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Thread: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

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    The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    A couple years ago I finally rebelled against the size and weight of my Canon 5D DSLR system. This camera was just toooo big. And my shoulder was getting too sore.

    For some time after that, I tried to find the smallest camera possible, the holy grail being a pocket camera that I could love. Well, I quickly learned that the Canon S95 and Leica X1 were certainly pocket size, but I can't live with such small sensors. So then I decided to look for the "next smallest" camera. I've tried Oly and Panny m3/4 and Sony Nex. Well, the Oly and Panny option was not satisfactory, and they still would not fit in a pocket. OK, pancake lens and big baggy pocket, but not my pocket. Not satisfied with the user experience. I realized that I don't like the handling of the very small cameras, especially the NEX tiny body with big lenses sticking out. These cameras were just toooo small.

    At last an epiphany. Or one could say that I was inexplicably slow to recognize the obvious:

    If the camera can't fit in my pocket anyway, then why am I trying to find the smallest large-sensor camera possible? Stupid. Get a camera big enough to handle well in my hands, but still light years smaller than my Canon DSLR.

    So I love the size of the X-Pro1. And I have no need to insist on anything smaller. It's juuuust right. And what a camera! I love love love hight ISO, small fast lenses, feel in my hands, and beautiful pictures.

    Why was I fixated for so long on too-big-to-pocket-yet-too-small-to-handle?
    Last edited by tom in mpls; 17th May 2012 at 15:57.
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    Re: The Goldilocks camera

    Congratulations Tom! I hope that's the one for you. I too have been on a similar search, for what seems like many years. I've been watching Fuji too ( was always attracted to their Nikon bodies, but they seemed to quirky,at the time.) Anyway, I just bought an X100 after the recent firmware updates and thought I would give it a try, before diving in the deeper end. It should be here in a few days and I will see if I can deal with it's short comings and the 35 mm focal length (which I've never really been a fan of.)

    The image quality sure looks promising though, if nothing else. Although, I have to admit that I'm also looking forward to a silent shutter and fast sync speed too. If I like it, I may just join you with the XPro1 and get the focal lengths I'm more comfortable with.

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing some pics, from your XPro1.

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera, or when is it not too small or too big?

    Yes, it is not the perfect camera. And there are things I could do with my old Canon that I can't do now. Perfect, of course, will never happen, but this camera has the size and handling that is right for me.

    BTW, this post is not intended to argue that the XP1 is the best camera. I just decided to post here my thoughts about what, for me, an ideal camera should be. And what it should be begins with the size, weight, and handling characteristics that are found in abundance on the XP1.
    Last edited by tom in mpls; 17th May 2012 at 16:26.
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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Great to hear that you are enjoying the XPro-1. It's wonderful on many levels, just not quite as peformance oriented as SLR's in terms of focus acquisition, but really holds its own, and the IQ speaks for itself...just need RAW integration in LR4.

    Hope all's well Tom!

    Best,
    Ashwin
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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Sort of the same thing I feel about the M9. Although I am quite happy with the APS-C sensor and size/feel/quality of the GXR-M too.

    Every camera has its plusses and minuses. If I only want to carry something that fits in my pocket, well, the iPhone 4S does fine for that. :-)

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    I'm with you on the size and weight thing, Tom, as my own arms have lost a lot of muscle in the last few years. I still love the IQ of the a900 you sold me, though, even though I only have the Sony and Minolta lenses (20/2.8, 28/2,35/2 and 85.1.4) and none of the Zeiss ones.

    So my question is simple: how do you think the IQ of the Fuji holds up when compared with the Sony (or vice versa)? Please use any parameters you think significant.

    Thanks, and all the best,

    Irenaeus

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Well, you can get a camera that is small enough to carry comfortably...

    or

    you can get a camera that is comfortable to use...

    Do you want to carry the camera or shoot with it?

    That is always the dilemma. I have found that large cameras are not really the problem. It is how you carry it. I am really happy to carry medium-format cameras through the streets once I figured out how to do it comfortably.

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Well, you can get a camera that is small enough to carry comfortably...

    or

    you can get a camera that is comfortable to use...
    I think what you are hearing from Tom and certainly now from me, the Fuji gets high scores on both tests. Marry that with excellent image quality and now you know why many people that have used the Fuji really like it.

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Terry and Shashin, I made the decision that I would be willing to give up something in order to have a smaller kit. I realized that it didn't have to be the smallest possible, just lots smaller, and in fact I have learned that there seems to be such a thing as too small. Too small is too small to handle comfortably, and may also give up too much IQ. I tried the Leica M8/9, loved the pics and camera, but focusing was too much of a problem for me so I had to keep looking. The Fuji has similar ergos, but with AF. And the icing on the cake is the lovely lenses and IQ. I feel that I haven't given up much. Please rest assured that I mean no disrespect to anyone who prefers a larger (or smaller) kit. This is about my journey.

    Irenaeus, through exercise of literary license, I left out the a900 part of my story! It followed my Canon 5D for a few months, but as I had been with Canon DSLR's for years I skipped that part. I loved the Sony, but made the commitment to a smaller kit.
    Last edited by tom in mpls; 17th May 2012 at 21:41.

