Buying first camera - what’s a significant upgrade to 7 Plus?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by helix21, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. helix21 macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2009
    I have spent the last couple of days reading and researching what camera to get. I’m going on several trips in the coming 6 months and think a camera will be a good investment. The problem in a nutshell: I need something that is cheap, but worth carrying along with an iPhone 7 Plus in terms of image quality.

    What I gather:
    - cheap compact cameras seem to be a waste of money, not worth the increase
    - I don’t want a DSLR. Honestly won’t use it and bulk will be annoying on hikes.
    - it seems to all come down to sensor. Each step up seems to be a significant increase in quality.
    - main thing I’m looking for is a significant step up in image quality in a compact frame that doesn’t break my wallet.

    So I have narrowed it down to either:
    1. Panasonic TZ70 - 1/2.3 sensor with zoom lens - around £200
    2. Sony RX100 with a 1 inch sensor - around £350
    3. Sony A5000 - mirrorless - £330

    Essentially, is a 1/2.3” sensor good enough to give me an appreciable boost in quality? I will mostly be taking holiday snaps - I really enjoy hikes and landscape photography. I don’t think I need a crazy 20-30X zoom, 10X should be fine. If so - I can get something for £300 I think.

    I don’t understand why a 1 inch sensor is more expensive than the mirrorless A5000. But the a5000 seems to be the cheapest of the bunch there.

    Would love some advice. Thought this would be the best forum and I’m sure we have people who can give sensible advice comparing dedicated cameras to the iPhone
  2. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    Is used an option?

    The lx100 used would be in that price bracket it has a m43 sensor in a compact camera body.

    It's a bit long in the tooth, the megapixel count is low by today's standards and there are rumours it's going to be replaced by an LX200, some time soon (TBF it's been rumoured for a while now!)

    But it should give quite a IQ boost if your not bothered about mega pixels.

    TBH all the cameras listed should be good, for me personally I am not sold on the Sony control scheme...feels a bit like it's on auto pilot and doesn't feel like you have any input.
  3. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    I am a Sony user. The RX100 as a first actual camera is hard to beat IMHO. Yes the controls take some getting used to and the menus are more complex than needed until you get it setup then it is a breeze. At that price point it is hard to beat and you can save by getting a Mk 1 or Mk 2 as they are still available and still VERY good.

    If you can go a little higher, maybe consider the Olympus E-M10 mark ii two lens kit. It will cover you for a while in your learning journey and is plenty good with headroom for growth until you find your "thing" and can then make an informed purchase on an upgrade.

    Personally I wouldnt bother with the A5000, you can get a A6000 for not much more and it is better (has an EVF for a start).

    I am not a pro, so take this as just the opinion of someone who has messed about with more cameras than I really should have. :)
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    I'd definitely look at second hand. You can get a much better option (often hardly used) for a fraction of the cost.

    Most of my stuff (see signiture) was bought that way.
  5. helix21 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2009
    Thanks, where would you recommend for buying second hand camera gear in the UK? I've bought refurbished apple stuff, but never really other electronics second hand.
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Whereabouts in the U.K. are you? I'd go to a good quality camera shop rather than fleabay.
    But be warned the sales guys will try and steer you towards the shiny new things!
  7. Foogoofish macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2011
    If you're in London, I would recommend going and talking to the guys at Aperture in their shop just off Oxford Street -

    While they have a lot of second hand DSLR's, there's nothing like a friendly second hand shop with its routes in film to have a good chat - the internet (aside from this forum) is completely overwhelming with 'knowledge' ;)

