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SLD's??

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SLD's??

Postby jmac » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:20 am

OK, so I have always battled with the decision before every trip whether to take the DSLR or the P&S. I hate everything about packing my DSLR. My camera equipment combined as one item is usually the heaviest item in my pack and after every trip I swear I will never take it again. But.......I always find myself packing it back in. I'm a sucker for the results I get with my DSLR. While I love the convenience of a P&S, I hate the quality.

I carry a Canon 50D, 2-3 lenses, filters, batteries, and other goodies. The problem is the body alone is 25.7 oz. Add the other equipment and you have a very bulky and heavy mess. This is fine for short trips and day-hikes, but not very efficient or appealing for longer trips. This issue has been getting to me and has had me dreaming of a carbon fiber DSLR with magical lightweight internals. :D I can dream.....

In comes the super small and light mirrorless digital cameras with interchangeable lenses or SLD's(Single Lens Direct). There are a few out on the market but the one I have been looking at is the Sony Alpha NEX-5. This little thing weighs in at 17.7 oz.(including lens and battery) and is way smaller than my 50D. http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NEX5/NEX5A.HTM

In no way would I consider one of these as a permanent replacement for my DSLR, but maybe for those longer trips where I want all the quality without all the weight and bulk. From what I have seen and read they sound fairly promising. I would obviously be giving up some functionality and quality and I don't have any compatible lenses, but for what I want it for(small and light) I think it may work. I'm no professional and I still have a lot to learn in the world of photography, but I think I pull off some fairly decent shots sometimes. I'm just not sure if these cameras are worth it.

So, my question is, has anyone field tested one of these or known anyone to use one? If so, how is the quality? Is it fun to use compared to a DSLR? Does it have the feel of a quality device while shooting, or does it feel like a P&S? Is it really worth it? These cameras are not cheap and neither are the lenses. I would hate to invest in one just to save a few ponds and some pack space only to be unhappy with the results.

Before I jump on this though, I plan to use my Rebel Xsi with only one lens for a couple trips and see how that works out. Far lighter and smaller than my current setup, but I have just never really liked using this camera. It would be incredibly cheaper for me to go this route. It's currently out of commission and I need to send it out for repair first. Does anyone else have any cures for their DSLR blues they would like to share?



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Re: SLD's??

Postby Mike M. » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:23 pm

Check out dpreview.com and imaging-resource.com for this and other compact choices. The NEX-5 has received mixed reviews. It is an innovative camera, but homely -- gawky would be the best word. Some love the way it looks, some hate it. Performance is good, but not the best. The interface is quirky. RAW images are very good.

Here is the complete dpreview: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/SonyNex5Nex3/

Here is the complete imaging resources review: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NEX5/NEX5A.HTM

If you like this size and are interested in innovative designs, you might look at the Olympus PEN series of micro 4/3rds cameras. The latest generation gets very good reviews and they are much more affordable than when they first came out. These cameras have the retro rangefinder look.

Battery life is a major consideration for me, and most of these cameras are only so-so in that department.

I still struggle with the question of whether to take the P&S or the DSLR. I love my old Canon A620 and am completely comfortable using it. The DSLR is capable of taking better photos, but my ability to consistently get the best results is suspect. Plus it is much heaver and bulkier.

Mike
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Re: SLD's??

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:53 pm

Mike M. wrote "I still struggle with the question of whether to take the P&S
or the DSLR."

IMHO a lot of folks buy cameras (and a lot of other toys) that are way more than what
they really need.
If taken as an instrument, for a specific purpose, the choice becomes less difficult.
Questions like, will I be printing any larger than 8x10, or for posting on the web only,
if honestly answered, most folks probably would never have ended up buying a DSLR.
Buying on a whim, or dreaming of making a lot of money from landscape photography
is a good way to spend a lot of unnecessarily.
Now if you have a good eye for photography, develop the necessary skill, and know
how to market, than sure, but even then things need to be taken slowly, and one needs
to work there way up to the more expensive equipment.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: SLD's??

