Point and Shoots ... from the Pro perspective.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Abraxsis, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    #1
    Im considering getting a pro level point and shoot with what little cash I have left from my lens upgrade spending spree. It would be nice to have something smaller that would be easy to carry on campus when carrying a full DSLR just isn't an option. Looking for small and not TOO expensive since this won't be my primary camera. Basically, just a candid camera and for stuff I come across when I dont have my DSLR.

    The below are what I am currently considering, Im shooting for that 300.00 mark and if I need to wait and save a little more its not an issue. Would love to hear the forum's suggestions/perspectives ...

    Tier I
    Nikon P6000 ... 299 (refurb), solid optics, good reviews, RAW output, decent optics
    Ricoh CX2 ... 289 (new), excellent optics, jpeg output, good review, and very creative oriented (can actually shoot 1:1 high contrast B/W images right in the camera)

    Tier II
    Canon S90 ... 399.00, excellent optics/reviews, f/2 lens, control ring, very small
    Canon G11 ... 499.00, excellent all around, but a little bulky.
    Sigma DP-1 ... 450, sensor better emulates film, small, excellent reviews, little to no zoom
    Ricoh GX200 ... price varies, excellent point and shoot, great optics, and handles RAW with all the creative options of the CX2
     
  2. nickXedge macrumors 6502

    nickXedge

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    #2
    For your purpose, though as you noted it's a bit more than you want to spend, I like the Canon S90. It's quite small and great to carry around and an amazing little point and shoot. In my opinion, currently the best pocket-sized point and shoot out there.
     
  3. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #3
    I think the phrase "pro-level point-and-shoot" is something of an oxymoron, but the S90 is probably the one that aligns best with your needs.
     
  4. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a

    macuserx86

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    #4
    When I don't want to carry my D3 or D700, I just use a disposable film camera.

    very cheap and instant (none of that "beeeep blip beep boop *back focus* bleeep *accurate focus* crap)
     
  5. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #5
    LOL. OK, that was the laugh I needed to send me off to bed on the right note. :D
     
  6. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #6
    I've been thinking about getting the S90 for this very purpose. Being able to put it in a pocket is a huge plus. I know it's a bit simplistic, but it seems to me once you're lugging a camera around that won't fit into a pocket, you might as well carry a dSLR!

    If pocketability isn't as much an concern for you, rather than the G11 I'd suggest looking at the new micro 4/3 cameras. They're certainly more compact than a dSLR, but have a much larger sensor than the point-and-shoots. Of course they cost twice as much as the S90 or G11...
     
  7. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Is a Panasonic LX3 worth a look? I'm not sure what the price is in the USA. I absolutely love mine as a companion when I don't want to carry my DSLR.
     
  8. Gold89 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    This guy might disagree, http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=7-6468-7844

    I have the Ixus equivalent of the SD1000 and it makes a refreshing change from the complexity and bulk of a SLR although manual controls and a larger sensor would be nice. In some ways cheaper is better as when you take it everywhere it will inevitably get dents and scratches (if it doesn't you're not trying hard enough). :)
     
  9. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 1, 2008
    #9
    Your tier ranking threw me off. Tier I usually designates the best (e.g. Tier I schools), so it was surprising to see a Nikon compact anywhere close.

    The S90 and G11 currently have the best manual controls found in compacts, but only the S90 is truly pocketable, out of the two. It also has a much faster lens, which is a huge selling point.

    The LX3 is a great camera, but the manual controls are not as fast or intuitive as they are on the Canons (tiny 4-way knob instead of any dials). I also find that it's not really pocketable; unless it's in a large coat, it produces a visible lump. It's great for tossing in a bag when I'm carrying one anyway, but it's not something I can easily take anywhere. The 720p video is nice, though, and missing from its competitors, and of course it's hard to take issue with its lens and image quality.

    Samsung has announced a compact with similar specs to the S90/LX3 - the TL500, which has a fast (f/1.8-2.4) lens with controls similar to the S90 in a package the size of the LX3. It bafflingly lacks HD video, but otherwise, it looks like a winner, provided the image processing holds up.

