I'm going to buy one and was wondering what kind you all have that you love (or what you would buy if you were buying a new one). I was going to get the G11, but decided to go the DLSR route. I did narrow it down to the Nikon D5000 or the Canon T2i, but am open to any other options!
Two quickly come to mind: the Oly E-620 and the Pentzx K-x. They're smaller and lighter, and are backed up by a lot of very nice lenses.
Then there are the µ4/3 cameras from Oly and Panasonic, and the new Sony mirrorless system, which is perhaps too new for a serious look yet. Any of these will be smaller and lighter than any dslr. It's the segment where the most exciting camera developments are occurring today.
Loc: north carolina
Is this for hiking? I have a lot of cameras in my bag (I shoot for a living), but for hiking my old Canon G7 is my usual choice. It provides manual control, a compact size (though still heavy-ish for hiking), a decent zoom range, Image Stabilization (required IMHO), and good image quality at low ISO settings. If I had to buy a new hiking camera right now, the G10 or G11 would be among the top choices.
The Micro 4/3 cameras would be my other choice. The Panasonic GF1 body is about the same size as my G7, but provides significantly better image quality because of the larger sensor size (though the zoom lens makes it larger.) The Olympus m4/3 cameras are also very good, and have built in Image Stabilization, so every lens is stabilized. I'd probably get the GF-1 with the 14-45 zoom and the 20mm fixed lens.
If you want a DSLR, pretty much any of the current consumer models are decent choices. Pentax is very good, as are the various Canon and Nikon models, etc. I would base the decision on how it feels in your hand. Get lenses with image stabilization (or get the Pentax and get I.S. in the body.) I've been shooting Canon cameras since, er, 1985, so I have some natural preference for that brand, but it's not based on anything other than personal preference. The TS1 is a nice camera, the 18-55 I.S. lens is actually quite decent. If you want to step up on the lens, the new 15-85 zoom is supposed to be very good.
I am a pro canon user, why because they have been my camera of choice for so many years. When I integrated from my original EOS to a Rebel XTI my lenses fit the new cam? I have taken some awsome photos and I am not a pro. I have blown up photo prints at Myakka River Park In Florida. Ten MP from xti and are awesome. Canon for life for me. Run what ya brung! Happy Trails
Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sony, Pentax should all be considered. What feels most comfortable to you is important. The best camera is the one you have with you; it is the one you are willing to take all the time for backpacking. I was Nikon SLR user since the early '70's and then Nikon P&S digital. But I ended up with a Sony DSLR (since my lenses wouldn't work with Nikon DSLR's, that was both good and bad news). And a number of old Minolta lenses work great with the Sony.
As for the micro 4/3, I have a problem since they don't have a viewfinder. Perhaps I am just old school, but I want a viewfinder to compose my pics and also not worry about the LCD being unviewable due to the sun.
Loc: north carolina
Originally Posted By kbennett
The Micro 4/3 cameras would be my other choice. The Panasonic GF1 body is about the same size as my G7, but provides significantly better image quality
I am quoting myself here, because I have a small update. We were packing to leave on a hike last Saturday afternoon, when my Canon G-7 died. Luckily we weren't at home (where the only camera stores are Best Buy and Costco), we were at my in-law's house, and a good professional camera store was 5 minutes away.
I went there expecting to buy a Canon G-11 or some other point and shoot, but after weighing all my options, and testing a lot of cameras, I ended up buying the Panasonic GF-1 with the 20mm f/1.7 lens. I took the camera on the hike, and LOVED it. Raw file quality is outstanding even at higher ISO settings, the lens is incredibly sharp at f/2 with a beautiful soft fade to the out of focus areas.
It's not for everyone. IMHO this camera makes the most sense with the 20mm pancake lens, and most photographers like zoom lenses. I think the best analogy would be the old Leica CL from 30 years ago, with the 40mm f/2 Rokkor lens. This is a camera for enthusiasts, for photogs who like the wide-normal field of view of the 40mm lens and are looking for very good image quality in a package that fits in a large-ish pocket or a very small waist pack. It's made for deliberative handheld photography, if that makes any sense. A good compact camera for a photojournalist, so it fits the bill for me.
Worth a look, anyway.
PS: with regards to the LCD washing out in the sun, I didn't find that to be a huge problem, though there were some times when I was guessing a little at the framing. The final photos were fine. I will likely buy the accessory finder just to be able to hold the camera up to my eye -- the place where cameras are supposed to be held. :-0
Congrats Ken, it's a significant step up at a reasonable size and weight, definitely a sign of where the market is headed.
FWIW the Panny LVF1 finder is pretty nice, certainly as good as the EVFs provided on superzooms. For a real revelation, the Olympus VF2 finder for µ4/3 shows how much potential EVFs have (over 1.4M dot resolution). I sure wish I could rig up one to my LX3.
Loc: north carolina
Thanks, Rick, I'm going to order the EVF from Amazon as soon as I get home. Appreciate the info.
You're right, for compact camera, the image quality and overall feel are just light years beyond a point and shoot. Now I have a no-compromise camera to carry when I just don't want to bring the big cameras.