Postby jmac » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:19 pm

Thanks Mike M. I appreciate the info. Great link on dpreview.com and the Olympus Pen Series cameras look really cool! This is all great stuff to keep into consideration when and if I decide to finally purchase a mid level camera. Good luck with your P&S or DSLR decisions in the future. For some reason I always kick myself in the butt every time I decide to go with the P&S. I guess the question I must answer is do I want to step down from a DSLR all in the interest of weight. As I have been going insane attempting to drop pounds from my pack it seems ever more appealing to do so.

Thanks for the advice Maverick and I must say you have some amazing shots on your website. Absolutely wonderful stuff! You have images that anyone would be proud of and with that said I think you can appreciate the decision to go with a DSLR over a P&S. I totally get what you are saying about spending the money on expensive camera equipment and how it may not be a smart decision for everyone. In my case I already own a couple DSLR's with a collection of lenses. I love photography, using different lenses and filters, and editing. Taking pictures is one of those things I spend a lot of time doing on my trips. It is a hobby for my wife and I which we can be pretty serious about, but don't plan to get famous or make a lot of money. Part of what completes a good trip for me is getting home and working on my shots. It's a satisfaction I just can't get with a P&S, and yes, unlike most I do occasionally print larger than 8x10. :) So, I guess in my case that expensive camera equipment is a necessary tool in my pack! Now I just need to enhance my skills a bit more!

Thanks guys. And again awesome images Maverick! I really like the Little Lakes and Ediza shots.
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Re: SLD's??

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:59 pm

Hi Jmac

Let me add, since you have an interest in photography, that a good amount of time
is scouting locations during the day so you can find those special locations to set up
at, and then wait for the golden hours, which will hopefully produce those dramatic
colors we as photographers desire.
Also scouting for places for those night time shots that take just as much fore thought
as due the day shots.
Also the willingness to endure the elements since most of the cool colors or dramatic
shots happen before, during, and after major weather events (thunderstorms, snow
storms).
Most folks wish for good weather, good weather for me is storms, break, storms, break
and more storms!
You say you have some processing skills, which you'll have to be very good at to produce
quality prints, because ever little flaw is magnified the larger you print.
If you want to invest more money in your hobby than buy used, FredMiranda.com has
good stuff, and honest folks selling quality used gear ( have purchased a 70-200, and
100-400 lens from sellers on the site).
PM me anytime if you have any questions.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: SLD's??

Postby jmac » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:21 pm

Thanks again Maverick. You hit the nail on the head. I'll have to admit my greatest weaknesses are not being in the right place at the right time and the fact that I need better lenses. I have few shots that are actually captured during the golden hours. I admit, and it has been getting to me lately that I need to start making that extra effort to get to the spots I want during that time. Sometimes I'm exhausted, cold, or just lazy, but the thing is I always regret missing that perfect lighting. It always seems so much harder when I'm backpacking. Thanks for the link, btw. Bookmarked. As for post-processing I'm learning and I still have much to learn. I really want to learn more as I know it is the key to great prints. I usually use lightroom for color correction and jump over to photoshop for fine tuning, but I know the results could be better if I had more post-processing skills. Luckily I have a big full life ahead of me to practice!
Thanks a lot for the advice. I really appreciate it.
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Re: SLD's??

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:32 am

Jmac wrote "I'll have to admit my greatest weaknesses are not being in the right
place at the right time and the fact that I need better lenses."

Which makes the difference between an ordinary snap shot, and a shot that has
been previsualized, and composed to express your artistic vision.
Ron Bigelow's site has some great articles which are well written, quite thorough
and will help you along in understanding photography from a technical and artistic
side.
http://ronbigelow.com/articles/articles.htm

You mentioned needing some good lenses.
Look at the photo's you have taken, and see what focal length's were used for
your favorite shots, and buy accordingly.
Buying a lens just because it is expensive, and rated highly, but doesn't suit your
artistic style makes no sense.

Jmac wrote "And again awesome images Maverick! I really like the Little Lakes and
Ediza shots." Thanks.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: SLD's??

Postby jmac » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:13 pm

Thanks :)
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