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Another new camera thread

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Another new camera thread

Postby asmrz » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:37 pm

Ok guys, I also need a new digital camera. I didn't want to cloud the previous just concluded post on this topic, because I have totally different requirements.

Need a new camera.

1. Must be reasonably light, I would like to take it on climbs and backcountry trips.
2. Must have optical viewfinder, that is absolute MUST
3. Its minimum operating characteristics must be 14 degrees F, not 32 degrees F, another MUST
4. Would be great if its sensor was large and lens was fast.

Any comments/ideas.

I would rather continue to shoot with my ancient Nikon Coolpix 4300 (even if it refuses to work in the cold) than buy something that is a compromise on those two issues above.

Thanks, Alois.
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby aran » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:30 am

Alois,

This is gonna be tricky business- I can see why your asking for support but I can't help you much at the moment. The viewfinder is the deal breaker for you on many recommendations I would make.

Of course, my 1977 Nikon FE with a fast fixed lens and slide film meets those requirements... ;)

Good luck, I'll share any ideas if they come.
Aran
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby ywardhorner » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:08 am

If you just want a cheap little camera that you don't mind dropping off a cliff, there's a flavor of the Canon Powershot that has a viewfinder. I'm like you, can't stand not to have that viewfinder. I don't know what temps it's officially rated to but we take ours ice-climbing and winter hiking all the time and never have problems. If anything fails, it's the batteries, but this can be addressed by keeping it inside your jacket.

Very light too. 16 MP.

If you're looking for a super nice camera, though, the Powershot isn't it.

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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby displacedchzhead » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:26 am

aran wrote:Alois,

This is gonna be tricky business- I can see why your asking for support but I can't help you much at the moment. The viewfinder is the deal breaker for you on many recommendations I would make.

Of course, my 1977 Nikon FE with a fast fixed lens and slide film meets those requirements... ;)

Good luck, I'll share any ideas if they come.
Aran

Yeah, don't give up on those great film cameras loaded with slide film!
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby Osterizer » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:34 pm

You should check out the Nikon 1 V1. They have electronic viewfinders (not TTL) that have 100% coverage. I don't have any experience with these cameras, but they are worth looking into. Their sensors are CMOS and are just slightly smaller than an APS camera. They are also much more compact, and are lighter. As far as temp goes msot cameras operate at temperatures in the range of 32f - 100f. I have used my APS camera down into the single digit temps and the only problem I had was reduced battery life when the battery got cold. You should be careful though, at really cold temps some of the more delicate parts might get damaged.
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby asmrz » Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:48 pm

Thanks for trying to help me out. I know this is difficult subject.

A camera without viewfinder is like a ship without a rudder. Useless IMO. Even the best LCD screens just don't work in sun and snow and require crazy movements just to get the picture in. I will not buy a camera without viewfinder and I don't want add-on piece of hardware either.

Most P/S cameras are rated to 32 degrees F. My Nikon Coolpix 4300 locks up anytime it is exposed to low temperatures for extended time. I spend days in the backcountry, not hours and fair ammount of it in winter. Penelope's Point and Shoot Nikon P4 suffers from the same issue. If you sleep with the camera, it will work for some time (a few hours, depending on the temperatures). We also use both cameras for our business needs, so use them all the time, in all conditions. Our work takes us into forests and mountains of the western US in all seasons.

Batteries must be kept warm. That requires changing batteries every half an hour or so in really cold temperatures (High Sierra in winter, for ex.). I have spare lithium batteries (5 of them) but I don't appreciate changing batteries in mid pitch on a climb...There are a few cameras on the market that are sealed offering weather resistance to 14 degrees F.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 has all the things I need, but the size/weight is a bit more than I think would be feasible, especially with interchangeable (and a bit large) lens.

I carried my old Olympus OM 2 to 8.000 meters once and countless time on extended and rough trips in Alaska, Asia and western US, never a problem. Pen's Cannon SLR was the same good product, solid. But we both are getting older and carrying a large DSLR might be a bit of effort. Just complaining...

So money is less of an issue, but the couple of features I want and need is the issue. Size is an issue. I could care less how many MP the camera has, I will not take videos and generally, could care less about most gizmos on it.

Nikon service is the worst organisation I have experienced in a long time. They are friendly, return equipment fast, but not fixed. Repeated returns are required, simply unworkable. I will never buy Nikon again.

The Cannon Powershot line is OK. The G-12 and G-15 are good cameras. but their minimum operating temp is 32 degrees F.

