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Old Jul 14, 2011, 8:25 AM   #1
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Default Should I dump my DSLR?

OK, this is by way of getting some other people's thoughts.

I've been using a DSLR [currently a Nikon D300] for years. My photography has evolved, so that my main areas of activity are landscape, mountaineering and mountain-related sports [MTB etc].

I have a Canon "unbreakable" compact, which gets used on the hill, but is limited in what it can do.

Problem is, the DSLR and associated kit is bulky, heavy and relativaly slow to set up and use. As I get older, the heavy bit matters more the steeper the hill is I find myself on. And, weatherproofing the D300 is a pain and doesn't work well.

So, I'm toying with the idea of a dramatic change away from the D300 and towards an interchangeable lens compact. But, I do a lot of HDR work, so would need exposure bracketing of at least 5 EV in whatever I get. I also use Lee filters [ND grads etc] quite a lot and don't know if there's any non DSLR that can take them.

Anybody got any thoughts about this? I'm in no way committed to making the change, but would value your opinions. If you specifically mention a camera, please remember I'm UK-based and may not recognise the US model name/number.

Thanks, people!
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 8:34 AM   #2
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You might want to look at some of the smaller dSLR camera options out there - Pentax's K5 comes to mind as a weather sealed, smaller and lighter option compared to the D300. However, any interchangeable lens system (M4/3 or dSLR) will be the same as far as speed to set up and use (I'm assuming you are talking about changing lenses and settings for each shot, not the time the camera takes to come on before its ready to shoot).

If you go with one of the ultrazooms you'll give up the dof control you have now as the smaller sensors don't have as much - is that going to bother you or not?
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 8:41 AM   #3
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Ah, hadn't considered DofF: yes, that would be a real issue for me.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 8:48 AM   #4
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And I forgot: whatever I have needs RAW capability.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 9:49 AM   #5
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You might take some time and take a look at the Olympus EP-3 which was just released at the end of June.
Some of the benefits of the Pen system is the small size of the body. you, however, don't really give up much if anything, in terms of customization or total control over the camera.
Yes, it is able to shoot in RAW.
It does offer the user the ability to shoot up to 5 frames at various ex. bracketing values up to + or -1.0.
It features in body image stabilization.
built-in flash (although, for your application that may not be important)
has an external electronic viewfinder-which by all accounts is outstanding.
(I use it with my EPL-1)

Both Olympus & Panasonic offer a large variety of zoom and prime lenses. I happen to own and use the olympus 9-18mm wide angle lens for landscape and panoramas.

Lastly, with the use of an adapter, you can utilize your existing lenses, albeit, you wont have AF but they will work fine in manual focus mode. This however, doesn't address your need for small equipment.

You may want to take a look at this preliminary review:


http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympusep3/


Good luck in what you decide.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 2:29 PM   #6
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the m4/3 will have more dof control the your pns. But will not have as much as your d300. But they can shoot a +/-4 EV bracket also with iso bracket with the olympus.

But they are not weather seal yet, and no interchangeable lenses camera is waterproof, just weather seal. So even camera like the 7D or the K-5 will survived a long heavy downpour without added protection.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 4:58 PM   #7
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You might want to consider the Sony NEX product line. Not only does it have the same size image sensor as you're used to in your D300, so you'll get the same DoF that you're already accustomed to, but the NEX cameras also have a Defocus feature that will increase the amount of out-of-focus blur behind the subject if you want it.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 7:03 PM   #8
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On the nex you are currently very limited on lens, and the 2 kit lenses are not that good. But more are coming, but they are not that compact.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 9:32 PM   #9
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You may look at Panasonic's GH2 Micro 4/3s cam. Panasonic has a good selection of lenses for it. It can to around +/-3 exposure bracketing. It's performance is close to that of many mid-ranged DSLRs according to most reviewers.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 9:48 PM   #10
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Presumably most of the bulk and weight is in the lenses. You could save a bit by changing to a D90, but that probably wouldn't be material. Do you change lenses much when you're out on the hills? I realised that during the day I rarely changed lenses because I didn't want too much of England's best inside my camera, and I changed to using a Canon G10 permanently mounted in their underwater housing. So long as I remembered to put some fresh dessicant inside the case each morning I had no problems with condensation regardless of changes in temperature, and the enormous battery capacity meant I never needed to open the case out-of-doors. Obviously I didn't have all the features of a DSLR, but that was offset because I always had my camera with me ready for action. I spent a few weeks in Wester Ross/Sutherland last year and just took the G10, leaving my 5D and 7D at home with all their attendant paraphernalia.
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