/ Help - new high-end small wide angle camera?

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wee jamie on 14 Sep 2012
I was looking at the Canon S100, but have now found others that might give me better quality and larger images (but with larger bodies).
This is what I want to do with my new camera:
Carry it everywhere with me in the mountains, keep it in my pocket (preferably) or in a bum bag. Must be as small and light weight as possible.
It must have a wide angle equivalent of 24mm or wider.
I would also like to be able to photograph my paintings and use the images to make prints at about A3 size - the images must be perfect - sharp across the whole frame, and not distorted in any way.
Finally, battery life must be good - don't mind carrying spares (as long as they're not too expensive) but some trips I'll be away from a charger for four days at a time.
Cameras I've looked at so far are the Canon S100, Sony NEX 3/5 and 6, possibly the new Canon EOS M.
Any advice on suitable cameras would be much appreciated.
Thanks, Jamie
Glen - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

I really like my sony NEX5 - prefect for getting good quality shots in places where you don't want to carry much.

The new NEX 6 looks ace, with the built in view finder and extra physical dial and buttons (the need to use the menu system for everything is a bit of a pin on the NEX5) and faster hybrid focus system, if a little expensive.

The 16mm pancake NEX lens (24mm equivalent) is apparently a bit soft around the edges, but there is a new 16-50mm (24-75 equivalent) compact power zoom, and a really wide 10-18mm (15-27 equivalent) about to arrive:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/09/12/Sony-creates-10-18mm-F4-16-50mm-F3-5-5-6-power-zoom-and-35mm...


There's also a decent 19mm prime lens from Sigma that is very cheap:
http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6966279769/sigma-19mm-f28-on-the-nex-7
Turdus torquatus on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

I have a Canon S95, which is very similar to the S100 but much cheaper these days. The only thing I don't like about it is that the flash sits right under where I tend to hold it if I'm not thinking, which means that if the flash decides to pop up automatically the camera might get dropped. I've not seen any mention of this on reviews so it might just be me.
dek - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
I think you'd be pushing it, to get undistorted copies of your paintings up to A3 from a compact Jamie? Could you borrow a Dslr with a 60m macro, or 50 mm standard lens?
Blue Straggler - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to dek:

Depends how big his paintings are :-)
Though if he wants A3 prints, I assume they are at least that size?
The Lemming - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Turdus torquatus:
> (In reply to wee jamie)
>
> I have a Canon S95, which is very similar to the S100 but much cheaper these days. The only thing I don't like about it is that the flash sits right under where I tend to hold it if I'm not thinking, which means that if the flash decides to pop up automatically the camera might get dropped. I've not seen any mention of this on reviews so it might just be me.

It happens with my S90 as well. Flash has to go somewhere, but I know what you mean. :-)

dek - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:
Yep! Not seen Jamies work in the flesh, but I imagine they are bigger than A3?
I was just thinking of the lab i used to use, that copied paintings on a rig mounted LF , with 4 lights for flat, even lighting to get faithful colour etc for repro.
ChrisJD on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

Sony RX100 Compact with APC sensor. It is causing quite a stir!

As is the full frame Sony RX-1 'Compact'.

As is the Sigma DP-2 Merril compact.

The new Fuji X-E1 also looks full of awesomeness (my mate has both the Fuji X100 and X-Pro: loves them so much he sold all his Canon Pro gear!).
wee jamie on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to ChrisJD: Thanks for the help everyone, interesting to hear about cameras I hadn't come across. Chris, your suggestions sound great, but they all seem to come with 28mm equivalent lenses and I'm really after something wider for my mountain landscapes.
As for photographing my art work, maybe finding a camera that does everything is going to be a compromise. The number one use is mountain photography with a wide angle lens.
At the moment I have to travel to Inverness and visit a pro photographer with a 39mp digital Hasselblad - the results are brilliant (still not quite as good as the 5"x4" trannies I used to get) - and essential for my larger paintings for large prints.
I want this new camera to be able to record my smaller to medium sized paintings (A3 - A2 size) and produce prints at A4 - A3 size.

Any other wide angle high quality small camera options? I don't mind spending a bit more if I know I'm going to have a great camera for years.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

> Carry it everywhere with me in the mountains, keep it in my pocket (preferably) or in a bum bag.
> Must be as small and light weight as possible.

