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While not a complete Luddite, I'm not good at keeping up with developments. I moved to digital in 2007 when the Nikon D3 appeared - it seemed to me the first digital camera capable of matching and  surpassing the quality I'd been getting from 35mm over the previous 30 years (also, of course, I already had the lenses). Since then I suppose 75% of my commissioned work has been shot on this one camera, it's been dropped, rebuilt, and carries on as well as ever. However it is a heavy beast. I've just spent a few days in the mountains carrying it, with a 70-200 and a 24-70. I'm planning a very much longer walk next year and realise that I shall need something much lighter, if I'm to carry everything else I shall need into the wild. Drawing on your collective wisdom and experience, what are your recommendations? I need excellent image quality, of course, lenses to cover 24mm to 200mm equivalent, very good battery life, ideally full frame and an optical viewfinder, though these are not deal-breakers - so what's out there these days?

 

Alex

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I still wouldn't show up on assignment without an impressive looking DSLR, if the client was going to be present. Being retired from all that, and shooting for stock only now, I'm very happy to have moved from my Nikons to a much lighter kit: three Sony system, NEX, RX10 and RX100M3. The RX10 has a Zeiss zoom that goes from 24 to 200. You'll have to judge the weight and image quality yourself. I could shoot with the pocketable RX100 iii all day and be very happy with the results: in fact I usually do exactly that.

 

There are many many many posts on this subject on this forum, Alex. Do an Alamy search.

Edited by Ed Rooney
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I faced a similar dilemma and after considering the options I went for the Fuji X. Over the last few months I have sold all my extensive top end Canon kit and have almost completed its replacement with Fuji. I am just waiting for delivery of the first of  my new X-T2 (in next few days) which I believe will pretty much resolve my few remaining issues with the Fuji system. Other choices are possible but I ruled out 4/3 for noise reasons and FF (e.g. Sony) because the lenses would still be as big as for my Canon. The final key point for the decision was the quality of the lenses anbd Fuji commitment as a long-standing photography company (rather than a consumer electronics business)

 

Going with Fuji has halved the size and weight of my kit. I can now carry a full news gathering kit of 2 bodies, 16-55mm (24-85), 50-140 (75-210) with a teleconverter, flash (Nissin i40), other lenses as job demands, and a laptop. I do have to carry a few batteries as the battery life is shorter than a dslr but the batteries are light and small, that said I rarely use more than two even though my original ones are getting tired.

 

Above all it has reinvigorated my photography. The weight of my Canon was discouraging me taking it with me. Now I can take a body and wide-range zoom in a small shoulder bag (man-bag!) wherever I go, especially when on holiday or travelling. My story of the process is at: http://m-dash.com/section/equipment-more

 

Edit to add: I have had no issues with the compact nature of my kit and not being perceived as professional. Other photographers, and police, seem to accept my approach as evidence of my professionalism and some photographers are rather envious of the lack of weight of my bag despite the comprehensive kit!

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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Nikon D750 weighs 840 grams compared to your D3 which weighs 1300 grams.

Use a bivvy bag (about 0,400 kg) instead of a tent (about 2,500 kg). If you want excellent quality, I'd save on camping gear weight instead of camera gear weight. Of course, a lot depends on the length (how many days) of the hike, the weather and the possible shelters you might find like old sheds, caves, overhanging rocks, ruins, etc. in case the weather turns bad.

Nothing can beat falling asleep while watching a zillion stars instead of staring at the canvas of your tent  ;)

 

Cheers,

Philippe (of to Scotland in a few days  ^_^ )

 

 

+1 on the camera body.  I use one myself with 24-70 and 70-200 Tamrons. Also have 16-24 and 200-500 nikons.  No I do not carry them all together at once. In fact the 200-500 with D750 body is heavy enough on their own.

 

Allan

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Thanks all - I already carry an RX100M2 as a matter of course - and shall continue to take the D3 on assignment, though I don't think it impresses clients so much these days. Totally agree with Philippe about star-gazing . . .

 

Alex

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My everyday kit is a D3300 with a 70-300 and a D5200 with a 10-24, though until recently that was an 18-105 (which I now take in my bag).

It's light and very good quality despite the low prices and 'entry-level' status of most of the stuff.

The cameras are a bit small for my hands so I bulk up the grips with the stuff you wrap around tennis racket grips.

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Nikon D750 weighs 840 grams compared to your D3 which weighs 1300 grams.

Use a bivvy bag (about 0,400 kg) instead of a tent (about 2,500 kg). If you want excellent quality, I'd save on camping gear weight instead of camera gear weight. Of course, a lot depends on the length (how many days) of the hike, the weather and the possible shelters you might find like old sheds, caves, overhanging rocks, ruins, etc. in case the weather turns bad.

