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Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

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Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby awilsondc » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:13 am

I'm looking for a new camera and there are so many options out there it's a little confusing, hopefully you can help me out. I've currently got a Cannon PowerShot S2 IS (5 MP) and it has been a great camera but I need to move up to a camera with higher quality pictures. I'm basically trying to decide if I need a DSLR or just a high end point and shoot. Here is what I am looking for in a camera:

High Quality: I've recently been printing out and framing some of my pictures and my 5 MP point and shoot has reached its limits. This is the main reason I am looking to upgrade. When looking at quality for printing large wall size pictures, what is the most important? Megapixels? Lens? What should I look for?

Portability: I love being able to just reach back into the stretchy side pouch on my backpack to access my camera for quick photos on the go. My current camera barely fits into these pack side pouches but it sure is convenient. If I go with a DSLR I will certainly have to carry it on my chest with a separate case for easy access. For those who have carried a camera like this, is it annoying? Does it get in the way during scrambling (class 3/4?). I imagine most point & shoots will be able to fit in a pack side pouch like I currently use.

Long Shutter / Bulb: I'd like to take some night time photos, but my current 30s max shutter open time isn't cutting it. I know most DSLR's have bulb mode to keep the shutter open as long as I need, but are there any point and shoots that have a bulb mode? Do I really need to go DSLR for this feature?

Panoramas: I love taking panoramas! My current camera has a panorama mode where it locks the settings, and shows me the last half of the picture I just took so I can line up the next shot. I love this feature. None of the DSLR's I've looked into have this feature. Some newer point and shoots even have a scrolling panorama feature where you just hold a button and pan the camera across and it captures and stitches the panorama right there. This looks really cool, but being a new technology isn't available on many cameras out there. Taking panoramas is very important to me, probably #2 after high quality.

Other Features: Zoom - at least 10x optical zoom is a must weather it is built in (p & s) or a lens (DLSR)
Image Stabilization - I don't know if it's just a Cannon thing, but it's great for using zoom without a tripod. Not critical but would be nice.
Movie Mode - I actually just returned a DSLR I bought (Nikon D3000) which I got an awesome deal on, but did not have a movie mode. Turns out it was a deal-breaker, I need it.
Price - Under $1000 for sure, ideally more in the $400-$500 range. I love a good deal.

I know this is a lot, but any help would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby Kai » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:47 am

The Sony RX100 is the best compact camera going right now. It ticks most of your boxes, and is simply the best available combination of image quality and portability on the market right now. Unless you want something that has interchangeable lenses, this really is the camera to get.


http://www.luminous-landscape.com/revie ... x100.shtml

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2012/07/2 ... ra-review/
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby radson » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:02 am

This year I was using a little Fuji X10. Doesnt have a bulb mode. Thats a tough ask for a P&S. The X10 has quite a larger sensor size than many other compact cameras.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/fuji_x10_first_impressions.shtml

Image Pano sample

Image POTD

The LX7, G12 G1X are contenders as well.

ooh and Sony dSLR's i.e A77 hava a pano option.
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby Gafoto » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:28 pm

I have a Canon S100 and it's been excellent for me. Small and nice image quality with full manual control. It would be DIY for panoramas. I'm pleased with mine though:
Image

Image

Image
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby Marmaduke » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:05 am

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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby Wastral » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:32 pm

1) You can't have everything, yes what you wrote is everyone's dream camera, but so far Santa Claus is absent. The Easter Bunny as well...

2) What are you looking for in your pictures?
a) Printing large?
b) Screen Saver?
c) High Dynamic range and contrast?
d) Color Fidelity?

3) Fuji/Sony/Canon make cameras with small sensors and lots of zoom with some video ability, though they will be larger than what you currently have. Personally, I see no difference between the three brands and the only differences are purely cosmetic. Personally, I prefer the Fuji colors... You may not. These sensors today are approximately as good as a Full Frame Professional Grade sensor was from 7 years ago maybe even 5 years ago costing multi thousands of dollars. All will have blown highlights, limited dynamic range, but greater than what you are used to by a LARGE margin, and good color fidelity generally though typically a bit over saturated. Limited Iso to about 400-1600 depending on how much "noise" you can stomach.