And:

> I would also like to be able to photograph my paintings and use the images to make prints at about
> A3 size - the images must be perfect - sharp across the whole frame, and not distorted in any way.

Can I suggest that these two requirements are so at odds with each other that you really need two cameras for these two jobs?
wee jamie on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to wee jamie)
> Can I suggest that these two requirements are so at odds with each other that you really need two cameras for these two jobs?

Yes you can, and I think I'm just realising this now!

So the main use will be high quality wide angle compact mountain photography
ChrisJD on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
> Chris, your suggestions sound great, but they all seem to come with 28mm equivalent lenses and I'm really after something wider for my mountain landscapes.

Stitching is one easy solution (with current software, hand held works very very well).

The Fuji cameras (and Sony?) also do very nice in camera pano sweeps (as jpgs)
Blue Straggler - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
> Yes you can, and I think I'm just realising this now!

I know you get it, and I know this is getting a bit long in the tooth now, but it's always worth a look when you're putting a wishlist together :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7ZrBCY9ipI
osh on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to ChrisJD:
> (In reply to wee jamie)
>
> Sony RX100 Compact with APC sensor. It is causing quite a stir!
>
> As is the full frame Sony RX-1 'Compact'.
>
> As is the Sigma DP-2 Merril compact.
>
> The new Fuji X-E1 also looks full of awesomeness (my mate has both the Fuji X100 and X-Pro: loves them so much he sold all his Canon Pro gear!).

I'm waiting for the X-E1 and 14mm (21mm equivalent) lens to have as a wide angle companion to my X100
frqnt - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
I'm big on wide angle photography and just reverted to a 35mm SLR and 8-15mm fish-eye lens. Alas, carrying this kit in my rucksack up a waterfall is a liability.

I'm gong to get the S100 for expeditions. If you don't require full manual control, Canon have various other models with a 24mm lens. LX7 by Panasonic is also pretty good and very quick at f/1.4 which might be handy on the move. But it is a tad bulkier.

Also, in my experience, I'd avoid anything touchscreen.
Glen - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Why would Jamie need 2 cameras? Why not just 2 lenses?
Pursued by a bear - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Glen: Words like 'small', 'light' and 'carry in a pocket' seem to argue against a camera capable of using interchangeable lenses.

T.
Glen - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

There are numerous options with decent sensors (aps-c) and interchangeable lenses that are little bigger than compacts
wee jamie on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Glen: Hi Glen, the NEX 5 looks pretty good, especially with the 16mm and 18-55 combo. I am a bit worried about the softness around the edges of the 16mm - I've read about that in a review somewhere else. Any experience yourself? I want total clarity over the entire image.
I keep coming back to the S100 for a take-anywhere wide angle easy to use small camera
Glen - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

I can't say much about the 16mm lens quality as I don't have one myself, but I've heard its not that great.

As I mentioned above, Sony is bringing out a new wide angle lens, but I suspect it won't be cheap.

One other thing to think about - with a 20 adapter you can use a wide range of older manual lenses with the NEX. Obviously you lose auto, but you can get some nice lenses for very little on eBay. For example I use a Minolta 50mm f1.7 for portraits, that I got for 10!
Glen - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Glen:

Auto = auto focus
Glen - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Glen:

P.s. I would imagine any softness around the edges of the Sony 16mm pancake lens would only occur with the aperture wide open, which is pretty unlikely to be required when photographing mountain landscapes, so it may actually be totally fine for your needs. It certainly makes for a tiny asp-c sensor camera.
frqnt - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to Glen:
> (In reply to Pursued by a bear)
>
> There are numerous options with decent sensors (aps-c) and interchangeable lenses that are little bigger than compacts

An S100 is around 20% the volume of my 550D, which is a reletively small APS-C camera, and that's just the body.

