Hi do members have any advice for me.
Next week I'm heading out to Moscow and St. Petersburg and trying to decide which camera(s) to bring. I usually print at 20"x30" using Costco's excellent 8.95 service, so I will need 20mp of good pixels. But I want to travel light. Since it is winter, I expect a lot of low-light photography in theatres, museums, and on the street after dark. I have already ruled out my D800E kit which will weigh in at about 4-5 pounds. Remaining choices in the 0.7 to 1.7 pound range are Nex-7 kit, RX100ii, and Lumix FZ1000. With the Nex-7, I will also have to decide on lens choices.
First since low-light will be important, it seemed like the APS-C sensor in the Nex-7 would be a good choice compared to the 1" sensors in the RX100 and Lumix which are 3-4 times smaller. But the smaller cameras have faster zoom lenses then the Nex-7 line by 1-2 stops. On the other hand I could take a pocket full of fast prime lenses for the Nex but then weight and convenience are an issue. Further the FZ1000 has very excellent 5-axis stabilization, which works well for me down to 1/10th sec. Also the RX100 abd FZ1000 have a useful low-light scene mode (twilight mode) which exploits the camera speed to take about 6 shots in 1/2 sec and align and combine them for an effective high ISO. In my testing this worked extremely well and was virtually silent.
So the light-weight choice is RX100 ii with its 28-100mm (eqiv.) f1.8-f4.9 zoom range and a weight of 0.7 pounds. Next up is the Nex-7 with a total weight of 1.05 pounds with the PZ16-50mm (24-75mm equiv.) f3.5-f5.6 zoom lens. The FZ1000 with its 25-400mm (equiv) f2.8-f4 zoom lens is the heaviest of the group at 1.7 pounds. The RX100 will fit into any pocket. The Nex-7 will fit into a coat pocket, and the FZ1000 will need to hang from a strap. The Nex-7 is the only one to take interchangeable lenses, and the FZ1000 is the only one of the group with 4K video and its extra long reach of 400mm.
So I spent some time this afternoon testing these combinations against each other to find out if image quality could help with the decision. The first conclusion is that there is little to choose between image quality in a normal range (28mm-70mm) between these cameras in daylight. They all produced comparable image quality and I had to really pixel peek near the corners and edges to find any difference. So the choice will come down to more extreme wide or extreme tele choices, and low-light performance. The Nex-7 is the only choice that will let me get down to 16mm equiv, using an E-mount 12mm prime lens, so that is attractive. On the tele-end, the 400mm of the FZ1000 is attractive, but not sure I would use it much. For low-light the f1.8 of the RX100 is attractive. Both the RX100 and FZ1000 have twilight mode that combines 6 rapid exposures into one, but the RX100 is more fiddly to set up. In low-light the RX100 and FZ1000 can be set at ISO800 and maintain most detail, and the Nex-7 goes to about ISO1600 only a one-stop advantage which is lost when you consider the slower APS-C zoom lenses.
There are two additional advantages in favor of the 1" cameras: electronic and leaf shutters. The operation sound is either almost silent or completely silent, and flash syncs at all shutter speeds. Unlimited flash sync is a huge advantage for the use of flash fill-light outdoors which can greatly enhance portrait shots.
So surprisingly it comes down to a choice between the RX100 or the FZ1000 with the main advantage of the FZ1000 its extended zoom on both the wide and long side, but a one pound weight disadvantage.
I know another choice would be to bring an Sony A7 or A7r (A7s is too low in resolution for 20x30). But in the end, there is little to choose between the A7 series and Nikon DSLR-- both are big and heavy and require a bunch of lenses, and only have an advantage when printing larger at 30x40.
So I'm thinking of bringing two cameras. #1 would be the Nex-7 fitted with the Samyang 12mm f2.0 lens for low-light wide-angle shots (weight camera plus lens 1.5 pounds). And the 2nd camera would be most likely the RX100 ii. Those two would add up to about 2.2 pounds and fit into coat pockets. Alternatively, I could take only the 1.7 pound FZ1000 and enjoy its long reach and 4K video and a simpler and lighter kit. Decisions, decisions.
What would you do?