Very nice video post by Derrick Story on attending a sporting event with camera gear:
The video was filmed by Frederick Van Johnson wearing Google Glass.
Very nice video post by Derrick Story on attending a sporting event with camera gear:
The video was filmed by Frederick Van Johnson wearing Google Glass.
Whether or not the DSLR is dead, Zack Arias’s enthusiasm is contagious. Yes, he may be prone to hyperbole but so what? Who isn’t when they love a new gadget?
Dig the dumbek playing that happens at about the 3 minute mark.
James Duncan Davidson has put together an excellent review of the Sony RX1. Coincidentally, I’ve rented one for a week and have it in my possession right now and I can say without hesitation that his review is extremely worthwhile to read if you have any interest in this camera (which I do although with hesitation).
I’ve been using a Sony RX100 (smaller Sony 1″ sensor point and shoot) for a while now and I can say without a doubt that the image quality coming out of it has blown my mind. None of my various Canon S and G cameras come close to it. The RX1′s bigger sensor and extremely high end lens go much further in making incredible images. I’ve only shot a few so far on this trip but I can see already that the quality is there.
For me, the question will be whether I can live with a fixed 35mm lens. That’s it. The price doesn’t scare me off because I know what a full frame DSLR and high end 35mm prime lens cost (more) and I really like the size of this camera.
James is an excellent photographer with any camera but his images with the RX1 really shine and are a great example of what’s possible.
Update 1: Another very positive RX1 review by Andrew Kim.
Update 2: DP Review’s Sony RX1 review.
Update 3: Imaging Resource Sony RX1 review.
This is a great promotional video from Sony on the assembly of their RX1 full frame, fixed lens camera, a smartphone and a camcorder. The RX1, which is the piece I’m interested in is in the upper left-hand corner.
For the past few years my Canon 5D and associated lenses have been sitting in a drawer, unused. I’m still taking plenty of pictures but I take them on hikes with smaller cameras; there’s no way I want to lug a big or even a small DSLR on a hike. I prefer smaller cameras without interchangeable lenses as they’re easy to turn on, get a shot, and put away so as not to disrupt the pace of the hike any more than is necessary.
There are times when my hiking partners and I agree that we’re going on a photo walk but for the most part we hike at a moderate pace and stop every now and then for a short break to take a picture. Hiking comes first, photography second. We have smaller cameras in small pouches connected to our pack’s shoulder straps and we can get to them easily without taking the packs off.
I’ve also been doing all of my street and architectural photography in New York with smaller cameras for the past few years and it’s great to not have all of that weight around my neck and on my back.
As many reading this know, there is a trend away from DSLRs for the demographic now called “photo enthusiasts” (not beginners but not professionals). A piece of this is the popularity of iPhones and other smartphones which is biting into the point and shoot market but the other piece of this is medium-sized camera systems: micro 4/3 from Panasonic and Olympus, Fuji X100, Nikon 1 system, and Sony making smaller cameras with interchangeable lenses that can take the place or bulkier DSLR kits.
A few months ago my friend the artist Joy Brown wanted me to shoot a ceramic mural she was taking to Japan to install. I brought three cameras with me: Canon 5D (older full frame DSLR) and a Canon 16-35 f/2.8 L lens, Canon Powershot G15, and Canon Powershot S100.
I took about ten shots (all RAW) of the mural with each camera and brought them home to process with Lightroom.
I mixed them all up in a Lightroom album, processed them all the same way, culled the losers and ended up with about ten decent images. I called Joy Brown over and we blindly went through and chose the winner and a runner up.
The winner was shot with the G15, the runner up with the S100. Amazingly, the images made with the 5D’s full frame sensor and the high end lens didn’t look all that much different from those made with the compact cameras. in reality most of the images were fine but there was a nice quality in the G15 files.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a G15 or an S100 is a replacement for a 5D and a high end lens, neither is. But for my purposes which at that point was shooting portfolio images for my friend, I didn’t see a need to keep the DSLR that I wasn’t using.
