When a DSLR is too much...what then?
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Canyonlands
Registered: May 06, 2005
Total Posts: 220
Country: United States

In several weeks we are headed out on a 3 week long backpacking trip through the Canadian Rockies. I will not be carrying a DSLR. I have to carry enough as it is. What pulls off the clarity and dynamics needed to still wow our dinner guests as the images scroll across the 50" screen?

Is it a G12? A mirror-less setup? A video camera that takes stills? My budget is a couple of thousand so the Leica option is out. Any ideas?



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 13198
Country: United States

https://www.lensrentals.com/rent/leica/cameras/leica-x1-compact-camera

Rental for the Leica ... if that's what you're really wanting for your excursion opportunity.



Tete
Registered: May 18, 2012
Total Posts: 188
Country: United States

If you're looking to buy, I and have a budget like that a M4/3 camera like the GX1 is a really good option. If you need to have a built in EVF how about the Fuli X10 or X100 or Xpro 1. These are all great camera. I guess it depends on what you expect from your images. They will all produce a great images. I would imagine if you want Zooms then M4/3 is probably the best option but at the same time zooms get big so you might as well get a smaller DSLR with better IQ. I would consider the Fuji X100



philber
Registered: May 21, 2008
Total Posts: 7520
Country: France

As you haven't said what you intend to shoot, it is hard to come up with a specific recommendation. Renting a Leica without prior rangefinder experience is risky IMHO. My own recommendation would be that, if you are shooting landscapes, NEX is the way to go, either 5N or 7. The nEX family offers the highest IQ-for-size ratio at the moiment. NEX 5N has the same acclaimed sensor as the Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-5. You can fit it with great MF primes, like Leica M and Zeiss ZM, or moderately priced good AF primes, like Sigma 19mm and 30mm, and Sony 30mm macro and 50mm. Even the kit zoom is one of the world's best, for a kit zoom, that is. Only a high-end zoom isn't there yet, though it should be announced momentarily.
My own recommendation: Sony NEX 5N with Contax G 28mm, 45mm, 90mm. Well within your budget, and absolutely world-class glass. You will need an adapter, either Kipon or Metabones. Focusing on the ring is clearly not the best, but acceptable. Search the NEX images thread for examples, and you will be amazed that the IQ from such a small kit (the Contax G are rangefinder lenses, so very compact).



Canyonlands
Registered: May 06, 2005
Total Posts: 220
Country: United States

Landscapes and people are where it's at for me. Not into wildlife photography enough to justify worrying about it for this camera. A good wide angle lens will be a must.

I won't be interested in renting but it's a good out of the box thought. I'll probably be carrying this camera while doing search & rescue work, where again, I'll have enough gear to worry about but want to take a good photograph when the opportunity hits.

I like both the NEX and GX1 possibilities. Sourcing good used glass might take more time than I have though. I'll look at some of the smaller DSLRs too.



Tete
Registered: May 18, 2012
Total Posts: 188
Country: United States

I used the GF1 for a long time as my go to camera when ever i felt the Full size was too much. I have prints from it that are pretty big and the quality was more than ok. I used the 20mm 1.7 Lumix. It was small and solid. Recently sold it in favor of my LX3 but I have a feeling I will opt for the newer , better GX1. The M4/3 sensor has come a long way between the GF1 and GX1.



fixedgearmike
Registered: Aug 22, 2006
Total Posts: 380
Country: United Kingdom

I bought an M9 for this kind of thing (I'd had a good year...) and I happily use it for 1-day hikes in good weather but the battery life is crap and it's a bit too fragile-feeling for a 3 week trip, especially if you're camping along the way.

as per what Tete says, my wifes GF1 takes fantastic pics with the 20mm 1.7 - in good light they're as good as I could possibly need. I'd say a gx1 with the 20mm 1.7 would be perfect for what you describe.



time2clmb
Registered: Jun 21, 2010
Total Posts: 351
Country: Canada

Backpacking is the perfect activity to carry an SLR. No ropes, no climbing gear, don't have to carry what you normally would in the winter with avy gear ect...it's only a few pounds and if you learn to go light or shave weight elsewhere then even with camera gear you can be lighter than most people go. Some people carry 3 litres of water for god sakes where as out here I rarely carry more than 3/4 of a litre on back pack trips as there always seems to be a spot to pull water from...there's the weight saving right there.



Canyonlands
Registered: May 06, 2005
Total Posts: 220
Country: United States

My gear is fairly light as is. It's not ultra-light and I have no desire for it to be.

I think carrying a bear vault is required in Banff, Assiniboine isn't it? That's a heavy space hog right there.

Our gear is pretty light but we move, pretty darned fast for the amount of gear we carry, and at near 50 years old we haven't slowed. I had every intention of carrying the D700 and 16-35 f/4 but each time I picked that combo up I'd just shake my head at the thought of bringing it.

If it's going to be a DSLR, it will need to be smaller and about as light as an old D70s.



1DXWannabe
Registered: Jan 22, 2011
Total Posts: 521
Country: United States

I know this may sound silly, but my wife loves her new Nikon D3200, and at 24 MP the images it produces with the 18-55 kit lens it comes with are pretty impressive for an entry-level DLSR that is both small and light.

Cheers,

CARL
D3Xwannabe



cgardner
Registered: Nov 18, 2002
Total Posts: 9376
Country: United States

You might consider a GoPro Hero2 which does both 1080p video and 11MP stills.



time2clmb
Registered: Jun 21, 2010
Total Posts: 351
Country: Canada

I think carrying a bear vault is required in Banff, Assiniboine isn't it?

