I need a lighter camera :-)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by roisin and mac, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. roisin and mac macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    Okay, my DSLR (Nikon D5000 + 18-105mm lens) is a solid 1400 kg/3lbs 1oz. Maybe that doesn't sound like much if it's all you carry or if you only take it along for specific events, or if you go to and from in your own vehicle. But I don't. The sort of photography I do isn't really the kind that can be planned, so I need to have a reasonably decent camera on every outing (the iphone camera doesn't really rate :p). Add the other stuff I need through the day (keys-money-phone, book(s), folder full of papers, etc amounting to a couple more kilos), and it piles up. And I live in the city centre, which means taking the car is more hindrance than help; so I carry all that as I walk long distances, which means by the end of the day, my shoulder is killing me even though my bag is a super-lightweight fabric thing with a wide, comfortable strap.

    So it'd be SUCH a relief to be able to replace my dslr with something lighter weight, at least for 'daily carry' purposes. I'd certainly keep my dslr as it does take nice pictures, but I'd love the freedom to only take it along when I know I'll definitely be finding plenty to shoot - several dozen photos, rather than under a dozen.

    Other than the light weight and compact size, here's what I also need:
    - a zoom lens with a decent range; roughly equivalent to what's on the D5000 would be nice. I know sometimes people get dazzled by the possibilities and fork over the money for way more zoom than they'll ever use, but I'm not one of them - trust me, I use every mm of that zoom ;)
    - fairly rapid response time. A lot of the subjects I am drawn to, particularly with the unplanned shooting sessions I am getting this for, are pretty quick-changing: spontaneous portraits, street protests or other street events, etc. That means if the camera takes several precious seconds to turn on and re-initialize between shots, I'll end up constantly missing out on what I wanted to shoot by the time I'm set up to do it. So I would prefer a camera I can leave on for hours at a time like my dslr to save the turn on time, and would love a manual zoom - the kind you adjust on the lens itself, not via a toggle button on the camera.
    - an optical viewfinder is nicer than the LCD and makes for more comfortable shooting, but if I have to I guess I can get used to the LCD :)

    I don't have much in terms of up-to-date, specialized camera shops anywhere close, but the ones I tried, as soon as they hear my requirements they all seem to give the same suggestion: one of the recent olympus PEN models. But I'm naturally suspicious lol, and the uniformity of the responses has me thinking that maybe this camera is just the current fad that everyone is busy trying to push, rather than being the best option out there (let alone the only option). In other words, I'm looking for some creative thinking and maybe some less-than-obvious suggestions :)

    thanks :)
  2. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    Agree, 1.4t is too heavy ... You need something lighter :p

    Beside that: have a look on www.dpreview.com
  3. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    what about not getting a new camera and getting a prime lens (the 35mm 1.8 DX is very light weight) :confused:
  4. marsmissions macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2010
    Washington, US
    good luck trying to be happy with a point and shoot.

    I suggest a lighter lens.

    I found your measurements to be a bit off though...

    Your camera + lens combo actually weighs a bit less than 2 lbs.

    About 830 grams.

    Perhaps your should stop hanging a one pound weight from your camera when you carry it? That might help..

    If it makes you feel a bit better, my camera and with a 30mm prime attached weighs in at 1.4kg.. Pretty hefty.

    you can do it!!
  5. roisin and mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    I did know this website, but you drawing my attention to it made me look closer and I realized that they also have forums and other comparing tools, not just the reviews (which are great for telling you how good a specific camera is, but are less useful for matching needs with equipment). So thanks!

    I have this kind of set up already (film camera, not digital). But it doesn't respond as well to the type of shooting I will be using it for. It's great, and I really appreciate the power of such a set up (heck, I learned photography on it, pretty much) but currently I'm exploring a different style of photography and it needs the expanded possibilities of the zoom lens :)

    Your post is the longest, but surprisingly the least relevant; it's obvious you didn't read past the second line or so. Which is fine as such; nobody's making you :) But I believe it makes one look foolish to skip reading the post, then smugly crow such uninformed opinions. So:

    1) I never said I wanted a point-and-shoot. Just a lighter camera.
    2) My measurements aren't off. I put the thing on a scale and read off the display (and boy was I surprised). So, no need to be flippant; stop assuming anybody asking a question online is an eejit who couldn't think their way out of a lit tunnel ;) Yes, I 'can do it'; I just don't want to, because it wouldn't serve the current stage in my photographic learning process.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    What are you using the camera for? Perhaps I missed that in the post but I didn't see usage.

    For me I've been using a D70s with a 12-70mm lens which was quite heavy. I just purchased in spring a Canon G12 for my vacation with the family. Much smaller and lighter and it takes great pictures.

