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  1. #1
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    My camera recommendation

    I've seen a lot of recommendations for SLR's and packs to carry them. As an experienced freelance shooter with a lot of SLR equipment and a variety of packs to carry them, my recommendation is not to. There is relatively new style of camera that has gained popularity over the last 5 or so years that has come to be known in some circles as "mirrorless". They are compact cameras modeled after the old rangefinders (Leica, Olympus, Yashica, etc.). They offer almost everything an SLR does in a much smaller package, large sensors (equal to most SLR's), interchangeable lenses, and complete controls and top notch image quality. They are similar in size to many compact cameras though not small enough to slip in your back pocket. They are made by most of the manufacturers now and you can spend anywhere from $500 to $x,000. I would recommend starting with Olympus who has been a leader in this genre. Also look at Panasonic, Canon, Sony, etc., they are all pretty good. Check out BHphoto.com and go to mirrorless digital cameras.

    You will get a quality camera that produces quality images and is easy to carry in any pack. The best photo is the one you get because you have your camera with you and ready to shoot. Honestly, packing an slr and lenses just isn't worth it for me unless I am on some sort of assignment and that's a whole different story. In that case for the Dakine Sequence w/ rear panel entry. Dakine Backpacks : Sequence 33L

  2. #2
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    The focus systems on mirrorless cameras don't hold a candle to dSLRs. So long as you're OK with pre-focusing on a spot and shooting that way (and not shooting burst by following the rider), then I agree. The other issue I see is that the longer lenses for mirrorless cameras are still very big, and they're hardly pocketable so take that into consideration.

    I have a 6D with several lenses, but I don't like bringing it with me at all... so I bought a Nikon P7000 to use sparingly on the trail.

  3. #3
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    If ultimate image quality is your aim, you still cant get away from a DSLR. That said, I was using a m4/3 mirrorless for riding. But you need to realize the compromises. AF is/was the main issue, with shutter lag and frame rates also. Smaller sensors wont have as good IQ, although under good light in close you wont notice it as much.
    BUT mirrorless technology is evolving and a lot of those issues are changing. Hybrid AF systems are emerging where mirrorless AF is now catching up. I recently picked up a Nikon 1 AW1 and its system works pretty well, and tracks during burst. Frame rates are catching up too, that's more an issue of designing it into the camera. The AW1 has frame rates that far exceed my DSLR actually, but that's because its doing electronic shutter. The smaller sensor of the Nikon 1 definitely can see a difference in quality though. Even my m4/3 IQ is visibly better. The other tough thing to achieve is the tight depth of field.
    I think one of the few areas that mirrorless still really bugs e compared to DSLR is viewfinder lag. The 1 AW1 doesn't even have a viewfinder. And my age is catching up with me, trying to compose on a screen is a pain for me because I cant see so good close up anymore. Need bifocals. Electronic viewfinders are getting pretty good, but there still is a lag that you don't get with optical viewfinders.
    I like my Panny GX1, it takes pretty good quality pics that compare pretty decently, but for action it isn't so great. I make do, but the hit ratio is much lower.
    I'm undecided on the Nikon AW1. I got it primarily for the All Weather ability, but it's control setup is cumbersome, the worst being that with gloves on I can barely even turn it on and hit the shutter button. A few new mirrorless coming out now are featuring weather resistance, though not to degree of AW1, I'm wondering if I should have gone that way.

  4. #4
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    Sony cameras have full size sensors so you don't have that compromise with image quality. You do still have the issue of fast focus speeds. I gave up my DSLR's for now because of the form factor and the fact that I really don't shoot anything that needs a fast shutter. I am however thinking about grabbing another D300 soon since the price of them has really dropped big time...and excellent condition body for $400, you can't beat that. Or I'll wait until the next mid-range body is announced by Nikon and wait for the D7000 to drop a bit more. They are going for about $500 right now. I've had both in the past and they are both great bodies. I don't think I'd ever pack them out in the woods though on a bike.

  5. #5
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    I have been having fun with my Cannon S95 that can shoot RAW. No, it doesn't compare to my old D700, but it also fits in a saddle bag and won't make you cry for too long if lost or destroyed on the trail.

    $400 is a STEAL for a D300, might have to buy one and a Sigma 50 f2 and go shooting again.

  6. #6
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    Agreed. The best camera in the world is whichever one you're carrying with you. My little Lumix P&S goes almost everywhere with me. Leica glass (without the Leica price tag), and after more mountain biking and snowboarding trips than I can recall, I'm pretty convinced it's all but indestructible.
    Don't listen to me. I'm too new to have an opinion yet.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandCrow View Post
    Agreed. The best camera in the world is whichever one you're carrying with you...
    Longtime DSLR guy. I use the Canon 1DX for most sports tasks. That said, don't knock the latest mirrorless. I have the Fuji XT-1 and the focus is surprisingly fast. It is actually "close" to the DSLR family. Considerably smaller than my 50D, 1DX or 5DIII. Very viable for MTB photos.

