/ Alternative to DSLR for alpine routes

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ben@f-stopimages - on 21 Apr 2012
I normally use a 5Dmk2 with L lenses which i think are amazing. however they are heavy! I've got another trip to the alps this summer and want to carry a camera on the routes but don't think i can justify the weight of the 5D.

My main criteria is image quality from a good lens as i print and enlarge a lot of my work. I have got a Lumix DMC-LX3, which has been fantastic but is now a few years old.

Are there alternatives either compact or micro 4/3rds that would produce better quality images? i have looked at the lumix 4/3rds but have heard mix reviews on lens quality, are the new Nikons any good? or even the Sony's? Or should i stick to the LX3!

Any guidance appreciated.

Ben.
walts4 - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy:

Been using this:

http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-sony-alpha-nex-5n-black-digital-camera-with-18-55mm-lens/p152708...

Managed to carry it down the front of the jacket on a number of routes during the warm period in March as well as in Morocco, not that bulky with a camera case that i manged to pick that seems to fit quite snugly.
Seems to work for me.
Damo on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy:

I think you're searching for the Holy Grail, at least for users of this forum! I've been flip-flopping back and forth around this for a couple of months. I thought the Pana Lumix G3 with 14-42 compact Powerzoom was the answer but the lens has generally below-average reviews. The Nex-7 gets good reviews but it's a lot of lens on not much body. Some of these combos are sufficiently bulky I wonder if it's not best to just suck it up and take the DLSLR.

Anyway, let us know when you find the Grail! ;-)
Damo on 21 Apr 2012
In reply:

My flip-flopping was furthered when these came out:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong1x/

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympusem5/

The G1X is definitely a different camera to the G12, not real small, but seems good in the hand. The OM-D looks great on paper but not had it in hand. Here it's bloody expensive.
Ali.B - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy: If you use your legs to zoom, this is worth a look at....http://www.sigma-photo.co.jp/english/news/120208_DPMerrill.htm
Ben Briggs - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy: I recenty got a G3 which i really like, have still only got the standard kit zoom but a friend of mine showed me an olympus wide andle zoom which is small and looks like it could be perfect for climbing. Shame the powerzoom has had bad reviews, its tiny!
alastairbegley - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy:
the panasonic gx-1 with the 14-42 pz lens is what I have replaced my 1D3 with, am very happy with it. It is the true replacement for the gf-1
dek - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy:
Fuji X100 or the tiny Canon S100Is or Both!
Kai - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy:

Micro 4/3 is hard to beat for combination of portability and image quality.

I have an Olympus PEN E-P2 and a bunch of lenses. Am upgrading soon to the new OMD.

I have been very happy with this system. Very compact.
ben@f-stopimages - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to Kai:

As someone said earlier this is definitely the balance, compromise or 'holy grail' for the alpine climber!

The fuji x100 looks pretty cool, if the lens quality can match the good sensor could be really good. Good useful range on the lens as well.

Canon G1X looks like a good improvement over previous G... cameras that haven't been that tempting.

Also interested in the Olympus system as well, i'd assume with the 14-42 lens.

Too many options!

Thanks for all your input!
tspoon1981 on 22 Apr 2012
Richard Carter - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy:

If you like the LX3 but it's a few years old why not get another compact? Compact camera camera quality has only gone up in that time :)
icnoble on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy: Have you thought about getting an entry lever Dslr? The Canon EOS 1100D only weighs 100gms more than the Lumix G2. The image quality would definitely be better
Damo on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to icnoble:
> (In reply to beneboy) Have you thought about getting an entry lever Dslr? The Canon EOS 1100D only weighs 100gms more than the Lumix G2. The image quality would definitely be better

Sure, but the issue is portability/climbability of a DSLR. 'Best camera is the one you have with you' etc.

The new G1X is certainly not a small camera but it's 40% smaller than a 1100D:
http://snapsort.com/compare/Canon-1100D-vs-Canon-G1X

A G3 is significantly smaller than a 1100D with only slightly 'worse' image quality:
http://snapsort.com/compare/Canon-1100D-vs-Panasonic-G3
radson - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy:

Indeed the holy grail. I am experimenting with the Fuji X10 as my back up camera. It has great ergonomics for climbing (real buttons), RAW, fast 2-2.5 aperture, panormaic function and viewfinder (albeit crappy viewfinder)

I would also have a look at the new Olympus OM-5. If I was to go 4/3rds or mirrorless , I would choose the Oly/Panasonic option over Sony due to lens choice.

