Okay, first I'm sure there have been many questions like this before, but on the search bar I didn't come up with much information I was wanting to know, which is just honest opinions.
So before I jump into the question, a bit about me. I've been shooting portraiture for near 2 years. I have a D800E and it's a beautiful camera and I am nothing but happy with it.... in the studio. I obviously don't care to lug the thing around when I'm just out to the cafe or at a family dinner. But I always get an itch when I see an image I want to take, but have nothing but a crappy smartphone to take it with. So here's what I'm looking for. Any suggestions that fit all or most are welcome. I have my own considerations but I won't mention them just cause I want to know what you all think without bias to the system I mention.
So here it goes, I don't much care for spec sheet comparing. I can do that myself. I don't care about pin point clarity, I don't care about frames per second, and I don't plan on shooting Avatar 2 so video specs really mean nothing to me. Just people who own cameras and can tell me why they like them or don't.
Without further ado, what I'm looking for....
1-Highly Portable. Pocketable is a plus, but fitting in a messenger bag is perfectly fine. The D800 hurt's my bad neck on long walks, weight is more the issue than size.
2-At least decent image quality. I would prefer a larger sensor than that of a P&S, but it does not have to be interchangeable lens. (however being interchangeable is a relative plus or at least having a decent fixed lens zoom. I dont like being stuck with one FL for eternity) Resolution and ISO performance are second priority to overall image quality and appearance, and more importantly ergonomics.
3-Under or around US$400 for full system. Cameras up to $700 can be considered , but for a take-with-me-everywhere I would like it to not be too valuable in the case of it being lost, stolen, or damaged.
4-Focus speed is paramount. The camera is to be used for street photography as well as the family portrait or two at parties. So being able to point the camera at an unsuspecting passer-by and shoot in just a moment before they realize is very important. I do candid street photos, or at least like to.
5-The look and feel of the camera are mildly important. I like classic looks but am willing to forego that in the case of excellence in performance. Not having at least one control dial that can be set to exposure compensation is a REAL killer. I tend to set my aperture wide open, set the shutter to auto, ISO to auto 100-1000, and manually control my exposure with exposure compensation. Without that function being instantly changeable the whole purpose of the camera is lost to me.
The only reason I ask this here is because the guys at the camera shops all recommend me the same cameras that don't fit ~enough~ of those needs or is exorbitantly expensive. It's either in my price range and is a slow, soccer mom point and shoot (no offense meant to soccer moms), or is 1800-2100US. Internet reviews are little help in that one site says a camera is the bees knees, and the other site says its rubbish. That and nothing compares to simply getting your hands on them to get a feel for the camera and it's files, yet I haven't the budget to rent cameras until I find a keeper.
Sorry for the long post. TL;DR - I need a small light-weight carry-everywhere camera with at east decent speed and image quality, with manual controls that's no ~too~ expensive.
Thank's in advance for any advice or opinions offered.
D800E, 24-120 F4 VR, 50mm 1.8G, 85 1.8G, 28mm 3.5, 135mm 3.5
It's slightly pushing your budget though, it's $648.
I really am not familiar with Nikon offerings, but I have two family members who really like the RX-100.
@NSXTypeR Yes I realize with the small sensors everything is hyper focal lol just a facet of the cameras that composition choices will have to revolve around. I have looked at the RX100 and if I can find a cheaper solution I'd go with that first.
A small micro 4/3s camera will have better performance, and interchangeable lenses. Of course in my mind the point of having a pocketable camera is that you don't have to worry about lenses. Owing and using two lens systems is just a pain IMO. I've been there and done that, and sold the camera. Now when I want portable I use a point and shoot or my smartphone.
That and leaving this open ended can help other people get their more general questions answered as well
I would LOVE to be able to afford an X-E1 and a those wonderful Fujinon lenses... but alas... I do need to eat.
I like the x-trans sensor. I've been able to test drive those cameras and that good old fashioned Fuji color is lovely, but none of them are something I can afford within the next 5 years. And I have a trip to Chicago this summer lol (hence the allowance of up to $800 because that's what I could save up by then.) But I would like to get to know a camera before I start depending on it away from home. So I'm looking for my options now. Ya know, the D800E is great, but not so great for walking 10 miles all day around downtown Chicago. But I digress. I've looked at the Nikon P330 and P7700, Panasonic LX7, Pentax MX-1, Fuji XF-1, Samsung EX2, and the Sony RX100 (whats with all the X's??) Right now I'm leaning towards the Panasonic because of it's fantastic Leica glass in front of it's verrrrrry DECENT sensor lol I'ts supposed to be the sharpest glass on any compact. But I've also seriously considered all the rest of them. And the only one I can actually go to the store to test out is the Nikon P330 and older versions of the others. (P7100, LX5... where the new ones offer from what I read very significant updates.) So if I had all of those in front of me at a store, the decision would take no more than an hour total of fiddling around with them all.