  8. #8
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    I have been carrying and using an Olympus OM-D E-M10 mirrorless for 2 months now. It's been a fantastic camera. It has zero short comings for my photo uses. I always ride with my dogs, and I'm much more interested in enjoying the moment and scenery than in hauling ass to beat my Strava time. I highly recommend this system, but if you want to get into a camera pissing contest, there are many other sites on the internet that specialize in this.

    All the following are straight out of the camera jpegs. I also save a RAW file, but rarely use it.


    M1011907
    by Harvey Richards, on Flickr




    M1011000
    by Harvey Richards, on Flickr



    This flower was shot while encountering 40 mph wind gusts. So you can focus on moving objects.


    M1012188
    by Harvey Richards, on Flickr
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  9. #9
    rjx
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    The Fujifilm X-T1 has pretty good AF. The Olympus OMD's have been the mirrorless leaders in AF for the last 3 years or so. But the competition is catching up. It depends on your photography, but AF isn't everything. If you spend some time with manual focus, you can get pretty quick. Plus you'll always focus on the exact point you want instead of hoping the camera's AF reads your mind and focuses on that point. Learn hyper focal and zone focusing techniques. Type "sunny 16 rule" in google.

  10. #10
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    I like the OP recommendations for someone like me: Interested in better quality and more robust features than point and shoots have, but who doesn't want to carry a DSLR.

    For less than $400 I got a used micro 4/3rds Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 with a 14-42mm zoom and a bag to carry it in. The lens seems a bit cheaply made but I'm very happy with the picture quality.

    The zoom lens means the size isn't super compact but still manageable. My hope is to get a faster, high quality fixed length lens, say a f1.7/20mm but prices are still a bit high, I'm hoping I can get a better deal on a used one soon.

    Another wish it to pick up an electronic viewfinder for it.

  11. #11
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    The Panny 20mm is a gem. The electronic finder is also really good for me who's vision is shifting as getting old & needing bifocals. When your eyes get like that, using screen is a big pia. My gx1 is my go to everyday carry & travel cam. If it were weather resistant and faster on the af it'd be almost perfect!

  12. #12
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    My GH3 has never had any issues with AF...often times it's almost too fast and the AF tracking works great. IQ wise, it's on par with our Nikon equipment, except about half the size and the lenses are absolutely tiny, meaning I can get it to places I otherwise wouldn't take a FF DSLR. Example shot for the sake of keeping the thread interesting:



    GH3 with the 7-14mm wide angle F4 (at 14mm)



    GH3 with the 14-45mm F3.5 at 20mm.

  13. #13
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    I absolutely love my Fuji X-pro1. It's taking a beating over the last year and hasn't once given me an issue. The image quality is fantastic and it's high iso performance comes pretty close to my old 5DmkII setup.

    My camera recommendation-_dsf4358.jpg

  14. #14
    rjx
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    X-PRO1 is by far a very under appreciated camera. And it's a better camera now than when it was launched due to all the firmware updates Fuji has released. I sold mine recently so I could use the money to by a bike and because I only needed the 35mm equivalent which I've been using in the Fuji X100S. But I miss the X-PRO1, especially with my Canon FD 50mm f/1.2 I was using with it on occasion.

  15. #15
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    What's the shutter lag like on the mirrorless systems.

    I do trail side photography at races and I'm actually trying to time my shutter with the rider's pedal stroke to get the best composition in the rider's body or on downhills I'm trying to catch the rider in a very small section of trail that I have set up with lighting. I'm talking about maybe a 5 foot window where I need to catch the rider to have proper lighting. So any lag at all really is a deal breaker for me....at least for the planned shooting outings. I can see maybe a mirrorless for the camera to take on everyday rides. Right now I have a waterproof Panasonic compact for that duty. Its durable and bullet proof but the image quality is 4shit, it doesn't shoot RAW, and the battery life is a joke.

  16. #16
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    Depends on the camera. Most have a pretty big lag, but the Nikon AW1 I picked up not long ago is excellent in that regard. It's AF is very fast, rivals SLRS and its burst rate is ridiculous, exceeding SLRs. Its image quality is better than almost all P&S, but clearly not as good as DSLRs and 4/3. Where it falls for me is its manual control, its kinda klunky to adjust settings, buttons not the easiest to work esp with gloves.
    It is completely water proof and impact resistant, but as a consequence is bulky and heavy for the imager size.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphic View Post
    What's the shutter lag like on the mirrorless systems.