4) Panasonic/Olympus have their micro four thirds cameras that will take a 10X zoom lens, but will go past your $$$ unless you buy a used Panasonic GH1. Not a bad option actually. Its video is awesome, but will definetely be FAR larger. Personally, I don't like its colors. Still superior to any compact as described in 3). The GH2 or Olympus Varieties have better color rendition and in the Olympus OMD-5 and Panasonic GH3 you get weather sealed bodies and High Dynamic range as well as kick ass video. Of course they will set you back about twice or more than what you are looking to spend. They are larger. Depending on model etc, can be anywhere from the same size you are carrying now to very small DSLR sized.

4b) Sony NEX cameras while small in body size require MONSTER lenses compared to the 10X of the Olympus and Panasonic. Of course to get the best out of both the Olympus and Panasonic sensors one MUST use a different lens, but coming from your 5Mpix S2, both camera types will seem like heaven.

5) If you want to get rid of your 10X zoom requirement, your options expand rather dramatically and would take multi thousands of words to describe the options and therefore I simply will not do so.

6) How to CARRY a large camera...
a) Get a weather sealed camera and lens so one does not need the camera bag
b) Make your own camera bag from a sil nylon stuff sack to save weight
c) Strapping it on for extended scrambling on class 3/4/5
i) Me personally I clip the neck strap to the haul strap on my pack
--- Can't choke me or fall off
ii) From the rings on camera attach string and a very small carabiner down to bottom left/right of pack. There is always something to attach to down there.
iii) Camera with rack sling
--- Double slings around my waist
---- Singles opposite rack sling
----- Camera Neck strap attached to a self made sown in loop on top of rack sling.
------- Take same string with small biner on the end down to your harness, keeps camera from swinging forward when you lean a BIG need. A prussic knot on said strings, make adjustment quick and secure for different amounts of clothes one has on. A NOT insignificant fact when in the alpine. Can be T-shirt HOT, or WINDY, COLD wearing fleece and wind jacket.

Oh yea lens caps generally don't stay one worth a $$((*$@)#(@@)__#@, SO YOU BETTER
1) have a string drilled into the lens cap tied to the camera so WHEN, not IF, but when it pops off you don't lose it and
2) When you want to take a picture you don't have to have a damned pocket available to stash the lens cap on. Likewise when rock climbing it would be fairly prudent to put a UV filter across the front to save it from being smashed on rocks. I have done this to my chagrin and while I didn't scratch the glass, I did scratch the anti glare coating.
3) String on your lens hood as well so that WHEN it falls off you do not lose it. Or just do not take one and take a small contrast penalty in your pictures. In the mountains with light off the snow, generally there is no way to shield the lens anyways and the hood doesn't do much that your freely available hand cannot do.

PS. I routinely carry a Sony R1 or Panasonic GH2 or Pentax K5. I gave up on point and shoots Long ago for landscapes though they do work well in 5.6 and up as you can clip them to your gear rack as they are no bigger than a cam.
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby awilsondc » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:09 pm

Thanks everyone for the input so far. I've come to realize that there is not a camera out there that will do everything I want, which is ok. I might have to get 2 cameras!

There are actually a lot of decent point and shoots out there with lots of new features. Camera technology sure has changed since I last looked into get a new one. The biggest issue I have with most of the point and shoots I've researched is noise, or lack of a sharp picture. The main reason I'm looking to upgrade is so I can print some of my pictures large size. What I hate is when I blow a photo up to a large size and the details are blurry (ie trees, bushes, leaves). Pretty much all the point and shoots I've looked into have problems with this, so I'm going to have to go with a DSLR to address this, right?

Thanks for the advice on how to carry a camera Wastral, it was really helpful. I share your frustration with lens caps! :roll: Then never stay on!
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby norco17 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:27 pm

awilsondc wrote:There are actually a lot of decent point and shoots out there with lots of new features. What I hate is when I blow a photo up to a large size and the details are blurry (ie trees, bushes, leaves). Pretty much all the point and shoots I've looked into have problems with this, so I'm going to have to go with a DSLR to address this, right?


