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Thread: Advice on a new camera

  1. #1
    AndyM
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    Advice on a new camera

    Iím having a little bit of a problem at the moment deciding what camera I should buy. I should point out that at this moment I only have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 P&S, and an old Pentax SF7 that I havenít touched in about 15 years!

    It is my 30th birthday in a few weeks and Iíve been thinking to myself for a while that Iíd like to get into photography again, and I should treat myself to a camera where I can actually control the picture once again.

    The reason why this message is in this forum is because Iíve think that the main reason I stopped photography is because I didnít like the hassle of carrying round an SLR with extras, and the presence that it creates. I think that my very first camera (an Olympus rangefinder) was probably the camera that I loved the most because it was simple fixed 35mm.

    The Ricoh cameras have got my attention really, I like the idea of both the GRD2 and GX100, and keep going back and forth between the two - I canít picture how much of a difference working continuously at 28mm would make, plus the GX100 is stabilised, however the IQ is better with the GRD and I (sometimes) like the notion of one less variable (zoom). The main point is that these cameras are far more likely to be carried around.

    But I canít decide if I should just get over myself and buy a dSLR - it may be that I donít feel conscious carrying round a dSLR these days. For about the same money as a GX100 I could get myself a K100D (or for a little more a K10D) and Iíd have better IQ and flexibility. It also makes me wonder which is easier to teach myself photography on, and whether Iíd get frustrated about the whole noise issue associated with small sensor cameras - grain is lovely, but on all pictures may be irritating. I look on flickr a fair bit and see beautiful pictures from both types of camera so it may be intentional.

    Maybe I should monitor ebay for an old GRD1 and get a Pentax in the meantime - Iím sure the 15sec RAW wait is worth it . But this might make things worse having two to choose from.

    What would you guys think? I see that many use their small sensor camera as a second camera - would they go one way or the other? Bear in mind here that I am a novice when it comes to photography practice (but Iím actually an Optical Physics PhD so I understand the theory) I really would like a camera to learn and experiment with. One of my primary theories is that it is all about composition and not equipment (to an extent) so perhaps I am worrying about nothing.

    Wow this is a long message, hope someone managed to read it all!!!

  2. #2
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    When I got back into photography, I started with a small sensor camera and manual controls. I wanted small to take it with me all the time. I still take small cameras everywhere so I don't think you can make a mistake in having one. It would be a bummer to get an dslr and not want to carry it around and then lose interest in photography again. There aren't too many small sensor cameras that shoot RAW and that makes the choice a bit easier. Circuit city was selling the LX2 (Panasonic) for $299. Full manual control shoots RAW (3-4 second delay with fast card) and has a good lens with a bit of zoom. The investment is not as much as getting the GRD if you decide that a dslr was really what you were after. The DP1 RAW write time would drive me crazy.

  3. #3
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Andy,
    I bought a K100D and lenses telling myself it was the 'practical' thing to do.
    I do not regret it, but once I got my GRD I use that far more than all my other cameras combined.
    In fact I am forcing myself to take the Pentax and kit lens with today just so it doesn't go totally to waste
    But that is just me and YMMV

  4. #4
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    I'll say this with confidence: after looking at thousands of photos on Flickr, I have concluded that you will get significantly better-looking photos with a Leicasonic D-Lux3/LX2 or a Ricoh GR-D II than you will ever get with a DSLR and a kit lens. Kit lenses, at least the ones that come on the most common Canon and Nikon dSLRs, are just awful.

    That said, a Pentax K10D with a sweet prime lens would be one heck of great camera/lens combo and a bargain to boot, especially if you got an older K-mount lens.

  5. #5
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post
    I'll say this with confidence: after looking at thousands of photos on Flickr, I have concluded that you will get significantly better-looking photos with a Leicasonic D-Lux3/LX2 or a Ricoh GR-D II than you will ever get with a DSLR and a kit lens. Kit lenses, at least the ones that come on the most common Canon and Nikon dSLRs, are just awful.

    That said, a Pentax K10D with a sweet prime lens would be one heck of great camera/lens combo and a bargain to boot, especially if you got an older K-mount lens.
    Maggie, the Pentax 18-55 is actually rather good. Surprisingly so for a kit lens.

    That said, my favorite lens for the K100D is the 50mm/1.4 FA.

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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Beautiful. Lili
    Glad to see your better & out and about
    toodles H

  7. #7
    AndyM
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Thank you all for the responses, I appreciate it.

    It is just tricky I think, and it will take me a little while to decide. I do have this affinity with Pentax; my dad had one, I had one, and they represent a great deal these days - especially as they start to clear stock in anticipation of the new models.

    But the fact remains, I have to purposefully bring an SLR, whereas hopefully a small camera would be with me anyway.

    In terms of price in the UK it is difficult to decide immediately:

    Ricoh GX100 (no VF) = £239
    Ricoh GRDII = £370
    Panasonic LX2 = £230
    Canon G9 = £279
    Pentax K100D kit = £279
    Pentax K10D kit = £440

    The GX100 probably would be best in this respect, but for some reason my eyes keep going back to those Pentax's. I'm terrible!