    That's about all I can offer for non-dslr. If you were however after one at any point, the 50D is still my pick and I kick myself daily for selling it on to a friend.
  8. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I have a Sony a6000 which I take with me on extended backpacking trips - every ounce counts. Takes awesome pictures. But every thing I read about the RX100 makes me think it is what you're looking for.
  9. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Apr 13, 2017
    A good second hand DSLR,like the mirrorless sony nex-7 with the 16 MM lens,and a mid size telephoto lens would be a great start. Oh yes,it's a couple of years old,but as a companion for an iPhone of any kind it's more than you need. You could probably find one at a very good price.
  10. steve123 macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2007
    How about the Fuji XT2 with a pancake lens?
  11. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Apr 13, 2017
    For traveling,most photographers need more than one pancake lens. Based on my more than 40 years of experience,let me give some advice.
    For my own needs,I use the following:
    Sony nex-7 mirrorless DSLR
    Sony nex-5 se above
    Sony alpha 230 DSLR,mirror,used as extra camera
    Canon SX90 superzoom camera,used as extra camera in my car
    Hasselblad 1600,mid format camera,not digital.
    18-200 MM,my standard daily lens for new cameras
    16mm pancake,wide angle street or indoor lens
    300mm telephoto,nature photography
    100-400mm with 2x teleconverter,see above
    18-55mm,standard lens for the alpha
    8mm fisheye
    Lensbaby pinhole lens
    30mm,80mm and 130mm zeiss distagon lenses for the hasselblad
    Other equipment:
    Heavy outdoor tripod
    Light tripod
    Cokin filters and holders
    Remote control flash
    Slave flash

    Of course,I don't need all of this at the same time,and what you should consider is what you will use the camera for. And remember,you don't have to buy all equipment at the same time. Lenses,filters and such can be bought when you need it,your first needs will most likely be a mirrorless DSLR,a wide angle lens,and a normal to telephoto lens like the 18-200 I use. With a little training,and some help from the optical stabiliser,the 18-200 does not require a tripod.
  12. TheDrift-, Jul 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017

    TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    Mrs Drift was just after a cheapish point and shoot....I found the the RX100 at London Camera exchange right now for £309 delivered, and sony are running a promotion for £50 cash back, so £259.99 after cash back...seemed like a pretty good deal!
  13. steve123 macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2007
    Agreed. The XT2 gets a lot of good reviews from the people that use it. It is mirrorless and a bit smaller and lighter than most DSLR's. Definitely not a "compact", though with a pancake lens, it's quite small. If budget does not eliminate the XT2 from consideration (it is not cheap), I suggest looking at it.
  14. Hughmac macrumors demi-god


    Feb 4, 2012
    Kent, UK
    Another vote for the RX100; it's good enough for most things, has a reasonable but not too great a zoom range, and compact enough to be pocketable. Image quality is great for such a small camera. I have one myself as a carry around when a large camera would be inconvenient.

    With a Sony a5000 or a6000 remember you will need to add and buy lenses to suit, which also adds bulk and weight which the OP has said isn't wanted.

    Cheers :)

  15. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    I might get flamed for this, but how about you try something out for the short term before you get to your trips?

    You know, buy something that you think might work well for you from a store that has no restocking fees and try it out on a day trip. That way you would be able to objectively evaluate it without fear of buyers' remorse. If you like the results and the ergonomics, keep it.

    I have nothing to suggest in terms of models :) , have been lugging the same DSLR for the last 7 years (just counted), the rusty Fuji X100s for when I'm lazy, and my iPhone when I'm truly lazy.
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What are you going to shoot with this new camera?

    The reason you'd go with an SLR is because the subject is NOT going to stand there motionless and say "cheese". The SLR has ZERO shutter lag and it will focus nearly instantly. Every other choice yo can make will have some kind of lag or delay between when you press the button and when the shutter trips. SLRs are ideal for action and wildlife and candid shots of people.

    If cost is an Issue buy a used SLR, they are in your price range and even a quite old one is still capable of professional quality.

    But if it MUST fit in your pocket you want the sensor with the largest physical size in millimeters and a lens with the widest f-stop (lowest numeric f-number, like f/1.8) Don't worry about super long telephoto lenses or megapixels the other things matter more. All else being equal the wider the lens goes the better.

    One other feature that you want if you can get it is an option to safe the files in RAW format. You want this if you intend to post process the images. You can correct a lot of problems if the images are raw. SLRs can all do this.
  17. JoeRito macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2012
    New England, USA
    Agreed the LX100 is an amazing camera. I have both the LX100 and the TZ70. That small sensor in the TZ just isnt for me, in spite of the good reviews. There’s no reason to have raw format on this one as it captures little more useable detail than the standard jpeg. But the LX100 has a much higher IQ and can really be pushed in raw.
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    No one shoots RAW format to gain more detail. You use it to get more dynamic range and to have to ability to re-process the image's white balance and color saturation. Lots you can do with RAW, but not more detail.

