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Thread: Help me find a new camera

  1. #1
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    Help me find a new camera

    Ok all, you saw the thread title, help me find a new camera system. I'm posting in the Sunset Bar because everything is on the menu. Requirements are somewhat in order:

    1. Small, light and portable. I had a Nikon FM with a small Sigma 28-70 zoom that I took EVERYWHERE because it was small and while not a stellar performer, that lens could do almost anything. I'm trying to get back to that size. My current everywhere camera is an old Canonet GIII - nice, but very limited (top shutter speed 1/500) and not real reliable, though I just did some work on it, so that may improve. My Canon 10D with 17-35, 50/1.8 and 85/1.8 made a nice travel package, but if I could have traded the zoom for a wide prime I would have.

    2. Durable. I would like to lie and tell you that my cameras live in a padded Pelican case that floats on air, but that is not the case. I have fallen on the Canonet on scree fields more often than I want to admit. My Canon 10D and L glass was used shooting sailing in a tornado (not weather sealed my @ss). That said, I don't abuse my gear and aside from my 50 'cron that took a trip down a flight of stairs, I have never broken a piece of camera equipment from abuse.

    3. Zero shutter lag. I shot with a Nikon 8008 and Canon 10D long enough that I learned to anticipate the shutter lag, but life is too short and moves too fast.

    4. Color fidelity and dynamic range. I think this is what I love most about my DMR and was such an eye-opener coming from my Canons at the time. Color fidelity and dynamic range are more important to me than resolution.

    4.5 That 3D Leica look. Last time I checked Leica didn't patent it, and to some degree my Canonet has it, but my old Canon digitals didn't and neither did my Nikon film cameras. Hasselblad V series does, my Fuji 6x9 didn't.

    5. Fast. The camera needs to be fast and easy to operate. I'm not really sure how to quantify this, but I think you know what I mean. The Canon 10D is not fast. The Nikon D2x is very fast. My Canonet is fast (I can shoot about 3 fps on it). The DMR is slow, but the lack of shutter lag kind of makes up for it.

    6. Good view finder. Someone on FM once described the the 10D viewfinder as looking at a postage stamp at the end of a dark tunnel, and was ultimately my last straw with the camera. The viewfinder on the Canonet is tiny, but bright and easy to compose. I'm not going to limit my choices to an optical viewfinder. I have no experience with EVFs, but wouldn't rule them out.

    7. Flexible. Since I really can only afford to have one camera system, it needs to be able to do anything. That said, I would give a camera like the M8 a pass as it is pretty flexible within its range and I can easily pickup a low end Canon to shoot telephoto. If I had to sum up what/how I shoot I would say to think travel photographer -- anything and everything, but rarely in a studio or that holds still for very long.

    8. Resolution. I need minimum 10mp to shoot magazine double truck. I would say my average print size is 16x24. The DMR handles this with ease, but they are very high-quality pixels.

    9. Battery life. I am often away from electricity for days at a time, so power economy is important. This can be somewhat negated if batteries are small, light and cheap and I can carry a bunch (e.g. Canon BP-11).

    10. System price. This is another area where something like the M8 is deceptive. New prices are insane, but used lenses can be somewhat affordable.

    There are so many options that seem to have some of what I want that I don't know where to start. Ideally I want the power of a 1DsIII in a package the size of a M8 with the color fidelity and general look of the DMR. I am assuming that digital is the best way to get this, but I am not opposed to film and in time may add a 4x5 or 6x9 for when image quality trumps all else.

    I realize this seems like a crazy, "pie in the sky" list, and to some degree it is. I realize that I won't be able to get everything in one camera body (though I hope I'm wrong about that), but I think this is what most people really want, not just me.

    Thanks for the help, your insight is much appreciated.

    Bill

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    Just get a good used M8 or an M7.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    Thanks John, I have to admit that right now I am leaning toward a M8. Anyone else have thoughts you are willing to share?

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    Senior Member kevinparis's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    just my 5 cents worth - looking at your list of requirements i would suggest a look at the olympus range.

    I am no pro but i do have a 510 and the things i like are

    1) small size
    2) very instinctive and fast user interface
    3) good lenses ( 12-60 and 50-200 get good reviews - double these numbers to get 35mm equivs) and access to legacy lenses from practically everybody except Canon via adapters albeit with manual focus and stop down metering
    4) In body IS... works with legacy lenses

    things i dislike on the 510 are

    1) the viewfinder - but e-30 and e-3 are much better
    2) High ISO not in D700 league

    Not comparing Olympus to a M8 in any way - but think that it would be worth you checking out the range of cameras and lenses they offer

    cheers

    kevin

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    The one caveat about the M8 that might be a factor given your criteria is speed (fast). I'm going to jump to the conclusion that you mean fast as in fast auto focus and fast in terms of frames per second. This is not M8's greatest strength. It's true that you can zone focus and set a manual exposure to get you close so you can hip shoot or bring the camera to the eye, compose and shoot. But it ain't a sportshooter.