So if there is nothing available on the market, fair enough, we will have to live with the old cameras we have.
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby ywardhorner » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:19 pm

We have the cheaper versions of the Powershot and have had them out for multiple days/nights in single digit and below zero temperatures, usually stuffed unceremoniously into a tent pocket. Never had any problems. But maybe the features on the more expensive ones are more susceptible to cold (?)
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby radson » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:28 am

I wouldnt pay to much attention to minimum operating temperatures. I have seen a wide range of cameras operating in very cold temperatures as long as they use lithium batteries. I am leery of automatic lens caps etc which can freeze up.

Have a look at the Fuji X10. I think it ticks all your boxes. I kinda disagree about having a viewfinder though. Bright light is often not the best times to be taking photos, personally I would be more focused (yep pun intended) on a cameras low light performance.
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby hardlyboring » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:24 am

My wife and I are both professional photographers and also do quite a bit of travelling. The camera you are looking for basically does not exist... I know because I spent the better part of a year trying to find it.

Here is the run down on the "small" cameras.

Fuji x100/x100s: great build, awesome quality files, and super lightweight. The downsides are no zoom, slowish AF, and terrible battery life. I ended up carrying this camera across Nepal, Thailand, and Cambodia recently on a 6 month trip that we took. I loved it but by the time we were done I had reached its limitations and was quite frustrated with some of the things like slow AF, long startup times, and the terrible battery. Pictures were wonderful though and it was quite nice to have a 35mm equivalent lens and only that.

Fuji X10: Great little camera. Works just like a larger dslr in terms of controls and has decent picture quality. Zoom lens is OK and low light is decent. Still I favored the larger sensored X100. My wife favored the smaller (only slightly) Sony Rx100. The optical viewfinder is not really a viewfinder but more of just a "finder" it does nothing and is not even that useful for framing.

Sony Rx100: I have no taste for point and shoot cameras ESPECIALLY ones without viewfinders but I do have to say that that little beast was amazing. My wife carried it everywhere and got some really amazing shots... maybe more amazing than with my Fuji because she could zoom if she wanted to. Up to 1600iso it is really good. The 22mp files are huge and the jpegs turn out really really nice. Expensive for a PS but it gets high marks for ultimate portability and quality.

The others we tried but did not buy:
Olympus OMD: Fast AF but the thing feels weird in hand. It is not a dslr but it is not a point and shoot. The fact that you can customize everything is great but it becomes to much IMO. The Fuji with dedicated dials and an aperture ring is much much easier to figure out and use. The OMD files are nice and it is versatile with all the lenses available. DOF control is poor IMO because of the small sensor depending on the lens. The cam is "water resistant" but whatever. I just cannot figure out the OMD really... it is like stuck between places... not really a dslr but the sensor is not big enough for it to be anything more than a serious PS imo. Not as small a package either once you start slapping fast lenses on it.

Sony NEX-7: This camera again felt weird. Shape is weird, dials are weird, but it does have a bigger sensor and the ability to take just about every lens available via adapters. It is also super fast and has really nice file quality. The focus peaking feature works fairly well to for manually focusing your alternative lenses.

Fuji XPro1/XE1: I had one before I sold it and bought the X100. The camera is great, the lenses are great. Everything else is OK. Focus is slow (better now with firmware upgrades). Fuji IMO REALLY REALLY REALLY fudged up here. They had the potential for a wonderful digital rangefinder but crippled it. The xpro1 has a hybrid finder. It works well enough but with no manual focus it will miss shots due to focus, start up times, wake up times, etc. Frustrated the HELL out of me. The Xtrans sensor is also garbage IMO. They should have stuck with the traditional Bayer array but instead had to get all fancy. What we are left with is a camera system with no true RAW support and files that look like Renoir used his point brush on them. The original X100 sensor has a Bayer array and does not suffer from these problems. The new X100s has the xtrans sensor and will.

The Rest: Ricoh, Olympus, Panasonic, etc. all have similar stuff out that just does not cut the cheese in terms of functionality or image quality.

FWIW we brought all of our Nikon dslrs with us and never used them once... HUGE WASTE of space and weight. I enjoyed using the little cameras but they all had something lacking. I prefer a simple setup.
shutter dial, aperture dial, manual focus, and shoot.
The only solution... Leica.
As of right now I have a huge chunk of my equipment for sale to fund my switch to Leica. Why... well it pains me to spend that much money on a camera. I SOOOOO wish Fuji had made the camera I wanted because they were the ones that really could have. But they did not and I had no choice. Is the Leica the solution for you... probably not because it will not travel as well as some of the others.
You listed basically the holy grail of small cameras though and it may just not exist.