    In summary: get the S90 if your primary concern is portability. Otherwise, also consider the other cameras mentioned above (or even a Micro 4/3 camera, if you can find the cash). The Sigmas handle poorly and are slow, which is death for spontaneity. Haven't had any experience with the Ricohs, but they've tended to fall short in the reviews I've seen.
     
  10. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    #10
    I would have to disagree. I have used a few of the point/shoots that are aimed at Pros, and find the output pretty awesome in such a small package. I have also used lots of consumer-level cameras. This past Halloween, at a party, someone asked me to take a shot with their Olympus (I think it was an Olympus) P&S that had B/W capabilities. The output was horrid with the flash ... until I seen a few stacks of Solo cups. I grabbed a translucent one and stuck it over the flash. Then used a boot knife to cut a section of a crystal red one and stuck it over the lens, threw the cam into B/W mode and shot from a few angles. She framed that shot, lol. Im a firm believer that it is NEVER the camera that takes good shots, its the photog. A DSLR, these days, can handle about 85% of what the photographer used to do in their head. A point and shoot , pro level or otherwise, is an excellent exercise that forces you to think more creatively, to slow down and shoot purposefully IMO, just my .02

    Sorry, probably should have explained those. For me, the Tier I, are cameras I have personally used previously, and has all the functions I would like to have. Tier II are the cameras that fit the needs but I have never had any hands on experience with them. Although, I have used a G10, so its probably not all that different from the G11. But those P&Ss are a little too bulky for my wants/needs.

    Yeah, although the M4/3 cameras are nice, they're too bulky for my needs. Besides, if I were going to spend that much right now I would buy another lens for my DSLR. lol
     
  11. witness macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I like Mike Kobals comments when comparing the the new Cannon 550D with the 7D: "...it will fit in a large pocket. My new take everywhere camera" :)

    http://www.mikekobal.com/blog/?p=470

    Why not take your budget and invest in a good pancake lens?
     
  12. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

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    #12
    I'd stay away from the G11.. There are a lot of haters for it. Most still swear by the G10.

    But anyways, I would just get the S90 due to size, if you really think you're going to use it that frequently.
     
  13. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #13
    I'll be the first to admit it's the six inches behind the camera that matters. However, when a full-time photographer uses a point-and-shoot for some application, it doesn't suddenly make that camera a pro model. "Pro" is mostly a marketing category.

    I have to giggle a little at the assertion that using a PnS "forces you...to slow down and shoot purposefully." The very term "point-and-shoot" describes the exact opposite of that mentality.
     
  14. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #14
    ok, so you've shown that you know how to manipulate a flash, and you probably have good compositional skills. that doesn't mean a P&S is on the same level as a more advanced camera in image quality, ease of use, or flexibility.

    anyways, I'd stick with the S90 or LX3. if you're ok with fixed-focal lengths, the Ricoh GR's are good.
     
  15. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    #15
    For someone who is propagating the "Pro" spin as a marketing ploy, it seems you're fine with the "Point and Shoot" moniker as something "lesser." All camera's are point and shoot, art is all in the intent.

    If I am using a "Pro level" PnS with advanced options in full manual (or even a consumer model), I DO have to slow down and take my time if I want to make a good image. Because this small camera doesn't have a whiz-bang CPU in it that samples light readings however many hundreds/thousands of times a second, BECAUSE its not a 5000.00 DSLR. Like I said, it's all about intent, not labeling.

    If I drive a sports car, it is designed for speed and handling, the machine makes it easier by being high caliber. But, that doesn't mean I can't do a J turn in a minivan ... harder yes, but just as possible; and in fact takes MORE knowledge and skill because I am working with less/machine not designed to take those stresses.