    I do trail side photography at races and I'm actually trying to time my shutter with the rider's pedal stroke to get the best composition in the rider's body or on downhills I'm trying to catch the rider in a very small section of trail that I have set up with lighting. I'm talking about maybe a 5 foot window where I need to catch the rider to have proper lighting. So any lag at all really is a deal breaker for me....at least for the planned shooting outings. I can see maybe a mirrorless for the camera to take on everyday rides. Right now I have a waterproof Panasonic compact for that duty. Its durable and bullet proof but the image quality is 4shit, it doesn't shoot RAW, and the battery life is a joke.
    My OM-D E-M10 has no noticeable lag, unless it is set to 0 second anti shock, and then it is very slightly noticeable. If I'm worried about shooting something that is moving I can set shutter to continuous and shoot up to 8 frames per second. If you are serious about mirrorless, I would suggest that you check out Mu-43.com - Micro Four Thirds User Group - Micro 4/3 Photography News, Discussion, and Rumors
    Riding Fat and still just as fast as I never was.

  18. #18
    psycho cyclo addict
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    +1 for Olympus (OM-D EM-1 and EM-5). A friend of mine switched from Nikon D90 and D7000 to one of each- the EM-1 and EM-5 and has nothing but great things to say about them. Mirrorless is a definite advantage if you want to cart it around.

    I'm using iPhone 5s frequently and carry my Nikon D5000 (in a LowePro front loader case w/shoulder harness) when I want to capture quality shots or need a significant amount of flash (SB-600).
    【ツ】 eDub 【ツ】

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashtestdummy View Post
    My OM-D E-M10 has no noticeable lag, unless it is set to 0 second anti shock, and then it is very slightly noticeable. If I'm worried about shooting something that is moving I can set shutter to continuous and shoot up to 8 frames per second. If you are serious about mirrorless, I would suggest that you check out Mu-43.com - Micro Four Thirds User Group - Micro 4/3 Photography News, Discussion, and Rumors
    I tried at first shooting motor drive with MTB and I found all it got me was a bunch of mediocre shots. What I'm doing these days is using a remote speedlight flash or two to stop motion, and fill in under the rider's helmet. So it ends up being a 1 frame per rider pass deal. I cant afford the flash equipment to get high speed flash recharge.

    My camera recommendation-_dsc0982.jpg

  20. #20
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    If you are shooting racers, going to the trouble to set up a flash then you may as well use an slr. When I started this post it was aimed more at riders who wanted to carry a decent camera for all around shooting. That is why I recommended that people consider the mirrorless option. The image quality is on par with the slr and probably the only thing you give up is shutter lag time. I shoot off road M/C, mtb & ski racing and for that I always shoot an slr. Nice shot by the way.

  21. #21
    mjw
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    Having owned a 5D, 6D, 7D, NEX 7, RX1, and A7R, I would have to say that I prefer mirrorless unless I am using off camera flash.

    Sonys newest mirrorless crop sensor cameras, the a6000, and newly announced a5100, have pretty incredible 24mp sensors, and better/faster AF, especially for tracking moving subjects than most DSLRs. The reasons to pick a DSLR are slowly diminishing.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandCrow View Post
    Agreed. The best camera in the world is whichever one you're carrying with you. My little Lumix P&S goes almost everywhere with me. Leica glass (without the Leica price tag), and after more mountain biking and snowboarding trips than I can recall, I'm pretty convinced it's all but indestructible.
    Agreed - different cameras for differing uses. I will gladly carry my Canon G10 p/s with me and take great RAW shots with it. Lugging my 7D just isn't necessary for my needs. But when I have the luxury, or and just ambling about on vacation, the DSLR is with me. Adding lenses to mirrorless cams takes them out of the easy carry catalog - for me at least.

  23. #23
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    I bought a CSC camera a the beginning of this year - An Olympus OMD E-M10, two lenses, spare battery all packed in to a Vanguard bin 37, sling camera bag. can ride the bike all day and not know your carrying it with you. If I'm just out for a short ride and need to take a photo? I use my Apple Iphone camera.

  24. #24
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    So whats a good travel/location scouting/riding selfie camera for someone who already owns a nice DSLR?

    I definitely plan to use off camera flash and Remote triggering as well!

    My first thoughts are a Fuji x100s or Ricoh GR. I saw some nice shots off the Ricoh in another thread here and was impressed with the IQ. I also love Fuji as a brand and shoot a Fuji 6x9 film camera.

    My other gear is Canon 5d's, L lenses, Profoto lighting, with a variety of pocketwizards. Seems like a might need another triggering system to use with the Ricoh.

  25. #25
    saddlemeat
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    I just acquired a "used" Sony a5000 (aps-c sensor, no viewfinder) with kit lens ($240 from B&H), thinking I would check out mirrorless before spending major dollars on an a7. So far I like it for the small form factor, IQ looks pretty darn good. Having a blast playing with my old FD lenses, got a pinhole body cap ordered. I certainly recommend trying one out, it's a nice combination of weight, size, and image quality.
    Making the smack track baby.


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