Nope. Most established sites (you have to stay in established back country sites anyways) have either bear poles or food lockers. I've never had to use a vault and would hate to carry one. (I live in Banff). There is no reason to bring that hog.

Just put your food in a stuff sack to keep the birds out if you aren't hanging your pack along with it. I use odour proof zip lock type bags to keep the smell a non issue.

Alot of the bear poles out here have some pretty gnarly claw marks on them...some thing to check out.

Bring your derned camera, you won't regret it.



time2clmb
Registered: Jun 21, 2010
Total Posts: 351
Country: Canada

You might consider a GoPro Hero2 which does both 1080p video and 11MP stills.

If you want absolutely 0 control over your photos what so ever.



cgardner
Registered: Nov 18, 2002
Total Posts: 9376
Country: United States

time2clmb wrote:
You might consider a GoPro Hero2 which does both 1080p video and 11MP stills.

If you want absolutely 0 control over your photos what so ever.


But if you attach it to the bear pole you can get some good action shots of the bear trying to eat your lunch. Also The reason I suggested the GoPro was also because in terms of boredom factor a short well edited collection of 1080p video clips will be far more enjoyable for people to see on the 50" TV than a bunch of stills in a slide show. The IQ of the GoPro isn't great but it's 140 FOV and nearly unlimited DOF makes it a no brainer to use set on a rock or wedged in the V of a tree to capture campground scenes, etc. and a typical scene in a well made video typically doesn't last long enough for the lack of IQ to be noticed. Not the best choice for capturing wall worthy art, more for capturing the essence of the experience. Video simply does that better than stills in many cases.

Depending on how much time you'll be away from an electrical outlet a film camera might be an option you might want to consider for the "wall worthy" stills. You can get the film scanned where it's developed for a few bucks.



shaunotter
Registered: Feb 15, 2006
Total Posts: 9
Country: United States

Part of your kit could be the sweet new, higher-end Olympus TG-1 waterproof/tough compact -- surprisingly capable and sharp, 25mm F2.0, 5fps full res, fast AF/shutter,1080P, etc. ... or a sweet Canon S100?
Maybe also a Panasonic GH2 w/ 14-140mm OIS, or Sony NEX, or even just a Pana FZ150 with 24x convenience.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1114554/0#10778351

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_FZ150/verdict.shtml



artd
Registered: Mar 01, 2011
Total Posts: 1175
Country: N/A

I suggest going with a mirrorless camera. The sensor in Sony's NEX cameras is as good as anything you'll find in any APS-C DSLR. The lens lineup is a bit lacking but there are some good options with adapted lenses...rangefinder lenses in particular pair well with a NEX (I like the Contax G lenses in terms of a balance between price / performance / compactness). Sigma also recently came out with a couple of small and well-regarded primes in the Sony E-mount (and 4/3 as well, if you'd prefer that route) which are quite possibly as good as the Contax lenses.

I've gone on a couple of recent trips where on one I took my mirrorless setup and ther other I took my DSLR setup. On the DSLR trip I kept wishing I had the mirrorless with me while hiking. Some people don't think that "saving a few pounds" is a big deal....but my back can sure tell the difference on a really long hike.



canondslr5d
Registered: Mar 05, 2012
Total Posts: 14
Country: United States

I've gone through a lot of combinations to use for hiking. So far the set up that intrudes the least but provides very good IQ and versatility is my Olympus EP-3. I carry the very small VF-3 viewfinder (but only use it about 25% of the time so it could be left out)......14-150 lens, which stays on 80% of the time and a smaller/faster pancake. It's not
5DMKII territory but with good light it's close. Also, you have all the built in filters, touch screen (love touching
the object I want to focus on rather than using the center AF point then recomposing).

Have the Fuji X10 and you are limited by the 5x zoom capability and a crappy optical viewfinder......but it works and
the image quality is just below the M4/3rds stuff. If you really want to go light your best bet is the Canon SX260.
Very small size, 20x zoom and very good video. Not good in low light and a weak flash. The only way to create
a narrow depth of field so your subjects will pop is to use the zoom.....shoot close subjects at telephoto
lengths.

So EP-3 first, X10 then the 260EX......heaviest (and most versatile) to lightest.

Happy hiking!

PS: Just read a few of the other posts. I had a Sony 5N for travel and hiking. I found the lenses too big, especially the telephoto and the menu system driving me crazy. All of the cameras I use (and mentioned)
have dials and buttons. The most important to me being the PASM dial. Even the point/shoot Canon SX260 has the dial.



hobbiesarefun
Registered: Jul 22, 2012
Total Posts: 33
Country: United States

If you can work with MF and a prime lens (35mm equivalent), my first choice for a smaller system would be the Olympus OM-D and the 17.5mm f/0.95 voigtlander for m4/3. That eventually may be my poor man's leica-like setup (Though still a hefty 2.2k USD as it is). If only the OMD has focus peaking...



Gary Petersen
Registered: Sep 29, 2003
Total Posts: 5392
Country: United States

Canon G1X was my choice. A bit limited but works fine within those limits.



jctriguy
Registered: Oct 04, 2004
Total Posts: 1192
Country: Canada

Sony RX100...if you are really looking for good image and throw in your pocket size this would be the one to take. Zoom range is limited but if you are not looking for wildlife it will be fine for people and landscapes. Any of the other suggestions still require carrying lenses and camera body and won't be on hand when needed.



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