Given that the resale prices on Canon L lenses have remained good I figured I had an opportunity to turn over the DSLR part of my photo kit until the day I decide to get a Canon 5D Mark III or some other DSLR.
So, I sold my entire DSLR kit to two good friends at good prices for them and fine prices for me and that was that. If I decide to get another DSLR kit I’ve got the Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II on my B&H wish list and while this combo is big money, I’d pull the trigger on them if I felt the need. So far I don’t feel the need.
Because I have experience with the Canon 5D and a variety of high end lenses I have a good idea of what’s possible with decent equipment when I do my job and point the camera in the right direction at the right time and adjust the settings to make a nice picture. I know a decent image when I see one. Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed attempting to use my smaller cameras to make decent images and while they many times come up short, occasionally I get something I like.
The question isn’t whether I can get the same images out of the smaller cameras that I can from a full frame DSLR and good lenses, the question is can I get images that are good enough. My experience with Joy Brown’s mural showed me that I can and I have a number of large, framed prints on my living room wall that I shot last year with my Canon S100 that also show me that I can make images with small cameras that can be printed large.
So, after the sale of the 5D and lenses I was left with a Canon S100 and a Canon G15, both fine cameras although similar in that they share the same sensor and image processor. The lens on the G15 is a bit faster, the lens on the S100 opens up wider.
Before my last trip to Los Angeles to visit my 97 year old mother I rented a Sony Cyber-shot RX100 from Lensrentals.com. I wanted to try a small camera that has a much bigger sensor than my small Canons and the RX100 has a sensor that’s close to four times as large.
I didn’t spend too much time learning about the camera and took a variety of images on the trip, including a nice one at the Getty Center that rivaled the series I did with the 5D and 24-70 lens:
I took a similar image with the Canon S100 and it just did not have the detail of the RX100′s bigger sensor.
And one of my mother in very low light at 6400 ISO:
While the Canon G15 will shoot at ISO 6400 and even higher the files I’ve seen from it at high ISO did not look this good.
When I returned home I sent back the rental and decided to actually buy the RX100, thinking that I’d learn more about it on using it more but knowing that it’s capable of making spectacular images in very low light.
The RX100 comes with scant documentation but I downloaded the PDF of it from Sony and put it in iBooks on my iPad and I also bought an eBook that’s a full blown manual for the camera and I actually read much of it.
I took the camera on numerous hikes took landscapes and macros with it, shot in low light and decent light, and attempted to set the camera up and use it the way I’ve been using my small Canons for many years.
Here’s a list of observations:
The RX100 is a beautiful design but the flush mounted buttons and dials are difficult to find and use without looking at the camera. The physical design of the camera was fine in LA in great conditions but out in the field on a hike in winter was less than fine.
The metal body on the camera is aesthetically beautiful but in cold weather its tough on bare hands and given the flush mounted buttons it’s tough to use the camera with even thin glove liners on.
The camera is a bit slow to turn on and off, formatting an SD card of any size takes a very long time.
The camera’s general ergonomics: menu system, button layout and the like take some time to get used to.
The camera’s front control wheel does not click and sometimes seems to get out of whack with what it’s controlling. The front control wheel on the Canon S100 (which the RX100 is no doubt copying) has a satisfying click when using it to adjust things.
Autofocus (AF) is a bit slow at times although adjustments and familiarity would probably solve this issue.
When I get everything adjusted correctly the RX100 makes some of the best images I’ve seen on any small camera, they are outstanding in every way. However, making adjustments is not fun or intuitive for me and in the field, like on a winter hike, it’s very tough.
I like tools that are easy to use and once learned fall into the background; when I want to change a setting I ought not have to struggle, especially on a hike when it’s cold. I found the RX100′s ergonomic issues distracting and problematic enough for me that I’m returning it.
What’s interesting about this is that in the end I chose ergonomics over image quality and this choice will seem odd to some. There is no doubt that the RX100 makes better images than the S100 or G15 but for me, the cost of those images is struggling to use the camera. Will that struggle ease in time? Of course. But, given that I know what it’s like to use cameras that are a pleasure to use (for me) I don’t want to struggle, even for better image quality. Okay, some of you will think I’m nuts and I probably am, but this is very clear to me. I like what I like and in the end I’m the one using this stuff so I’d better be happy with it.