Good luck!
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby asmrz » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:40 pm

hardlyboring

Thanks for you detailed and informative post. I have basically come to the conclusion, that I will not spend money for something that will not have the quality and features I need. Photography is a by-product of our outdoor life, photos document our climbing, skiing, hiking and other outdoor activities, but we are not dependent on it for living (totally). Our old cameras, however limited in use, allow us to use them for our business, mostly quick shots of buildings and homes inside and out, so we will live with them for a while.

Looking at the industry, there does not seem to be market large enough for what we seek. The camera companies concerns are to provide inexpensive small, versus expensive large and the small segment that we fit in is not viable for the industry.

Leica, well I don't know, I have not looked into it, mostly because of the shock of the cost of it. But, thinking about it now, my old OM-2 with two Zuiko zoom lenses cost quite a bit too in 1983 money, so everything is relative to quality and features.

BTW I really appreciate your response. This is what (at times) SP does best. We collectivelly provide each other with information that, sometimes, cannot be found anywhere else. Again, thank you.
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby hardlyboring » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:10 pm

asmrz
Thanks for kind words! I am relatively new to this forum and it is nice to be able to contribute in a legitimate way.

Why not look at the sony Rx100? The camera is small, light, and has amazing image quality. It has no viewfinder but it is much smaller and has a much larger sensor than some of the other packages.
My wife loves hers.
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby Marmaduke » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:35 pm

I have the Cyber-shot Digital Camera HX9V and love it. It's no longer available and I'm not sure what the current version is but super quality photos and the same with the HD video. Has great zoom capabilities as well. The camera was around $325. No viewfinder is irritating.
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Re: Another new camera thread

Postby Damien Gildea » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:56 am

asmrz wrote:Most P/S cameras are rated to 32 degrees F. My Nikon Coolpix 4300 locks up anytime it is exposed to low temperatures for extended time. I spend days in the backcountry, not hours and fair ammount of it in winter. Penelope's Point and Shoot Nikon P4 suffers from the same issue. If you sleep with the camera, it will work for some time (a few hours, depending on the temperatures). ...

Batteries must be kept warm. That requires changing batteries every half an hour or so in really cold temperatures (High Sierra in winter, for ex.). I have spare lithium batteries (5 of them) but I don't appreciate changing batteries in mid pitch on a climb...There are a few cameras on the market that are sealed offering weather resistance to 14 degrees F....


As radson has said above, you need to get over the minimum operating temp thing - it's just a number on a company page. It's irrelevant how an old mechanical SLR did in the cold. Any modern cam will have enough electronics to be vulnerable to -10C or whatever. Weather-sealing is irrelevant to the issue of cold, I can't see why you think that matters. WS keeps out moisture and dirt, but the best sealing in the world won't stop the whole unit getting cold if left outside in -10C. If you don't keep your p&s inside your jacket then, yes, it might need a new battery every 30min, but I can't see the sense in doing this. It's an issue of usage, not gear specs.

The only mechanical/electronic thing that helps with extreme cold, that I have found (in a dozen Antarctic expeditions and numerous Himalayan/Karakoram/Andean expeditions above 6000m) is that the higher-spec DSLRs have a bigger stronger battery and this does make a difference. But I don't want to lug one of those big things up that high.

The Cannon Powershot line is OK. The G-12 and G-15 are good cameras. but their minimum operating temp is 32 degrees F.


The Canon G15 is probably the closest to what you want if a viewfinder is a must. I've come back around to preferring an optical viewfinder, but I've still taken dozens of great shots with just a lcd screen. If you could get around that, and your gloved hands are not too big for an RX100, you won't get better p&s image quality than that camera produces.

So if there is nothing available on the market, fair enough, we will have to live with the old cameras we have.


Maybe think again why there is 'nothing' on the market that you want? The fact you lugged your mech SLRs around on a big trip and didn't use them, and that you think that weather sealing will help in extreme cold, leads me to think you might want to re-think what you do, not what you have, or don't have.

I know most of the cams out there are compromises, but you have to be realistic. Cheap crap aside, the best modern cams in each category are hands-down awesome, both in terms of capability and how little they cost.
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