I really like Thom Hogan's sansmirror.com site for reviews of the little cameras.
osh on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy: X100 or X-Pro 1
Andy Nelson - on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy: Canon S100 gets my vote. It may be too low range perhaps but in terms of quality to size/weight it fits. Took on my last alps trip and will do again this summer.
shaun walby - on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy:
Iam in the same boat, i use the 5D with L glass but need light for Alps this summer....have you considered not ditching the control and quality of the slr......i was going to sell my 550d but it os a good entry level slr and only weights 700g with lens attached and battery in....iam defo considering using the 550d on Alpine routes
ben@f-stopimages - on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to shaun walby: I think i'm still leaning towards a more compact style over smaller SLR. The other consideration (to add to the list!) is carrying it. with a compact or even 4/3rds i guess you can stash it down your top or in a smallish pouch.

The Canon G1X looks pretty good, reviews criticise it for being slow and a bit clunky but as i'm not going to be taking pictures of Uli Steck i guess frame rates won't be an issue! It looks pretty robust and easy to handle in gloves. It's also got a huge sensor for this type of camera.
Damo on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to beneboy:
>
> The Canon G1X looks pretty good, ... robust and easy to handle in gloves. It's also got a huge sensor for this type of camera.

And a lens cap that means always two-hands operation - faff when belaying. My last p&s had a cap and it annoys the hell out of me. One of the reasons I recently bought the S100, and a good argument for the G12.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Ampthill - on 08 May 2012
In reply to beneboy:

In a world where we are told sensor size is king

The bigger the sensor the more accurate your focus needs to be. For this reason I think micro fourthirds might be a better sweet spot for a camera with contrast detect autofocus

The Nikon 1 system looks tasty as well. Particualry as prices have now fallen
ti.williams - on 11 May 2012
In reply to Ampthill:
If it's sensor size you're after then the Nikon 1 isn't really an option, the sensors are considerably smaller than micro 4/3 never mind APS-C etc., so small in fact that shallow depth of field isn't really possible to achieve. In terms of sensor size the Sony NEX range is the best bet with full size APS-C sensors, but as someone has already rightly pointed out, because of the size of the lenses if you intend to carry more than one then the size difference to a DSLR isn't that great - my NEX-5 and all the gear packed up isn't exactly small, although it is light.
What Goes Up - on 11 May 2012
In reply to beneboy: I had the good fortune to play (albeit briefly) with the new Olympus OM D last weekend, and if you're into your cameras enough to have a 5Dii and L lenses then I would suggest this would be a real contender (if you can get your hands on one quick enough). Slap a pancake lens on it and it's practically a compact, image quality is superb and if you do get one I'll have very green eyes. Not the cheapest (c. 1000) but if I had the bucks right now I'd be getting one as my (very reliable) back-up and general carry-around camera.

Feels like an SLR (and if you're into camera porn it looks gorgeous!), but the digital viewfinder takes a bit of getting used to. End results look great though. Plus if you're looking to use it soon, I reckon you could buy it, use it and then - very rare for cameras these days - sell it on without much of a loss at all - practically a cheap / free rental if demand stays as high as it is.
Deltona - on 11 May 2012
In reply to beneboy:

I have been using the Fuji x100 despite it's quirks it a real gem. Fantastic picture quality, light, easy to use with full manual control. No dust ever :)

TBH I am sick of clesaning my D3 sensor. The image colours are pretty much perfect even in jpeg. Sure your limited with a fixed lens but its an absolute cracker and very sharp. Buy a couple of extra batteries.

I never tire of using the camera, it's a whole different experience shooting with a rangefinder type camera, makes you part of the process. I would dare to say its probably the best camera I have purchased. I have used it on several paid jobs and it produces images that are easily on par with my D3's. This is not a poke at other cameras just my take on the one I use.

Kai - on 11 May 2012
I have the new OMD. Have been using it for about a week now. It's truly fantastic. Small, excellent image quality, easy to use, amazing image stabilization for low light situations, weatherproof and rugged. It's pretty close to perfect for an interchangeable lens camera body for outdoor use. I couldn't be happier.