Update: On sleeping on it I decided to keep the RX100. I won’t be taking it on hikes in winter but it’s image quality is so good for a camera in this category it’s worth keeping for fair weather shooting.
I’m still not happy with its ergonomics but the images I took with it are in a different class from my S100 and G15 and that’s worth a lot.
My dream Camera
My experience with the RX100 has helped me better articulate what I want in a small camera and if Canon built the camera I want I think it would be a winner. Let’s call it the Canon GX.
Start with a Canon G15 body as it is.
Remove the optical viewfinder.
Offer a high quality electronic viewfinder that attaches to the hotshoe. Allow the eyepiece of the EVF to tip up to mimic a bit of the functionality of the older G series articulated LCD (which the G15 doesn’t have).
Give the GX a Canon CMOS APS-C sensor (same one used in the EOS-M). This would be a bigger sensor than is on the Sony RX100.
Give the GX a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. No interchangeable lenses, just one good constant aperture zoom attached to the camera.
If Canon offered this camera for $800 and charged $200 for the EVF I think they’d have a winner. I know I’d pay as much as $1000 for a camera like this.
So, in the end I’m left with two small cameras that are a joy to use but can’t give me the images that the RX100 does and the RX100 which is less than a joy to use but makes amazing images. The good news is that maybe at some point someone (hopefully Canon) will make a camera with the best qualities of all of these.
The Getty Center, Los Angeles, California. As some of you know I’ve been taking images of Richard Meier’s architecture at the Getty for over eight years now, almost all with a Canon 5D and a variety of high end zoom lenses. Today I had my Canon Powershot S100 and a rented Sony RX100 and I took a variety of images attempting to capture things similar to what I’d done with a DSLR. I must say, I was impressed with the way both cameras worked and while I’m not a big fan of Sony’s ergonomics, the image quality on this little RX100 is superb.
Compare this image to others in the set, I think you’ll be amazed at how well the point and shoot did.
I don’t have one of these yet (ordering after posting) but it looks great to me.
Best part: the SlingShot’s flexible cradle holds any smartphone ever — from the new iPhone 5 to the oldest Android (with or without a case too)!
I have a 4S with a bumper on it so the current set of clamps don’t work for me. This will. Yes!
This is a great (old) video of professional photographer Gary Knight sets up his Canon G10 (now G12) as a street photography camera.
He adds a hotshot 35mm viewfinder
He presets the zoom lens to 35mm and locks it there
He sets ISO to 200 or 400 (film speeds he’s used to)
He saves all of those settings so he can return to them easily.
I love the G series ergonomics and I’ve not considered adding an external viewfinder to make up for Canon’s useless built in viewfinder. I do make various settings on my S100 (and have on all of my Canon cameras) that I return to easily because they’re saved.
It’s great to see a professional photojournalist using this type of camera instead of a Leica or a big DSLR kit.
Flickr member Steve J Makin has posted an interesting shot of his current city walk-around camera kit and this is the kind of kit that interests me.
This is not an inexpensive kit but it’s a lot smaller than its DSLR equivalent.
Fujifilm X-Pro 1 Digital Camera $1699.95
Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 XF R Lens (on camera): $599.95
Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R Lens $599.95
Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro Lens $649.95
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Digital Camera $648
Total Fuji/Sony kit: $4197.80
There are other pieces to Steve’s kit but they’d be part of any kit.
No doubt some reading this will balk at the combined total cost of this kit but in fact, if one looks at this kit as a high end DSLR replacement kit that cost (with all the lenses) is about right. Here’s an example kit of Canon gear that might parallel Steve’s kit (keeping the Sony point and shoot
Canon EOS 7D SLR Digital Camera $1499
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Wide-Angle Autofocus Lens $1329
Canon Super Wide Angle EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Autofocus Lens $489
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens $409
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Digital Camera $648
Total Canon/Sony kit: $4374.00
Granted, I used a very high end Canon 35mm lens in the comparison so let’s substitute a cheaper one to even things out (I don’t know the quality of the Fuji lenses parallel to Canon’s line).
