Airstream Forums

Airstream Forums (
-   Photography (
-   -   I was asked about camera recommendations... (

DHart 08-20-2015 10:31 PM

I was asked about camera recommendations...
In the "What did you buy for your Airstream today" thread I was asked by LivLoveLaugh about camera suggestions. In this thread, we may be able to have an ongoing conversation without side-tracking the other thread unnecessarily.


Originally Posted by LivLoveLaugh (Post 1671760)

During our two month trip through the South West, we found that we do not have the right cameras for our needs. We currently use two Canon Power Shot SX120IS digital cameras. Although they have fixed zoom lens it seems we never have the right focal length. I.e. not wide enough for interior shots, not long enough for wild life shots.

We are currently in the market to upgrade our cameras and was wondering if you could post what equipment you are currently using (pictures would nice).
Also what would your equipment recommendations be for intermediate digital travel photography?

The subject of cameras is a BIG one, of course. And there are so many different cameras that can meet the needs of the average casual photographer.

Without doing an "as of this week" survey of the newest cameras to hit the shelves ( is great for that), I can't even begin to say what would be best for you, but I can tell you what interchangeable lens system cameras I have chosen to use, now that I no longer earn my living as a commercial photographer.

I now shoot with the micro 4/3 system. These are interchangeable lens, mirrorless cameras that have a sensor size of 1 1/3" (hence, 4/3s). There are two major manufacturers making bodies and lenses which fit the m4/3 specification, which means you can mix and match bodies and lenses from these two manufatrurers: Olympus and Panasonic (Lumix branded).

Presently, I have three bodies Lumix GX7, Lumix GM5, and Olympus EP5. And around 15 lenses, or so. The great thing with m4/3 is that the gear is much smaller and lighter than typical DSLR gear, which I am thrilled to NOT be using any more.

Imagine this: carrying three bodies and a dozen lenses in a compact Halliburton aluminum brief case! (Matches the Airstream nicely, as well!)

THAT's what micro 4/3rds is all about. Compact, lightweight, very high quality.

No, m4/3 gear is not less expensive than DSLRs. It is simply smaller, lighter, and MUCH more enjoyable and convenient to carry and use. Image quality is awesome and I routinely print 48" to 52" canvas wall prints for the house:

48" above the fireplace; 52" above the sofa in the next room:

Obviously, if you do YOUR part well, as a photographer, the m4/3 system gear will provide wonderful, high quality results for you!

I also use Sigma DP1 and DP3 Merrill cameras for times when I want extreme detail, for some landscape work (not used for the two wall prints you see above.) And a Ricoh GR for "street photography".

And, my most used little gem of an image maker:

The Lumix LX100! This camera uses the m4/3 sensor, but has a built-in Leica lens giving an "equivalent" focal length range of 24mm to about 70mm. The lens is superb and f/1.7 (very fast!). This little camera is my "go-everywhere" camera and yields awesome results. It also captures video in.... "4K". While not offering lens interchangeability, for a one-in-all camera, this little gem really performs magnificently!

Reviews of the 'landmark' LX100 camera:

I capture images in RAW format and process all images in Lightroom on a 27" iMac and/or 17" MacBook Pro, while on the road.

If you want to get a system camera with a vast array of great interchangeable lenses, and want small, lightweight, convenient, a joy to use, and with high image quality, micro four thirds IS your camera system of choice.

Current cameras that I would recommend are Lumix GX7, G7 and Olympus OM-D. There are several other m43 camera bodies both smaller and larger than these mentioned, depending on your particular needs. If asked to recommend one body and three lenses, I'd go with:

For reference, double the focal length to see the "full-frame" equivalent focal length. (m4/3 12mm = full frame 24mm)

Lumix GX7 or G7 body
Olympus 9-18mm lens (for the wonderful world of wide angle)
Panasonic-Lumix 12-32 Ultra Compact zoom lens (very small, excellent quality)
Panasonic-Lumix 35-100 f/4-5.6

Some video reviews:
Lumix GX7 body:

Lumix 12-32 lens:

Lumix 35-100 f/4-5.6 lens

A more costly "Pro" lens alternative in the 12-35mm range:
Panasonic-Leica 12-35 f/2.8 lens (superb IQ, and a bit costly - for the bulk of shooting)

Another very versatile and excellent lens:
Panasonic 14-140 (a bit large, but versatile and offering a tremendous reach)

There is a world of information out there (internet) on the micro four thirds system that is just a few key strokes away.

Gsmblue 08-20-2015 11:45 PM

Great info. I shoot with a Sony NEX5. So very similar. I have A couple of lenses. Does a good job for me. These mirror less cameras are great.