In reply to What Goes Up:
> (In reply to beneboy) I had the good fortune to play (albeit briefly) with the new Olympus OM D last weekend, and if you're into your cameras enough to have a 5Dii and L lenses then I would suggest this would be a real contender (if you can get your hands on one quick enough). Slap a pancake lens on it and it's practically a compact, image quality is superb and if you do get one I'll have very green eyes. Not the cheapest (c. 1000) but if I had the bucks right now I'd be getting one as my (very reliable) back-up and general carry-around camera.
>
> Feels like an SLR (and if you're into camera porn it looks gorgeous!), but the digital viewfinder takes a bit of getting used to. End results look great though. Plus if you're looking to use it soon, I reckon you could buy it, use it and then - very rare for cameras these days - sell it on without much of a loss at all - practically a cheap / free rental if demand stays as high as it is.

nz Cragrat on 19 May 2012
In reply to beneboy:

I have heard good things about the Canon S-100 and prob great if you MTB as well. Looks real handy and one I am considering.
nz Cragrat on 26 May 2012
maybe reconsidering since there appears to be a serious issue with the battery life of this model (S100)
adnix - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to What Goes Up:
> (In reply to beneboy) I had the good fortune to play (albeit briefly) with the new Olympus OM D last weekend, and if you're into your cameras enough to have a 5Dii and L lenses then I would suggest this would be a real contender (if you can get your hands on one quick enough). Slap a pancake lens on it and it's practically a compact, image quality is superb and if you do get one I'll have very green eyes.

I have an Olympus E-PM1 with three lenses
- Panasonic 20mm/1.7
- Olympus 9-18mm
- Olympus 14-150mm

It's truly a spectacular camera regarding portability. Most often I have the 20mm lens on it and the picture quality is truly superb. The zoom lenses have some problems with blurry images, low light and CA. I think most people won't notice it at all but once you've used the fixed 20mm lens the difference is clear.

The pros:
+ light weight
+ low bulk
+ superb image quality with fixed lenses
+ nice bokeh effect with the 20mm/1.7
+ sharp hand held fotos in low light with the 20mm/1.7
+ because of the size I carry it on me almost 24/7

The cons:
- pictures with the zooms could have better image quality
- the zooms could have better build quality
- CPL filter is impossible to use in bright light
- I cant't see the screen in bright light

How to fix the cons:
* Buy an OMD EM5 (1000)
-> two more stops better sensor (fixes some of the image quality issues of the zooms)
-> the view finder fixes the issues with CPL and screen
* Buy 12mm/2.0 (650) + 45mm/1.8 (280) + 150mm/2.0 (available in 2013)
-> no need for zooms

If I had the money an OMD with the fixed lenses would be it. I would really recommend the m4/3 system for someone with experience of advanced cameras and high quality lenses.
Kai - on 06 Jun 2012
In reply to adnix:

> If I had the money an OMD with the fixed lenses would be it. I would really recommend the m4/3 system for someone with experience of advanced cameras and high quality lenses.


I have the OMD. Every time I use it, I am more and more impressed with how good it is. The OMD with the 12mm, 20mm, and 45mm fixed lenses is my go-to kit for backcountry photography now. Less weight and bulk than a DSLR with one lens.
Ampthill - on 07 Jun 2012
In reply to beneboy:

Its certainly true that micro fourhirds is the way to go for a light weight system

This looks like another possible compromise

The RX100. Medium size sensor but smaller than a G12 etc.

If the RAW files sre upto my style of B&W conversion I'll be tempted.

No lens cap so one handed operation should be ok

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/sony-rx100/sony-rx100A.HTM
chris j on 07 Jun 2012
In reply to Kai:
> (In reply to adnix)
>
> [...]
>
>
> The OMD with the 12mm, 20mm, and 45mm fixed lenses is my go-to kit for backcountry photography now.

I'm looking forward to the Olympus 75mm f1.8, in about 18 months time when prices drop a bit from the 800 launch price... At the mo the Pansonic 20mm f1.7 and Olympus 45mm f1.8 go very well with my Panasonic G3, just be nice to have a little more range.

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