    My point is depending on your needs (and budget) a high end P+S may suit your needs. My G12 shoots in RAW and performed fabulous during my Florida vacation.
  7. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    I'm an Austronaut
    pancake lens!

    I use a panasonic lumix G1 micro four thirds with a pancake lens and is very light
  8. Ish macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    I use a DSLR but a friend of mine swopped over to m4/3 a couple of years ago and is very happy with it. He has a Panasonic GH2 which he carries around everywhere in one of the Kata rucksacks which has a camera compartment at the bottom and room for everything else at the top. He previously had the GH1 which I liked very much and the picture quality was pretty good. These are DSLR in shape but Panasonic also do a GF1&2 which are smaller. If I was to look for something lighter I'd definitely give these a serious consideration. There are a number of zooms to choose from as well. It's not just that these cameras are smaller, the lenses are a lot smaller and lighter too.

    Worth a look imo.
  9. ratboy90 macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2009
    you don't exactly want or need a DSLR then if its too heavy right? Look at the micro 4/3 cameras or something like the Sony NEX series.
  10. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    Mirrorless cameras should give you what you need:
    - The major systems (Micro 4/3, NEX, NX) offer an ~28-300mm (35mm equiv) zoom.
    - Fast response times (excluding the older PENs, which were notoriously slow)
    - Most have electronic viewfinder options (either built-in or mounted via hotshoe). NEX is the only system that currently lacks one, but the upcoming NEX-7 should change that.

    The cons (imo) are:
    - None are great for shooting action (low continuous drive fps + small buffer and/or no refocusing between burst shots). Workable, but not great. However, it wouldn't be much different from your current camera.
    - Except for NEX, mirrorless sensors lag behind those in DSLRs in high ISO performance.
    - Lens selection is limited compared to DSLR systems. Micro 4/3 has the best by far, though fast (f/2.8) zooms are lacking.

    There should be a flood of mirrorless camera announcements before the end of the year (certainly from Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic, and possibly from Fuji and more from Olympus). There should be many improvements with this next generation. If you're not in a hurry to switch, it'd be a good idea to wait.
  11. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Something still isn't adding up though. According to the specifications, a D5000 + battery + 18-105 lens should only weigh about 1kg (1031g actually). Where's the extra 400g coming from?

    You will be able to shed weight by getting a lighter camera but the D5000 is already a pretty light setup. Are you sure that the gains afforded by moving to a m4/3 system or similar will offset the monetary cost and also the photographic penalties you would incur by moving to a smaller camera system?

    You asked for some out-of-the-box, creative solutions, here's one. Maybe it's the carrying method that is the root of your problems. If you're currently using a shoulder/messenger bag (which I am guessing because you state that your (singular) shoulder hurts after carrying stuff around all day), maybe try switching to a backpack. I prefer backpacks to messenger bags because if I carry too much weight on one shoulder it will start to hurt but distributing the weight across two shoulders helps a lot. Also getting a backpack that fits properly is a huge deal. If you get a bag that is comfortable and fits properly, you can carry significant weight around for long periods and not really feel it.

  12. gnd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2008
    At my cat's house
    Camera strap, maybe a UV filter, battery grip with another battery, L-bracket or a tripod plate ...
  13. PatrickCocoa macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2008
    I know you rejected it . . .

    I know you rejected it, but give the iPhone another think. If you're outside (you mentioned street protests) you should have enough light to overcome the small iPhone lens. The lack of zoom does exclude the iPhone (see, I read the whole post!) so give a quick thought to changing your requirements.

    How about this: ditch your heavy DSLR for three days? a week? sometime long enough for a spontaneous street protest to flare up. Take pictures with the iPhone. Compare those shots and the experience of shooting them with the last round of police brutality (or anarchist vandalism depending on your political leanings). Put the shots up on the web, or distribute them in your normal way, and see if there are any comments.
  14. fulcrum.1995 macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    San Jose, California
    I agree with the above poster. I can carry around 40-50lbs for 20+miles of hiking on a good pack.

    Id say look into blackrapid straps or spider holster because in reality, your camera setup is reasonably light. I personally have never had a problem wearing my D700+Grip+lens on a chest harness attached to my pack. For you a nice strap or carrying solution will probably solve your qualms.
  15. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Well all of these items are pretty light by themselves and easily removable if you're trying to shed weight, with the exception of the battery grip- but IIRC the D5000 does not even have a battery grip option. The fact is, a D5000+18-105 should not weigh more than 1031g, except plus a little for maybe a strap.
  16. marsmissions macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2010
    Washington, US
    You need a new scale. Me thinks you would do better with one that isn't imaginary.

