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Ask Slashdot: Mirrorless, Interchangeable Lens Camera Advice?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-what-about-light-field dept.

Input Devices 402

jehan60188 writes "I want a camera that's better than my phone, but I don't have the technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR. I think the MILC style will be a happy compromise, but I'm concerned that it might be all 'marketing' and no 'technology.' I don't have a lot of demands, but I do like taking macro shots of things from time to time. Also, my sister is going to China in a few months, so a telephoto lens would probably be good for sight seeing (since I could employ optical zoom instead of the imaginary 'digital zoom')."

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two suggestions (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602030)

Sounds like you want an all around camera, look into the panasonic gx1.
It has fantastic lenses for HD video, and will provide awesome photographs.

You might also be completely thrilled with a Sony NEX5 or new camera.

+1 two suggestions (4, Informative)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602174)

I wont own a Sony because I have personal issues against the entire brand, but the NEX5 NEX7 cameras are awesome at photos and video. The manual controls are easy to use, and the auto settings produce great photos. The only down side to the camera is that it feels like a cell phone that somebody turned into a camera. The sensor is world class tho, and there are adapters to mount old range finder glass onto it. The panasonic micro four thrids cameras are all great. The GX1 with the pancake zoom lens could be really appealing to you. You would also be happy with the GF3 if you want more auto features and features in general, and maybe the G3 if a more traditional dslr inspired design fits your hands better.

Re:+1 two suggestions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602638)

If you have kids, or other reasons to want a fast camera to capture action shots, despite the smaller sensor size, the Nikon v1 is getting awesome praise from friends of mine that were harsh critics of the design before they handled it.

It also does video, and lets you capture still images while taking video.

Re:two suggestions (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602704)

I'd your money, and buy the best DSLR you can afford.

They all have Full Auto you can start right off using it without 'technical knowledge'.

But over time, you will have the option to play with the settings and learn the tech behind the DSLR and then be able to use one to the fullest extent.

Again, they all have full that and start experimenting and learn more about photography...make it a learning investment.

Also...more lens options with DSLR and it did sound like that was something he was interested in.

I'm not suggesting you go overboard like I'm saving to do...I'm looking to get a Canon 5D Mark II (unless the Mark III comes out soon and is better). But the lower level Canon DSLR's are all quite nice and a good place to start. I want the 5D so I can have the high end HD video too...wanting to try to shoot pro level stuff. I live in New Orleans, and there is work for people with this, figure after awhile I can earn some $$ enough to justify such an expense.

The best solution. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602050)

Currently, only the Sony model offers full (i.e. autofocus) support compatible with their 35mm offerings. Regrettably, the adaptor is expensive. Of course the Leica M lacks a mirror, but I doubt that's what you were wondering about :p

Get a Lumix (4, Informative)

spacefight (577141) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602052)

Get a Lumix from Panasonic, to be specific, get the DMC-LX5. Outstanding picture quality and if you need to shoot a video, it's not too bad too. The hardware flip to change from different resolutions is quite nice and the 16:9 format is just perfect for printout once back home.

Re:Get a Lumix (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602082)

so I saw this big fat heifer-sow of a woman at the grocery store. this one was easily in the 300-350lb range and i was surpirsed to see she could waddle on her own without the assistance of a wheeled electric fat-cart. i also was really very shocked and amazed to observe that she was raiding the donuts. no mere half-dozen or full dozen box is enough for her. oh, no. she had to nab the biggest box the place sold, the two-dozen box.

but you see, there was a problem. she simply could not hold out. it would be a whole 10-15 minutes before she could complete her shopping and check-out. though i am certain she struggled mightily to control herself, alas, it was far too long to wait. the craving and the temptation became far too much for her puny willpower. she was overcome and she knew it. still standing in the bakery/pastry area of the store, she could not help her self. she cracked open the box right then and there and started eating the fat-sugar-and-grease filled donuts. i think it was an empty box she brought to the check-out.

but oh how it was worth it. though she said nothing you could see how her heart sang. like the lover to his long-lost beloved, or the heroin addict to the needle and spoon, or the crackhead to that white rock, she was propelled by what she most cared about. of course she was a bit self-conscious. you could almost see it written on her face, thoughts like "they're going to think this is why I am so grotesquely fat" and "my decision making obviously could never have anything to do with my disgusting self-hating bloated fatbody obesity, i am not responsible, could not be responsible, it must be my big bones because bone always looks exactly like flabby jiggling rolls of fat".

listen up and learn well. hear the words of wisdom. even though it is proven absolutely by empirical observation, basic physics and mathematics, and the like, that you CANNOT POSSIBLY gain weight if you eat fewer calories than you burn... well despite all of these fancy "facts" and all of that bullshit book-learnin', obscenely fat heifers like her have no responsibility for their condition. it is always someone or something else's fault. true they could eat less or exercise more, or preferably both, but who has time for that? i mean damn, YOU try spending 10 hours of your waking day eating yourself into an early grave and then see how much time is left over for things like eating less or exercising more. quit being so damned insensitive.

so the next time you see a big fat sweaty sow of a woman whose rolls of fat on her shoulder blades look like a distorted, backward-facing second pair of breasts, you need to give her a mercy fuck. do it to take one for the team. do it to prove how much of a non-bigot you are. do it so you can finally expose the LIE that people who take responsibility for their lives gain the ability to improve themselves. we sure as hell can't have people believing in that.

just be sure to have on hand a 10 pound bag of flour. better make that two, just in case. you might need it for that mercy fuck. you see, there is so much more to love that you might have difficulty locating the vaginal opening. that's where the flour kicks in and saves the day, or the night. you simply roll her around in it and look for the wet spot. that, good sir, is your target. you will thank me in the morning, but fear not -- from the kindness of my heart i give this wisdom freely.

Re:Get a Lumix (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602164)

The LX5 is a great camera and would be a superb choice (I have the LX3 - a previous model). It does however lack a decent zoom.

If you don't mind giving up a few other features, the Lumix TZ20 is a good alternative.

- Zoom

+GPS tagging

Re:Get a Lumix (5, Informative)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602192)

I'm an ex professional newspaper and sports photographer... and my main camera is the LX5 too... quality is amazing, leica lens, 24mm wide angle, HD video, low noise, good screen.

DSLR is great, but it's a pain in the butt to carry around. Unless you go out SPECIFICALLY to take pictures, something like the Lumix LX5 is more than enough. There's a great blog post on this: []


Re:Get a Lumix (2)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602376)

The author has a good point, but the fact that all of his example photos are either really noisy or overcompressed doesn't help.

