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Old Nov 14, 2010, 6:23 PM   #1
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Default Snapshot camera opinions (somewhat OT)

Some of you probably noticed my mirrorless interchangeable lens camera post a while ago. At the time I was considering one of these as a pocketable alternative to my Pentax dSLR for travelling light, parties etc.. After looking closely at these I was very impressed but the price was as high as a K-X with lens!

So here is my question, does anyone use a capable point and shoot camera for these situations, if so could you let me know what you think of it since I am still looking. I currently have the Fuji S7000 which is almost as big as a dSLR and therefore does not meet the portability criteria. The last p&s camera I owned was a Pentax Optio 33L 3mp model (about 2003) which I really liked.

Here are my criteria:
1- Good low light performance, this camera will be used to capture events such as evening parties.
2- Good low light focus performance, as I said in 1.
3- 720p video
4- Moderate resolution, low noise is more important than high resolution so 7-10MP is plenty.
5- A realistic price of $200 or so, I don't intend to pay SONY NEX prices for a point and shoot so the high end models are out.
6- I do not need, nor want, a super zoom range. I would prefer a fixed focal length of about 35mm equivalent but I know that no longer exists at this price point.

I may end up buying a K-X and the new DA 35mm f2.4 lens, it costs more and is just as big as my Fuji but on a performance to dollar scale it is unbeatable.

I know this is somewhat off topic but I know that most dSLR users (including Pentaxians) also own a pocket camera so I need your input.
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Pentax K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P2, E-P5, OM-D E-M1: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old Nov 14, 2010, 6:39 PM   #2
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cant help you out - my pocket camera is my iphone 4 =) - but what about an EVIL camera - something like the nex system or the nx100 combined with a pancake lens you get dslr quality from a compact size (minus the huge zooms lens though)

oh should read more carefully so want a cheap camera =( then back to no suggestions
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 7:15 PM   #3
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I have wanted a small point and shoot as a daily carry around for similar reasons as you have expressed, for the past few years.

In the film days I used to carry my small (but heavy) Leica 11f Rangefinder 35mm with it's collapsible 50mm Elmar. This camera was able to quite easily more then match pix quality from my SLR's. I bought it used, it is very old and I had to use a separate hand held, light meter.

But now we're in the digital era and I've searched, as you have for a small P+S that can match DSLR's in quality of pix. To date I haven't been successful, but I did find something that works for me.

I've looked seriously at the Canon (can I say that word on this forum ? ) G series (G10,11,12) and while they have much to recommend them, when I compared picture quality with a entry DSLR.....I found the entry DSLR always had better quality pix then even this top of the line P+S.

This was an important point for me...excellent picture quality...as there have been times when I came across the perfect picture, but I didn't have a camera (DSLR) that could capture the quality I want.

During these occasions i would have only my '04 Panasonic Lumix...which is a nice little P+S...but the pix don't compare with the DSLR.

I finally made my decision in April, 2009. I bought a Pentax KM (K2000 in the USA).

I chose the KM over the G series for the following reasons:

  • KM as a DSLR has a larger sensor and the pix quality is going to be better.
  • KM at the time, was the smallest sized DSLR body...also lightweight.
  • With the KM I have been able to use it...a lot...as a second body....with my K10D body...same mount. In fact I find when I go on a trip in the car...long or short trips...I always have a wide angle on the K10D body and my 55-300mm on the KM...you never know whether you will need a wide or a long for potential pix and if they are wildlife I find every second counts....
  • KM's ISO is very good at higher levels...KX is even better....both better then a P+S.
  • Price...my KM was on sale for $ 529 dollars, included the 18-55 kit lens...Canon G12's go on sale for around the same price in Canada....not sure about the KX...but I think sale prices are not much more then a top end P+S....and as you say the KX has video.
Disadvantages to a top line P+S:

  • KM / KX is bigger and heavier than a top line P+S....but you can always consider getting a Pentax pancake lens....not that much bigger then a larger P+S.
I carry my KM, usually either with my 16-45, 50 F 1.4 or 50 Macro F 2.8 in a small Lowepro bag.

The Lowepro is light, protective and the camera is always ready and quickly accessed.

Hope this helps.

Les

Last edited by lesmore49; Nov 14, 2010 at 7:21 PM.
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 8:13 PM   #4
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I would be interested in hearing what others say about this also. I've been wanting, for a few years now, something light I could carry with me always. Although, I've gotten in the habit of always carrying my K20 with usually 18-250 on it. My "purse" has become the Urban Disguise 30.

My problem is I want something with at least a little bit of a grip (not the flat like a credit card cameras) and want a viewfinder. I've tried too many p & s's with just the LCD screen and I just can't do it.

We do have the Canon G9 that's my husband's. I've used it periodically and it's about right, but he put an extension over the front so it is no longer as small. The extension is to keep dust out of the lens he says and so he can put filters on it. Whenever I try to use it without it he gets upset. It's got what I want, but is a bit more than I wanted to pay.

