Considering a camera

**Update** Since writing this, I have abandoned both of the final choices shown. I am now on to a whole new list of ‘possibles’. Result to follow…

After many years sticking to an SLR after disappointment with a bridge camera, I have had to come to terms with a sobering truth. I’m not using it. I just don’t take it out. It requires a camera bag, attracts attention, and as a result, I have taken very few photos in the last three years. I want to take photos. Not for the blog, but to document the last chapter in my life, the new things I have seen in Norfolk, and the times I enjoy out with Ollie, or the visits from friends and family. Despite the availability of my new smartphone, I cannot ever get used to using this as a camera. I need a viewfinder, not a screen at arms length.

I would like more options when shooting, an element of control not offered by phone cameras, and something substantial in the hand. So I have done what I do best, research. Endless hours on the Internet, with a list of must-haves, and don’t-needs, exploring the camera market in 2015. I have a maximum price in mind, excluding many possible contenders. The issue of portability is key. If I carry it around, I might actually use it. I am less concerned about megapixels, more about usablility. How it feels in the hand, and how the control system works, and suits my requirements. Is it fairly incongruous, and does the lens meet my needs? What of the pedigree, and of owners’ reviews? I have had to eschew the fast prime lens, and I cannot afford the larger sensors. Some examples are so large, I might as well stick with the SLR. Others don’t have a viewfinder, and basic modes for use by a complete novice.

Over the years, I have owned some marvellous film cameras. The incomparable Canon T90, the reliable Canon A1, and the state-of-the art (at the time) Minolta Dynax 7, with the superb 24-105 lens. My forays into the world of digital have been reluctant. A Fuji 610 compact, leading eventually to a very well-specified Fuji S5 Pro, with a Nikon lens and add-on flash. On the way, I tried an Olympus super-zoom, with a slow telephoto lens, and lamentably slow write-speeds to the memory  card. I got Julie various digital compacts, including a very useful Samsung only a couple of years ago. But she prefers her phone, so be it.

I now feel the time has come to move on. A one-body solution, with modern write speeds, multiple functions, and fast zoom lenses. They are finally here, and well-thought of too. After much deliberation, I have narrowed my choice down to just two. The Fuji X30; retro-styled, attractive to look at, and well thought of. It is hampered by a small 2/3 sensor though, and softness in the lens. Then there is the more recent Olympus Stylus 1. This has a 28-300 zoom, with a constant 2.8 aperture available. It has a metal body, and a tilting screen, as well as a viewfinder found on the flagship Olympus cameras. It also benefits from the marginally larger 1.7 sensor, and the reputation of Olympus from the old days. It is about £50 more expensive than the Fuji, and less attractive to the eye. So my friends. Many of you are photographers. Some use compacts, others use 4/3 mirrorless systems or high-end SLR cameras. What do you think? I would value your advice. I really would. For those of you who find all this tiresome and uninteresting, my apologies.

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Olympus_STYLUS_1/

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/cameras-and-camcorders/cameras/compact-cameras/fujifilm-x30-1262034/review

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26 thoughts on “Considering a camera

  1. Ah Mr J, camera conundrums again.
    Of course there is only one real contender. Olympus Pen F and a 25mm or 45mm lens.
    Why?
    5 axis stabilisation, affordable lens system, great black and white modes, great colour modes. Job done. Nikon D810 or Olympus ?
    Olympus every time they have sussed it…The others are still dreaming or way to expensive.
    AK

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pete, I have a small canon with 4x zoom, (not good) but I mostly used it for taking pictures in my homemade light box for the food shots on my blog, I love this little camera so much for that.. (The size of a mans wallet) My newest camera Fujifilm 36 zoom (so much better to capture the wild deer) It’s bigger like the ones you posted the two links about.. I’m actually on the fence with both camera’s at the moment.. Perhaps, the bigger one for animals, and lake shots and the smaller one for the indoor crafts, and food shots.. Good luck in your quest for a new toy.. It’s frustrating and fun at the same time trying to decide..

    Take care and happy camera hunting to ya, from Laura ~

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      1. Pete, I completely understand those feelings.. But, wait until you have your newest toy in your hands, and begin to read the manual, oh my … this first part choosing will have been the easy part..

        Laura 🙂

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    1. That camera is an excellent choice Pippa, thanks to the Leica lens. However, it costs considerably more than I intended to spend (originally) so I might investigate a used option. Please pass on my thanks to your ‘expert’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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    2. Please thank Martin for his advice. My new shortlist is going to have to allow for a bigger spend, undoubtedly. I am now looking at two ‘finalists’; the one he suggested above, and the Fuji X100s. I will have to find the money from somewhere, to benefit from the larger sensors and smaller apertures offered.
      Much appreciated. (if you’re still awake…x)

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  3. Have forwarded to my photography expert who will relish your post far more than my effusions about dead poets and ponces/princes – and will report back!XX

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    1. That is a lot of camera for the money Cindy, as it is available for just over £200 here at the moment. However, it is larger than the camera I want to replace for everyday use, so I might consider it later, as an additional one, mainly for the huge zoom lens. Thanks for the input, and the butterfly shots are really good!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If you can dig a little deeper the Fuji X Pro gets good write ups & a friend got a cracking deal. Body & lenses for £650. He seems to think they might be about to upgrade the X-pro. A few people have said its a lot of camera for the money. I must say that I have no personal experience of this camera. Good luck…..

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  5. I love my Olympus mirrorless, well built, nice compact size and some excellent results. I used to lug a tank of a Nikon D300 around, and believe me, I do take the little cameras to more places simply because of the portability. The Stylus 1 has had some good reviews, it’s got a lot of the features of its more pricey brethren, the lens has a constant 2.8 aperture (so you might get some nice limited DOF results!), and I gather you want something retro, small and light…..oh, and you aren’t a pixel peeper. Go for it!!

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    1. You’re talking my language Sue! I have also looked at the OMD-10, as I would leave myself the option of having a fast 35mm (equivalent) lens at a later date, and it’s just as small. Hmm…Thanks for the input.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I miss using my old Minolta SRT-101 from the 1970s (shutter needs repair). I have a cheap digital camera which takes photos good enough to post on my blog from time to time, but don’t have a real interest anymore in buying a truly quality camera. Ironically, perhaps, I do enjoy taking photos…. It would be great if you posted pictures on your blog now and then, Pete, if they are relevant to the topic. I wish you luck in finding just the right camera.

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    1. Thanks David. I am feeling the need to ‘record’ experiences once more, after a long gap in doing so. Perhaps it is my advancing years prompting me to leave a photographic legacy, who knows? It might also give me something to do, when wandering around the same old places with Ollie every day!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  7. I currently use a Fujifilm HS 20EXR 30x zoom (which is obsolete) bridge camera. I like Fujifilm cameras. This one is nice and chunky (but doesn’t fit easily into a pocket or small bag) it does have a viewfinder (that I use less and less) a tilt screen (useful) and decent zoom. I have to say that the Panasonic Lumix compact cameras are wonderful (no viewfinder) and I have been using an older one (DMZ- TZ10) more and more, because it slips easily into my pocket and takes good close-ups of flowers. I wouldn’t dismiss one of these, you may find that the viewfinder actually isn’t that important.

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    1. Thanks Jude. I still haven’t got used to using screens over viewfinders just yet. I am also considering the Olympus micro 4/3 system cameras, which have both options, so time will tell.
      Advice much appreciated.
      Best wishes as always, Pete. x

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