You will hear a lot of people on this site say that this or that point and shoot are sharp, great, accurate color.....

If you really are looking to take good photos that are up to a professional photographers standards you need to have at a minimum some type of SLR. Point and shoots are great for the average person and often work just fine even blown up to 8x10, but if you are looking at going bigger or shooting in low light then you need professional quality gear.

However this does not mean that you would not be happy with a point and shoot. You may not be able to see the differences and if that is the case than save your money, but if you can see the differences (in the print) between the $300 dollar point and shoot and the $1200-$4000 dollar dslr than you will just be dissapointed in the lesser quality purchase.
awilsondc wrote:Thanks for the advice on how to carry a camera Wastral, it was really helpful.

I have been trying to figure out a better way of carrying my dslr for a couple years now you gave me some ideas thanks.
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby Wastral » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:50 pm

Stitching is your friend. I have an awesome fall picture of North Face of Johanesburg mountain with an ancient 3Mpix Sony camera with its miniscule dynamic range. 10 pictures later and quite a bit of photshop produced an image able to be printed 17x 30 and you cannot tell from 3 feet away. Any closer and yup, its bad.

The auto pan features, I have personally not used, I have seen some from a climbing friend, but I can't believe they work as well as something like PTGUI or photoshop.

Even with the arrangement I stated above for carrying a camera, it still moves around a LOT. Likewise it really depends on how big the rack is as well and how many slings you have on your torso. I have seen several other carrying options and I have never seen one as light as what I described above. I also have to admit that my camera spends quite a bit of time in my pack. GH2 with a pancake lens on it fits in my waist belt pouch though...
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby norco17 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:13 pm

Wastral wrote:Even with the arrangement I stated above for carrying a camera, it still moves around a LOT. Likewise it really depends on how big the rack is as well and how many slings you have on your torso. I have seen several other carrying options and I have never seen one as light as what I described above. I also have to admit that my camera spends quite a bit of time in my pack. GH2 with a pancake lens on it fits in my waist belt pouch though...


My 20d is either in my hand or slung over my shoulder. I have been looking for a small single camera type carrying case that can be worn as a chest harness or attached to my pack belt. However all of the cases that I find that fit my camera lense combo are very bulky. I am trying to go low profile with a 20d and 24-105 L series not easy to do. You gave me some other ideas that will be cheap to experiment with. Thanks!

Wastral wrote:Stitching is your friend. I have an awesome fall picture of North Face of Johanesburg mountain with an ancient 3Mpix Sony camera with its miniscule dynamic range. 10 pictures later and quite a bit of photshop produced an image able to be printed 17x 30 and you cannot tell from 3 feet away. Any closer and yup, its bad.


To the OP: This is part of the problem with selecting a camera. It worked this one time (granted wastral put a lot of work into it.) Now try to get that same shot if there is a person in the frame. Much more dificult. Someone may show you samples of stuff they have done on the internet it does not mean it will hold up in print.=

I meant to put this link in my last post , but forgot.

http://www.dpreview.com/

Check that site out. It will help.
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby Wastral » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:34 am

Stitching with a person in a single frame is fine, it only becomes a problem when you have multiple people in multiple frames. Generally in a stitched landscape the person/persons in question will not overflow a single frame unless they are very close. Even then one can generally stitch them as long as their upper body is in one shot and lower in a different. It also requires some practice in taking said pictures. You gotta be fast.

1) Set camera to manual focusing.
2) Set camera to Manual
3) Set Camera to RAW
4) Turn Grid lines on
5) In live view check out the entire exposure for dynamic range required from left to right and top to bottom.
6) Pick your central point(Person/Lake/stream/flowers) and take one or two in RAW with the correct Median exposure that you deciphered when panning in live view for exposure. IE you do not need to use the AEL button. What a waste of a button on cameras for landscape photography anyways. It does have other uses, but for mountain shots, waste.
7) Check central picture for facial expression/shadows /posture
8) From left to right, top to bottom(If doing 2 rows or more) Take the pictures while watching your grid lines. Make sure to have Lots of overlap along with LOTS of TOP and BOTTOM overlap as well even though you might not want it in the photograph.

