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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    12

    Invictus is going back-packing!

    Are you looking for a compact point & shoot camera, a DSLR, or something in between? Looking for DSLR I already have a nice point&shoot Casio Exilim.

    Is this your first camera? First ever, or first digital? It will be my first DSLR. Have never actively tried my hand at photography other than point and shoot, although I love looking at pictures.

    Are you interested in a high level of control, or would you prefer to let the camera do as much "thinking" as possible? Im interested in developing my skills as a photographer, the point being I want to photograph exceptional moments and sights so I have visual recordings of them for years to come. Would make the memories better, I reckon. All of this bearing in mind I have no skills, as yet. But Im a fast learner. So I think flexibility would be best, lots of help in the beginning, with the opportunity to take greater control over the cameras functionality as I learn more.

    If you had to choose, would you prefer a more versatile (large "") zoom lens, or top-notch image quality with no zoom at all? I have no preference as of yet? Again, flexibility maybe Id prefer top-notch image quality, as I want to photograph for my own albums. I have no idea.

    What size of camera do you want? To what degree would you be willing to sacrifice other features for compactness? As long as I can carry around with me as I back-pack through the jungle.

    Budget

    What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Max is USD 900, including lens, but honestly I want to keep it to USD 600. I can arrange to buy it in the US. I do NOT mind buying it used if I still get the same out of it.

    Do you plan to spend more on additional accessories now or in the future? (Lenses, lighting, tripods, batteries, memory cards, camera bags... it adds up!) If this first buy is a success, than yes! But not for the next 2 years, Id say.

    How long do you plan on keeping this new camera? Until I decide Im good enough to upgrade. Which could be 2 years. Or never.

    Usage

    What will you generally use the camera for? Taking photos of my traveling adventures, or of people and things in my home-town. Documenting my life, Id say. For me.

    Are you going to photograph sports? What sport, and from how far away? Maybe some extreme sports. I might want to be able to photograph myself surfing, snowboarding, volcano boarding, bungee jumping.

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos, or other low-light photos? I dont expect so, but having the option to shoot some sexy black and white portraits would be wicked.

    Will you make prints, or primarily view and share images on a computer screen? If you make prints, will they typically be small (up to 57") or medium sized (810"), or are you interested in larger sizes as well? Most photos will be kept on the computer, however I plan of taking the best, making prints, framing them and hanging them on walls.

    Are you interested in spending time post-processing to make an image "perfect", or would you prefer to use images basically straight from the camera? In the first instance, I want to become a good photographer first, however I expect to take a serious interest in editing alongside this. Id say picture first, editing a close second.

    Miscellaneous

    Are there particular lenses or technical features that are interesting or important to you? No. I mentioned flexibility with as little compromise on quality as possible.

    Are there particular brands or models you already have in mind? No, but I imagine Nikon or Canon would make the most sense, as theyre all over the world and fairly good household names.

    I will be going to Central America this winter. The first in a long line of adventures I expect to go on for the next few years. I will be taking this camera with me

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Livin in a redneck paradise
    Posts
    1,874
    Most backpackers want light weight first and foremost. This would tend to indicate a micro 4/3 camera like the Olympus E-PL1 or Panasonic GF1, or competitors from Sony or Samsung. The two-lens kits would fit your needs. That being said, I think you should aim for a zoom lens with wider than usual focal length, 24mm equivalent. I feel that is more useful than size savings. Two lenses that come to mind as being especially nice are the Nikon 16-85mm and Olympus 12-60mm. There are others that are similar, but I don't think they have the image quality and/or zoom range of these two. Then just choose the best camera to attach to whichever lens and still meet your budget. Lenses first! I'm thinking Olympus E-520 or Nikon D-3100 would be good for those lenses.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,931
    IMO stay away from the new micro 4/3 and similar mirror less cameras. They offer not real advantage in either space or weight saving or flexibility from the smaller DSLRs.
    For a DSLR I'd be looking at something like the K-r Pentax because it takes easily available AA batteries (that you can either buy or charge anywhere) and there is a huge supply of good reasonably priced second hand lenses available.
    If I was going on the trip I probably wouldn't bother too much with the DSLR anyway I'd be looking at a Panasonic Lx3 or LX5.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    12
    Thank you, both for your speedy responses.

    I have also considered, since I am so new to all this, getting the cheapest good quality used camera I can find on ebay, like a Nikon d60, and starting with that? Since I'm still in college, I thought that would make sense.

    Buy 'em used for about usd 400, or so. Comes with a kit lens.

    What does a wide focal point do (he asked stupidly)?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,931
    Quote Originally Posted by Invictus View Post
    I have also considered, since I am so new to all this, getting the cheapest good quality used camera I can find on ebay, like a Nikon d60,
    If you are going that route try to find a D50. They were a magic little camera and offer the advantage over the D60 that you can use either older screw drive lenses or the in built motor lenses. They also have 1/500 flash sync speed and the body top LCD display not available on the D60 series.