  17. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    I would revamp my travel gear.

    1. new camera strap. Something like Crumpler Industry Disgrace or Black Rapid Strap.

    2. New daypack - Lowepro Photo Sport Sling 100 AW or Timbuk2 Blogger 2.0 Laptop Messenger Bag. Both will distribute the weight better. Eventhough the Blogger is not a camera bag, its well padded and has enough room to carry your gear. I carry my D90 and two lenses in my Blogger bag. Plus it doesn't put a lot of wt. on my back. Along with the Crumpler strap, my gear is light.

    3. Exercise - do some wall push ups to strengthen your upper body.
  18. mackmgg macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2007
    The absolute weight doesn't really matter here though, as the OP was saying that it's too heavy to comfortably hold for a little while. Be it 1031g or 1400g, it's still uncomfortable.

    To the OP, Nikon is rumored to be working on a mirror-less interchangeable lens system. If this comes out soon, it may (no way to know until it's actually out) mean you can use the same lens with the new body, since you already have a Nikon. Also, look into a prime like others have said. A 35mm f/1.8 is a lot lighter than your 18-105mm, plus it's probably faster.
  19. gnd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2008
    At my cat's house
    Usually the reason behind developing a mirror-less system is reduction in size. Just making the body smaller is not enough, so they try to also make the lenses smaller. One way of doing that is to reduce the flange focal distance. And if they do that, then the existing Nikon lenses won't work on the new system without an adapter.
    I wouldn't hold out for a Nikon mirror-less system expecting it to be able to natively use existing Nikon lenses.
  20. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    If you got lots of cash maybe a leica m9, I suspect they are pretty light, I woudlnt know personally as way out of my price range.....

    ...if not that as others have said check out the 4/3 cameras, I've heard good things about them if its any use?
  21. mackmgg macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2007
    True, but in the past Nikon has kept the same mount, even with the transition from MF to AF, something other companies haven't done. Maybe they could do something like Canon's EF-S where the lenses can be smaller, but normal lenses would still mount on it if you don't mind the extra size? Now, I wouldn't hold out specifically for this anyway, as it may not be released for a while, I was just saying that it's an option
  22. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    Sorry to say, but even the Canon T3i weighs in at over 570g (1.2lbs), but that is with a battery. I wish my camera was lighter also (the battery alone almost weighs as much as your camera!!), but I have been lugging it around for so long, that I get used to the weight and actually forget about it. Just the camera weighs almost 4lbs, then strap on a lens, lol..

    I think the PEN is probably the best COMPROMISE that you can make right now. I mean that is what you are going to have to do, is compromise. I lug my shiest around because I put in ALOT of effort to get to the spots I shoot, and I want good quality shots:), thus I "put up" with the weight. I also need something that is weather sealed and as it rains "a bit" in the PNW. I also need something durable, something not made of plastic. Sometimes my camera sits on the ground/dirt/etc while I am scouting, etc.

    I keep looking at your post, and man you have almost impossible guidelines. You say you want good quality shots, and any good glass won't be a feather. Why not go test a PEN in the store? You know that you can use Leica, OM, Zeiss, etc glass on the PEN's via an adapter?
  23. gnd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2008
    At my cat's house
    Pentax also kept the same mount from the very beginning. Pentax even kept the same flange focal distance for the K-mount as the old M42 lenses, offering even more compatibility ... Nikon isn't far behind with support for legacy glass though.
  24. IllegalFun macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2011
    Nikon must make their cameras out of lead! :eek:

    my Canon 400D with 17-55 f/2.8 IS weighs in at 1.3Kg
    personally I find that most of my camera gear weighs very little...
    I could have bought the 70-200 f/2.8 IS mk2 instead of the f/4 version

    If you really do want to reduce the weight, then a Canon G12 with a Fuji X100 would be a good combination...
    the problem is that cameras with great image quality tend to cost a lot, and weigh a lot!
  25. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    I find it funny with camera weights.
    I picked up a D3100, D5100 and the D7000 and the 31 & 51 felt way too light to be considered. I came from a D70 and that weighed more than those too. I do hear pros saying the D7000 is too light though.

    When I bought the D7000 it was partially because it felt good in my hands as in weight. not too light and something I'd get used to.

    I have no real camera suggestion but perhaps like stated above, use a better backpack. I carry one that has two bodies in it, lenses and other stuff. It can be heavy but I have a waist-strap that also helps to distribute the weight properly. I also sometimes have the camera over neck and shoulder, not just neck as this helps out. Also, I like the iPhone for quick shots. no real zoom on it but the pictures are usually decent enough.

    sorry if you think this is not a helpful post. but...just my opinions on part of the topic at hand.

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