camera options - Mountain Buzz

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Old 10-04-2013   #1
bobbuilds's Avatar
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camera options

Can anyone remember the dslr and pos camera threads?

I've been searching and cant find them.

We are looking at a nice camera for next season, we've looked at cannon and nikon but not sure where to start.

we want to take pictures and film from the same camera preferably, what is recomended?

we are looking at a cannon d60 and also a d70.

What would you recomend and why, what type of camera can produce the best images with out needing a photo shop.

though, it seems today all photos are being fixed and enhanced in some kind of program,


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Old 10-04-2013   #2
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I went through Canon and Nikon myself, I am too amateur to use such hardware. I settled with a Sony dslr, a77 is a nice choice.
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Old 10-04-2013   #3
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Check out the Sony RX100
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Old 10-04-2013   #4
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I wrote a response to someone asking me about this recently. He said I ought to share this information with the world - so maybe this is a good place. I'm not really an expert, so take it with a grain of salt, but maybe this is helpful. It seems like there must be 100 other better summaries out there if you could just find them, but here's a copy/paste of my response.

For someone like me, camera shopping is hell, as the number of options is overwhelming. I guess if youíre asking me about my camera that probably means sheís looking for an interchangeable lens system? Thatís probably the first decision to be made. If youíre just looking for something that has more features and sharper pictures, there are some options involving a fixed lens system with a better quality lens and a larger sensor (Sony RX100, Canon G1 X, ....). These are usually more compact, cheaper and mechanically a bit simpler.

It does seem like the most popular choice when trying to upgrade to a more sophisticated camera is the interchangeable systems though. However, if you just plan on only getting and using a kit lens, Iím not sure if that actually makes sense. Traditionally, Canon and Nikon dominate this domain. Something like the Canon T4i would usually be the go-to entry level DSLR camera when entering in this domain. If you pay more you tend to get some advanced features: faster and more accurate focusing systems, maybe a better sensor, a faster Ďshots per secondí rate, more adjunct connectivity options, and other bells and whistles.

DSLRs have a little mirror that flips when you hit the shutter (hence the SLR). In its normal position, light comes into the lens and goes to the optical viewfinder so you see (more or less) exactly what the lens sees. When you hit the shutter, the mirror flips down for an instant and redirects the light from the lens onto the sensor and records the image. Maybe you already know this.

The newer class of cameras is the mirrorless interchangeable lens systems. Thatís what I have. Mine is a Sony NEX-7, but there are various models in the NEX line (specs are easy to find online). Most manufacturers now have some sort of mirrorless system out. I think ultimately this will be the system of the future but there will be a long transition time as the systems mature. Currently, the majority of them use the micro four thirds standard. Sony (and I think Canon too?) took a slightly different approach and stuck with their own proprietary system where they use their own sensor and mount and hence arenít compatible with the array of micro four thirds lens offerings. The advantage of the proprietary Sony system is that theyíve stuck a larger sensor (roughly equivalent to the standard DSLRs) into the camera, whereas the micro four thirds has a smaller sensor and a very high crop factor on the lenses (2x vs. 1.5x). I think Canon did roughly the same, PLUS itís compatible with the traditional Canon mounts.

These cameras, by definition donít have optical viewfinders. Some rely entirely on an LCD screen (like a normal compact camera) and some have the LCD screen + an electronic viewfinder (which is handy when working in bright light and some like the way you can hold the camera to your face to frame the shot vs. holding it out in front of you).

So what are the advantages and disadvantages? Well, because the mirrorless systems donít have a mirror, they have fewer parts and can use a shorter flange distance and the bodies (and to some extent the lenses) can be made much smaller and lighter than DSLRs. This was one of the main selling points to me. For instance, I can fit my camera into the smaller sized Pelican case which goes much more easily into my kayak. For pretty much all of my applications though, smaller and lighter is better.

