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Old Dec 14, 2013, 8:27 PM   #1
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Default Like an old Leica

I searched the site and Google before I posted this. If I missed an awesome thread that would have answered my questions, sorry... just point me to it!

*sigh* I guess I'm an olde pharte, but I hope someone can help me find a digital camera I'll fall in love with. I cut my teeth on film SLR's. Nikon's, Minolta's, the occasional Canon. 4x5 Super Speed Graphics too, and an occasional medium format camera. I used and liked them all!

What I loved, and never had, was a classic 35mm rangefinder. I liked the Leica 3g (if memory serves) I borrowed for a few weeks, And loved the 4 and 5, at least when a camera store owner let me hold one. I liked the idea of the old Nikon rangefinders, but I was a bit too young to have one before they became collectors items. Rangefinders are so sweet. Just a soft "click" when you took a picture. No mirror twap, shutter click, mirror thunk.

What did ALL these cameras have in common? They took pictures.

They didn't let me make faces pretty. They didn't let me pick the best face for each person in a group photo. If I wanted to do macro photography, I just focused closer. No need to enter a "macro mode" or "super macro mode".

The cameras were designed by people who took pictures to get out of their way and let them take pictures. A good camera became an extension of the photographer. My new Samsung NX is a freaking nightmare. I turn it on and it wants to know if I want to take automatic pictures, "smart" pictures with a bewildering assortment of modes, or go into expert mode. Really? I want to take a damn picture of my kids in Kindergarden before they flippin graduate from high school! I don't want to be a touch screen tappin' fool. Do the people at Samsung take any pictures at all? Or are they all computer jockeys?

Don't get me wrong, I want control over my pictures. I want to control exposure and depth of field (or focus, if you prefer).

I wonder if a camera like what I want is being made, and if it is affordable. I never could afford a freaking Leica, and I see I still can't despite a much higher income than when I last looked at them. I really want a camera that costs less than my car.

So... here's what I want - can anyone help me find it?
  • Interchangeable lenses with a reasonable selection of lenses.
  • An optical viewfinder.
  • A digital viewfinder (note, I am not opposed to a small digital viewfinder that works like an optical viewfinder).
  • Exposure meter and controls built in.
  • A large sensor. APS-C or larger
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Image stabilization (I like things that help me take better pictures!)
  • Auto focus with manual override (see note above)
  • No hurdles to jump to go into macro mode (see note above)
  • A camera that can start in my preferred mode in less than 1/2 a second
  • No long lag from when I hit the shutter release until the picture is taken - if I'd wanted to take a picture in three seconds, I'd have pressed the shutter release in 3 seconds, not now!
  • USB connections to download pictures and recharge batteries (see battery comments below)
  • Shooting video isn't off the table, but not essential.
    • If it shoots video, I want a separate stereo microphone jack.
    • If it shoots videos, I want to be able to capture stills as it shoots video.
  • An option to connect to wifi and upload pictures to the cloud or picture sharing sites would be fairly neat.
  • NO stupid picture enhancements - I can enhance like a bear on my computer.
  • Normal batteries - I loathe proprietary batteries - give me AA or C batteries and I'm a happy man! I really like rechargeable standard format batteries!
  • RAW format (natch)
So, can anyone get me close to my dream camera? If I throw in the towel and say, "OK, I'll accept a DSLR" will I be closer to my dream?

Thanks for letting me vent a bit, and kudos if you find the camera of my dreams. And still more if I can afford it.

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Old Dec 14, 2013, 10:18 PM   #2
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There are a lot of cameras which will do most of these things. The down side is that they will also do all the other things you don't want. In most cases, though, you can ignore the extra bells and whistles, set the camera to Aperture priority or complete manual exposure, and manual focus, and take pictures. (pretty much, this is how I use my Minolta D7hi, my Pentax *istD, and Fuji XS-1)
Asking for it to use AA batteries, and the ability to charge with USB, is too much, mostly due to the current limitations of USB.
I haven't found a camera without a couple drawbacks, but have found that I can learn how to work with them, if I take a little time.

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Old Dec 16, 2013, 11:06 AM   #3
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Curiously,I think the largest stumbling block of your list would be the use of standard batteries... and of course such camera's do cost a tad..!!
Fuji's latest "X" line up is in the ball park- and some of the lenses having on aperture ring (Yippee...!)- and they're probably the most affordable type of camera you're looking for...
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