Nothing can beat falling asleep while watching a zillion stars instead of staring at the canvas of your tent  ;)

 

Cheers,

Philippe (of to Scotland in a few days  ^_^ )

 

 

Hikes? Rocks? Caves? What are you, on Mars? I usually ride the No. 6 Train north or south at few stops. Otherwise I make use of my New Balance walkers. North of 49th? Is it nice up there, Stacy? Somebody told me they had a park with grass.  Oh wait -- that's in a different post.   :unsure:

Edited by Ed Rooney

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I don't know, Philippe. I see from your images that there are dangerous hippos out there at every turn. I know they are the most dangerous large animals in Africa. Those in Scotland are probably just as fierce.  :o

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Alex,

 

When I was in my 20's, 30's and through my 40's I carried a 80-200 AF-ED 2.8

and last year I switched to the 70-200 AF ED f4 with VR and I got rid of my 80-200.

the weight saving is a lot and the VR allows me to shoot hand held at 60th and sometimes

a 30th.  The other advantage to the 70-200 f4 is that it is sharper at f16-22 than the 2.8

version, it also focuses closer.

 

I also don't use the "heavy" D3's and 4's, but now only the D800's, which are again lighter.

I've never run the battery in a D800 down all the way in one day. I've been looking at the

750, but I really like the 36MP sensor on the 800.

 

What I'd really like to find is a more compact wide zoom, I've been looking at the 16-35 f4.

I don't like the way the 14-24 f2.8 handles and have been using the TOKINA 16-28 f2.8 which

is optically a great lens at f5.6 to 11, but I just hate carrying it.  I've heard that the old NIKKOR

17-35 f2.8 is a great lens, but have not tested one.

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Carried my Canon 5DII, a 24-105 and a 70-200 up Helvellyn and across Striding Edge a few years ago. Getting long in the tooth, I vowed never to do it again.

 

Have not regretted moving to a lightweight Sony NEX and a few fixed focal length lenses. No problems with QC here (fingers crossed).

 

I have considered a FF mirrorless from Sony, but decent FF lenses are both heavy and very costly, and I'm not sure that my motley collection of old glass would be up to the task, so staying with the smaller sensor. It's fine for my stock shooting, but possibly not appropriate for more general work.

 

I used to be technically fascinated by photo gear, but I now see a new camera as an expensive potential problem!

Edited by Bryan

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I also do the Fuji bit after D800, and am waiting on the X-T2 which has 24mp. The X-T1 has 16mp.

You can't beat the lenses. I don't think I have as much dynamic range with Fuji as I did with Nikon, but still like the output.

 

Full frame DSLRs are going to give you something, but smaller cameras give you something, too, and that's relief for our aging bodies.

I also have the original RX100 and the mk lll.m

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I've encountered the biting midge or sand fly in the Virgin Islands (Saint Thomas). And in truth the mosquito if the most dangerous wild life in Africa.

 

One time I was at a place in Vietnam called the U Minh Forest. "Minh" means light, as in Ho Chi Minh, the Bringer of the Light. When they put a U in front of a word, it changes to the opposite meaning, so I was in The Forest of Darkness. On the first night a cloud of thousands of mosquitoes descended, and I thought that malaria was inevitable, even thought I'd had my shots. Luck was with me; I did not get malaria. 

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Like Bryan, I've been happy with the Sony NEX-6. The replacement a6000 / a6300 look to be fine cameras for stock (and more) as well. However, my equipment needs are super simple at this point. Everyone has different requirements and budgets.

 

I think that if I were looking for a lightweight FF camera, I'd go with the Sony a7ii system. It's way beyond my limited finances, though.

 

Mind you, I have thought about poking around for a beat-up Sony a7 (the original one) to use with my legacy manual focus lenses. That might be fun.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I had experience with the no see 'ems in St. Croix. They bit early am some, but worse in evenings. I rubbed a Bounce dryer sheet on my legs from the knee down and didn't get another bite.

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Interesting to note the numbers possessing an RX100 of different versions. Personally I purchased the RX100 when it came out and switched to M3 last year because I like the 24mm wide lens and the viewfinder. The number of lost pictures because of sun on the rear screen became too many. I am blown away by the quality of the images from this camera and see no reason to invest in an M4 model.

Over the years I have gradually retired Sony DSLRs A700/350/550/580 and sold them all on ebay. Only retain one A58 with a variety of lenses. Rarely used.