Re:Get a Lumix (2)

MichaelKristopeit420 (2018880) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602200)

completely agree. i've had 3 revisions of the lumix... they all still work 100%, and i've been very impressed with them.

i'd recommend the DMC-ZS9 though [] ... $129 to your door.

i'm not sure why you're looking for interchangeable lenses when you claim to have no technical knowledge. the macro mode on the lumix works great, and the lens is a 24mm leica with 16x optical zoom, and optical image stabilization. the video mode now has a stereo mic, and they moved the mic location from the far left where your index finger might cover it, and you wouldn't know your video didn't have sound until you tried to play it back.

Re:Get a Lumix (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602674)

I had a Panosonic FZ5 and wound up getting the Leica Elpro 2 for macros. It is a 5 element close up filter. AMAZING.
I don't really use my Panosonic any more. I should probably sell it while it still has value. Looks like used ones are going for $99

Re:Get a Lumix (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602266)

The Canon G-series is also an excellent choice.

The Lumix LX series are well built, but I was soured by the awful noise performance of the LX1 - in fact, its poor noise performance drove me to purchase my first DSLR.

Re:Get a Lumix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602316)

Please try a Lumix in low light before suggesting those. I got a Lumix to give as a gift - very slow camera and blurry for dim or fast-moving shots.

Canon is good, but I'm biased since I have a Rebel T3 DSLR [] . Set it to full auto, point, shoot, and just about anybody can use it with its standard lens. The only down side is that you'll be taking so many pictures that you'll have to buy more SD cards. If you turn the flash off, this one shoots almost as fast as you can push the button - excellent for sports. If you get into it, you'll want to try rentglass [] and KEH [] for trying different lenses.

One advantage of SLR - you can't accidentally leave the lens cap on since you're looking through the same lens as the sensor.

Re:Get a Lumix (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602614)

Please try a Lumix in low light before suggesting those. I got a Lumix to give as a gift - very slow camera and blurry for dim or fast-moving shots.

I doubt that it was the DMC-LX5, since the lens is f2.0. A friend has one, and it's a very nice little camera.

Re:Get a Lumix (1)

elwinc (663074) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602562)

I own a Lumix DMC FZ100 and I think it's great. Zoom range is 24X (25mm - 600mm equiv.) so there's not too many occasions when you'd even want to change lenses. It's not a shirt-pocket camera like the ZS10, but on the other hand, it shoots good 1080P video and does bursts at full resolution up to 11 frames/sec. Last night I was taking pix for my son's cooking project, hand held at 1/10 and 1/8 sec under natural kitchen incandescent lighting and they were almost as sharp as daylight photos.

The downside of all the small sensor cameras is low light shooting. You'll just have to accept that in low light your camera is not a full 12 or 14 megapixels. What I do is force the ISO to be 100 all the time. If the ISO climbs to 200 I can see noise I don't like at full resolution; either that or noise reduction artifacts that are also annoying. So I shoot at ISO 100 and either underexpose and/or reduce the effective pixel count. Underexposure can be adjusted in post-processing; reduced pixel count is just a fact of life in low light - 3.5 megapixels is still decent for many purposes.

Re:Get a Lumix (3, Informative)

skribble (98873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602710)

I have an LX5, and it is an outstanding camera, however I recently picked up an Olympus E-PM1 and while I like the feel on of the LX5 better, the Olympus beats it in both picture and video quality. This should be expected since the LX5 has a much smaller sensor (though bigger then most compact digitals). (The LX-5 though is unique in using different area of the sensor for different aspect ratios... I really enjoy the 1:1 and the 16:9).

This was my first foray into the whole mirrorless interchangeable lens type camera so I didn't want to spend to much so it was down to the PanasonicGF3 and Olympus E-PM1 (I considered the new Nikon J system but it cost much more for much less). The two were very similar, but the Olympus had a hotshot for the flash and accessories and felt a bit more solid so that's what I went with.

I'm not giving up on my LX5, but I find it's no longer my go to camera.

Learn photography. (5, Insightful)

Nationless (2123580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602064)

You don't have the full technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR?

Learn it.

Trust me, the basics are a lot easier than you think. The rest is experimentation, play and frankly, photography.

You'll thank me in the long run when you're not stuck with a million lenses for a camera you've outgrown.

Re:Learn photography. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602126)

You don't have the full technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR?

Learn it.

Trust me, the basics are a lot easier than you think. The rest is experimentation, play and frankly, photography.

You'll thank me in the long run when you're not stuck with a million lenses for a camera you've outgrown.

This. In addition, MILCs are very expensive, while offering subpar image quality to entry level DSLRs. Imho, MILCs are to DSLRs what laptops are to desktops. You gain portability at the loss of image quality, bad ecosystems (read: lenses), etc...

Everything you need to know to shoot very good pictures with a DSLR would probably fit on a piece of A5 paper.

Re:Learn photography. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602428)

You have a point with the micro 4/3s cams, but what makes an entry-level Canon or Nikon better then the NEX? They're all APS-C sensors.

There's a faction of hard-core camera nerds who adore the NEX, the form factor makes it easy to use old lenses on a modern body.

Lenses for MILC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602432)

This is a very misleading comment.

The MILC cameras are small enough that it is possible to mount a wide variety of lenses on them, including the full range and history of Leica lenses. Leica lenses are amongst the finest lenses around and are currently hard to find in stores because they're selling them as fast as they can make them.

Re:Learn photography. (2)

BattleApple (956701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602534)

I agree with getting a DSLR. I bought a canon powershot S5 IS a few years ago, but now I wish I had gotten a DSLR. It's a nice enough camera for my needs, but I don't want to buy any lenses for it that I won't be able to use if I get a DSLR in the future.
One cool thing about Canon cameras is CHDK [] I'm not sure if there's anything similar for other brands. I was disappointed that the S5-IS didn't have a bulb exposure setting, but you can enable it with CHDK. And it doesn't modify the firmware on the camera, it's just stored on the SD card. When you put in an unmodified SD card, the camera is back to normal.

Don't even have to... (1)

Goonie (8651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602366)

DSLRs have "point-and-click" modes that are as easy to use as a compact. The only possible reason I can see to buy something other than a DSLR camera if you're even moderately serious about photography is the size and weight of the camera (+ lenses).

For idiot-proof travel, a DSLR + a Sigma or Tamron "superzoom" will get you excellent pictures, and when you get home you can fit more specialized lenses for whatever it is you want to do.

