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  #1  
Old 1 Apr 2009
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DSLR - time to replace the manual point and shoot

Really interested in any thoughts anyone has on a 'decent' camera on the road.

I posted this to my blog a few weeks ago (some background on my experience etc) - Help find me a new camera » The London Biker

and the advise from my peers appears to be something along the lines of the new Panasonic Lumix G1 HD hyrbid

LUMIX Digital Cameras - G Micro System - DMC-GH1 - Overview - UK & Ireland



The advantages of something like this to the rider seem obvious - it's small - has fewer moving parts due to the lack of mirror, has smaller lenses (but a growing range) and appears to also shoot pretty decent HD movies when required.

This is my requirement list
  • Tough
  • Light
  • Compact
  • Decent video mode
  • Solid lens support
  • Easy to charge (I’m running this from the motorbike / powermonkey)
  • Easy to transfer images (no proprietary connectors - worst case - SD cards are good)
So... after all of that I'd be very happy to hear your thoughts, specifically on this camera and ultimately what you use and how you get on with it. The most important thing is I don't want a DSLR that will take up my entire tank bag!

m
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Old 1 Apr 2009
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Matt, even though I have a DSLR with lenses that cover 17mm-400mm equivelant i still think that my fuji S8000 is the best for tankbag travel shooting with 28-400 coverage. However, check out the new Pentax X70. 12 mp, HD video and a 26-624mm equivelant lens, perfect?
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Old 1 Apr 2009
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Hey that Pentax looks very good indeed... looking into that in a lot more detail, not sure about the fact that you can't swap out lenses - but hey anything is better than my (to be fair bloody brilliant) Casio Exlim

m
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Old 1 Apr 2009
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Why do you want changeable lenses? Yes, there are valid reasons....but when I've traveled with SLR's I end up using just one all-purpose lense anyway, even in an age when the best on offer were rather low-quality 28-200's. Maybe it works differently for you. Or not. But I think it's important not to get too bound up in fancy features and specs at the expense of what really makes a difference to you. Within a year or two whatever you buy will be passé anyway.

Hope that helps.

Mark
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Old 1 Apr 2009
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If you like wide angle look also at Panasonic DMC-LX3 P&S. I prefer wide angle to long zoom any time. If you are not a professional or selling your pictures I'm not sure what a DSLR will give you besides more hassle and bulk. Of course there are reasons why use DSLR over P&S but seems you are not very sure you need a DSLR anyway.
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Old 1 Apr 2009
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I do want to go back to an SLR, I'm just looking for a way to avoid the bulk - the G1 seems to do that nicely.

I want to go back to an SLR because I want to start taking photos properly again - I have a very good point and shoot with good manual over-ride - but I keep finding myself limited in what I can shoot, and the quality I can get with those shots.

So I'm looking for something with a substantial CCD, and inter-changeable lenses so that I can concentrate on taking stunning shots which I hope can be included in things like the Lonely Planet image library.

I guess it boils down to the difference in shot between something that is damned good



with something which is rather amazing



brilliant lenses are the first step - and an slr system will always offer a better choice of amazing glass over the top end point and shoots - and the second is the quality of the ccd and digital processing in the unit - again the top end point and shoots start to do well in that space, but still can't touch a good level slr.

.... off to look at the pentax..... oh, which appears to be almost identical in size to the G1......!
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Old 1 Apr 2009
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Matt, remember that the G1 has a four thirds sensor which is nowhere as big as other SLR's. This does make a difference to overall quality in the end.
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Old 1 Apr 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingdoctor View Post
Matt, remember that the G1 has a four thirds sensor which is nowhere as big as other SLR's. This does make a difference to overall quality in the end.
... but still larger than nearly all the point and shoots right.... I'm willing to drop the quality a little for the smaller body and lenses but it's still got a massive sensor to pretty much all the point and shoots - even the Pentax.

"The sensor measures 18×13.5 mm (22.5 mm diagonal), with an imaging area of 17.3×13.0 mm (21.6 mm diagonal).[3] Its area is 30–40% less than the approximately APS-C sensors used in other manufacturers' DSLRs, yet is around 9 times larger than the 1/2.5" sensors typically used in compact digital cameras."

Micro Four Thirds system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

so it's a compromise - I know it's not the best SLR out there for quality - I want something that's bloody good at a size that doesn't take up the whole tank bag... there has to be something out there that lets me do that.

m
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Old 2 Apr 2009
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Matt, you seem pretty keen on the G1, so buy that. It's always a personal choice and I'm sure you'll be happy with the results from it. You can even get an adapter to mount Leica lenses to it now! Although they'd cost more than the camera so it's a mute point really. The micro 4/3 system isn't an SLR in the strictest sense as there is no prism and mirror, which is why they're so small, there is an LCD viewfinder.

I'm looking forward to your video report of the new camera, whatever you decide. Good luck.
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Old 2 Apr 2009
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Most people I know who have upgraded from point and shoot have finally ended up with a DSLR (or SLR), sometimes via other cameras.
Yes they pack bigger but for many people it’s worth it.

I’m sure the G1 will be much better then what you use today, but maybe you can borrow a DSLR for a weekend and see if you like it?
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Old 6 Apr 2009
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@flyingdoctor - I do seem to have argued myself into a corner don't I :-)

@alibaba - Yes I can see myself using the G1 on the road and still end up buying a full on DSLR down the road.

m
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Old 18 Apr 2009
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Thanks for all the advice and feedback guys... not to mention a sounding board for me to argue myself into a corner :-)

I've bought the G1.... I've got this weekend to play with it but I'll write up a review as soon as I've got to grips with it.

m
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Old 18 Apr 2009
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Old 18 Apr 2009
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Film

Hi Matt my input is to look to the past for your primary imaging tool - Film.
Specifically any Rangefinder (Mamiya 7 - Hasselblad xpan ii - Contax G2) is almost tailored for the job of a motorcycle camera.

Option 1: What you "should" do.
My opinion would be to take a sturdy small compact digital camera like the Olympus mju 1030SW - an actual waterproof camera in a tank bag - Or the Ricoh GX200
And leave the main duties to a Film based system Any of the above rangefinders (but probably an SLR Nikon FM3a and 2 lenses 17-35, 80-200 with an SB800 maybe a D700 body as well) in a rugged case somewhere.
{as an EOS user this is hard to admit}

Option 2: What I would do
But because I'm me and photography is a fickle thing I would probably take a Fuji F200 EXR (or my fuji E900) as the digital and an EOS 3 with 17-40 and 70-200 f4 and 2 550ex flash guns, leaving my EOS 5D behind

Option 3: What you'll probably do
If you insist on taking the latest DSLR, then may I suggest that you buy a small film compact camera: such as: (in decreasing order)
Contax TVS 3
Yashica T4
Ricoh GR
Olympus XA

Option 4: If I could afford it
I would get the Mamiya Rangefinder with the 43mm 80mm and 150mm lenses with the 35mm adapter. In the tank bag the Ricoh GX200 But i would have a tough time leaving the EOS at home. If I were doing some long walkies or mountains I would have to go for the Hasselblad xpann ii option with only the 45mm and 90mm lenses and the Ricoh digital compact.

I hope that helps bring you back to making additional choices, specifically to take a film compact with you. These listed offer outstanding quality beyond anything in the digital compact range...

Specific reasons for film are the higher quality, reliability and ease of use. and option to buy film anywhere, develop and post home. Try to buy slide film in major towns you pass through.

Cheers G
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