My wife has a canon 5Dmk3... It is awesome!!!

DHart 08-21-2015 01:00 AM

Gsmblue... yes, very nice gear that you have. The NEX5 can capture great images. Lens selection is, depending on your vantage point, limited, but if it creates what you want it to get... that's ALL you need. I like the camera and format, just not crazy about the selection of available lenses.

The Fuji system is a good one as well, but with a great selection of excellent lenses. Just that the focusing systems and such with them are lacking. It's always something, isn't it?

As for the 5D MkIII.... awesome camera. And Canon's pro lenses are awesome, as well. But what A BEAST of a system, especially when you include lenses. Not unreasonable to haul around and work with if you're charging $2000+ per day for your time/services. But, for an amateur, even a serious amateur, capturing images for personal use? Or a tourist? Sheesh... more than a little bit over the top, in my view, for what is actually required. And not the least bit "necessary", in my view. But... certainly not a "bad" choice, if one wants to haul around such huge and heavy gear when on vacation.

I made a lot of money over decades using high cost pro gear, including the 5D system, as a professional. It can help to make great images when size, weight, and cost is no object. But for personal use, I am thrilled to be using much smaller and much lighter system gear which allows me to create similarly awesome images with a small fraction of the cost, size, and weight burden. Especially great for travel!

In any event, whatever your choice of camera gear.... all of the gear mentioned here is capable of producing excellent quality images.... if the user is up to the job! And your choice is simply dependent on what amount of gear you are willing to pay for and lug around.

There are a lot of amateur photographers who, honestly, don't really create very good images, but they have spent a small fortune on and lug around huge "pro" grade camera gear, simply because they think that they need to do that, to create "good images".

"That's what the pros use, so it must be what I need" is the thinking.

Now, coming from a life-long, career commercial photographer, this is no reflection on you, nor on your wife, but honestly, the vast majority of serious amateurs don't really need to spend the money for a 5DMkIII and pro lenses, nor do they need to haul around such incredible size and weight to capture fantastic images.

If doing so just makes them feel "right", so be it. But truly, great images start with the photographer's talent, creativity, technical skills, and abilities. And pretty much end there, as well. You can put an iPhone in the hands of a talented photographer, and he/she can create a wonderful image. (There are YouTube videos showing top-shelf commercial photographers in New York using an iPhone in their studios to create fantastic images. Proof that the "camera" itself is a very minor component when it comes to making great photographs.) Stick a $6000+ combo of 5DMkIII and 70-200 f/2.8L-IS in the hands of someone with basic skills and minor creativity and you're going to come up with images no better than could be captured with one of today's better point-and-shoot cameras.

My point here is to let people know that they do NOT have to buy into high-priced DSLR "pro" grade gear to create awesome images. The camera gear will not create awesome images for you. YOU have to do that part yourself, through the many varying decisions you make as a photographer. And you can do that without spending $8000+ on a camera body and two or three pro grade DSLR lenses.

It is telling to see tourists snapping random "snapshots" with the massive and very heavy 5DMkIII and 70-200 f/2.8 L-IS lens, when what they're doing would be so much quicker and easier to do with much smaller, lighter weight, and less costly gear.

That said, "go for it" if you feel that is what is required for what you need, but, don't be conned into thinking that you need to buy and carry around such massive gear to create stunning images.

One can buy the finest scalpels and forceps available... but does that make one a competent surgeon? One can buy the finest kitchen equipment available... but does that make one a great cook?

A banquet guest once asked his hostess... "that was an amazing meal, so incredibly delicious... just what kind of stove do you cook with?"

It ain't the stove, pots, nor pans... and it ain't camera gear... it's the talent, knowledge, creativity, and skill of the person holding the camera that makes great images!

Danattherock 08-21-2015 01:31 AM

^^^ That's a fact. Perturbs me, but some of my best images of my kids are with a cell phone. If you ain't got it on ya, it don't matter how fancy the gear.

That is a slick kit man. My Canon gear takes up a lot more room while only carrying two bodies (5DMkiii & 50D) and 5-7 lenses, mostly L, and 1-2 tripods (Feisol/Manf) depending on if I'm dragging the 100 f/2.8 macro lens along with MR flash ring. Then there are polarizing filters and grad ND's.

It adds up quickly, but most is managed in a large backpack. I couldn't part with it at this point, but I don't perceive it as being as bulky or heavy as many would. However, I would be lying if I said I didn't like the 007 aspect of your current kit.


DHart 08-21-2015 01:35 AM

Dan... you're a good-sized fellow! Bigger than the average bear. I think the 5D kit is probably the perfect size for you! Your button finger would probably hit three buttons at once on a smaller camera body!