If youíre interested in video, another advantage is that they allow continuous autofocus when taking video. DSLR cameras actually require using the mirror to focus, and therefore you canít autofocus while filming (you can focus, start filming, stop filming, refocus, etc.) or focus manually any time (if your lens allows it). I guess some newer DSLRs do have a separate focusing system, but not sure if theyíre any good.

Another advantage of the mirrorless lens camera is itís not hampered by moving a mirror back and forth between shots and therefore they can achieve burst rates (i.e. 10 frames/sec or more in some cases) that were only available on pro level (think $3k+) DSLR cameras.

What is the advantage of a traditional DSLR? Well, as I mentioned, the mirror is utilized for focus, in what they call phase detection focusing. A normal compact camera without a mirror uses contrast detection focusing. In general, phase detection focusing is considered superior because it is faster in most conditions (esp. in low light situations). Some of the newer mirrorless systems are building phase detection focusing into the actual sensor, offsetting the advantage somewhat. I think itís safe to say that the best SLR will have much better focusing capabilities when put up against the best mirrorless. However, Iím less sure how low or midrange cameras of each variety stack up against each other. My old entry level DSLR didnít focus that well, so I donít feel like I lost anything there with my newer camera Ė maybe itís even a little better at focusing. I guess this area is the biggest deal to me. For most applications the focusing is fine, but in some cases, esp w/ very fast moving objects, it could be better. What I don't know is if, practically speaking, you'd get better focusing with an entry level DSLR or if you'd have to step up to one of the more expensive models.

The other main advantage of the DSLR is lens selection, especially when considering Nikon or Canon models. The mounts will be compatible with decades of old camera lenses and the options will be, well adequate and overwhelming. However, the fact that many of the lenses have been around so long means that in general you can find equivalent lenses cheaper for Nikon and Canon mounts than you can for other mounts (especially Sony, which seems to be a price ďpremiumĒ company sort of like Apple). Some will complain that Sony E-mount (the NEX mount system) doesnít have enough offers, but for my taste itís fine. I could see how many pro photographers would want more, but buying nice lenses can get outrageously expensive and I donít take the hobby that seriously.

One advantage that at least the Sony NEX line has, and I think the micro four thirds as well, is that they have a feature called focus peaking and some cool zooming operations that make it much easier to focus manually. This is esp. handy because without a strict flange distance requirement, itís easy to use OLD manual focusing lenses with a cheap adapter if youíre inclined to play around with that. It can also be useful though when your autofocus isnít cooperating.

Some people make a big deal out of optical vs. electronic viewfinders. The Sony has a fine electronic viewfinder and I donít think it matters much either way. I actually prefer the electronic viewfinder as it gives you an actual sensor rendering of the image, but some prefer the crispness of the optical viewfinder. A real disadvantage is that the electronic viewfinder drains the battery way more than the optical. Battery life is still good though. 5 days on the Selway and being careful not waste battery power, I made it mostly on one battery Ė think I put in my spare on the last day.

So anyway, yeah, choices are overwhelming. If you want an interchangeable lens system, Iíve been super happy with the Sony NEX-7. I paid lots of attention to what was available when I bought my camera but not much since. I think thereís a new NEX-6 (cheaper) thatís pretty nice and even offers some wifi and ďappĒ-type capabilities. Cheaper than that is the NEX-5(N?R?) which looks like a great deal for your money but you donít get the electronic viewfinder (matters to some people, not to others... I use mine frequently, but could get by without). Another feature you might not think much about but has been a big deal to me is the swiveling LCD screen. Mine can angle up and down. I use the angle up thing -all the time- to compose shots with the camera down low. Swiveling left or right would be even better but less important. I donít think youíd go too wrong with one of the standard Canon or Nikon DSLRs either, but youíll have a little bit larger form factor. People make a big deal about investing in a system because in theory youíll have lenses that will last you many, many years, but youíll upgrade/replace bodies more frequently. is a good resource for reviews and general information.
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Old 10-04-2013   #5
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If you are looking for a "nice camera" I would go the dslr route. I'm going to assume you will be taking action shots- probably of whitewater. For this there are two main features to consider: autofocus speed and frame rate per second. Don't worry about megapixles!