    When shooting outdoors and this seem to be what the OP wants, you care a LOT about dynamic range. All else being equal (size size sensor, same technology, same optics) having fewer pixels gives you more dynamic range. It is literally because the pixels are physically larger that they hold more charge. So certainly do not choose a camera because it has more pixels, they work against you in harsh lighting.

    Surprising to many beginning outdoor photographers, an important tool for outdoor shooting in bright sunlight is a flash. You goal in shooting especially outdoor portraits is reducing the difference between highlights and shadows. A flash fills in the shadows. A reflector can do that as well but they are big and you need an assistant.

    So it gets un-intuitive, less pixels and a bigger flash work best for mid day, blue sky shooting.
  19. JoeRito macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2012
    New England, USA
    Thanks for the clarification (semantics). Yes to capture more detail in a slightly blown out sky I guess would be better said as extending the dynamic range from raw. To me, its reprocessing raw to get those small details. Point is you cant do much with raw in the TZ.
  20. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    Can't go wrong with the rx100 and I think it's the most pocketable out of all you've listed.

    I'd also like to throw in the canon g7x as a possible option.
  21. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    Another RX100 vote, this one coming from somebody whose daily machine is a D810.
  22. Zaqfalcon macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2010
    I have an RX100iii as my pocketable/backup and it is a fantastic little camera, really high quality pictures and easy to use. It will be brilliant as an introduction to using a 'proper' camera, as it has all the necessary controls, and will make a great back up if you ever upgrade to a DSLR/mirrorless.
  23. lifeisepic macrumors 6502


    Mar 23, 2013
    I recently got my first camera. I decided to go used to get something a little more for my money

    Ended up with a Fuji X-E2S and a Fuji 35mm f2.0 WR. Very happy.
  24. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you own an iPhone, RX100 and D810. It would be interesting to hear from you how the images in your library are different. Can you look at an image and know if it is a D810 or iPhone capture? No. Not fair of you have to do a 100X zoom. Just in normal use can you see the difference? I claim that if you can't then then more expensive camera is a water.

    I do this experiment myself and I can see right away because of three things (1) I take different kinds of photos with the SLR. Many are shot with a macro lens or a with one of my F/1.4 or f/1.8 primes. Photos taken with these stand out. (2) the SLR sensor has much better dynamic range and color. So I see more then midrange tones. (3) The SLR cam capture action. iPhone photos are all posed or of non moving things.

    That is what I see in my collection. If I never shot subjects that were moving (Gymnastics and other sports, dogs, ...) and if all my shots of people were set-up posed shots and if I did not own a macro lens or a set of primes by iPhone and SPR shots would look alike in my screen

    The ba-zillion megapixel don't help if you only look at photos on your screen as few screen have more than about 2 megapixels, the newer 4K screens have maybe 6. The large megapixel counts in some camera do help if you are going to process the images in an editor.

    My conclusion is that buying another camera ONLY helps if the goal is to expend the KINDS of images you can shoot. If you use the new camera (SLR, mirrors, or point and shoot) as if it were an iPhone the results will not be much different. This is actually god news. It mens the iPhone is good enough for most everyday shots. I would not buy a second camera until you find yourself not being able to capture some images you want to get.
  25. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    Assuming you are just talking about IQ and not tons of other things like flash sync, auto focus...etc the biggest differences in IQ usually boil down to low light(ISO) and depth of field.

    If you take picture of a field on a bright sunny day the difference between an iPhone 7 and D810 with a 35mm lens at f11 isn't much at all if viewed on a smart phone or printed on a post card.

    If you head indoors with bad lighting and take a picture of a person with the iPhone 7 and D810 with a 35mm lens at f1.4 and view it on a 1920 x 1080 screen the difference is night and day.

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26 July 29, 2017