Take up valuable rucksack space or stow in your jacket pocket? I know which I'd prefer.
wee jamie on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to frqnt: But with a 16mm pancake lens, the Sony NEX 5 or the Samsung NX1000 (another I've been looking at) would probably fit into a pocket ok. I'm just after great image quality in a small package, and I keep coming back to the S100
wee jamie on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to frqnt: Ok, it seems there'll be an S100 replacement out fairly soon. No-one's sure what the spec might be yet though. Another compact getting great reviews is the Sony RX100. 28mm, but I like the idea of stitching to obtain a wider shot. Never used any stitching software though, so any recommendations, or would the camera do all that itself? (really a novice when it comes to all this, sorry!)
ChrisJD on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

We've got an S100.

Great as it is, the S100 is still a compact. My old GF-1 with 20mm lens blows the S100 out of the water IQ wise (both shooting RAW).

And my even older 1DsII still beats both of them hands down.
ChrisJD on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
> Another compact getting great reviews is the Sony RX100. 28mm, but I like the idea of stitching to obtain a wider shot. Never used any stitching software though, so any recommendations, or would the camera do all that itself?

See may earlier post about in-camera stitches - they can be excellent. Sony were amongst the first to do - I guess the Rx100 will have that function

Stitching software - my favourite is AutoPanoPro: very easy and quick to use.

frqnt - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
> (In reply to frqnt) Ok, it seems there'll be an S100 replacement out fairly soon.

Where did you find this?

Re. stitching software, PTGui and Hugin are two commonly used, or you can photoshop yourself if you've got the time.

Some camera's have panoramic modes built in where you simply sweep the camera and it produces the stitched image, but you'll get better images doing it yourself IMO.

If you want some pretty good images with almost no input to exposure settings, look at getting one with HDR (high dynamic range) setting built in. It's pretty handy for those less adverse with cameras but not much good for scenes where any of the subjects are moving (as it takes three images consecutively).

> (In reply to ChrisJD) And my even older 1DsII still beats both of them hands down.

You can't really compare cameras with image sensors that are not of comparable size. Hence APS-C is not compared to full frame. Similarly, even the latest 1D cannot produce better images than 35mm film cameras. etc. etc.

Usually people buy compact cameras for convenience.
ChrisJD on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to frqnt:

> You can't really compare cameras with image sensors that are not of comparable size. Hence APS-C is not compared to full frame. Similarly, even the latest 1D cannot produce better images than 35mm film cameras. etc. etc.


Of course you can when the OP is all about IQ

wee jamie on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to frqnt:
> (In reply to wee jamie)
> [...]
>
> Where did you find this?

Various sites and forums talking about the S100 replacement, when it might be out and what sensor it might have. Most seem to think it'll be later this month, so I might just hang on and see what happens. Otherwise the Sony GX100 is top of my list at the mo.

Thanks for all the replies, I'm learning (slowly)
ChrisJD on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

> Otherwise the Sony GX100 is top of my list at the mo.

Do you mean the Sony RX100?
geebus - on 14 Sep 2012
I've got the LX3 (older LX7) and really like it.
However, if the Canon S had come with a 24mm wide angle at the time, I'd have certainly considered that as it's a little more pocatable.

If you go more in to the 'consumer' side, there's some good options that start at 24mm with long zooms these days that are still pocktable.
Should still take very good pics in good light - but are going to suffer as the light drops a lot more.

Me, as I've got various EF/EFS lenses, at some point I'll be saving up for a EF-M I suspect. Ideally when they have a bit wider angle pancake lens out, as I do like the 22-24mm (35mm equiv) sort of range for the majority of my picture taking.
wee jamie on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to ChrisJD: Yes I do, sorry. RX100
ChrisJD on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
> (In reply to ChrisJD) Yes I do, sorry. RX100

Looks like a winner if all the reviews are right ;-)

geebus - on 14 Sep 2012
RX100 lists the lens as 28-100mm?

For me it really has to be 24mm or wider for this sort of camera.
Does look very nice in everything else, though.

If I ever win a lottery jackpot, a Lecia M9 is definitely going to be purchased.
Have wondered if you could 'hack' a full frame DSLR to make a nice compact fixed lens with incredible quality. Way beyond my skill and budget, however.
Damo on 15 Sep 2012
In reply to Turdus torquatus:
> (In reply to wee jamie)
>
> ... the flash sits right under where I tend to hold it if I'm not thinking, which means that if the flash decides to pop up automatically the camera might get dropped. I've not seen any mention of this on reviews so it might just be me.