Re:Don't even have to... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602500)

dSLRs aren't really appropriate for travel, which is precisely why I bought myself a Canon Powershot sx40 HS a while back. I personally love my dSLR and wouldn't trade it for anything, but lugging around 30lbs., worth of gear to make the most of it isn't particularly viable for travel. Well, unless your whole point is going for photography.

The camera has an impressive zoom range and gives usable results in all but the darkest conditions. I've had the ISO up to 3200 and it still produces shots that are worth having, albeit with some degredation.

My main complaint with it is that the focus is a bit slow and it's a bit hard to use the manual settings for more than one thing at a time.

Re:Don't even have to... (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602826)

dSLRs aren't really appropriate for travel, which is precisely why I bought myself a Canon Powershot sx40 HS a while back. I personally love my dSLR and wouldn't trade it for anything, but lugging around 30lbs., worth of gear to make the most of it isn't particularly viable for travel. Well, unless your whole point is going for photography.

You know...I don't know where this complaint comes from.

It wasn't THAT long ago..when pretty much all we had were 33mm film cameras, and no one bitched about carrying a SLR camera and a lens (or maybe two).

Growing up, that's ALL we had.....hell as a kid, I always was asking my Dad to be the one to carry the family camera...finally one year when I was like 19 or so, on a cruise they got me my own..a Nikon FA blackbody..I was thrilled.

That thing lasted through college and a LOT of drunken parties. Those party shots are still with us today.....(hoping someone in there runs for senator so I can remind him of the photos, and get a cushy govt job).


STFU nerd (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602398)

STFU nerd

Re:Learn photography. (4, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602418)

Yup. MILCs are a fad... They offer some of the image quality of a DSLR at a slightly smaller package, however:

With a telephoto lens, the size improvements of the body are less significant. In fact, you may actually be finding yourself wishing the camera body were larger due to balance issues! I know a lot of people with Pentax DSLRs and higher-end (longer/heavier) lenses keep the battery grip on at all times because of the superior balance and ergonomics.

MILCs have the same disadvantages as P&S cameras in terms of autofocus performance - like P&S cameras, they are fundamentally limited to contrast detection autofocus, which is MUCH slower than the phase detect systems in DSLRs. 90% of the time when you see someone complain about "shutter lag" in a P&S, the lag is actually the autotofocus system reconfirming focus. (A contrast detect system must "wiggle" the focus to confirm that it is correct, even if starting at perfect focus. A phase-detect system knows when it's at optimal focus immediately.)

Last but not least - MILC systems are FAR more expensive than entry-level DSLR kits.

Also, the MILC industry is too early to see where things go as far as accessories and lenses. Most systems only have 2-3 lenses available to them, and there's no guarantee you'll see more.

There's nothing saying you can't use a DSLR in a basic "program" mode - but you won't unlock its full potential. The same goes for a MILC though.

A DSLR will give you far more potential for growth as you learn the system, a MILC will quickly deadend on you.

Re:Learn photography. (2, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602512)

I didn't know about the focus thing, but from what I can tell 4/3rds seem otherwise OK.

Their sensor is pretty big - I think they have a 2.0x crop factor (i.e. 1/4 the area, or roughly half the quality of a full frame), as opposed to a 1.6 crop factor (i.e. 1/1.6 the quality) in an entry Canon DSLR. This is streets ahead of a ~4.5 crop factor for a s95, or ~4.2 crop factor on the LX5 (or Leica rebranded version - the D-Lux 5), which are some of the best non-SLR cameras you can get.

You can get some cute lenses. I like the way a lot of them are about 17mm, which is like a 21mm on a Canon 1.6 crop. That's a much nicer size (IMO) than the 50mm that everyone seems to get for APS-C DSLRs. Still, that's a personal thing.

Re:Learn photography. (2, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602618)

I forgot to add - they are way overpriced, and so are all their gear. You shouldn't pay more than APS-C equivalents. It's just wrong to sell a smaller lens for more. When the price comes down to earth (and maybe Sigma gets involved in making 3rd party lenses), I'll definitely get one though.

Re:Learn photography. (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602650)

I'd say a small point & shoot is often better, since I'm more likely to have it with me. My DSLR takes great pictures, but I can't take it with me everywhere. The DMC-LX5 recommended above would be nice if the OP can afford it.

Re:Learn photography. (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602768)

People interchangeably use DSLR instead of "camera with manual modes".
The fact that you're actually looking through the lens doesn't really matter much.
The SLRs design is because you couldn't look through film, so you had to have a mirror and a bunch of other things no longer needed in 2012.
Today you can look through film, because the film is a CCD.

All that said, I have a ton of Canon SLR equipment that I've bought over the past 2 years and I might start to regret it.

DSLR (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602096)

I am a professional so I am a little biased here....I say get a DSLR. The mirrorless stuff is a neat idea but slow and lacks in quality compared to a traditional DSLR. All low end DSLR's have dummy modes that work exactly the same as a you don't really have to have technical knowledge. Trust me on this, I have many family members and friends who bought low end DSLR's and they use them just like they used there compact NON DSLR's.

With a SLR you will get better quality (well most of the time), more control and usually a wider range of lenses.

Mirrorless basically gets you a smaller camera

Re:DSLR (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602532)

Right, which is precisely why I got a second camera to complement my dSLR. I love my dSLR for the reasons you list, but ultimately, the best camera is the one that you have with you. I've already gotten a few shots that I wouldn't otherwise have gotten because of the long lens and it being actually on me at the time.

Personally, I'd pair it up with a good quality monopod for best results.

Re:DSLR (2, Interesting)

Gaerek (1088311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602544)

Here's something to consider, coming from Trey Ratcliff. [] In a nutshell, in 5-10 years, DSLR's will be looked on the same way we look at VHS. It was a great technology for it's time, but it had to go. Theoretically, the only real difference between a DSLR and a MILC (or whatever you want to call them) is that a DSLR has a mirror box and the MILC doesn't. You might say that the viewfinder is different, but in reality, there is no difference. Live view on a DSLR looks like crap compared to the electronic viewfinder of, say the Olympus EP-3. True, today there are no full frame MILC (unless you count the Leica M9, which will set you back $7k), but I doubt the OP would want to spend the money on a full frame DSLR either. The Olympus EP-3 is getting absolutely rave reviews throughout the photography community. Scott Bourne, for instance has pretty much switched from DSLR's to the EP-3 and only uses his D3 and/or 5dmkii for action and wildlife photography. It's tough to think about this kind of huge paradigm change within photography, especially those who've spent tens of thousands on camera bodies and lenses, but in 5-10 years, those who are still shooting a huge clunky DSLR will be looked on like those who today are still shooting very quaint. I for one will not be buying anymore lenses or accessories for my DSLR. I plan to gradually make the switch to something similar to the EP-3 over the next few years.