WHY? because when picture is stitched you will have to trim the borders. Likewise if you make a mistake and shoot your lens with a WIDE Aperature, then there will be significant light fall off into the edges/corners of your pictures and you will get sky banding. If you decided you needed that larger aperature to obtain a good picture with a fast enough shutter speed then: your pictures "top" way up higher then you needed, can be trimmed off where there was light fall off due to the wide open lens(small f stop)

Another reason you want a very good lens. A good lens($$$) will have less light fall off between its center and its outer edges and you won't get banding in the sky when you stitch. Light fall off is not a problem in the central part of an image generally. Ok, it has never been an issue with me as one simple cannot tell on rocks, trees, snow, etc. In the sky where its all BLUE, you can tell.

Enjoy

PS. For your enjoyment: Here is an example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33243403@N02/3099170058/ Image
Bri Tent S Pickets by footeab, Sorry about the haze and lack of contrast, we got back from the top of Luna later than I had anticipated and it was 10am... Needed to be 8am. We had too much fun on top of Luna lazing around and I completely forgot about this awesome stitcher that I had planned. Shot with Sony R1, 10 pictures stitched I believe. Hanging on my wall 17x 38. Obviously cropped to get that ratio from the picture I showed you. What is seen is a composite. As you can tell a person and gear were stitched Seamlessly. This was done in 2005, stitcher software has only gotten vastly better since then.

PPS. Here is an incorrectly shot pano. Its not bad, but not all that great either. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33243403@N ... hotostream Image
6586_6590 N ridge Jub to pano brian 30p resize by footeab,Note, not enough sky overlap so when you trim, the aspect ratio of the picture is off. True, can trim a lot of the snow, but, rule of 3rds here... On North Ridge, Mount Jubilee. Mount Waddington in the background.

PPPS. Here is one done correctly though barely. Though you can tell the dynamic range is immense and there is still light fall off on the edges, but was able to clean in post processing of the sky fairly easily, glare was a BIG problem, we used 3 hands and a jacket and it still wasn't enough. N ridge Mt. Jubilee, Mt. Waddington behind. A ginormous crevasse and immense snow bridge in the foreground that we crossed. The dark dot in the middle is our tent for perspective on how gigantic said crevasse was. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33243403@N ... otostream/Image
6670_6675 Tent E Ridge and Wadd 30p resize by footeab
Last edited by Wastral on Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby Wastral » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:17 am

Grr, can one not post images from Flikr to summitpost? Kept trying, but the images wouldn't show.
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby norco17 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:43 pm

Wastral wrote:Grr, can one not post images from Flikr to summitpost? Kept trying, but the images wouldn't show.

Above the photo click on the share button.

Image
self portrait by jhendersonphotography, on Flickr
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby johngenx » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:45 am

Kai wrote:The Sony RX100 is the best compact camera going right now. It ticks most of your boxes, and is simply the best available combination of image quality and portability on the market right now. Unless you want something that has interchangeable lenses, this really is the camera to get.


http://www.luminous-landscape.com/revie ... x100.shtml

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2012/07/2 ... ra-review/


^^^^This. The X10 doesn't even come close to the RX100. The Sony is a game changer in the compact camera market. If only it were a little less expensive, but fitting that large sensor and superior lens in such a small package took some serious engineering.
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Re: Perfect Camera for a Peak Bagger?

Postby awilsondc » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:23 pm

How important is zoom to you guys? I love everything about the Sony RX100, but it only has a 3.6x optical zoom. I take a LOT of pictures in the mountains using full zoom (my current camera has 12x) and I can't imagine not being able to zoom in much. Then again I've never used a camera without it, so maybe it's not that big of a deal.

The picture quality of the RX100 is hands down best of anything short of a DSLR, but if I have to crop half of my pictures to get the composition right I'll lose a lot of quality and won't be able to print those pictures as large. I don't know, am I making too big of a deal out of having a large zoom?
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