For most of us mere mortals, however, well..... you know the rest! ;)

Danattherock 08-21-2015 01:43 AM

I feel like the controls on the 5D are fiddly:)

DHart 08-21-2015 02:09 AM


Originally Posted by Danattherock (Post 1672204)
I feel like the controls on the 5D are fiddly:)

Dan... we need to step you up into medium format right away! :brows:

And, hey! How do you know about 007-like gear? You're much too young to know about that stuff! 007 comes from when I was a teenager in the '60s! And, if he ain't Sean Connery, he ain't 007! :bb:

Lastly... what are you doing up so late, again, 2 nights in a row, my friend?

SCOTTinNJ 08-21-2015 04:06 AM

I went from a 30D to a 5D (I miss those images dearly) to a 6D. Have a host of lenses to go along with them.

Seriously considering switching to Fuji for the reasons you express.

khollister 08-21-2015 06:12 AM

I was a lifelong Nikon shooter (still have a D800 and several pro lenses) but I travel and shoot 95% of my stuff now with Fuji (X-T1, X-E2 & X100S). The size, image quality, lenses and haptics won me over.

The m43 stuff previously mentioned is also a great travel kit - a slight trade off in IQ for even more portability.

The only time I use the D800 now if for wildlife/birds (long glass and focus tracking). I hate carrying it anymore.

Sent from my iPad using Airstream Forums

Ntex 08-21-2015 08:17 AM

Loving this discussion! I am currently in the exploration phase of replacing my current gear which is a Nikon D7000 and various lenses. I am exploring the world of mirrorless options in hopes of reducing bulk and weight while retaining quality. It sure would be easy just to upgrade to the Nikon 7200, which features the same basic controls as my current camera, thus reducing the learning curve. But I think I would need some new lenses to do that 24 MP sensor justice and with that investment staring me in the face I have to consider a new system.

Sent from my iPad using Airstream Forums

lcurrie 08-21-2015 08:28 AM

I was asked about camera recommendations...
Thanks for the write up!

I've been toying with the idea of getting rid of my Canon and lenses and getting either a Sony a7 or LUMIX.

Here's an article that I read on the Sony.

You e given me a couple of other things to think about.


Sent from my iPad using Airstream Forums

Gsmblue 08-21-2015 09:05 AM

Totally agree!

The NEX5 was free, so I could not pass that up! As for the 5D, yes, it is a hell of a camera and we have the rest of the gear to go with... Check out Instagram #kyaphotography and it will all make sense :)

Gsmblue 08-21-2015 09:07 AM

KJRitchie 08-21-2015 09:26 AM

I'm just an entry level photographer.
I started with a Nikon D40 DSLR and purchased the 18-400mm lens so I didn't have to keep swapping out lens. On our first trip to Glacier in 2011 we went hiking and I wanted to take some video and had to carry both the Nikon and my Canon HV20 camcorder. After that trip I decided I needed a camera that does both but I wanted an interchangeable lens camera. I decided the mirrorless cameras offered the best of both worlds. I chose a Sony NEX 5N. It has an APSC sensor similar to Nikon and Canon but the body is so much smaller and lighter. Takes great photos and videos.

About a year ago I decided to buy a Nikon refurb D5100 so I could use my Nikon 18-200 but I find I take my Sony 5n out more since it takes just as good photos, taking video is easier and is so much smaller and lighter.

I think mirrorless cameras are the future as long as there is good glass to match the body. I'm looking to upgrade to a Sony A6000. All I need is the body since my 5n lens are compatible.

Since we don't use the Sony 10 disc CD Changer in our AS I pulled it out and now I can store my two Think Tank camera bags for my 5n and lens in that spot. I've got the Think Tank body harness and belt so I can clip on the camera bag to my chest and my extra lens to the belt. Now I can carry my hiking backpack with water bladder and keep my hands free for trekking poles. I modified one of my trekking poles to carry my GoPro Hero 4 Silver. With the wrist remote I can turn the GoPro on/off.

Now I need to find time to organized and edit all the photos and video. I have GoPro video of my Tundra towing my AS up the Ike Gauntlet I'd like to share.


Ahab 08-21-2015 10:15 AM

Having used canikons through the years I prefer Pentax. The K3 offers a water resistant tough body with outstanding image quality that can't be beat by the others unless you are willing to pay thousands more.

Ampman 08-21-2015 01:48 PM

Thanks to all for the great information on this thread.

Drathaar 08-21-2015 01:58 PM

Interesting thread...

I'm going to stay with my Nikon full frame gear, but I see great work coming from the ILC cameras.

