors for Nikon.
     

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    Edit: Forget it - re-reading the OP's post he wants a "real" camera, not the P&S type that I was going to suggest.

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    I have a Canon EOS Kiss X5, which is the Japanese name for the Rebel T3i and I've been happy with it. I'm not a great photographer by any stretch, but it has been good for me to learn on. I have a few lenses for it, but if I was only going to run around with a single one it would be the EF-S 24mm.

    Because the Rebels aren't full frame DSLRs (they are 1.6 times smaller), you multiply that 24mm by 1.6 and you end up with more or less the same angle of view as you would get with a 35mm on a full frame camera, which I think is pretty much spot on for versatility if you have a fixed focal length. The lens is also tiny, it barely adds anything to the size or weight of the camera, goes down f2.8 and... only costs $150! I have the 50mm f1.8, which is also a very good lens and even cheaper, though on a smaller frame camera that 50mm becomes more like 80mm and so you might find it not so versatile as the 24mm.

    Still, even with the tiny lens, this isn't a portable slip in your back pocket kind of set up.

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    The inexpensive Canon DSLRs are pretty good and IMO the best bang for your buck. As a former Nikon guy, it really hurts me to say that. If you want a high quality 50mm, the Canon 1.4 is pretty good. For most people these days, a 50mm will feel like a fairly long lens. An iPhone has a lens with a 28mm equivalent focal length and if you have been using a smart phone as a camera for a while, a 50mm will be like a telephoto. Personally I like 35mm. The Canon 40mm 2.8 is a decent lens if you don't mind the smaller aperture.

    If you don't mind buying used, fredmiranda.com and getdpi.com have active used equipment sections. I've bought and sold there without issue. As mentioned above, Keh.com is a very reputable seller if you want to deal with a commercial retailer.
    Jonathan Lee
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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    Cameras are all great right now. I like the Olympus EM1, which just got updated so could be had for cheap. The the 25mm f1.8 would give you your Henry Cartier-Bresson kit. Plus I like the look of the kit...



    Even though all systems are good, I went with the micro 4/3rds because they are a bit smaller and the prices are low for really nice glass.

    Cheers,
    -Joe

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    Okay, thanks for all the good feedback.

    Talk to me about these mirrorless cameras. I don't think I've seen any in person, but in pictures they look a bit too big to fit in a jersey pocket, even with a short lens. Is that a correct assessment?

    If they can't fit in a pocket, what advantages do they offer over a full DSLR?
     

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    Quote Originally Posted by caleb View Post
    Okay, thanks for all the good feedback.

    Talk to me about these mirrorless cameras. I don't think I've seen any in person, but in pictures they look a bit too big to fit in a jersey pocket, even with a short lens. Is that a correct assessment?

    If they can't fit in a pocket, what advantages do they offer over a full DSLR?
    They have the advantages of being much lighter and having internals better protected from grit than any camera with interchangeable lenses. If they are fixed focal length, the lens can be optimized for excellent field flatness and practically zero chromatic aberrations. For example, the Sigma DP3 Merrill (too bulky and battery hungry for your purposes and thus just an example I own) has fringe-free edges as good as and usually better than my Zeiss lenses do.

    Personally, I'd go with whatever diglloyd - Blog recommends, as he regularly cycles (road and MTB) in the White Mountains and hikes in Sierra Wilderness, and has experience with what is reliable and provides high-image-quality.
     

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    None of the 4/3rds cameras are really jersey pocket sized. And you have to remember sensor size controls the effective field of view of the lens. Roughly every camera has a sensor size that makes the effective field of view a multiple of the lens' listed focal length. In the case of a 4/3rds camera, the sensor is 1/2 the size of the area exposed on a piece of 35mm film, so the effective field of view is 2x whatever the focal length is - a 50mm lens would effectively have the same field of view as a 100mm lens.

    I always recommend a 35mm focal length (however you get there) for a carry-around lens. Most sensors have high enough quality these days to allow for some cropping, and a 35mm focal length is a bit more forgiving/flexible on framing and focus than a 50mm lens.

    If you are looking for a budget purchase, buying used from a reputable dealer as above is a good idea. Any of the Olympus and Fuji SLR-type cameras (they are all mostly using electronic viewfinders rather than actual through-the-lens viewfinders) are great cameras and the lenses that go on them are too.

    For jersey pocket size, whatever Sony RX100 model, Canon S1XX model, or Panasonic LX__ model that fits your budget will work really well.

    The camera manufacturers have run out of true improvements in most areas (AF speed is still a problem with a lot if DSLR systems other than Canon and Nikon) so getting something 4-5 years old isn't a real sacrifice, as long as it is in good working condition.

    One thing - buy OEM batteries. I've had too many non-OEM batteries, all purchased from reputable camera dealers, go sour and developed bulges and excessive heat issues. Batteries are not the place to skimp, as per recent issues with phones cameras etc. bursting into flames.