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera

    Quote Originally Posted by clay stewart View Post
    I will see if I can deal with it's short comings and the 35 mm focal length (which I've never really been a fan of.)
    I thought that the 35mm fixed lens might be a problem for me when I was considering the x100, but once I'd got it, I found that it was no problem at all. In fact, I found that I preferred not having to consider which lens (or which zoom focal length) to use. Of course, this kind of matter is subjective, and it's entirely possible that you might have a different response... but if you allow a few weeks to adjust your mind-set, you might be pleasantly surprised!
    Re- the other shortcomings... most (not yet all) have been removed by the firmware updates.

    Quote Originally Posted by clay stewart View Post
    The image quality sure looks promising though, if nothing else. Although, I have to admit that I'm also looking forward to a silent shutter and fast sync speed too.
    I'll be very surprised if the image quality doesn't please you, and the silent shutter is just wonderful.

    I have, of course, considered the x-Pro1, but when I really thought about it, I realised that the x100 does what I want, and I enjoy using it so much that I don't want to "dilute" that feeling.

    Good luck, and I hope that you enjoy owning and using your x100.

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Tom, I echo your views and sentiments entirely although in my case I am not letting go my Sony A900 and A77 kit just yet.

    I am in fact on a potential two year transition to the X1P system, as it will take that long in my view for Fujifilm to extend their lens and accessory program be able to judge whether the system can ever fully replace a DSLR system for my particular needs.

    Suffice to say that it is the camera that I always reach for when I am going out in a hurry and my wife tells me that she enjoys accompanying me with a small Billingham much better than the rucksack that I used to carry everywhere!
    Cheers, Dave
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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Time for some folks to "man up". A set of free weights cost pennies a day.

    My assistant is a small, slight built woman who can carry two babies on her hips, and wield her Canon 5Ds and massive L lenses through a non-stop 10 hour wedding shoot while doing it all in high-heels ... and never whines about anything.

    Photo assistants that lug entire lighting kits on location, sometimes with 15lb generators strapped to their back and a 9' boom arm with a head and 33" beauty dish out at the end must be rolling their eyes.

    This gives me an idea ... I think I'll start a new business ...

    ---------------PhotoPorters Inc.---------------
    ------------- "We schlep, you shoot"---------------

    Just kidding, however I agree that how you carry something can make a world of difference is personal comfort. It is an art to figuring a way to make as few compromises as possible while lessening the burden and fuss.

    -Marc

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Very true, Tom - I often get caught up on lightweight vs pocketable. There are smaller cameras, lighter ones too than the X-Pro1 but like you, I couldn't be happier with my choice.
    John

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Tom

    You observations are relevant to many of us . I find that the most important factor in getting the results I seek is ......location . You have to get in position and find worthy subject matter ..without repeating the travel snaps of thousands of other photographers . I scout locations as a priority on every trip .. I know where and when I want to be there .

    But right after that I need to bring my “A” game ..which means not being so tired I can t function . Two to three hours of shooting with a clear (ok you might call it empty ) mind requires equal planning . Lugging my DSLR in a roll bag or backpack isn t going to do it for me . In fact lugging anything does t work ..which is why I went to 2 Leica M9 s and 2 extra lenses in a jacket or vest .

    I tried the Fuji Xpro 1 but it just overlapped my M9 s so I returned it ..but the size ,weight and handling is great for a travel,street ,event type of shooting.

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    Just kidding, however I agree that how you carry something can make a world of difference is personal comfort. It is an art to figuring a way to make as few compromises as possible while lessening the burden and fuss.

    -Marc
    +1

    In addition, there is another factor that comes into play- the location. If one carries his/her gear in "unsafe" surroundings (that could be anywhere, it just takes one crazy to attack or damage cameras), it calls for something extra as well.

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    I must admit I have been viewing Fuji a lot more favourably recently since purchasing a Fuji GSW690 6x9 film camera a couple of months ago. An absolute behemoth but with a lens that is incredible in terms of sharpness and colouration. Using it has completely changed my view about non-Leica lenses. If Fuji have put that sort of quality and IQ into the XP1 lenses then I'd be interested in acquiring a system. My only requirement is that they introduce the 35mm equivalent f2 lens as soon as possible.

    LouisB

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Tom,
    I completely agree with your assessment. For me the solution has turned out to be the Fuji X10. I love the fast lens (f2 - 2.8) and the zoom range (4x) and the manual zoom twist. It even does 360 degree panos with a single click. The image quality is excellent and the package is small and inexpensive compared to interchangeable lens systems.

    -Brad
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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    Tom,
    I completely agree with your assessment. For me the solution has turned out to be the Fuji X10. I love the fast lens (f2 - 2.8) and the zoom range (4x) and the manual zoom twist. It even does 360 degree panos with a single click. The image quality is excellent and the package is small and inexpensive compared to interchangeable lens systems.

    -Brad
    Same here -- I've been through the endless dance that the OP described for a P&S and actually ended up with the x10. OK, and I just added the XPro .

    And Louis B., I was excited to see Fuji get into this game because several of my favorite large format lenses are Fujis -- wonderful optics and color rendition. And most of their LF lenses are also small.

    Now if I can just resist the 60mm for the XPro ...sigh.

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    Now if I can just resist the 60mm for the XPro ...sigh.
    Futile

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    Re: The Goldilocks camera? Or, when is it not too small or too big?

    Photography, the ten step program to toned abs and thinner thighs, and, oh yes, you can take pictures too!

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