Re:DSLR (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602570)

I have many family members and friends who bought low end DSLR's and they use them just like they used there compact NON DSLR's.

Except they can't fit the DSLR in their pocket and they take much longer to focus in auto.

I have a DSLR and I can't imagine life without it but to say that they can be used just like P&Ss is simply not true.

Re:DSLR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602698)

I agree, DSLR's are not hard to use in Auto mode. Love my Nikon D80 DSLR although it is relatively old. Faster zoom, picture taking, and focusing than PNS cameras. I hate using PNS cameras and feel that I can never get the photo right compared to when I have a DSLR.

With that said, DSLR's are harder to carry around. You can't just tuck them away in a short pocket and go. That and cost are probably the two biggest negatives. Whether or not this is important depends on a person's usage. For me, the benefits mentioned above far exceed these two negatives.

Seconded. Re: Entry level DSLR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602706)

I got a Canon G10 (what 2 years ago now?) and it's been a great entry into DSLR. I can take full control when I want it, or I can just play point-n-shoot. And it's not ridiculously expensive. Of course, do the reviews and find out what gives you a better upgrade path for your lenses. What I've heard is that the nikon entry dslr is more compatible so any lenses you buy will work with a new body if you upgrade down the road.

Can any Canon or Nikon pros or reps add on to my thoughts above?

Re:DSLR (2)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602764)

"The mirrorless stuff is a neat idea but slow and lacks in quality compared to a traditional DSLR" ... Then you CLEARLY have not been paying attention to recent advancements. The advancements Sony has made in its most recent generation of MILCs is nothing short of amazing. They can and DO rival full DSLRs. * Disclaimer: That said I still bought a micro four thirds instead as it was better for my use scenarios.

Re:DSLR (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602790)

Mirrorless basically gets you a smaller camera

so mirrorless is all advantage and no disadvantage? i agree with your statement 100% the only drawback for the mirrorless is that you typically get more framecrop, but the lenses take that into account - the G1 i have now came with a 14mm (and a 2x frame crop) yielding 28mm which is just fine. the 8mm lens (16mm realized) is fantastic especially since it opens up to f1.7 this is coming from someone with a micro 4/3 mirrorless and has had lots of SLRs and one DSLR (D70).

MILC are a good choice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602100)

There's plenty of technology, not just hype, panasonic and olympus lines are both very nice. Don't dismiss the idea of 'larger' DSLRs though. A basic Canon Rebel or similar entry level Nikon can be used as point & shoot but give plenty of room to learn about exposures and lenses. The main thing the MILC cameras get you is that they are physically smaller (body & lenses) with a slight tradeoff in potential image quality

No reason not to get a dSLR (3, Insightful)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602102)

I'm sure there are excellent 'mirrorless' cameras too, but a dSLR doesn't require any great technical expertise. Just pick up one of the entry-level Nikon or Canon models (which are pretty small, and typically come as kits with versatile standard zooms). You can start off shooting in program mode with the kit zoom, which is no more difficult than using a phone camera. If you choose, you can add dedicated macro and telephoto (or longer zoom) lenses later.

It's not all marketing (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602104)

It really has to do with the size of the sensor. The bigger the sensor the better the picture is going to be. The MILC cameras you are referring to have almost the same sensor size as DSLR's and a way way bigger sensor then in your mobile phone. See the article below for more information:

Why your cameras sensor size matters []

Re:It's not all marketing (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602588)

That used to be a lot more true than it is today. My current travel has a ~5x crop factor and does quite well in terms of light sensitivity and noise reduction. Yes, it's not going to compete with a full sensor or one with a less severe crop, but ultimately it's easier to bring with me and for most amateurs it's going to be just fine.

These days I use a Canon Powershot SX40 HS and I never would have thought that I could get that kind of image quality and size out of a P&S camera. It's definitely more than enough for most people. Plus, it allows one to get used to how to make pictures before committing to one lens system or another.

what? (4, Insightful)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602108)

so you don't have the knowledge to appreciate a dslr, yet you're willing to buy a similarly expensive mirrorless camera with multiple lenses?

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602270)

"Similarly expensive"? You need to do a bit of research before making blanket statements like that.

I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon 7D. The 5D Body without lens was $3500 when new (now they go for $2000). My most expensive lens, a very high quality 21mm Zeiss was $1800. I shoot those regularly for professional use and love the flexibility and image quality I get. I bought my wife an Olympus e-pl1 when they first came out. It's 12 Megapixels, has a large sensor size and take freaking great pictures. No not as good as the 5D or 7D and then lenses aren't as good either, but it's waaay better than a phone or point and shoot. That camera sells WITH LENS for under $300.

And what camera do we take on vacation? The olympus. It's plenty good enough for casual holiday snaps and even semi-serious work. And you're not walking around with $5000 worth of gear just begging to be robbed.

Re:what? (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602556)

Similarly expensive for similar quality, obviously. Nobody's going to compare the most expensive body Nikon or Canon has to offer to consumer-level mirrorless cameras.

Re:what? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602654)

Precisely. For under $400 these days you can get a really impressive camera that will get shots that were previously only attainable with pro gear and not have to worry about being robbed or it being too heavy to carry around.

As much as I love my old 10D and my Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS, it's just a lot of gear to lose and more importantly just to carry around. With tripod, I'm looking at something like 30lbs., just to walk out the door.

When I got my new camera I was shocked at how well it did with normal tasks. It takes forever to focus and the manual controls aren't as good, but most people aren't going to get better results with a more expensive system.

Seems strange to me... (3, Insightful)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602110)

You are posting on a technical site, say you are very interested in camera technology, but say you don't understand DSLR? I suggest a good DSLR tutorial rather than this feeble attempt at a slashvertisement.

Hang out on a deal site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602176)

Like Woot, saleaday or whatever, and just get what comes up next.

Or wait till some of the comments post a better offering.

Overconstrained problem definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602180)

Why get one camera with 2 lenses when you could just get 2 cameras?

Re:Overconstrained problem definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602220)

Why get 2 cameras when you could just get one camera with 2 lenses?

Re:Overconstrained problem definition (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602242)

Because no one is going to sell a fixed lens camera that only does telephoto, or is only good for wide angle shots. They're going to try to sell a camera that compromises.