I used to have an Olympus 3MP that was great. But, it got taken to a high school graduation by my son a few years ago and no one has seen it since. He swears he gave it to me to download the photos, but.......

The other reason I wanted a p & s was for the video. But, now with the K-5...... Although, it is not in my immediate future. Maybe next year about this time if the price goes down.

Patty
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 8:36 PM   #5
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Based on my own usage experience, the Canon (bite my tounge) S90 (now replaced by the S95) fits the bill nicely. High quality IQ on account of a larger than typical image sensor for a P&S as well as a fast aperture (f2) at the wide angle. Runs about US $400 which I realize is above your price range. However, anything less is just another P&S.

Jehan
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 8:44 PM   #6
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Les, this is the way I am thinking now, perhaps a KX with the new DA L 35mm f2.4 AL lens, not a pancake but small and light with excellent optical performance. Pentax made it all plastic with a plastic mount but did now skimp on the optics, they use the same formula as the excellent FA 35mm f2 AL but in a "cheaper" package. It also gives me an excellent HD video camera (for me 720p is fine).

I would also look for a small bag, Lowepro being the top of my list since I already own seven Lowepro models (sorry, it is an affliction I have a Nova 3, Nova 4, Nova 5, Zoom Toploader, Micro Trekker 200, Toploader Mini, and an Orion Trekker II).
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Current equipment
Pentax K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P2, E-P5, OM-D E-M1: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old Nov 14, 2010, 9:26 PM   #7
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I still use my 2003 model DX6490 4mps Kodak. Old and slow but still capable.
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 9:52 PM   #8
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The new 35mm lens is a sweet lens, very light and nice. I was impressed when I saw it today at the photo show. I've never actually seen the Kx, but have seen the Kr. I understand the Kx is a bit smaller and lighter, but otherwise more or less the same size. I think the Kx with the new 35 or perhaps the 40 Ltd would be very good. Not so small as a compact, but MUCH better quality.
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 10:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
The new 35mm lens is a sweet lens, very light and nice. I was impressed when I saw it today at the photo show. I've never actually seen the Kx, but have seen the Kr. I understand the Kx is a bit smaller and lighter, but otherwise more or less the same size. I think the Kx with the new 35 or perhaps the 40 Ltd would be very good. Not so small as a compact, but MUCH better quality.
Yes Harriet, that is my thinking now as well. I looked at the new breed of mirrorless cameras but couldn't justify paying the same money as I would for a more functional, if less portable, dSLR. Perhaps when budget priced models show up I would consider it but for now the KX with DA L 35mm sounds like the best balance of light weight, familiar handling and excellent image quality.
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http://aicphotography.blogspot.com/
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Current equipment
Pentax K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P2, E-P5, OM-D E-M1: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old Nov 15, 2010, 12:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monza76 View Post
Les, this is the way I am thinking now, perhaps a KX with the new DA L 35mm f2.4 AL lens, not a pancake but small and light with excellent optical performance. Pentax made it all plastic with a plastic mount but did now skimp on the optics, they use the same formula as the excellent FA 35mm f2 AL but in a "cheaper" package. It also gives me an excellent HD video camera (for me 720p is fine).I think that sounds like a good plan. I've heard a lot of positive comments about the new 35mm.

In retrospect I wished I had waited for the KX, with it's video capability and 12... something sensor.
But when I bought the KM I wasn't aware that Pentax would bring out the KX about a half year later.

I have a friend that just bought (September) her first DSLR. I recommended the KX kit with 18-55 and 55-300mm....both plastic lens mount versions, no lens hoods. At the time she wasn't able to buy the KX body alone. The kit was on sale at Henry's. She's very pleased with the KX.


I don't know how long you figure on being in Tuk...but I'm sure the picture potential up there will be so much different than anywhere else you will be...that top quality video and still photography will be something of great and lasting value .


I would also look for a small bag, Lowepro being the top of my list since I already own seven Lowepro models (sorry, it is an affliction I have a Nova 3, Nova 4, Nova 5, Zoom Toploader, Micro Trekker 200, Toploader Mini, and an Orion Trekker II).
I use the Lowepro Nova 170 AW as my bag for the KM. It's a small bag. I can only fit the KM and the lens attached . I moved the dividers to the outside walls of the bag and lay the camera body + lens, flat on the bottom of the bag. I then further pad it with small sponges (bought from Cdn. Tire) and cover the monitor with a soft cotton, handkerchief.

I could probably get another lens in if I loaded the KM with the lens front, facing the bottom of the bag.

The Nova 170 AW works ok, it's a light bag and has the all weather cover for inclement weather.

However, I still don't think it's the perfect bag. I haven't as many bags as you....I've only got five bags...still searching for the perfect one.

Les

Last edited by lesmore49; Nov 15, 2010 at 12:13 AM.
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