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Author Topic: Pocket cam  (Read 2897 times)

MattBurt

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Pocket cam
« on: April 13, 2018, 02:16:01 PM »

I've been looking at small cameras like the M4/3 (Oly PEN, etc) systems and Fujifilm compacts like the X-A10, X-A5 or X-100F for several years now in search of a nice small camera that would be easier to carry than my Pentax K-3 or a smaller Pentax body like the K-70.

I look and look and read reviews and then I never pull the trigger after reading stuff like "After coming from a SLR I was disappointed." in reviews.
I don't need it to compete with a SLR but I also don't want it to be annoyingly bad in low light or with AF or general lag. It needs to be significantly better than a phone in terms of responsiveness and IQ.

So my question is, who of you has this type of camera as a compliment to larger system(s) and what do you like or not like?
I'm also somewhat frugal (cheap like my dad) so cost is a big factor and a reason I have not done this yet. If I could keep it under $800 that would be ideal (but it eliminates some contenders for sure). Closer to $3-400 would be even better.

Is what I hope for just unattainable at my price point or are the reviews being too critical? Any suggestions? Thanks.
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sdwilsonsct

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2018, 03:19:38 PM »

I'm happy with Sony RX100s. Same size sensor as the RX-10 which is highly reviewed.

I like everything about my current RX100 iii except that it isn't weatherproof. Also I don't need the viewfinder but it came with the 24-mm equivalent lens.

The pocket size is a huge advantage.

TommyWeir

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2018, 03:26:44 PM »

You've got a number of options.  But I'd forget about 300.

One I've had for a number of years now is a Lumix LX100.   I suppose a premium point and shoot.   A micro 4/3 camera with the equivalent of a 24-75mm lens and a good lens it is too.   I have to say it's a really useful item.  You don't notice it in your bag or coat pocket.  It takes really quite good images, albeit 12Mp.   I don't go printing these, but they are more than useful for web or documentation or research or general family use.  The macro facility is fantastic quality and given the 12Mp/Micro 4/3 the low light is pretty good.  The one pro use I have for it is video, it has the guts of a GH4 in there and takes stellar 4k video for the price, and I've used it for macro video and as a second camera.   You can pick them up for around 600.

People have said good things about the Sony RX series and there's the Fuji X70 if a fixed lens is to your liking, a good bit cheaper than the X100.

There's always a tradeoff obviously.  Several usually.  But the benefit of size and 'always with you' has its merits.   Saw a documentary with Saul Leiter and he was shooting around New York with what looked like an LX5 or LX7.

stever

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2018, 03:38:30 PM »

if you can live without the viewfinder, i tested the Panasonic LX10 vs Sony RX100 v and found the Pany has better resolution (tested 2 copies of the RX100).  i like the LX10 user interface better as well.  all for significantly less money
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LesPalenik

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2018, 11:18:27 PM »

I've been using for almost 3 years a Nikon Coolpix A with 16MP APS-C sensor and 18mm lens.
Bought it in mint condition from a camera collector for $300US (introductory price was $1098). No viewfinder and some vignetting, but otherwise very good build and image quality. The little lens (equivalent to 28mm) is better than the 24-85mm Nikkor at that focal length on a FF Nikon. The camera is smaller and more convenient to use than Sigma DP2M.
 
Here is a review by Steve Huff:
http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2013/05/07/the-nikon-coolpix-a-quick-review-amazing-quality-in-the-palm-of-your-hand/

Alex Waugh

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2018, 12:57:56 AM »

Ricoh GRii for sure. Excellent ergonomics, big sensor and great lens. Truly pocketable and with extremely useful aspect and crop modes.

I like it more than any other camera Iíve owned.
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HywelPhillips

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2018, 06:44:06 AM »

I used to use a Panasonic GF1 for this purpose. They're cheap as chips second-hand now. 12 MP, micro four-thirds, just about pocketable with one of the range of pancake lenses (I used a 14mm or 20 mm Panasonic, there are zoom options now in very compact form).

I still have the camera, so why do I say I used to use it for this purpose? It's not broken, it still takes lovely shots. So why hasn't it seen an outing in ages?

I found that it didn't offer enough of an advantage in image quality and versatility over an iPhone and a raw photo app.

However just-about pocketable it was, it was still one more thing to carry. I always have the phone with me anyway.

Maybe paired with a zoom it might have felt more worthwhile- but for out-and-about shots with a wide angle lens, the gains in dynamic range and shooting ergonomics etc. just weren't compelling enough for me.

If you've not found the burning need for one yet, I'm not sure you will find it that compelling either.

These days my walkabout option is a Sony A7Rii with 24-240mm superzoom for landscape stuff. Weather and weight permitting I can take other, superior lens options.  But the all-in-one means no changing lenses and getting spindrift on the sensor in a blizzard. Stopped down to f/8 with IBIS and IS with care I can take acceptable shots for 24"x36" prints even without a tripod.

That was the the sweet spot for me.

Consider saving your money  ;)  ;)  ;) or try out a superzoom if you usually travel with a sack of primes and need a lighter option.  While the image quality is a perceptible step down from a killer prime on the same camera, it's still a hell of a step up from a phone.