Wrong forum (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602182)

You want

Four-Thirds is the Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602222)

I have spent a good amount of time researching this -- and incidentally, so has the manufacturers. The conclusion is the best compromise between image quality and size is the Four-Thirds sensor. With the Micro Four Thirds bodies, you get better image quality with higher ISO than the Nikon V1/J1 series, and smaller lighter bodies and lenses than the Sony NEX with very little compromise in field of view or high ISO image quality. Moreover, the micro four-thirds lineup has a breadth of high quality lenses, and is adaptable to pretty much anything. I personally ended up with a GH1 as it has a slightly larger than normal sensor for a 4/3s body, making it a good hybrid camera which does 16:9 very well, and is optimized for Video use. On the other hand, if you do not think video is of much importance, the Olympus bodies have in-body stabilization making it possible to use TONS of manual focus lenses for cheap, with low cost adapters yielding amazing results. Bottom line -- don't get sucked into the brand name and the idea of bigger is better for sensor size.

cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602224)

Hi. You might consider a camera such as athe Fujifilm S-2950 or a similar model. While the lenses are not interchangeable, the current crop of such cameras have an electronic vierfinder, 18x to 36x lenses (depending on the model) and are pretty nice cameras that can probably handle all of your needs. Image stabilization helps a lot to get clear shots. I like cameras that take AA batteries, as I can use AA NiMH rechargeable batteries. I am a serious amateur photographe rand I like to try macro shots, night shots and take photos in unusual situations. My Fijifilm S-2950 has never dissapointed me yet.

Sony NEX-7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602230)

Has the best performing sensor of any camera currently available that is under $10,000.

They are hard to come by right now due to demand and natural disasters.

Visit for details on sensor testing of a large number of digital cameras.

FWIW, the Sony NEX-7 scores better than the Sony Alpha 77SLT, even though they both have the same sensor. The difference is that the A77SLT has a translucent mirror and that detracts from the image quality.

Re:Sony NEX-7 (1)

liquidhokie (2044274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602492)

I just got an A77, and I can't understand how anyone could knock the image quality. It has 24 mpixel, I am not impressed with 1:1 blowups detailing every errant pixel.

Having said that, the A77 is probably not what the poster is looking for, and if the NEX7 is half the camera the A77 is (and it is probably more like 90%, which makes me *almost* regret getting the A77), you won't regret it. Good luck finding one until April :)

Re:Sony NEX-7 (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602554)

Wrong. The Pentax K-5 outscored the NEX-7, 82 vs. 81 points on DxOMark sensor testing. The K-5 hardly costs $10k... more like closer to $1k depending on sales and rebates. In fact, the K-5 sensor outperforms *every* APS-C DSLR camera currently available, and is bested only by *one* full-frame Nikon and a few medium format professional bodies (including the Pentax 645D). In particular, it's low-light performance and sensitivity is matched by only a few cameras, at any price.

Interestingly, the Nikon D7000, which is reportedly using the same sensor as K-5, scores only 80 and has worse low-light sensor performance.

3rd gen cameras are the future (1)

dphaeker (1919158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602234)

Re:3rd gen cameras are the future (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602486)

Note that not a single one of his example shots has a moving subject, hiding one of the major disadvantages of P&S and MILC cameras (fundamentally slow autofocus.)

The best MILC's contrast detect AF might be able to match the weakest DSLR phase detect implementation - but if you have any intention on focusing on a moving subject (or even a fidgety impatient one), you want the autofocus performance of a DSLR, and phase detect systems will never be matched in terms of speed by CD systems.

Yes, CD systems can have some nifty "tricks" not available to PD systems - but any modern DSLR can focus using both methods anyway. No MILC will ever have a phase detect system.

Don't skip the DSLR... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602282)

I'd really recommend you go with an entry level DSLR. Maybe the Canon T3 or T3i. I have used the Canon Digital Rebel XT and right now I own the T2i - I've had great luck. Almost everyone uses either a Canon or a Nikon - so I recommend you stick with one of those. I use Canon, but Nikon is just as good. Just keep in mind that you can't switch lenses between the two, so once you go with one, you should stick with it. :)

My experiences (4, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602284)

"The best camera is the one you have with you" is a well known saying in photography. I have collected, and had the experience to work with, over the years, numerous cameras, lenses and videocams. Here are some of my learned truths:

1) Form factor matters - if you don't have the camera, you won't use it. My best pictures are from my DSLR with a big bounce-flash+diffuser and a nifty-fifty [1] prime lens. For close-ups and portrait style, this camera is really hard to beat... however, I almost never have this camera (or it's bukly flash) with me. I've resorted to taking some pretty decent pictures with my wife's point-n-shoot , and surprisingly my iPhone.

2) Video and Still pictures are two separate competencies. My best videos were with the aforementioned point and shoot, the next best with the iPhone. I almost never take video with the bulky DSLR, and when I do, the lack of auto-focus on video makes it difficult to do properly.

3) I've never tried the EVIL/MILC, but they seem like a great idea... just terribly expensive.

My recommendation would be to have several camera types (phone, P&S, DSLR) so that you can have availability and quality. the EVIL/MILC will never beat the bounce-flash equipped DSLR and prime lens (which would pale in comparison to a properly setup studio and multi-flash setup - but I can't afford that). In my world, the MILC would replace the point-and-shoot, and I'd still take the DSLR wherever I would normally take it (parties and events), but it'd be awesome to have almost-DSLR quality on my hikes. Recently I've been very impressed by my new iPhone4S so it might replace the P&S completely.

Consider a high end pocketable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602290)

I've had great experience with a high end pocketable cameras like the Canon G12 or S100, Fuji X10, or Nikon Coolpix P300. The picture quality is amazingly good and the portability means that it is always available. I've carry it on a pouch on my belt while hiking and mountain biking - something that it is hard to do with a DSLR or MILC. The convenience means that I can and do pull it out in an instant. I find myself taking more pictures and capturing more transient events than my colleagues with a DSLR. Plus modern incarnations of many of these high end pocketables can perform high end functions like bracketing to gain dynamic range, full manual control and RAW images.

Re:Consider a high end pocketable (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602756)

G12 is a good camera, but pocketable? Those are some big pockets.

Don't sell yourself short ... (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602292)

I want a camera that's better than my phone, but I don't have the technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR.

Look, if you can post a submission to Slashdot to ask this, you can use a modern DSLR.