Danattherock 08-21-2015 02:36 PM

This thread makes me want to dust off my gear and charge batteries. Which is long overdue at this point. Last 2.5 years have been unusually eventful and included the birth of both of our children. Photography has taken a backseat to dirty diapers, slicing apples and bananas, and memorizing silly songs. Wouldn't trade a day of it either. But my interest in photography is being rekindled nonetheless.

A bit off subject, so rather than derail thread and populate images here, I will just provide a link to my images for any landscape or wildlife lovers reading this. Below is link, from my Flickr album/set titled 'Dans Favorites'. My Flickr home page can be assessed by simply Googling Danattherock Flickr. Tons of other pics are available in sets/albums on my Flickr main page. Many remote trips in Alaska among various other travels over last decade or so.

Most images in 'Dans Favorites' are from assorted trips throughout New England while we lived on Nantucket for four years. Honestly, it's just a set I threw together to load a digital picture frame for our kitchen. Maine largely, Bar Harbor/Acadia NP, coastal towns of Kennebunkport, Camden, Rockport, and Freeport,Maine LL Bean headquarters, and various lighthouse during varying seasons, covered bridge tour of Vermont/NH, white mountains, and Nantucket of course. We made about 12-15 trips up this way, can't wait to get back. Baxter State Park in Maine to photograph moose is high on list.

Also included in this link to 'Dans Favorites' are many images from Alaska where we lived three years, and still return for vacation each Fall since 2003. Mainly taking our whitewater raft up and floating remote rivers for 7-14 days, 80-130 miles, as we float, fly fish, and camp our way down river. The silence is deafening comes to mind. Mostly arctic NW Alaska and SW (Bristol Bay), with a few images from SE/Ketchikan 40-50 mile fly outs to remote cabins on rivers fly fishing for steelhead in Spring. Some of the wildlife images are from a boat trip out of Seward,AK with Kenai Fjords Tours.

Also, a few assorted Caribbean images from my wife's twin sisters wedding in Jamaica.

Ironically, the children images are not of my own, but assorted nephews and nieces. Mine are much cuter. Hah. Seriously.

Sorry for being long winded, but I like to know what I'm seeing.


DHart 08-21-2015 03:19 PM


Originally Posted by SCOTTinNJ (Post 1672211)
I went from a 30D to a 5D (I miss those images dearly) to a 6D. Have a host of lenses to go along with them.

Seriously considering switching to Fuji for the reasons you express.

Scott... the Fuji bodies are pretty good, and their lenses are awesome. The bodies are upgraded seemingly every few months... so I would imagine they are even better than when I dabbled with them a while back. After doing so, and comparing the results to my m4/3 results and vast amount of gear, I decided to stick with m4/3 and not keep the Fuji gear that I bought. Though it would not have been a mistake to go with the Fuji system, as I did like it!

The m4/3 system is by far the most mature system of bodies and lenses among the various interchangeable-lens mirrorless systems out there (Sony's APSC stuff, Sony's full-frame stuff, Fuji's APSC system, etc.) There are lenses I have in m4/3 that can't be matched (or can't be matched except at exorbitant cost) in the other systems. And still, the m4/3 gear is more compact. No matter how small a full-frame system camera body gets, the laws of physics restrict how small the LENSES for those bodies can get.

So, if shaving size and weight is an important goal, systems like the A7 and, to a lesser extent Fuji APSC, don't go that far.

That said... if one just needs two or three lenses to achieve their photographic goals and isn't that needy of having a huge range of various lenses available with "native" functionality of auto-focus, then some of these other systems can be great choices as long as one doesn't mind the larger size and heavier weight to carry around.

I am tempted by the latest A7R+ or whatever they call it, but the price is very high and the cost of the really good lenses for it are, as well.

In the end, I'm likely to stay with m4/3 for the foreseeable future. New bodies are released in this format about every 6 months... and they've gotten to be really amazing.

The about-to-be-released Lumix GX8 will most certainly be coming to my kit in the near future. Absolutely amazing camera. And I already have a kit of 15 or so great lenses to mount on it. I absolutely love my GX7, so I'm sure the GX8 will knock it out of the park!

DMC-GX8 Lumix G Compact System Cameras - Panasonic UK & Ireland

These are really exciting times to be in photography!

Bodies may only stay current for a couple of years at most (due to rapid technological advancements in sensors and electronics), but great quality lenses have staying power of decades.

Danattherock 08-21-2015 03:57 PM

10-4 on the glass. Bodies are darn near disposable depending on ones mindset. I abide by the buy once cry once view when buying lenses. So far, no regrets.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.