Total Canon/Sony kit with cheaper 35mm lens: $3354.00
If you pulled the Sony out and put in a cheaper Canon PowerShot S100 at $363.95 knowing that you’d use the Fuji’s bigger sensor most of the time and why blow an extra $300 on the backup camera the price drops a bit.
This is a fascinating study and while there are pieces of it that are subjective (does one like using the Fuji camera?) assuming that both camera systems make excellent images (they do) and one likes using them (many like each) and assuming that Fuji’s lenses are in the same league as Canon’s (I don’t know this but the reviews are good) we have real choices now. And, the Fuji kit is much smaller and lighter. This really appeals to me.
There is a lot of talk that the Fuji X-Pro 1 is slow to focus but so are some of Canon’s lenses listed above. There is the issue of few lens choices in the newer Fuji ecosystem but how many choices does one need? A few good zooms and a few good primes and a macro and one is set for everything short of birds and sports. The talk is that a firmware update for the Fuji X-Pro 1 will solve some of its AF problems. We shall see.
I have an aging Canon 5D and a few nice lenses left in my collection. Selling that gear could finance much of Steve’s kit above but I’d have to grow fonder of Fuji cameras to want to do this.
I do, however, want a smaller, lighter kit for walking around New York and possibly to take on hikes where spending some time shooting wouldn’t get in the way of hiking and what Steve has posted appeals to me a lot.
I have three camera systems: Canon EOS 5D with some nice lenses, Canon PowerShot S100, and an iPhone 4S. The Canon 5D is the most capable camera but also the biggest, heaviest, and most difficult to have with me all the time. The iPhone is the smallest, easiest to have with me all the time but it’s the least capable camera.
As many reading this know, the iPhone has been eating into the point and shoot camera market enough so that people like my wife don’t carry and use a “real” camera anymore, they simply take pictures with their iPhones or other smartphones. While I think this is great and I use my iPhone’s camera often, as a photographer I want more control than a smartphone can offer so I still have a need for a small, point and shoot camera to live between my iPhone and my DSLR.
For the past few years I’ve been using the Canon PowerShot S90, S95, and now S100 more than my other cameras because these cameras can make excellent images and are small enough to have with me all the time. That said, there are many other cameras in the growing “smaller than a DSLR” category these days and in addition to considering upgrading my 5D to a 5D Mark III, I’m also considering other cameras in the small, “serious compact” category. There is no perfect camera that will please everyone but I’m getting a better idea of what I want in a camera in this category. I like Canon’s ergonomics, both hardware and software and while I’m not absolutely stuck on Canon brand equipment, to me it’s like sticking with Apple even as other makers come out with better stuff.
In earlier versions of this post, I listed numerous cameras in the micro 4/3 category and some of Fujifilm’s new X series cameras as well as Canon’s new EOS M but decided that all of these cameras are in a different category than the one I’m interested in: they’re more expensive, more complex, and more capable and are really a middle ground between point and shoot and DSLR and they’re closer to DSLR; many people are now choosing these cameras instead of DSLRs.
I think the solution for me, at least for now, is to continue with a DSLR and lenses for studio and higher end photo shoots and continue experimenting with higher end point and shoot cameras with fixed lenses (lenses that are permanently attached to the camera, either zoom or prime).
What I have now is the Canon PowerShot S100. It’s very small (maybe too small), sports a 24-120mm f/2.0-5.9 lens, has a modern and decent (although small) sensor and image processing system and has excellent hardware and software ergonomics. Yes, it has had some production problems with stuck zoom lenses on some copies (fixed in a recall by Canon) but it’s an extremely capable little camera and I continue to learn new uses for it. Still, it lacks some things that I find appealing on other cameras.