To add options to my photography I also own a A6000 with Sony zooms 10-18, 16-50 and 55-210 which give me almost unbroken 35mm coverage from 15 to 315mm reach. The weight of these plus spare batteries is bearable and much lighter than the DSLR stuff and they do well on a 24Mp camera.

So that is the end of renewal unless a total loss occurs.

I joined Alamy at the start and as a hobby has managed to upload in excess of 8000 images with steady sales, but with 50,000 contributors and falling unit sales values it is difficult to make it a business unless you are into tens of thousands. Furthermore almost any camera can now meet QC requirements at the 17Mb file size and entry is now cheap. As stated above, a second hand RX100 can be got for £200 or less. When I started with film we sent in CDs with 48Mb min. in TIFF. Needed investment in expensive camera and lenses as well as a dedicated film scanner. Changed times.

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Unless you're very involved in video, there's no reason to move from the M3 to the M4. I have that great 10-18 too (NEX-6 and 7). The 200 reach on the RX10 is plenty long enough here in the city, and the city is now my only subject. 

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Interesting to note the numbers possessing an RX100 of different versions. Personally I purchased the RX100 when it came out and switched to M3 last year because I like the 24mm wide lens and the viewfinder. The number of lost pictures because of sun on the rear screen became too many. I am blown away by the quality of the images from this camera and see no reason to invest in an M4 model.

Over the years I have gradually retired Sony DSLRs A700/350/550/580 and sold them all on ebay. Only retain one A58 with a variety of lenses. Rarely used.

To add options to my photography I also own a A6000 with Sony zooms 10-18, 16-50 and 55-210 which give me almost unbroken 35mm coverage from 15 to 315mm reach. The weight of these plus spare batteries is bearable and much lighter than the DSLR stuff and they do well on a 24Mp camera.

So that is the end of renewal unless a total loss occurs.

I joined Alamy at the start and as a hobby has managed to upload in excess of 8000 images with steady sales, but with 50,000 contributors and falling unit sales values it is difficult to make it a business unless you are into tens of thousands. Furthermore almost any camera can now meet QC requirements at the 17Mb file size and entry is now cheap. As stated above, a second hand RX100 can be got for £200 or less. When I started with film we sent in CDs with 48Mb min. in TIFF. Needed investment in expensive camera and lenses as well as a dedicated film scanner. Changed times.

 

Interesting comparison here of the a6000 and new a6300.

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Most of the time I am happy with my Fuji X-T1 and a wide-range zoom in a small bag but for some purposes I want a pocketable camera and the RX100 seems ideal. But whenever I try one my spectacles push the viewfinder back in, not good as I use the viewfinder 95+% of the time. How do other people who wear glasses cope with the pop-out (or pop-in in my case :( ) EVF of the RX100?

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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Like many others, I switched to mirrorless (Fuji, in my case). Unlike most others, from what I gather by reading posts, size and weight of the equipment were not my main reasons. It had more to do with focus.

 

Katzeye screens were installed and shimmed and, despite repeated attempts (by my wife, since I don't have the hands for that kind of thing), it never got better than pretty close. Then there's residual spherical aberration to consider; a lens that is correctly focused at f/2.8 might be back focused at f/8.

 

So I gave up, went mirrorless, and now focus judgments are made directly off the sensor with focus peaking and image enlargement as additional aids. If I'd had cameras with more precisely placed screens, lenses with less RSA, or were shooting sports, the decision would very possibly have been different.

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I recently bought a Fuji X100T which is small  light and discreet . Great for street photography etc

 

Might work for me but not my wife. The smaller, lighter, cheaper RX100 or similar with a zoom would suit her better, she would use it much of the time especially when I have my main camera with me.

 

I just need the pop out EVF on the RX100 to have a positive lock.

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I used to shoot mainly sport and the X-T1 (with the right lenses) is good enough for many sports, I am expecting the X-T2 to be good enough for most (but not relying on it) .

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Most of the time I am happy with my Fuji X-T1 and a wide-range zoom in a small bag but for some purposes I want a pocketable camera and the RX100 seems ideal. But whenever I try one my spectacles push the viewfinder back in, not good as I use the viewfinder 95+% of the time. How do other people who wear glasses cope with the pop-out (or pop-in in my case :( ) EVF of the RX100?

With you there. Many times I've thought blindness had set in only to discover the EVF had moved!

Edited by ReeRay

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I had experience with the no see 'ems in St. Croix. They bit early am some, but worse in evenings. I rubbed a Bounce dryer sheet on my legs from the knee down and didn't get another bite.

Smoking big cigars also works.

Cheers,

Philippe

I didn't pack my big cigars well, and they were in pieces when I arrived. Darn those baggage handlers!!
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