They've got so much automation built into them that the camera can be operated in one or two modes without a lot of deep knowledge of the fiddly bits. As you use it, you can opt to try some of the new features, but they've still got some pretty good automated modes.

I occasionally do use some of the advanced features, but for the most part the auto modes cover my needs. But, if I want to delve into it, it's all there. You can run that as point and shoot cameras, or you can run them in full-on "stand back, I'm a professional" mode.

If you really want to get better quality pictures, the lens quality of a DSLR gets you to an awfully good level as long as you're buying a good quality lens instead of some of the cheaper lenses that come with the kits. Those are sometimes a compromise which makes for something which is OK most of the time ... I did a little more reading and bought my camera body and lens separate, because the lens I bought was better quality and more versatile than the ones which came bundled.

If you want to be able to change lenses, go with the DSLR and work up to it ... the lenses from the major companies will carry through their models for years. (I still use the old lenses from my film camera on my current Nikon DSLR.)

If you buy something in between, it might not cover all of your needs, and in a few years you might need to replace it all over again.

Re:Don't sell yourself short ... (1)

liquidhokie (2044274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602404)

Sometimes, you don't want to "look" like a photographer. A high quality EVIL camera allows you to be a little more inconspicuous and still get away with great shots.

Re:Don't sell yourself short ... (0)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602592)

Sometimes, you don't want to "look" like a photographer. A high quality EVIL camera allows you to be a little more inconspicuous and still get away with great shots.

Depends on what you need and what you're doing.

Sometimes I'll just bring my point and shoot camera. Sometimes I'll bring my DSLR with the lens I bought it with and a case that just fits that. Sometimes I'll bring my DSLR in my full on carry bag that has all of my lenses in it.

By the time I'm at option 3, I'm carrying 15+ pounds of camera gear, and it's quite obvious I'm there to take pictures ... but that's only for certain kinds of vacation where I want to cover all possible scenarios.

My Nikon D80 with an 18-70mm lens isn't all that conspicuous -- and it covers the vast majority of scenarios I'm likely to be in. I'm sort of the de-facto photographer for my wife's family events since I'm the only one who brings (and remembers to use) my camera. :-P

Did you read what you linked? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602304)

We've had a chance to use all of these cameras extensively (and have reviewed most of them), so now seems like the ideal time to look at all the cameras and help you decide whether a Mirrorless camera is for you and, if so, which models you should consider.

It's all right there, apparently. I didn't look around, and I don't really know what these mirrorless cameras are (point and shoot cameras that can take lenses? cool), but I'd recommend looking there.

That said, I've always been highly satisfied with the color and image reproduction quality on Canon products. I won't buy another type of camera (whether still or motion). I think it's superior to the others ( eg. Sony). It's a matter of preference, though.

Why interchangeable lenses? (1)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602320)

I am curious what advantages you imagine you'll get from having interchangeable lenses. For macro purposes, a lot of little point&shoot cameras do great with close focus because their sensors are so small. Likewise, smaller sensors allow for long telephoto lenses to still be very compact. If you were saying you wanted better wide angle capability (for architecture and whatnot) or you wanted to be able to shallow depth-of-field stuff (portraiture and artsy stuff) then I'd think maybe an interchangeable lens camera would be best..

I'm not suggesting you get a crappy point&shoot, just that if you're traveling a lot then you'll want something small and durable.. I lug my DSLR all over because I've already made the investment, but it's killer on my back.

Get a digital rangefinder (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602322)

Such as the Leica M9. Or if you can't afford that, just learn how to use a DSLR in auto mode. It's really hard (for me at least) to take a good picture without an optical viewfinder.

Why a MILC? Get a compact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602348)

For non-technical use, why not just get a compact? I have a Canon Powershot SX230HS. Pocketable 12MP with x14 zoom (28-392mm equiv), image stabilised, geo tagging etc. Alot of manual options if you want to get creative, but also full auto available as well. Great for travelling.

I also have a DSLR, but for travelling, a good compact is much more convenient.

With a MILC, you can have better optics (a compact will have to compromise on the optics), but it will also be far bulkier.

DSLR vs MILC (2)

CraigoFL (201165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602350)

but I don't have the technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR

Don't let your own knowledge & skill level be your reason to choose a MILC over a DSLR. The two kinds of camera are very similar in terms of their capabilities.

The major difference in the two is the way you view your scene prior to taking a picture. The "single lens reflex" in "SLR" means that you get an optical view of your scene through the lens you're using. As a result, what you see is extremely detailed (ie: almost as good as your eyes themselves). This is great for manual focusing. It doesn't suck any battery either.

The "M" in "MILC" (typically) means that you don't get this optical viewpath for composing your shots. Instead, you see your scene on an electronic LCD. This can be easier to view in some situations, but is far less detailed (ie: limited by the resolution of your LCD), so manual focusing is harder. Also, you need to drain your battery in order to see anything.

However, without the physical mirror & prism for the optical viewfinder a MILC can be much smaller and lighter than a corresponding DSLR. Typically, they also use smaller sensors, which in turn require smaller lenses. This further reduces size & weight, at the expense of image quality and optical performance.

That tradeoff is a fair one to consider. Let that be your decision factor, not your own knowledge. The techniques you use with each kind of camera will still be mostly the same.

Re:DSLR vs MILC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602740)

The major difference in the two is the way you view your scene prior to taking a picture. The "single lens reflex" in "SLR" means that you get an optical view of your scene through the lens you're using. As a result, what you see is extremely detailed (ie: almost as good as your eyes themselves). This is great for manual focusing. It doesn't suck any battery either.

Dude, go to a pawnshop and buy a 60's film camera for 20 bucks. Look thru the gigantic, bright viewfinder with focusing aids, and tell me again how good the optical viewfinder is on today's consumer level DSLRs.

Re:DSLR vs MILC (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602776)

It should be noted that many modern dSLRs will give you the large LCD-screen preview as well, since so many people buy dSLRs but want point-and-click features.

NEX7 (3, Informative)

liquidhokie (2044274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602380)

If you can find one, get the NEX7, and pick a E mount lens that best suits your needs. Then, get an L to E adapter, and you can use 100's of Leicia L mount lenses. Most will only work in manual focus mode, but the peaking display makes focusing easy and accurate.

I just got an Alpha77, which is probably not what you are looking for. I love it, though, and the NEX7 shares a lot of the same technology and features.

Sorry, but really (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602414)

You have to ask slashdot for what camera to buy? There are about a hundred thousand better websites geared towards photography you can google instead of listening to a bunch of .\ blowhards grouping themselves into fanboys for one side or the other.