And BTW, I tend to avoid Cannon like the borg... I dunno... just always have and everytime I pick one up it just NEVER feels right. They just don't fit lol so the G series is absolutely right out.
Perhaps the cheapest solution would be to buy one that goes over your shoulder.
The most popular would be Black Rapid: http://www.blackrapid.com/products#straps
Looks like LumaLab will be coming out with their second iteration in a few days: http://luma-labs.com/blog
A7II: 16-35 F4, 55 1.8, 70-200 F4
I have a P7100 it it useless except in bright daylight
The D800 is heavy but using a Spider holster AND a black rapid will transfer the weigh more evenly
I got used to the G11's crappy optical finder because it's useful in bright sunshine, also to the tilt and swivel display. Nikon doesn't offer both in one package. I've not interest in G15, would go for G12 instead. But the main reason would be, I don't wanna go through this research process again, am used to what I know.
It's heavy no matter how many straps you've got on it. Since I've got latent whiplash AND scoliosis I'm quite sensitive to thinks hanging off my neck or shoulders.
I would likely recommend a micro 4/3ds.
My carry-around is a Panasonic G3 with the 14-42mm lens or the 17mm f1.7 pancake (a great lens), but I have a complete-ish) set of lenses and a GH2 as well and use it for longer trips and moviemaking with the G3 as second camera (when the Nikon D7000 (and now D7100) doesn't quite warrant it - and there reasons.
There are many cases to be made for the 4/3ds cameras - even over Nikon. I wish Nikon had jumped on that bandwagon rather than try to compete with a different format - I'm not the only one humming that verse.
Olympus pens can slip into a biggish pocket - think coats - and if your final product (in prints) are not bigger than 11x14 inches - you should be happy. My prints from the G3 and GH2 have been enlarged to 11x14 easily.
My kit, 12-14mm, 14-42, 17mm, 14-140mm, 2 bodies, flash, chargers and extra batteries fits into a small backpack and when I'm out and about, a very, very small day-pack carries what I need.
I'm adding portrait and wide lenses this year to maximize the potential of the kit. Overall it has been a fun kit, and has been a better video kit than Nikon - but that's another story.
Finally, and with some experience I hope you'll understand, if you are anything like me, trying to compromise what you want to carry and what you expect your images to look like is going to be tough going. I've been trying to do it for decades. It came to a point where I just gave up. I decided that would just be happier to carry 'enough' to get what I want to shoot rather than surrender want I wanted to do.
So I have a camera around my neck all the time. It's a part of who I am and by what I've become. I don't have any problem with that.
@ironheart, even a D3100 is a bit big for what I'm looking for, my messenger bag is about 12' wide, bay 10 inches long and only 3-4 inches deep. I'd like a camera that fits easily in those dimensions without having to remove the lens.
@aquarian_light I'm not sure what the Pens can do. Thom Hogan talks about them at his site and he uses one, I'm not sure which.
The G3 and GH2 generally work about the same, but the GH2 edges the G3 on additional features, but really, there isn't much difference in the images that they produce.
As you well know, there are a ton of choices out there, and most of them reasonably take good photos, I'd recommend holding the camera in your hands and seeing if the controls make sense to you. That will make your picture taking experience more pleasurable than anything else.
Best of luck and and my best,
and from just a quick look, even if the GX1 is fairly inexpensive, putting nice fast glass in front of it gets painful in my wallet parts really quickly. Where as the LX7 comes with a f1.4 attached for only $400 bucks.
A GX1 body is 249, but the cheapest sub-f2 lens is the oly 45/1.8 for $399. ouch.
A GX1 Body with a sigma 30mm 2.8 is $425. and that's for a slightly bigger sensor and 2 less stops of light. Meaning ISO 3200 instead of 800. I just don't much care for those numbers. The lack of cheap fast primes in MFT really is making it less attractive.