The Canon PowerShot G12 is a great camera and I don’t mind its size relative to the S100 but its lens only opens up to 28mm which is common in smaller cameras, it’s largest aperture at 28mm is f/2.8, and it’s got an older sensor and processor in it than the S100. There will be a next generation camera in this series and I’m hoping it inherits some of the S100′s capabilities: newer image processor and sensor, 24mm f/2 lens on the wide side. I like the ergonomics of this camera although it’s viewfinder is so bad Canon should just eliminate it, it’s useless.
The Canon PowerShot G1 X camera is a slightly larger G12 with a large, APC-C sized sensor. It too lacks the fast, wide angle lens of the S100 and somehow they forgot to give it decent macro capabilities. Put its sensor in a G12/S100 hybrid and I’m in.
The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 is probably the hottest point and shoot camera on the market right now. David Pogue gave it an incredible review and for good reason: it packs a very large 20MP sensor into a pocket camera and has a very good Zeiss lens. The lens only opens wide to 29mm which is a bummer for me. If it opened up to 24mm I think I’d be tempted to buy one. It’s also twice as expensive as the Canon S100 although the image quality from the big sensor might make the price go down easier.
The Ricoh GR Digital IV is actually the closest I’ve come to my ideal camera that’s not made by Canon. If it had a 24mm lens instead of a 28 I’d have one. I bought one from B&H and returned it after two weeks because I found I really missed the drama created by the extra 4mm of wide on the S100′s 24mm lens.
This Ricoh has a very nice, simple user interface, it’s lens is a 28mm prime (no zoom) and that’s fine with me and while it’s not quite as small as the S100 it’s small enough to fit in a pocket. I think if my friend Gary Sharp got his hands on this camera it would be his favorite of all time. I may have to try one again some day.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 came out recently and I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. It may very well be the best of the lot and it does sport a 24-90mm f/1.4 to f/2.3 lens. I’m not crazy about Panasonic’s ergonomics and I don’t like the fact that this camera’s lens must be capped (it has a lens cap) but it looks great otherwise. If it sported a bigger sensor…
The Fujifilm X10 is a camera I’ve not tried but it does belong in this category: fixed lens compact camera. I did try the Fujifilm X100 and wasn’t crazy about its software ergonomics although I was swayed by its loyal users who continue to make exceptional images with it. It’s considerably more expensive than typical smaller cameras and it’s bigger…. But, the X10 is small and capable and I rejected it by association. Best to get some hands-on experience with it at B&H before concluding a thing. 28mm on the wide end but still, worth a look.
I’ve no doubt left out a lot of cameras here but you get the picture, there is still a market for high end point and shoot cameras, maybe more than ever. As more casual photographers use their smartphones it will eliminate the lower end of the point and shoot market leaving the more serious photographers and hopefully companies will continue to push these “serious compacts” into new territory.
First look at Canon’s new EOS-M camera, aimed at the red hot market segment between point and shoot and DSLR. This is a camera that appeals to me, it has a large sensor so image quality will be high and noise will be low yet is small and simple, not having the mirror and prism that DSLRs have for through the lens viewing and focusing that makes those cameras bigger and more complex.
Canon will be selling an adaptor that will allow mounting Canon EF and EF-S lenses on this camera.
It would be even better if Canon or a third party produced a hotshoe mounted electronic viewfinder so one could hold the camera up to one’s face to frame and shoot, maybe that will be available some day.
The touch screen menu and focusing system looks outstanding and for me, one of the reasons I’ve stuck with Canon for so many years and so many cameras is the simplicity and consistency of their cameras’ controls.
My initial impression of this camera wasn’t all that great but this video got me excited.
Canon’s information page about this camera: EOS M EF-M 22mm STM Kit.
DP Review has a preview of it: Canon EOS M: hands-on preview of Canon’s first mirror-less EOS.
The best (most complete, not necessarily most positive) review I’ve seen so far is here at the Imaging Resource: Canon EOS M Hands-on Preview. They (and others) talk about very slow auto focus, so slow in fact that the camera is almost unusable by any semi-experienced photographer. Let’s hope that these reviews are pre-production models and that the slow AF will be fixed by the time of launch in October.
Wouter Brandsma lives in the Netherlands, is a Ricoh compact camera fanatic and is an excellent photographer.