The two components of a dslr are the body and the lens. I would recommend putting as much of your budget into a good lens as possible. A body will last a few years while a good lens can last decades. Zoom lenses are a great place to start. This means they have a range of focal lengths e.g. 18-200mm. Get a lens that can get close to the action (around 200mm or so). You don't need to go with the camera manufacture's lenses either. Tamron makes some great lenses at a fraction of the cost of Canon/ Nikon.

The canon 60d and 70d are both great bodies. If you are serious about video go with Canon over Nikon. The main benefit of the 70d is its ability to focus in live view much faster. I shot with a 60d for years and loved it.

Currently I shoot action photography professionally. My main cropped frame setup is a Canon 7d with a Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 lens. It never fails me!
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Old 10-05-2013   #6
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Thanks for the help.

What are differences in the d7 and d70?
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Old 10-05-2013   #7
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A few thoughts:

I used to own a nice Canon DSLR (20D), along with a 10-22, 28-70 f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/4 plus filters and a tripod. It was a nice system that I used for some professional print work. What I found was that the weight and value of it prevented me from wanting to take it with me to shoot in my real life. Climbing a 14er - 20 lbs of camera gear is a real drag. Going rafting - it needs to stay in a drybox (with recently checked and replaced seals). And it takes time to get the camera out, shoot and put the camera away.

Want to take some photos of your friends while out on the town? You have $3000-$4000 of gear on you so you have to focus on that and not having a good time.

When I stopped shooting professionally I sold all of that gear and bought a waterproof compact camera. I have been way happier. For sharing images with friends, posting them online, printing them if i want to, and being able to capture moments in the mountains and rivers it has been so much better. Want to shoot from the raft in between rapids? No problem. Want to carry a camera in your life jacket pocket for easy accessibility? It's always there and ready, and it's cool if you want to jump off that cliff with it.

Is the per pixel quality as good? Nope. Does it matter to me? Nope. As far as photoshop goes every image you see in a print magazine or shot by a pro on a website has likely had some Photoshop (or similar program) applied to it. Contrast, color saturation, sharpness, and exposure are corrected in virtually every professionally shot image. Shooting with a DSLR will allow you to get photos in some situations like very low light, or with the right (usually expensive) lens get shallow depth of field effects, or with a fast body capture action sequences in dimmer light.

As to your question about which cameras need the least photoshop to get great images. Olympus cameras are known to have generally very punchy output straight from the camera. I also recommend using scene modes for things like landscapes - it will produce more saturated colors and make generally good choices about exposure without a lot of fuss. If you like landscapes a good in-camera HDR mode is nice to have.

I recommend getting the simplest, lightest weight camera that meets your needs. I currently shoot with a Panasonic TS3 - it's been replaced by the TS5. There is a group test of waterproof compact cameras at: 2013 Waterproof Camera Roundup: Digital Photography Review
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Old 10-05-2013   #8
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Originally Posted by bobbuilds View Post
Thanks for the help.

What are differences in the d7 and d70?

scratch that, got it.

lots of information here thank you
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Old 10-05-2013   #9
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If you're looking for the best they are Nikon and Canon but the best is very expensive and after you buy some lens that match the quality of the camera you are going to spend a lot of money. I saw this video the other day and I thought this Pentax would be a great camera for boating. Suggest you watch it and see if you feel the same.
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Old 10-05-2013   #10
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You might check out Darren McQuoid's web site. I'll try to copy the link below. Under tutorials and camera gear is some good stuff on his experience. Plus lots of great river run photo journals etc. I can spend hours there and by the time I'm done think maybe even I can actually make it down the wilderness Feather River trip. I see he's gone the mirror less route also.

Darin McQuoid Photography
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