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Thread: Walkabout camera

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    Walkabout camera

    Hi !

    I am debating what I should get as a walkabout camera/lens. It should be lightweight, not too bulky and have good image quality.
    I am currently using the Alpha 7R, plus Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II lens with a metabones adapter. I find this combo super nice from the iQ point of view, but the lens is too heavy and bulky to be used as a walkabout solution.

    So, I currently have several options:

    - Buy the 24-70mm Sony Zeiss lens. Since it's f/4, significantly smaller and lighter than my current setup, and IQ should be good.

    - For range, I could get the 24-240mm on the A7R, instead of the 24-70.

    - Go all in, get primes (a few Zeiss Badasses, plus perhaps the Sony 55mm and 35mm 2.8). But with 3-4 lenses, it gets pretty heavy although more easily manageable as I could break up the kit and only take the lenses I think I'm going to need (read, all of them :-) ). It's expensive, and kind of defeats the purpose of getting lighter weight.

    - Forget the A7R, and get a Sony RX10 (original version), which can be had at a decent price now, as version II is out. I get a 24-200 f/2.8 lens, good image quality. But it's a 1'' chip instead of FF.

    I am a bit afraid I will not like the IQ from the RX10 (I am spoiled with the A7R and Canon lens). I am also a bit afraid the 24-240mm is also not going to be good enough.
    Currently, I tend towards the 24-70mm, but I would definitely like a bit more range...

    So what do you think ? Ideas ?

    Thanks !

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    Assuming you want AF: Batis 25/2, Sony/Zeiss 55/1.8 and Batis 85/1.8... problem solved

    You won't save any total weight, but you'll have much less weight on the camera, fantastic image quality and a stop brighter aperture than what you have now.
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    Walkabout means for me "ordinary daily use."

    The specific camera I bought for this use is the Leica X typ 113. It has for me the right combination of size, a fast and excellent performing 35mm EFoV lens, the availability of autofocus and close focusing, the ability to capture movies, nicely arranged and easy to understand/use/remember controls, excellent sensitivity, build quality, and responsiveness.

    If a zoom lens would be preferable, I'd switch to the Leica X Vario. However, for me, that is what I have the interchangeable lens system cameras for.

    The X typ 113 complements well the M-P, D750, and E-M1 for when I want to carry less and don't need the extra capabilities of the system cameras.

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    Senior Member 4season's Avatar
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    On most weekdays, I might carry just the A7 and the 28-70 kit zoom, and on the weekends, the Ricoh GR. I sometimes need to get creative about how I frame a shot.

    On other days, I might carry the A7 + 35/2.8 alone, or accompanied with an RX100 or even my Olympus TG4, which focuses down to 1 cm.

    Rarely I will carry a consumer 70-300 zoom, mostly during spring when birds are putting on a show.

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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    I use the 24-70 as my main walkabout lens.

    LouisB

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    I guess 'walkabout' means different things to different people and the acceptability of trade offs of several best lenses & a single universal lens/body combo.

    If you are looking for a general purpose outfit with the Sony body then I can recommend the 24-240 as although it is a superzoom, it is fully corrected in Capture One and I've found the results to be excellent, in fact a LOT better than I expected. I use this as my general purpose single lens on my A7II / A7RII bodies. The OSS is effective and acuity is excellent with it and will beat out the RX10 albeit in a larger package.

    I just got back from Africa where I had two A7RII's outfitted with either the 24-240 for general wide use on a single body or 70-200/4 / 150/600 for telephoto work. Does the 24-240 compete with the 70-200/4? Well ultimately no, but that's the compromise you make for the range and flexibility. I also have the 24-70/4 and it's a good lens but ultimately I ended up having to carry around two lenses (24-70 & 70-200) on short trips which gets to be a pain vs a single lens.

    My other walkabout is the A7II & 35/2.8 or RX1R.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    I'd recommend the a7RII and FE 24-70mm zoom. That's my "walk around" combo. I've evidently got one of the better copies of the 24-70mm and use it both for regular and [a7R] IR photography. It's lightweight and has an excellent focal length range for my casual use.

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    All NEX' and the original series A7 cams are small. The task is to find a small enough lens of your choice to go with them.

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    I'd buy the 35/1.8 AF for your A7r and call it done.
    Jack
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    24-70 on the A7 is a big package.

    For a stock A7x I would use the FE35/2.8, new 25/2, or 50/1.8. Much smaller and much sharper. Then you are about the size of a Leica M.

    Perhaps even the 25/2 is quite big for everyday.

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    My general travel package is A7RII Leica WATE, 25mm BATIS, 55mm 1.8, leica M 90mm/2.8 and Voigt 180mm/4. These all fit in my
    Thinktank Sling10 or Thinktank mirrorless 30i shoulder bag. Both fit in my carry on luggage leaving room for the less essential items like clothes, and other personal items.

    I have the 35 1.8 AF and it is so small debating about replacing the BATIS for travel.
    Last edited by mark1958; 27th September 2015 at 18:08.

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    I quite often walk around our village with the 24-240 on an A7RII and before that an A7II.

    I keep the aperture at F8 and use Av for shutter and ISO 400 or 800 depending on the time of day and/or cloud cover.

    I like to combination of focal length range and weight. For me its just about perfect.

    If I'm in Chicago city centre with all the architecture, I'll probably use the 16-35 with the 24-240 in my bag. Or, the other way round.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    Quote Originally Posted by dmward View Post
    If I'm in Chicago city centre with all the architecture, I'll probably use the 16-35 with the 24-240 in my bag. Or, the other way round.
    My small travel outfit is practically the same - 24-240 for most walkabout use and the 16-35 for wide or tripod landscape / night work. I keep a HVL-F43AM flash and off camera wired adapter (Btw - what a cluster that is Sony! 2x FA-CS1M adapters and a cable required - really??) plus a mini RRS tripod in the bag and optionally a Me Foto CF Globetrotter tripod if needed.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    I'm pretty happy with the RX100 IV as a walkabout - in fact in some ways it's more useful than the A7 alternatives because it has a built in flash and does some video stuff the others can't do (high frame rates in particular, which are surprisingly useful).