This was posted in 2009 but I’ve been following Wouter for a while and I’m bumping it up (changing it’s posting date) so those of you who don’t know his photography can take a look.
He’s one of the finest photographers of of the many I follow and he does all of his brilliant work with compact Ricoh cameras. There is no doubt that Wouter could make great images with any camera but I find it fascinating that a photographer of his caliber chooses these cameras, which by the way are’t all that popular except they do have a cult following among serious street photographers and photojournalists.
Vlad Savov has really done a great job of laying out the pieces of this puzzle you need to think about and in what order.
Ultimately, the number one lesson in photography is that there are always tradeoffs. If you want the best possible image quality, you’ll need specialized and bulky equipment. Should portability be your highest priority, you’ll simply have to accept that some photos and creative ideas will be beyond your reach.
In other words, there is no one camera that’s perfect. This is why I use three: iPhone 4S, Canon S100 (and S95) and Canon 5D (at some point upgraded to the next Canon 5X). Each has its place.
iOS 5 brought us the ability to use the “up” volume button on an iPhone to take a picture but I just read in lifehacker that you can use the iPhone’s earbud remote volume control to do the same thing. This will allow the propping up of the iPhone and hands-free tripping of the shutter button, essentially a cable release.
I don’t use those earbuds (can’t fit in my ears) but I think I might start carrying them now.
This is an excellent instruction video on how to make off camera flash more like mottled sunlight using some foliage taped to a light stand (he calls the foliage a “dingle”).
He using a Canon DSLR, a 70-200mm lens, a camera mounted IR controller to fire the off camera flash which is mounted above him.
Many of us (me included) find flash and artificially lit photography intimidating. The more we see stuff like this the more we’ll jump in and get it a go.
Looks like Canon is about to come out with a new compact point and shoot which will replace the S95 which replaced the S90: Canon S100: The New Pocket Powerhouse Point-and-Shoot.
Here’s Canon’s “official” page on it: PowerShot S100.
Here’s DP Review’s Canon Powershot S100 Preview.
As yet we’ve only been able to handle an early pre-production S100 briefly, but initial impressions are positive enough. It’s as fast and responsive as we’d expect from a Canon Powershot, and the handgrip, despite its minimal size, goes some way to addressing one of the criticisms of its predecessor. The rearranged control layout means you can now initiate movie recording in any exposure mode, without sacrificing any particularly important external control over other functions.
Of course everything will depend on the image quality obtained from the new lens and sensor, and as yet we simply can’t comment on that in any sensible way. Canon is making some pretty confident claims in this regard, calling the S100 the best Powershot yet with 1/4 of the S95′s image noise at ISO 1600 (in its JPEG output, of course). So we’re very much looking forward to getting our hands on a finalized camera to see how this works out in practice – naturally we’ll bring you sample images as soon as we possibly can.
The most important updates for me are:
- Canon CMOS sensor (S90 and S95 use CCD)
- Slightly higher resolution (12 MP vs 10 for S90 and 95)
- Better ISO range: 80-6400
- New image processor (Digic V)
- 24-120mm, F2.0-5.9, (S90 and S95 have 28mm on the wide end)
Looks like they’ve moved the ring function button from top deck to the back which is great. I hit it by mistake on the S95 from time to time when turning the camera on and off. Nice improvement.
There are more new features as well but given the way I used my S90 and now use my S95 the best new feature for me is the 24mm end of the zoom lens. This will make landscape and other types of photography much more interesting from this camera. And, the fact that Canon has kept the aperture at f/2 even at 24mm is a wonderful thing. Of course, 24mm may introduce distortion where 28mm did not. Time will tell.
I’ve enjoyed these small cameras tremendously for travel and even though I’m using my iPhone quite a bit there’s nothing like a “real” camera with exposure controls and a decent sensor and lens for making better images.
This camera is no Fuji X100 but given the new sensor it will be interesting to see if it gives potential X100 buyers pause. Not that there’s not room for both of these cameras, there is, and I could easily see having both myself.