    Also, I didn't say they WERE Pro, I said they were geared towards the Pro level (or at least advanced amateurs, even though I don't like that differential/degrading labeling, just because someone doesn't make their living with photography doesn't make them any less of a photographer, but I digress) who are going to understand the use of aperture, shutter speed, and possibilities that in-camera B/W shooting/tilt-shift/1:1/hotshoes/RAW/etc can bring. Most consumers don't understand these things, much less how to use them independently of the camera's CPU. By that merit alone proves that the cameras are being marketed to Pros/AA. Most people look at two things, MPs and Zoom-times, camera companies know this. Relating back to the sports car analogy, a fast engine means nothing if the suspension is garbage and the person behind the wheel can't handle it.

    I don't really think Im saying anything here that isn't perfectly logical. The only thing Im really seeing is that you don't agree that a PnS can be "Pro" level. To each his own.

    Remember ... there is no EXIF data attached to a framed print. Very few people care what type of brushes Monet, Rembrandt or Picasso used, they care only for the fact they knew how to use what they had.
     
  16. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #16
    Aye carumba. You're making a lot more of my words than what I actually said. I'm sorry if you're offended by my observation of marketing categories; I'm not asserting that the camera makes the photographer--far from it. I'm merely stating the obvious: a point-and-shoot camera is a convenience item, typically marketed at consumers and enthusiasts. Your purchase of one in no way makes you an amateur any more than your purchase of a $5000 camera makes you a "pro."
     
  17. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    #17
    Of course not, I have not directly compared any level of PnS to a DSLR system. To do so would be shortsighted and ignorant. What I am saying is that 1. There very much can be a Pro level PnS (pro level, not a direct DSLR replacement, mind you) and 2. Pro level images CAN be captured with a "meager" PnS camera. Maybe not technically so, but aesthetically and compositionally ... absolutely.

    I think Ive decided to go with the S90, although I would like to try out a GR Digital III before I make a final choice.
     
  18. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

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    #18
    Sorry, I didn't take your words personally, and my rebuttal wasn't a personal attack on you. Far from it. While I am a photog on the side, I am in Grad school to be a Psychotherapist, so the whole "take this point, acknowledge it and refute/accept it, now move to the next one" is kind of engrained in me.:p

    My outpouring was more a counter of a whole system of thinking that anything outside multi-thousand bodies/lenses is just fodder for the masses.
    Not really directed at you personally, I was just using your comments as the jumping off point.

    Yes, I agree that MOST PnS cameras are marketed to consumers and enthusiasts, but I still see a tier that is specifically marketed to, for lack of a more robust adjective, "Pros/AA on the go." 90% of mass consumers just aren't going to be interested in cameras like the Ricoh GR Digital III or Sigma DP-1, mainly because they can't see the whole picture. (pardon the pun, lol)

    As Jay Maisel says, "Always carry a camera."
     
  19. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Just out of curiosity, why didn't you include the D-LUX3? They can be bought used for about $450 or so.
     
  20. gødspeed macrumors regular

    gødspeed

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    #20
    Pro-level P&S doesn't really exist anymore. Pros that want a smaller camera almost invariably opt for micro 4/3s now.
     
  21. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #21
    And you're basing this statement on... ?
     
  22. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a

    macuserx86

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    #22
    I'd back him up on this; most serious/pro photogs who want a smaller camera go with micro 4/3rds. This just based on observation though, I have no data to back this up. :cool:
     
  23. stagi macrumors 65816

    stagi

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    #23
    The Canon S90 would be my vote, I have one and love it! For a P&S it has pretty good quality and optics.
     
  24. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #24
    See, including at least a few names of these "most serious/pro photogs" would be useful. That's all I'm sayin'. :D

    The few photogs I know of that are using m4/3 haven't given up their S90s or G11s - they've just supplemented them - and since they're still using the P&S cameras, it's obviously not a switch.

    Here, I'll give you a name: I know for a fact that Darwin Wiggett is still using a G11, and I don't believe he's mentioned m4/3 at all (feel free to correct this second part).
     
  25. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    #25
    I am actually very interested to see the direction m4/3 takes. I am looking for a "tote-able" camera for a while, and ultimately ended up at the S90/LX3 crossroads, but for just a couple of hundred dollars more, you can get a really good performing camera. Size is just the only issue for me, though I don't need a "jeans pocket" camera, more a "jacket pocket" camera.
     

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