    It weighs nothing, has a great lens and for prints up to about 20" it is easily good enough at lower ISO. The catches are:

    * You can't really get away with printing larger
    * The DR is lower, though with careful exposure that rarely matters
    * Higher ISO simply can't compete

    I used it for an entire trip recently and was really surprised at what it could do. Sure, for some shot I would have liked a larger sensor or a longer or wider lens reach but for me it's a great trade-off and I know that with careful use, if the subject is worth it, it can make a gallery print as long as you're not expecting a 36" mega print.

    (I should add that I had an RX10 II for a few days but it had a dodgy lens and I gave up: it felt heavy enough such that I'd rather have had either the RX100 with me, or if I wanted that weight and bulk just swing for the A7RII with 24-70 F4. On that lens I would say that it has sweet spots which are so nearly as good as a good prime that you use the wide and long ends for convenience with good quality, and the 40mm to 60mm range for excellent results if you need them. For me it's a zoom and prime in one, to most intents and purposes.)
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    Let me get my 2 bits in.

    There is always going to be a trade-off in terms of quality/size-heft with any system.

    I have the RX-100 MkII too and find it is quite limited due to the severe constraints on DR, high ISO and the flash while available is pathetic. The only time I use it is when I am attending an event where I cannot or do not want to carry a camera bag or look like another photographer. I then simply slip the little RX into my pocket.

    For walkabout with the A7x, I used to take the little 35 2.8 but found some color-cast and other issues with it. My own 24-70 copy is soft so I too am in bit of a bind, whether to get another copy or not.

    Right now, my solution is to take the 25 Batis on the camera and the 55 1.8 alone or with the 85 Batis in the bag, depending upon what I am planning to do and how big a bag I want to take. They give me the best combination of heft and IQ but of course with the annoying need to change lenses. The 16-35 while great is quite big though sometimes it does work wonders in close-in situations.

    Currently my Hadley Small allows me to carry all four of the lenses above with the A7RII so my entire landscape needs are met (although last night for the supermoon I wished I had a longer lens).

    If I had to have just a single lens on the A7RII I would go with the Batis 25. Sharp, small(ish), bright enough for indoor work without flash. It is also the best combination of any camera/lens I have ever used, in terms of image quality.
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    I tried the RX100 most recent version too - if you have girlie hands it's fine but way too petite for me. Good quality images but sometimes a camera can be too small.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    Oh, yes, I had forgotten the RX100. I had one, and I actually liked it. I sometimes wonder why I sold it. Perhaps it was one of those "I really have too many cameras" moment.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    Quote Originally Posted by miska View Post
    Oh, yes, I had forgotten the RX100. I had one, and I actually liked it. I sometimes wonder why I sold it. Perhaps it was one of those "I really have too many cameras" moment.

    Those moments are transient.

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    If I didn't have the leica Q which is my walk around camera I would have the A7rII with the FE28 and FE55 in my pocket.

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    I use an A6000 together with the 20mm f2.8 pancake. It slips into any pocket and having a 24Mp APS-C sensor offers me far more guarantee than the RX 100 types of camera. For added reach I find the Sigma 60mm to be the perfect complement.
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    My walk around is a little unusual, but I think that description suits my personality. My walk around generally is A7rII + Canon 24TSE + MB IV adaptor + Manfrotto table top tripod. I have pretty big hands and it doesn't seem like it is that big to me and then that 'big piece of metal' feeling is something I always liked.
    David
    Auckland, NZ.

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    This choice is, for me, a difficult exercise. I should somehow know myself better :-)
    I know that:
    - I am not happy with just one focal length
    - I prefer a zoom, but can live with a selection of fixed focal length (3 or 4)
    - Mostly, I am happy with a 24-70 (FF equiv) focal length range. Except that sometimes I "see" a picture where I would need a 150-200mm, and then am a bit frustrated if I can get it.

    The interesting new dimension in this, with the A7R, is that one can crop quite a bit more than with the previous generation of cams, so that could allow to lighten the load a bit by dropping a lens or two.

    Really the choice between the 24-70 and the Fixed focal lengths (Batis & co) is not easy. Throw in the lust for a zoom and / or sometimes longer focal length - and there you go.

    Oh well, at least when I can't decide, I don't spend money

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    Re: Walkabout camera

    One thing I would gain with native lenses (I now only use Canon with an adapter) is decent AF.

    So how good is AF (on the original A7R, not the II) with native lenses ?
    How well does the eye-AF for example ? I find that I am ok with manual focus (or really slow AF) in most cases, but moving people is a real challenge...

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    Senior Member Annna T's Avatar
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    Re: Walkabout camera

    Quote Originally Posted by miska View Post
    One thing I would gain with native lenses (I now only use Canon with an adapter) is decent AF.

    So how good is AF (on the original A7R, not the II) with native lenses ?
    How well does the eye-AF for example ? I find that I am ok with manual focus (or really slow AF) in most cases, but moving people is a real challenge...
    Like you say : no problem for outdoor. I find it very fast. But indoor when the light is not that strong, it become hit and miss with children.

    Here is one where focus went on the hand instead of the nearest eye (not because the AF goofed, but because the A7r AF become slow when the light diminish and those kids are constantly in motion) :

    Émilie showing an early interest in photo books and photos reviews
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