    While I'll probably catch hell for this, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you're accepting assignments from magazines or other pro assignments that can vary all over the place from one job to the next, then a DSLR is going to get the job done better for you. And you'll be much more comfortable going from a grip and grin to a Cream revival concert.

    Having said that, I would suggest either a D700, an a900, or a 5dII. Go to a store and try them all and unless you already have a stable of lenses for one system, pick the one that feels best. Any of them can shoot in the rain or produce a file big enough to cover a 2-page spread.

    Good Luck!
    Tim

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    Wouldn't shoot a 5DII in the rain based on the reported problems regarding it and moisture.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    Thanks Kevin, I'll take a look at the Olympus line. They sponsor a friend of mine, but I am not at all familiar with them.

    Tim, thanks for the thoughts. I don't really consider myself a pro any longer as it is not my primary source of income, but I recently started a marketing company and suddenly seem to be shooting again. One thing that surprised me recently was how different the images from the DMR looked in print compared with images from photographers that shot Canon. Not necessarily better (ok, I thought they were better), but still retaining the Leica fingerprint. When I talk about speed, I would say that fast AF and FPS is one factor, but more the general speed of using the camera -- how long does it take to turn on, are all essential functions at your fingertips or are you constantly scrolling through menus, how easy is it to focus on what you want, shutter lag, etc.

    I shoot some environmental portraits, some product (could be small, could weigh 30,000 lb.), some action. If I were to admit to a shooting style I would say reportage.
    Last edited by Bill_Green; 24th June 2009 at 12:03.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    John: Yeah, I heard those reports too. However, i have no personal experience with Canon and simply wished to be even-handed.

    Bill: Based on your last post, I think my general impression still stands. Rangefinders are a special breed and if you've got the disease, er I mean, passion for it, it's a wonderful system. I love mine. I'll never sell it. I prefer to shoot with it over everything else. But I don't HAVE to get the shot. Ever. So it's a luxury/addiction I can live with. The minute I start shooting for money is when I lay down for the D700(x-s-z whatever).

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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    Wouldn't shoot a 5DII in the rain based on the reported problems regarding it and moisture.
    I don't want get into a Canon bashing thread, because they make fine cameras and are still on the table. Canon has always marketed their weather sealing in pro models, but if there is even the slightest hint of moisture in the camera, they will void the warranty. That goes for CPS too. That is one of the reasons I switched.

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    Senior Member kevinparis's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    bill

    before my olympus my DSLR was a Canon 10D too... Just dragged it out to muck about...jeez is it slow and awkward to use... progress in digital is much faster that in the days of film :-)

    when i say slow i mean time to write the image to the card and then see it.... on latest dslrs its almost instant... and you see it on a bigger screen

    happy hunting

    K

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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    In some ways I kind of miss the 10D, but mostly because it was my first digital and I took some good pictures with it. I remember not particularly liking it when I had it.

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    Re: Help me find a new camera

    sounds like you are describing a d700 with zeiss on the front.?

    As a do-everything I like my 5DII and have an M8 in the bag as well for "me."

    the nikons are probably more robust, and if you like the one button per function idea, it could be the way to go. the fact that you said some "product" means that you will be frustrated by the rangefinder, otherwise I would say M8 or M7 even. Live view on a tripod is great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    Thanks Kevin, I'll take a look at the Olympus line. They sponsor a friend of mine, but I am not at all familiar with them.

    Tim, thanks for the thoughts. I don't really consider myself a pro any longer as it is not my primary source of income, but I recently started a marketing company and suddenly seem to be shooting again. One thing that surprised me recently was how different the images from the DMR looked in print compared with images from photographers that shot Canon. Not necessarily better (ok, I thought they were better), but still retaining the Leica fingerprint. When I talk about speed, I would say that fast AF and FPS is one factor, but more the general speed of using the camera -- how long does it take to turn on, are all essential functions at your fingertips or are you constantly scrolling through menus, how easy is it to focus on what you want, shutter lag, etc.

    I shoot some environmental portraits, some product (could be small, could weigh 30,000 lb.), some action. If I were to admit to a shooting style I would say reportage.

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