[via Steve Splonskowski]
Mt. Everett, Massachusetts. I took my wife Anne on a walk around Guilder Pond on the shoulder of Mt. Everett before the mountain laurel went by. I took my Canon 5D and a few lenses because the walk was short. Glad I did, the flowers were in perfect bloom and the light was great.
The tension between ease of use, low weight, and speed on a hike and wanting to get better images is meaningful. I usually hike with a Canon S90 and it suits me.
I don’t like to take much time to shoot when on a serious hike and when on a serious shoot I like to take all the time I want to get a single image. So, maybe best to keep the two kinds of tools separate. I’m not looking for a single camera that will do it all, but I’d consider something like the Fuji X100 if I thought it wouldn’t get in the way of fast hiking.
It remains an interesting conundrum and one that I’m enjoying considering as I continue to hike with my S90 and occasionally bring the 5D on short photo walks when no one will mind me taking my time in shooting.
A few years ago I had a revelation: carrying a big DSLR kit on a hike doesn’t work for me. It’s a lot of extra weight, dealing with setting up shots is rude to other hikers with me who just want to hike and not stop every few minutes, and the kinds of images I take on hikes are more snapshot documentation of the experience than fine art photography.
Once I made this distinction I was free to do two things:
1. Not worry so much about weight and bulk in my DSLR because it’s not a camera rig I’m going to be walking long distances with.
2. Buy and carry a point and shoot camera on hikes and be happy with it. I’ve since been using a Canon PowerShot S90 and have been very happy with it. My hiking partner Dave uses a Canon PowerShot G11 and he too is happy with it. The images we get aren’t spectacular but they’re quite good for cameras like these.
My friend Dale has been looking for a camera to take on hikes that’s smaller and lighter than a DSLR but has a bigger sensor than than the G11/G12 or S90/S95. For a while he was interested in the Panasonic GF2, a micro four thirds camera that has interchangeable lenses and a bigger sensor than a typical point and shoot but no viewfinder. For the last few months he’s been interested in a relatively new camera that’s become quite popular: the Fuji FinePix X100.
This camera is a bit larger than a Canon G11, has a fixed single focal length lens (very sharp and fast at f/2) and is built to mimic a Leica rangefinder camera. It has an excellent viewfinder but the most important thing about it for Dale and many others is that it has an outstanding image sensor which allows it to shoot at higher ISO than point and shoot cameras and the sensor’s pixels are larger than a point and shoot camera’s so image quality is superior.
This camera isn’t for everyone and even those who bought early and love it have lists of things they wish Fuji would improve on it but the images it takes are outstanding and for many, the way the camera’s exposure controls work is a huge hit. Read the reviews at Amazon and B&H (below) for a few of the issues people are finding with it (even though they love it).
This camera isn’t inexpensive at about $1200 and because its popular it’s tough to buy even if you want to spend the money. For those curious about it I’ve put together some resources below that might help.
If Dale bites on it he’ll no doubt post about it as well as post images. Stay tuned on that. I’m in no rush for a camera like this although it does make me think about what I might take on a sightseeing trip to Europe where I don’t want the bulk of a DSLR but do want better images than my S90 can produce. This just might be the ideal travel camera and taking the X100 and the S90 as a backup is still less bulk than even a small DSLR. Interesting…
Fujifilm FinePix X100 In-Depth Review at DPReview
Camera Test: Fujifilm FinePix X100 at Popular Photography
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Review at Photography Blog
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Review at Luminous Landscape
Mike Mander’s review of the Fujifilm FinePix X100
X100 on flickr and 500px
I take discussions of gear on flickr with a grain of salt so be aware going in that all kinds of people are using this camera on flickr. If you dig you can find some interesting images made with this camera taken by outstanding photographers.
Finepix X100 flickr group
Fuji X100 flickr group
Fuji X100 Enthusiasts flickr group
flickr photographer Nokton, X100 set
flickr photographer Ryo, X100 tags
flickr photographer Staca, X100 tags
All flickr images taged “fujifilmfinepixx100″
Search for “X100″ on 500px (some outstanding images in there)