Cheers, Hywel Phillips


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MattBurt

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2018, 12:39:33 AM »

Thanks, this gives me plenty to think about.
I do wonder if it's worth it vs. a phone and that is definitely something to keep in mind.

I went backcountry skiing today with a Pentax K-3 and 18-135 which is a nice combo if maybe a little heavy. A smaller K mount body still might be my best option if I want to lighten a little but still have access to my existing lens collection.

I used to have a smaller K mount body but lost it in deep snow in a blizzard while skiing once.
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Geods

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2018, 03:55:46 PM »

There really isnít much exciting out there, in this modern age, as far as pocket cameras. Back in the day, there were rugged, titanium pocket models that delivered pro results (my favorites being the Minolta TC-1 and Contax T2/TVS. Today, the manufactures think small cameras should be inexpensive and therefor fall short of professional quality/enthusiast demand.

The camera most likely to fit your requirements is the Panasonic GX85. It falls short of pro quality (like a magnesium body and weather sealing, etc.) but makes up for it in other ways. When on sale, it typically can be found for less than $500 with two zoom lenses. The typically included 12-32 is very good optically and has built in stabilization. When combined with the GX85ís own in body stabilization (dual IS) it almost allows for the elimination of a tripod and that includes at night. The plastic body and lens feel like metal and the user experience as well as results are very good. The battery life falls short of making it an expedition camera, but it still works. I used to shoot an 8x10 camera and own a Hasselblad digital system. With handheld stitching and proper technique, Iím sure I could beat either of those systems, shot single frame, for ultimate quality with the GX85 and its kit lens. I like it better than my Sony RX100.
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MattBurt

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2018, 06:20:27 PM »

That GX85 does sound pretty nice and I'd like something good for video too. I'm going to look into it a little more. If only it had weather seals!
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stever

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2018, 09:39:41 AM »

i'm very happy with the gx85, but don't consider it to be pocket camera - although it will fit in the bellows pocket of a field jacket
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MattBurt

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2018, 11:38:49 AM »

i'm very happy with the gx85, but don't consider it to be pocket camera - although it will fit in the bellows pocket of a field jacket

I have big pockets.  8)
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fredjeang2

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2018, 02:18:47 PM »

Truly pocketable is the Lumix gm5

Almost pocketable,
A Sony A6300 is quite small too and the gx80/85 mentionned here.
The Sony will give you the most robust package for low light and AF. It is sort of weather sealed too but has no ibis.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 02:32:53 PM by fredjeang2 »
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2018, 04:54:19 AM »

I am currently using a Pen F with the small 17 f1.8 lens, for exactly the use you mention. I am quite happy with the results it provides.

MattBurt

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2018, 12:57:33 PM »

I am currently using a Pen F with the small 17 f1.8 lens, for exactly the use you mention. I am quite happy with the results it provides.

Those look nice but maybe a bit more than I want to spend right now. Actually the whole idea will need to wait as my tax bill was higher than anticipated this year.
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Jeremy Roussak

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2018, 01:11:14 PM »

I have big pockets.  8)

Big, but not deep?  ;)

I'm fond of my Sony RX100, but the GX85 (GX80 in the UK, for some bizarre reason) looks interesting.

Jeremy
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armand

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2018, 01:12:15 PM »

The only pocketable camera that I have is the first generation Sony RX100, likely to find close to your price and with good quality.

MattBurt

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2018, 01:31:05 PM »

Big, but not deep?  ;)

I'm fond of my Sony RX100, but the GX85 (GX80 in the UK, for some bizarre reason) looks interesting.

Jeremy

Deep but currently empty! :D
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NancyP

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2018, 01:29:53 PM »

Are you looking to have controls comparable to those of regular SLRs?
If all you want is a fully waterproof sturdy camera for documentation, you could try an Olympus Tough TG-# camera. It is pocketable and has some limited controls (eg. Aperture priority, but have only 2 aperture choices, f/2.8 and f/8). The key is that it shoots in Olympus RAW format as well as jpg. Zoom equivalent approximately 25-100 mm. They just brought out a new model 5, you might be able to get model 4 cheap. I have model 4, it is indeed waterproof enough for underwater photos in relatively shallow water. Just rinse salt off under the sink when done.
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MattBurt

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Re: Pocket cam
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2018, 01:40:07 PM »

Are you looking to have controls comparable to those of regular SLRs?
If all you want is a fully waterproof sturdy camera for documentation, you could try an Olympus Tough TG-# camera. It is pocketable and has some limited controls (eg. Aperture priority, but have only 2 aperture choices, f/2.8 and f/8). The key is that it shoots in Olympus RAW format as well as jpg. Zoom equivalent approximately 25-100 mm. They just brought out a new model 5, you might be able to get model 4 cheap. I have model 4, it is indeed waterproof enough for underwater photos in relatively shallow water. Just rinse salt off under the sink when done.

That's my hope. I actually have a TG2. It's ok but I'd rather have a bigger sensor, like m43 or APSC for better low light performance and I just prefer the look.
Decent video is a plus too.
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