No, me too. I have an S100. Quite annoying, but I just have to get used to holding it differently.

Damo on 15 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

I've just come off Peak Lenin and a mate had a Nex-5, but found it too bulky to carry most of the time, so often left it behind. I've not seen the 6.

Most of these 4/3, mirrorless etc look great until you put a practical lens on them, then they're too big - though not of course for everybody, so it's really up to you and what you're willing to carry/handle as a 'climbing camera'. One mad fool who posts here carries a D800 to 7000m. Of course his shots are fantastic but I'm too weak and lazy to do that.

The new pz lens for the Nex might be OK, but the equivalent Pana model got terrible reviews and has not been popular. It would have made their G range cams much better as true climbing cameras.

ChrisJD on 15 Sep 2012
In reply to geebus:

> Have wondered if you could 'hack' a full frame DSLR to make a nice compact fixed lens with incredible quality. Way beyond my skill and budget, however.

Wonder no longer, it's just been done: Sony RX-1

But not on a budget....
kevin stephens - on 15 Sep 2012
In reply to ChrisJD:
Canon G1 X seems ideal (although only wide to 38mm)
Or Pentax K5 with 15mm prime

Glen - on 15 Sep 2012
In reply to Damo:
> (In reply to wee jamie)
>
> I've just come off Peak Lenin and a mate had a Nex-5, but found it too bulky to carry most of the time, so often left it behind. I've not seen the 6.
>
> Most of these 4/3, mirrorless etc look great until you put a practical lens on them, then they're too big

Interesting. Was he using the kit (18-55 zoom) lens? If so, I can see his point as it does make the camera quite a lot bigger, but that said, it's still way smaller than a full dslr, with no real loss of image quality (compared to a similar priced dslr).

For climbing though, I would be happy with a fixed length prime lens, which can be much smaller. For the NEX, there is the 16mm as discussed above, plus the 19 and 30mm sigma lenses which are fairly small and light.


I agree about the new collapsable power zoom though - it the quality is good, it will be fantastic for using in the hills.
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Damo on 15 Sep 2012
In reply to Glen:
> (In reply to Damo)
> [...]
>
> Interesting. Was he using the kit (18-55 zoom) lens? ...

> For climbing though, I would be happy with a fixed length prime lens, which can be much smaller.


He had the 18-55 and a 18-300(200?). He's sponsored by Sony, so next trip he might have a NEX-6 ;-)

Fixed, yeh. I often think about all the climbing shots I took with a fixed 35 on my Yashica T4 film compact. The 19mm on the NEX might be good, but personally I don't think I could justify buying such a limited lens. Of course if IQ really is that good then zoom and crop will help to some extent.
Arjen - on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
Did you consider the Oly XZ-1? I bought one as my 'stick in the (jacket) pocket camera', it's got a 24-122mm (equiv.) lens, which is f/1.8-2.2 too, pretty good!
I've got a D700 and this, and it is a very good match.
icnoble on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie: Although not a compact, have you considered an entry level dslr such as the Nikon D3100 or the new D3200? You would certainly get the image quality you need and these cameras are really quite small and lightweight.
wee jamie on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to Arjen: Thanks for the recommendation - the XZ-1 does look pretty good. I have to say though, that I've pretty much decided on the Sony RX100 - big sensor for a compact, top spec, and very clever features like the pan-stitch (even in the portrait mode) plus the HD video seems high quality.
As for a DSLR, maybe sometime down the line I'll get one for photographing the paintings, but for now I need something good for the mountains.
Cheeeeeeers
ChrisJD on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
> I've pretty much decided on the Sony RX100 - big sensor for a compact, top spec, and very clever features like the pan-stitch (even in the portrait mode) plus the HD video seems high quality.

