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Thread: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

  1. #1
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    Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    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?

    ==Doug
    Last edited by douglaspboyd; 7th December 2014 at 19:10.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    A friend of mine who had similar needs, a compact, high quality camera that will do well in low light, bought the Olympus E-PL7 and is very satisfied. He also owns a Sony RX100 III, but finds it limiting sometimes. The E-PL7 features IBIS and an LCD that can be tilted, With it, he bought a Zuiko 9-18mm lens (18-36mm eqv.), and for m4/3, there is a large assortment of lenses to choose from, also many with large apertures. A nice travel combo would be the 9-18mm, 25mm f/1.4 or 1.8 and 45mm f/1.8. The zoom could also be replaced by the excellent Zuiko 12mm f/2.0.

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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    If I were going on a trip to Russia tomorrow, I'd either carry my Leica M9 with 35/1.4, 50/1.4, and 90/4 lenses, or I'd carry the Leica X. I might buy an FZ1000 (or Leica V-Lux) to carry along with the X, but I'm getting pretty darn comfortable using a fast 35mm EFoV for most of what I like to shoot.

    Of course, I'd really love to carry the Hasselblad SWC, tripod, and a box of film as well, but that's too much to carry...

    My iPhone 4S is my backup camera.

    G

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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    What?
    Quote Originally Posted by douglaspboyd View Post
    ...there is little to choose between the A7 series and Nikon DSLR-- both are big and heavy and require a bunch of lenses,...


    A7/NEX-something plus three adapters (M42, P-K, LTM39mm) : buy all the Russki lenses while you're there.
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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulfric Douglas View Post
    What?



    A7/NEX-something plus three adapters (M42, P-K, LTM39mm) : buy all the Russki lenses while you're there.
    I meant that although the D800/E weighs 2 pounds for body alone compared to 1 pound for A7/s, once you add in 3 pounds or so for zoom lenses, the difference is not that much. Even using slower, lightweight lenses an A7 kit is going to be well over 2 pounds.

    For travel it seems that the ideal chip size is one of either 1", M34, or APS-C. Olympus M34 at 16mp comes close to my spec depending on lenses. I wish M34 had a body with closer to 24mp resolution. The A6000/Nex7 with a speed booster adapter and a Sony/Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens would be another competitive choice giving f1.0 at this range, and a weight of only 1.3 pounds. I would leave this lens fixed on the camera and also bring the RX100 zoom which would give me a 28mm option at f1.8. That would cover most indoor low-light situations. Not sure the M9 that was suggested fully competes in versatility, weight and cost. I like the extra depth of field you get with smaller sensors with large aperture lenses.

    ==Doug

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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    The Galaxy Note 4 cell phone camera comes close to competing in this group as well, and I will have it with me for backup. Here are its main specs:

    Weight: 0.35 pounds (1/2 the weight of RX100)
    Aperture f2.2
    Resolution: 16 mp (5312x2988)
    Stabilized: OIS
    Field of view: ~32mm eq. (fixed)
    Size 1/2.3"
    Pixel size 1.12 microns
    Video 4K at 30fps

    More details are here:
    iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy Note 4 camera shootout! | iMore

    This is way better than iPhone 6+ and comes close to matching the performance of 1" sensors when there is enough light for ISO40. The image quality for outdoor scenes is stunning.

    What's missing of course is optical zoom, a flash shoe, an EVF, and low-light performance.

    ==Doug

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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    I dunno, douglas. Based on what I see on those photos, I much prefer the rendering of the iPhone 6+ over the Galaxy.

    But it's irrelevant. My iPhone 4S camera is good enough for what I do with it, and I'm not switching phones because of a camera anyway. I'm keeping the iPhone 4S even if I buy an iPhone 6 because I have a couple of devices that depend upon it anyway ... the devices don't work with anything else.

    A smartphone camera is purely a point of backup for me, just a little crappy camera that will get an image in a pinch. :-)

    G


    iPhone 4S, Impossible Instant Lab

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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    douglaspboyd, are you sure that a minimum 20mp from the likes of a RX100iii would be better than the likes of a m43 or APS-C 16Mp camera?

    If you want a light and portable backup camera, consider also the Lumia 1020 or especially the Nokia 808. The IQ from these cameras is nothing short of amazing and will blitz the Note 4 image performance out of the water.

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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    "Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?
    douglaspboyd, are you sure that a minimum 20mp from the likes of a RX100iii would be better than the likes of a m43 or APS-C 16Mp camera?"
    Maybe the image quality of RX100ii will be similar to M43 and APS-16mp, but the RX100 is a pocket camera with an f1.8 lens at 28mm equiv. and zoom to 100mm equiv. I'm having a hard time finding this low-weight and fast lens in the M34/APS world. I particularly like fast wide lenses.

    No doubt the Nokia cell phone cameras have amazing resolution and should be good for 20x30 prints or larger when light is sufficient. Definitely worth a look.

    ==Doug

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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    Okay, heading home from Russia now. I ended up using the Sony RX100ii almost exclusively in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The 28mm equiv, f1.8 lens was perfect for almost every shot. I set the ISO to 800, used the built-in bounce flash occasionally, and also used the zoom only a few times. I had the Nex-7 as backup but hardly used it. I posted the first images from Moscow on facebook here:
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=019db4a074

    More to come from the incredible St. Petersburg.

    --Doug
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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    Your photos look great!

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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    I'm glad to see that you had a great time in Moscow, Doug, and I'm looking forward to your pictures from Peter ....

    C U,
    Rafael
    E-M1/GH2/G1 Full Spectrum & lots of lenses
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/f6cvalk...th/9226689839/

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    Re: Which Camera to bring to Russia?

    Dear Rafael,

    Here are some from St. Petersburg. This city is all that I had imagined and much more. The Hermitage is unbelievable. This is a great time to visit since there seem to be almost no tourists, and the exchange rate is very favorable for the dollar, so it is actually possible to afford a 4 star hotel these days. All photos shot with Sony RX100II ISO 800, usually f1.8 and 28mm equiv.
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=6892d13bb3
    ==Doug

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