Re:Sorry, but really (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602692)

To be honest, I was intrigued on how would the slash-crowd answer to this. All in all, there are a lot of geeks that enjoy photography and provide nice and helpful advice, even posting prices and pros/cons. Just pick at random, chances are it could be modded informative. There are a few aggressive or sarcastic comments, but they don't seem to have a clue.

A nice "Ask /.", if you ask me...

Nikon 1 series is your answer (2)

mozumder (178398) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602426)

The system was designed from the ground up for people like you.

I tried it the other day at the store - it's as small as a compact, it was really easy to control, picture quality was perfectly fine, focus speed is as fast as a DSLR.

The big selling feature of it is that it's the first camera to use an SLR-style phase-detect autofocus (look it up) outside of a DSLR, so you can capture action shots, something you can't do with compact cameras and can only do with DSLRs. It just makes responsiveness of the camera so much better, almost like a pro camera, so you don't end up missing shots, or have to tell everyone to stay still all the time.

BTW I shoot fashion & runway shows, including the big New York Fashion Week.

MIL cameras aren't any easier than DSLRs.... (0)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602436)

To reiterate what a few other people have already said: a MILS style camera isn't really any easier to use than a DSLR. However, they do tend to be smaller, which can be a big plus when traveling. My main camera is a Canon 5D (first generation), which is a huge brick of a thing. I'm sure I've missed out on getting some great shots because I couldn't be arsed to bring it with me sometimes.

The article you linked to on DPreview is already a better overview than most people on /. are going to be able to provide - just skip to the section on beginner's cameras and pick the one that calls out to you.

But don't do it because DSLRs are big and scary. Every camera you ever have will have the following controls: aperture, shutter speed, ISO. That's 99% of what you need. Go grab a copy of "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson and the rest will fall into place. (Unless you intend to use external lighting, in which case you've got plenty of time to learn that too.)

Mirrorless/3rd Gen cameras are the way to go (0)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602462)

Re:Mirrorless/3rd Gen cameras are the way to go (1)

BryGy (180402) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602832)

I was going to link to the exact same piece by Trey. It change the way I will be thinking about my next camera purchase in this year.

DSLR is where it's at. (1)

MrWin2kMan (918702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602494)

I echo many of the other statements posted. I had an Olmpus SP-350 for a long time, great little camera, but last year I got a Canon T2i, which is fantastic; 18Mp and high-def 1080p video to boot. It does way more than I know how to do yet, but the flexibility that it provides, allowing you to 'grow into it' is without equal. You can get its little brother, the T3i fairly reasonable, or one of the other EOS DSLRs. Check your Best Buy or Fry's ads, after going to Canon USA, of course.

wrong criteria (1)

backdoc (416006) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602498)

I think ease of use is the wrong criteria. You choose a mirrorless camera for it's size, flexible lens (you can use a Panasonic lens on an Olympus body) options and live preview, not for ease of use. I have owned both. I liked the Panasonic GH2. The movie mode is second to none.

For a mu43 lens, I don't have any personal experience with it, but I read great things about the Panasonic 20mm f1.4. It should be pretty good in low light. You do need to determine what you think you'll be shooting before you pick a lens.

In the end, I ended up with a D7000. It's good for indoor (low light) sports, which was my primary need. But, if I didn't have that specific need, I'd just get the Fuji x100. Ken Rockwell raves about it.

Educate yourself! (0) (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602522)

...but I don't have the technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR...

What the heck? Read a book. It'll take all of a couple hours to learn the basics of how cameras work. There are three core variables. If that's too much trouble, stick with a fully automated point-n-shoot.

sony nex5n (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602542)

Have the sony 5n. Great camera, ok len selection. Advantage of larger aps-c sensor without the bulk of mirror & viewfinder. If you need better lens selectiontry micro 4/3, but for me the 5n is on par with better dslr's for image quality.

Consider the size and wait till next week (CES) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602580)

The reason you get a MILC over a DSLR is "size", not because you "don't have the tech knowledge".

Having said that, the recent crop of "prosumer" point and shoots is excellent. Including the LX-5, Olympus XZ-1, and Canon S100. Consider all those and check out the reviews from They also have some great reviews of the MILC.

Also CES is next week, and Canon is coming out with the new G1X (a replacement for the G12) and there should be a lot of other announcements, so whatever you do, wait a week.

Get the DSLR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602594)

I'm also a camera idiot. I bought a Nikon D40 back when it was their most popular low end DSLR camera on the market. I keep it in auto mode all the time with the rare exception of telling it I want it to explicitly flash/not flash. The only thing to concern yourself with is where the mechanism is for the autofocus. In the D40 it's in the lens, which means additional lenses are expensive because they have motors inside them. This isn't a problem for me as I only use the lens that came with it. More expensive cameras have the autofocus mechanism in the camera, so the lenses are cheaper. You can use the cheaper lenses on ones like the D40 but you have to manually focus. Since I'm a camera idiot that's a non-starter for me. Anyways, the picture quality out of this very very low end of DSLR cameras is so much better than any camera I've had before it that I would definitely recommend getting a similarly low end DSLR if you're on the fence. Even an ignorant person like me can take some pretty amazing pictures with that thing. And no.. I have no affiliation with Nikon whatsoever.

Sony Has some P/S For Newbs (1)

Life2Death (801594) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602596)

I fully reccomend the HX9V at less than $300 new for under-experienced.

You lose the interchangeable lenses and the fruity other stuff, but it fits in your pants pocket and helps you learn to frame and shoot awesome pictures and not try to compensate with a camera to do it all.

I Went with a GX1 (2)

Hjalmar (7270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602612)

I spent a lot of time looking into this, and went with the new Lumix GX1. For several years I've had a small point and shoot, and found that I simply didn't want the bulk of an SLR. Smaller camera bodies and smaller lenses was the big selling point, especially now that the Micro Four Thirds cameras generally have the same picture quality as entry-level SLRs. For me it came down to the Lumix G3 and the GX1; I decided I didn't need a viewfinder and tilt-and-swivel screen, and so went with the GX1. I used to be a big SLR fan when I took pictures with film, but I find now that I have to wear glasses having a viewfinder is a nuisance.

Even a GOOD telephoto lense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602616)

Also, my sister is going to China in a few months, so a telephoto lens would probably be good...

I was going to say that even a good telephoto lens won't help you see your sister if she's in China until I read:

...for sight seeing (since I could employ optical zoom instead of the imaginary 'digital zoom').