    I've thought more and more these days about getting a small randonneur bag that mounts on the handlebars for carrying a camera of better quality than a point and shoot. But not yet.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    Quote Originally Posted by ericpmoss View Post
    They have the advantages of being much lighter and having internals better protected from grit than any camera with interchangeable lenses. If they are fixed focal length, the lens can be optimized for excellent field flatness and practically zero chromatic aberrations.
    emphasis mine. Shrinkage of sensors allows cameras to be smaller but lenses tend to have smaller focal length. You can get an "equivalent" field of view but poorly designed lenses can have awful visual distortion. Try photographing something square like a brick wall with a camera phone, the lines usually aren't straight! Obviously preaching to the choir here but if anyone asks why you don't just use a camera phone, this would be my main gripe
     

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    I picked up a used Fuji ex-1 and with the 27/2.8 pancake lens and the weatherproof 35/2 I feel like I can do anything, go anywhere.
    This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the bike.

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    I just picked up the Fuji XT-2, it is incredible. Fuji is crushing the mirrorless game right now.
    I pocket my x100t all the time, another great camera. I would only look at dslr if you're going full-frame.

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    I purchased 3 used Canon 5Ds recently - 2 from Roberts Camera in Indiana and one from KEH and the mirror fell out of all 3 cameras literally within hours of use - so I decided rather easily I wasn't going to purchase secondhand digital cameras from 2005. Shame IQ was great and I was otherwise happy with the camera including 12.8MP. Both shops didn't hesitate to take the bodies back but I thought 3 was a pretty good sample size. I'm still undecided what camera I want after waiting to see what dropped this fall. Don't love the idea of investing in dslr; XP2 viewfinder turns me off; Leica digital RF was stunning.
     

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    On the bike I carry a Canon g10. Fits in pocket.
    Photos miles above a phone.
    You can get real quality out of a compact camera.
    11-14 prints are good.

    I also use a smaller camera.. s95 I thk.
    I am surprised by the quality.
    Files are not big also.. limits post processing a little but still quite useable.
     

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    A question and cry for help...

    My wife has a Canon Rebel that I bought her a couple of years ago because her friend had one and they were going to get into photography together. That didn't happen..

    She doesn't know much about it, and I truly do not know shit about cameras. Literally nothing.

    We are going on a 2 month trip from TN thru Canada to Alaska, back thru Vancouver and meandering home. She is now determined to learn how to use the camera. She says she needs a lense.

    I searched for about 4 seconds, realized none of it meant anything to me. Numbers and letters, like last years Easter egg, I am totally lost.

    Please, someone just tell me what I need..!!..
    The Earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those that are killing it have names and addresses- Utah Phillips

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    This is the best affordable travel lens made by Canon that I know. Still get a reasonable 27mm wide angle at the bottom end of the zoom with the crop factor of a Canon Rebel sensor (1.6x), and about a 300mm at the top end so cute furry animals aren't dust specs. Reasonably fast too at 5.6. And it has IS which is a big deal.

    Canon EF-S 18-2��mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Review

    It isn't cheap, but compared to what a zoom with this range goes for in the pro level, it's manageable.

    CA1820035 | B&H Photo Video

    But there are a ton of them out there, so buying a used one in good condition will cut the price in half.

    Canon 18-2��mm F/3.5-5.6 IS EF-S Mount Lens For APS-C Sensor DSLRS {72} | KEH Camera

    She doesn't have to learn much. Just set the camera to P (auto everything) and blast away. The only thing she'll need to study the manual for is adjusting for backlighting.
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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    Agree with everything Jorn said, but will add that the Sigma 18-250 3.5/6.3 is maybe the canon's equal in this range, and can be had new for 350. Sigma can't compare to the best professional lenses, but I have found them to be good values in the hobbyist price brackets.
     

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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    My sister actually has the Sigma lens for taking lacrosse & field hockey photos of her girls - I had forgotten that. No problems with it, even shooting pics of running girls swinging sticks at each other's heads.

    That said, my experience buying lenses at KEH is that they underestimate the quality of their used stuff. I've gotten one bad thing over a number of years of buying stuff, and they took it back and sent me another one that had a higher rating no problem.

    Your wife will be a winner either way.
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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    If you're daunted by compatibility questions, you can tell Amazon exactly what camera you have and then you can search for only lenses which match your camera.
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    Default Re: Cameras, Again

    Quote Originally Posted by rowdyhillrambler View Post
    A question and cry for help...

    My wife has a Canon Rebel that I bought her a couple of years ago because her friend had one and they were going to get into photography together. That didn't happen..

    She doesn't know much about it, and I truly do not know shit about cameras. Literally nothing.

    We are going on a 2 month trip from TN thru Canada to Alaska, back thru Vancouver and meandering home. She is now determined to learn how to use the camera. She says she needs a lense.

    I searched for about 4 seconds, realized none of it meant anything to me. Numbers and letters, like last years Easter egg, I am totally lost.

    Please, someone just tell me what I need..!!..
    How does she know she needs a lense if she doesn't know much about it and didn't really learn to use it ? Why should you look for it instead of her ? Looks like backwards thinking to me.
    --
    T h o m a s

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