    Out of interest on the LX2, does this pre-RAW noise reduction make a significant difference, or only at the pixel level?

    Oh and is the lack of GX100 flash control significant, and is it really useable without a viewfinder?

    I think I'll take my time and decide over the next couple of weeks.

    Thanks, Andy.

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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Quote Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
    Beautiful. Lili
    Glad to see your better & out and about
    toodles H
    Seconded!

    I love that kitty and what a nice photo- great detail in the hair and whiskers.

  9. #9
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyM View Post
    Out of interest on the LX2, does this pre-RAW noise reduction make a significant difference, or only at the pixel level?
    I've never seen any of this alleged pre-RAW NR in any of my D-Lux 3 files. I think people are confusing artifacts from either image stabilization or plain old shaky hands to this non-existent "NR."

    The noise at ISO 1600 is really awful, though, and can look like "smearing," if you go looking for something that looks like it.

    Compact cameras like the D-Lux 3/LX2 and the GR-D II are wonderful picture makers and I have my wee pal to thank for lots and lots of great photos that I'd never have taken with an SLR or my M8, just because I can keep my D-Lux 3 in my purse all the time.

  10. #10
    VladimirV
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    If you're in the UK you should either get the original GRD for 249 at Jessops or the GX100 as they are a bargain and these cameras are just fun to use. If these cameras won't get you back into photography nothing will .
    I have the GRD now as my only camera and never regretted not having anything else. I do not believe in dSLRs and got fed up with one by just borrowing and carrying it for 1 day while my GRD was in repair. After the one day I gave the D70 back and shot pictures if needed with my crappy 0.3 MP cameraphone.
    I never had any problems to see he LCD of the GRD and the GX100 is slightly better so I don't think the EVF is worth it. I tested it in a store but was not impressed by it.

    If I would lose my GRD today I would go tomorrow to Jessops and buy another GRD even with the GRD II, GX100 and DP-1 there. I am not convinced by the Panasonics (do not like the colors and handling) and think the Leica version is a rip-of in the UK as it costs almost double for essentially the same thing. That said Maggie manages to get great images with good color out of it but I think this speaks more for her than the camera .

    Overall I think you will be happier with a small sensor camera to get back into photography, the best photos are shot with a camera you have with you at all time and not one that is at home. If you feel the need you can always get a dSLR later or a used one from ebay.

  11. #11
    helgipelgi
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    The DP1 RAW write time would drive me crazy.
    What are the numbers?

    The RAW files are only about 15MB, so I was hoping that would be a strong point

  12. #12
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Quote Originally Posted by helgipelgi View Post
    What are the numbers?

    The RAW files are only about 15MB, so I was hoping that would be a strong point
    I thought the GRD was north of 10 seconds and 15 seconds was quoted in either this thread or a different one. Six seconds on my d-lux3 with a normal card feels long.

  13. #13
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    The GR-D II can fire off two RAW shots in a row and then there's a 3-5 second wait, IIRC from Sean's review.

    Put a San Disk eXtreme III card in a D-Lux 3 and RAW write times are around 3.5 seconds.

  14. #14
    helgipelgi
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Ah so you meant the GRD1, not the Sigma DP-1 :)

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    The DP1 RAW write time would drive me crazy.

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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Quote Originally Posted by helgipelgi View Post
    Ah so you meant the GRD1, not the Sigma DP-1
    Duh - my bad....yes I meant the GRD I.

  16. #16
    Colman
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    I recommend you stay well, well away from these cameras: I made the mistake of getting a GR-D II before Christmas for reasons that sound suspiciously like yours. Then I ordered a viewfinder, and then picket up a GW-1 (and a viewfinder) and the tube for mounting it on. Then I needed a matching flash, and 19mm or 28mm are no good for portraits, so I had to order a GT-1 (and a viewfinder) to get the 40mm range as well ... and I started making pictures again. Lots of them.

    Of course, once I started making pictures and getting used to cameras again I took my DSLR kit out and started playing with it. Which reawoke my lust for the Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 ... which we bought on Saturday. Not to mention the wife's shiny new R7 ...

    The GR-D is a very expensive and dangerous camera!

  17. #17
    AndyM
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    Re: Advice on a new camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Colman View Post
    I recommend you stay well, well away from these cameras: I made the mistake of getting a GR-D II before Christmas for reasons that sound suspiciously like yours. Then I ordered a viewfinder, and then picket up a GW-1 (and a viewfinder) and the tube for mounting it on. Then I needed a matching flash, and 19mm or 28mm are no good for portraits, so I had to order a GT-1 (and a viewfinder) to get the 40mm range as well ... and I started making pictures again. Lots of them.

    Of course, once I started making pictures and getting used to cameras again I took my DSLR kit out and started playing with it. Which reawoke my lust for the Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 ... which we bought on Saturday. Not to mention the wife's shiny new R7 ...

    The GR-D is a very expensive and dangerous camera!
    Perhaps stick with my Coolpix and just forget the whole idea then - could potentially save me from re-mortgaging the house

    I think I need both! Damn it.

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