Even still, a telephoto lens is a lot less useful than you'd think, in my opinion. Artistic closeups of far-away objects are nice, but for wide vistas a standard or wide angle lens might be more useful. Telephoto lenses tend to be bulky and they're very frustrating when you suddenly want to take a picture of something close to you. A lot of photographers seem to carry multiple cameras these days instead of switching lenses all the time to alleviate this problem, but again, if you're traveling this is cumbersome and expensive.

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Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38602622)

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Get an Ultrazoom, e.g. Sony DSC-HX1. (1)

Renevith (1556657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602682)

There is a class of high-end non-SLR cameras called "ultrazoom." They don't have removable lenses, but the built-in lens is versatile (with long optical zoom as well as macro capability) and they are smaller and lighter than SLRs or probably MILCs. It's a good compromise if you don't think you'll appreciate the SLR or if you're on a budget.

I've has a Sony DSC-HX1 for a few years and have been very happy with it. Looks like you can get one new for $350 on Amazon. It has a 20x optical zoom, gyroscopic stabilization so you can actually take reasonable pictures at those zoom levels without a tripod, and of course a host of software features including a pretty smart "intelligent auto" mode. The quality of photos is excellent: I've framed some 18"x12" prints as gifts, and people have been surprised when I tell them I took the photo myself.

Review sites often have a separate category for these ultrazooms, e.g.: [] . Good luck in your search.

I agree - form factor matters (1)

jpc1957 (1820122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602684)

Decide first on the form factor. For me that is 2 decisions. Does it fit in a pocket or not. Does it have a view finder or not. I've used a Canon S90 for years, that's my pocket size camera I always have, either in a pocket or backpack. A really great camera and if you are a geek, it has the huge benefit of CHDK for hacking the software. Not many other cameras offer that. I often wish I had another camera with me for a longer lens, but at least I always have something. When I'm planning on taking photos I'll take either a Sony Nex 5 or Sony A33. Either camera requires that I carry a bag just for the camera and minimal lens set. I had the Nex first, and loved the ability to put any old lens on it (I use old Minolta lenses from eBay), but the lack of a view finder is a killer for me. Can't see at all in sunlight. Got the A33 just because of that, but ended up carrying it less because of the extra bulk. If it wasn't for the floods in Thailand, I'd have a Nex 7 now. That camera will replace both the Nex 5 and A33 for me since it has a viewfinder. But I'll still have the S90 around for a long time. And i also rely on my iPhone a lot. It actually takes the best photos in many cases because of the HDR, and the photos/videos can be uploaded instantly to the internet.

Don't drive a hybrid either? (1)

Warwick Allison (209388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602702)

This is a nonsense question. The car analogy is like saying you don't have the technical knowledge to drive a hybrid. There is no special knowledge required to use a DSLR... other than perhaps being careful when changing the lense (which mirrorless share).

Even the last (non digital) SLR generations had full auto modes and a full suite of scene modes, just like a compact.

Compact Camera (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602780)

OK, you don't understand DSLR and want optical zoom capability. Since you mention travel, I'm not sure why it's just DSLR vs. MILC. Yes, DSLR can get you some great lens, and yes, MILC could leave you with a bag full of proprietary lenses that can't be used when you upgrade. But traveling with bulky DSLR/lenses, or even a MILC w/lenses can be a real pain. Why not get a good compact camera? There are some really good ones out there, the Canon S95 being one that has a better than average sensor, low light capability, etcetera. For the record, in the Canon/Nikon holy wars, I lean toward the Canon camp, but I don't own the S95. I mention the S95 because it's a great example of why it's not all about how many megapixels you can cram into a sensor. I'm sure most of the major players out there have similar high-end compacts. For travel, you'll be more likely to get some memorable shots if you don't have to lug around a big heavy bag with camera and lenses, pick and switch lenses, and so on.

Ergonomics (3, Informative)

johanwanderer (1078391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602824)

The biggest issue I have with the mirror less / micro four-third camera families is with ergonomics. These cameras are:

1. Too big to put in your pocket/purse/etc. so you don't carry them around as much as a point-n-shoot or a cell phone.

2. Too small to hold for a good posture to take pictures (one hand under the lens) yet the weight dictates some sort of two-hands operation.

3. Additionally, the "advanced" controls are buried deep under layers of menus, make them less usable than some of the more advanced point-n-shoot (like the Canon S100)

4. Lenses are not interchangeable with SLRs, so there is no upgrade path for those investments.

I would recommend you look at an entry-level DSLR (since the price points are close). Started out with the "green square" (automatic) modes, then learn to shoot in "P" (programmed) mode, adjusting ISO and compensations. Then move on to Av / Tv / M modes.

What you learn using a DLSR will be applicable to all cameras, and your investments in lenses won't be wasted.

Don't get me wrong, I think the mirror-less stuff is great, but the current crop of cameras leave too much out.

Here are the only two metrics you should look at (1)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602830)

I'm an experienced photographer. To simplify your search, there are only two features/metrics that you should look for: (1) the option for the camera to shoot both JPEG and RAW (a manufacturer-proprietary format that captures more data for important pictures, which you can then subsequently convert to JPEG); and (2) sensor pixel density.

For (1), recently published a nice roundup of RAW-shooting compact cameras [] . You can't go wrong with any camera in that group even if you never use the RAW feature.

For (2), look for cameras with a sensor size at least as large as APS-C; a larger sensor will capture more light, and for a given number of pixels, a larger sensor will produce less noise than a smaller sensor. APS-C signifies a sensor size around 23mm x 15mm. (A full-frame sensor is 36mm x 24mm, which is found in high-end DSLRs.) An APS-C sensor can fortunately now be found in several small cameras that have come out in the last year or so, but they are still relatively rare and relatively expensive. Such APS-C compact cameras include: Sony Nex-3, Nex-5, and Nex-7; Fuji X100; Samsung NX100 and NX200; and Leica X1. The Micro-4/3 MILC cameras typically have a sensor size around 17mm x 13mm. Note that the compact cameras listed in (1) above have even smaller sensors around 8mm x 6mm.

the mirror is outdated - QED (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38602848)

the mirror is outdated - QED. that technology is simply extra parts when you think about how a digital camera works. there really is zero reason to have a mirror in the camera, all it does is make the device bigger and heavier. look into the micro 4/3rds line of camera, i love the G1 that i have. camera + 3 lenses comes to ~$1200 total, giving me everything from 16mm to 400mm. and it doesnt hurt my back when im walking around with the kit
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