    The only disadvantage of a D50 is that they only use SD cards up to 2GB capacity which now may be hard to source so check that out before you buy. SDHC and SDXC cards will NOT work in a D50.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    western US
    Posts
    1,218
    Canon Rebel T1i (EOS 500D), Olympus 4/3 models, Panasonic G10, Samsung NX10, and Sony A290, SLT-A33 are all fairly light cameras with decent manual control. As this will be a mission specific camera, I would not be swayed at all by the traditional "reputation" arguments. Select the camera that fits your particular needs and wishes the best. I think it's nice we have so many choices now, would not automatically cross any of them off.

    Kelly Cook
    Canon EOS 50D, Fujifilm F45fd, various film dinosaurs

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Livin in a redneck paradise
    Posts
    1,874
    Quote Originally Posted by K1W1 View Post
    IMO stay away from the new micro 4/3 and similar mirror less cameras. They offer not real advantage in either space or weight saving or flexibility from the smaller DSLRs.
    The Nikon D60 with kit lens and battery weighs 787 grams. The newest m4/3 camera Olympus EPL1s with kit lens weighs 446 grams.
    The Nikon is 76% heavier than the Olympus, and proportionally larger. The difference becomes more pronounced as you add additional lenses. This despite the D60 offering somewhat lower image quality and much less control. The D60 does have an optical viewfinder, but no live view.

    I would only recommend affordable Nikon cameras (D80 would be good) with the 16-85mm lens, a Tamron 17-50mm VC f/2.8, or similar. If you stick with the kit lenses a micro 4/3 camera or the Pentax K-r or K-x would seem preferable to me (you can get a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 for Pentax also).

    A wider focal length means a wider angle of view, you can fit more things in the picture without stepping back. One of the most useful things a lens can do in my opinion.

    Edit:
    To see what I meant when I said image quality, see the comparison of Nikon D3000 to Olympus E-PL1 here
    JPEG
    RAW
    Last edited by raven15; 12-14-2010 at 03:29 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Singapore/Sri Lanka
    Posts
    332
    Quote Originally Posted by K1W1 View Post
    IMO stay away from the new micro 4/3 and similar mirror less cameras. They offer not real advantage in either space or weight saving or flexibility from the smaller DSLRs.
    I very strongly disagree. The weight and bulk of ILC cameras are significantly less than regular DSLRs.

    Consider the heaviest ILC offerings:
    Samsung NX10 + 18-55mm (Equiv: 28-83mm)= 612g
    Panasonic G2 + 14-45mm (Equiv: 28-90mm) = 623g

    Compared to light DSLRs:
    Canon 550D + 18-55mm = 730g
    Nikon D3000 + 18-55mm = 732g
    Pentax K-x + 18-55mm (DAL) = 780g

    Comparing heaviest ILC with lightest DSLR (based on the G-2 Vs 550D), the weight difference is 16.2%.

    Compared to ILCs with zoom lenses (compromising on flash and maybe EVF):
    Panasonic GF-2 + 14-45mm (Equiv 28-90mm) = 505g
    Olympus EPL-1 + 14-42mm (Equiv 28-84mm) = 482g
    Samsung NX100 + 20-50mm (Equiv 30-75mm) = 459g

    Again comparing heaviest ILC with lightest DSLR (based on the GF-2 Vs 550D), the weight difference is 30.8%.

    How about ILCs with prime lenses:
    Samsung NX10 + 30mm (Equiv 45mm) = 499g
    Panasonic G-2 + 14mm (Equiv 28mm) = 483g
    Panasonic GF-2 + 14mm (Equiv 28mm) = 365g
    Samsung NX100 + 20mm (Equiv 30mm) = 429g
    Sony NEX-5 + 16mm (Equiv 24mm) = 365g
    Olympus EPL-1 + 17mm (Equiv 34mm) = 405g

    This time comparing lightest ILC with lightest DSLR and you get a whopping 50% savings in weight (NEX-5 Vs 550D).

    If you compare the lightest fully featured ILC with prime lens (flash and EVF included), and lightest DSLR you still get 34% savings (G-2 Vs 550D).

    I think the numbers speak for themselves.
    Last edited by shahmatt; 12-14-2010 at 10:52 PM.
    Samsung NX10+30mm+18-55mm OIS, Fuji S6500FD

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Derbyshire, UK
    Posts
    2,505
    Thats a pretty comprehensive & usefull comparison Shahmatt. It would also be interesting to go further and look at the longer zoom possibilities. I suspect that the differences get even greater then. Certainly for me travel would dictate having as wider zoom range as possible in as lighter package. Preferably without having to change lenses so the 18-200 or the 14-140 (micro4/3) ranges would be a must for general use.
    Around every picture there's a corner & round every corner there's a picture
    - the fun's in finding them

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Livin in a redneck paradise
    Posts
    1,874
    Quote Originally Posted by raven15 View Post
    The newest m4/3 camera Olympus EPL1s with kit lens weighs 446 grams.
    For the record I'd like to add that the kit lens included with this camera is a 14-42mm zoom lens, so that really is light for an interchangeable camera/zoom lens. However, so far it is only in Japan so you'd have to get the slightly heavier version for now.

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