We'll need a full report on it !
prog99 on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

Just to confuse matters more, Canon Powershot S110 announced. Seem more of the same with some extra gadgets. They seemed to have dropped the gps and added wireless and a touchscreen(looks optional)
meh - on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
Am very happy with my RX100.
Arjen - on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:
> (In reply to Arjen) Thanks for the recommendation - the XZ-1 does look pretty good. I have to say though, that I've pretty much decided on the Sony RX100 - big sensor for a compact, top spec, and very clever features like the pan-stitch (even in the portrait mode) plus the HD video seems high quality.
> As for a DSLR, maybe sometime down the line I'll get one for photographing the paintings, but for now I need something good for the mountains.
> Cheeeeeeers

Can't compete with a 1-inch sensor, the image quality from the RX100 is obviously in a completely different league.
Good luck with the camera - Sony always had great technology, I could just never really get on with their controls, hope they did a good job with this thing!
Glen - on 18 Sep 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

The RX-100 sounds like a good choice. While the sensor isn't quite as big as a 4/3 or aps-c type, the extra speed /stops on the lens (compared to typical kit lenses) compensate for that to a large extent; and it's a bit more compact than the mirrorless-interchangeable lens type cameras sporting those big sensors.

Enjoy :)
wee jamie on 18 Sep 2012
In reply to Glen: For a compact camera, it's a hell of a lot of money. I waited to see what the Canon S110 spec was (not actually that much of a step up, plus I have no use for GPS, touchscreen or WiFi and it's 420!) so the RX100 has won it for me. Hope it doesn't mind damp nights in the tent, -15 temps and spindrift!
I shall report back
Damo on 23 Sep 2012
cj1970 - on 23 Sep 2012
Blue Straggler - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to cj1970:

Compact?

Size 113.3 x 65.4 x 69.6mm
Weight (g) 482
cj1970 - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Yes the terms compact, and pocket size camera are used in the description. Although I wasn't seriously suggesting this to the op as an alternative.
Blue Straggler - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to cj1970:

It looks exciting though - thanks for highlighting it! Not something I would ever own but nice to see what's out there. I couldn't understand from the spec whether the lens has a single focal length. They refer to it as "prime" AND "fixed" both of which can mean single focal length, though "fixed" in this context could mean "not interchangeable"....but it kind of looks removable...they also just give one aperture and f/2.0 is fairly fast for a non-changing aperture on a zoom lens (I have a Zeiss f/2.0-2.2 though, and that is 10 years old, so who knows!)
I probably missed something on the spec sheet there.
wee jamie on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler: Thanks everyone for your contribution to the thread. The RX100 is winging its way to me all the way from Digitalrev in Hong Kong. A frightening amount of money for a compact, but as it's a major part of my work I decided to make a big step up from my previous Canon Ixus.
Can't wait to put it through its paces this winter.
Cheers, Jamie
nz Cragrat on 16 Oct 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

The Canon S110 has been available in NZ (parallel imported for a few weeks at least)

I have been going through same process
wanting RAW, Wide and a longer lens, pocketable for climbing mtb. 24-120 mm much more useful than means more to me than 28-112 or 28-90
I considered the (now superceded) Olympus X1which had a great lens but in the end went for size and faster burst rate and will cope with the poor battery life of the older S100
ChrisJD on 16 Oct 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

Hey Jamie - so how is the RX100 working out?
wee jamie on 16 Oct 2012
In reply to ChrisJD: Hiya Chris, so far so good. It's taking me a little while to get used to the operation and all the functions. The image quality is superb - clear and sharp over the whole frame. Colours are perfect and it seems very good at getting detail in shade.
You know me though, I need some decent winter conditions before I really put it through its paces.
The HD video is excellent - a huge step up from my Canon Ixus - so I'll hopefully try making a few short films as I've got some fun ideas on stories I can tell in the mountains.
I've never had a panoramic stitch mode in-camera, so have found that to be very clever - you can hold the camera in portrait orientation, and pan it left or right to give a huge wide shot, so the 28mm lens isn't at all limiting.
It seems to do everything I want.
Lovely autumn colours here on the west coast now, so I was out in Glen Loy this arvo. Might stick a shot up here once I've been through them.
Cheers, Jamie
ChrisJD on 16 Oct 2012
In reply to wee jamie:

That's is great to hear!

Now I'm tempted!
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prog99 on 22 Oct 2012
Fultonius - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to wee jamie: Panasonic LX7.

With a compact camera barrel distortion is going to be counteracted in-camera by the software. Unless you get a dSLR with a very good lens you will get distortion; however, I wouldn't worry so much about this. Very easy to correct in PS.

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