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  1. #1
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    Noob camera recommendations

    Iíd like to start getting a little more serious about photography, and progress from iPhone only. Thinking a mirrorless of some sort, but really donít know anything about cameras

    The usually outdoor stuff, ski bike fish. Action and scenery. Whatís everyone using. Anything good in the 500-1k range? Much appreciated

  2. #2
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    Used a6000 series is probs a good place to start (at least thatís what I landed on). Lightweight, plenty of lenses and learning resources available


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  3. #3
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    Yep, $500-1k range I'd say go for a used a6000 and the 18-135mm lens. That lens is IMO the best all-around lens for the a6xxx series cameras and you can pick up both the body and the lens used from a reputable retailer like Adorama, B&H, etc. for about $750. That's the combo I'm using and am happy with it.

  4. #4
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    i'll sell you a canon 7d, 70-200 f2.8, 17-40 f4.0, 50 f1.8 and some filters, remote release and pelican case for $900 + ship

  5. #5
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    GRIIIx. Perfect step up. You're welcome. You will actually bring it and use it and enjoy the experience and the images.
    Is it radix panax notoginseng? - splat

  6. #6
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    OP: Go to Best Buy and play with different cameras. Figure out which brand makes stuff that fits better in your hands and has controls that are intuitive to you.

    After narrowing it down, follow advice posted above.

    Donít go down the rabbit hole of comparison reviews. The best camera is the one you have with you.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvovsky View Post
    The best camera is the one you have with you.
    #inbed
    Is it radix panax notoginseng? - splat

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvovsky View Post
    The best camera is the one you have with you.
    Truth. I have a buddy that is willing to carry a pro-quality DSLR and two very high end lenses on every backcountry ski tour. Carries it in a chest harness. Fucking kit weighs almost 20lbs. The pictures it produces, combined with his skill, are amazing. But if I owned that kit, it would collect dust because fuck snowmobiling, skinning, and skiing with 20lbs of camera gear on my chest.

    A full frame mirrorless is smaller and lighter, a crop sensor mirrorless (like the a6000 18-135mm setup I have) is smaller and lighter yet (but still too big to fit in a pocket, needs a carrying case solution of some sort), and a high end point and shoot is even smaller and lighter. Typically at every step you take a cut in image quality or make some other tradeoff in terms of versatility. For instance, the Ricoh that MTM recommends is an amazing "just walking around" camera with incredible image quality in a very small package - but the tradeoff is the lens is a fixed focal length, so not necessarily ideal for backcountry skiing action shots where you don't always get to choose how close you are to the action and might need the versatility of a zoom. The Sony RX100 is another great option - not quite as high quality images, but has a zoom lens.

    Biggest thing you gain when going to a crop sensor or full frame mirrorless sort of setup is more versatility and ability for future expansion thanks to the interchangeable lenses, at the expense of size and weight. I can use the 18-135mm for most ski days, or a 12mm prime for night photography, or a 35mm prime for mountain biking, or the 55-210mm for spring lines where I'm shooting from a distance, etc. etc. When I decide I want to do more video production I can upgrade the body and use the same lenses. But none of these fit in my pocket the way a GRIIIx or RX100 does and that means there are days when it doesn't come with me.

    I will say this too - phone cameras are pretty fucking good these days and you kinda need to spend a lot of money and spend some time learning to shoot to really produce better results than what most phones can do in the hands of Joe Blow. Especially if your photos are only ever viewed on 6" phone screens - you can hide a lot of errors when the images aren't being blown up on larger screens.

  9. #9
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    Appreciate all the replies guys.

    In my mind, a full frame and lense sounds awesome and will give me the ability grow/learn but I probably will leave it at home a lot. This is exactly what happened with the film slr I had 25 years ago. High end point shoot probably makes most sense.

    Adrenelated, I get what youíre saying about the phone camera. Iíve had really good results with my iPhone 13, and Iím assuming that probably wonít improve all that much with something in the sub 1k price range?Ö..

    I guess part of my thinking is to get some separation from my phone and focus on taking pictures and not all the other shit that comes with having a phone all the time. I have a couple big trips coming up and detaching from phone, work, ect sounds really appealing. Yea I know airplane mode but itís still there.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendigo View Post
    i'll sell you a canon 7d, 70-200 f2.8, 17-40 f4.0, 50 f1.8 and some filters, remote release and pelican case for $900 + ship
    This is a hell of a deal if quality is good on the lenses. The 70-200 2.8 is worth that much alone.

  11. #11
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    Iím kinda interested in the 70-200 if you want to split.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpcm View Post
    Adrenelated, I get what you’re saying about the phone camera. I’ve had really good results with my iPhone 13, and I’m assuming that probably won’t improve all that much with something in the sub 1k price range?…..
    Yes and no... even for $500 you can definitely get a P&S that has a better optical zoom lens and sensor than the phone does.
    What phones do REALLY well now is use software to correct for the limitations of the hardware. The automatic processing that phone camera software can do is honestly kinda mindblowing. You'd notice if you tried to blow up a phone photo to a 24"x36" print that the quality isn't there but at a glance on a phone or tablet? Phone photos look fucking awesome.

    That said, phone cameras can't process out everything that you can get from "real" camera gear. For example the phone can do some amazing things to correct for low light but if you tried to blow the photo up you'd be able to see the quality that's lost. A real lens with a large aperature can do it better. Action shots, a phone just can't do the fast continuous shooting that a high end P&S or a mirrorless can. You just can't fully overcome the physics of better hardware.

    What most higher end cameras won't do for you is the post processing to take a good photo and make it look amazing. Phones do that for you. Real cameras you gotta do it yourself. That means investing in software in addition to the camera. It also means that, IMO, there's no reason to spend money on a camera that doesn't shoot in RAW. Shooting RAW just gives you sooo much more ability to manipulate the image in post.

    So my opinion is that if you're going to spend money on a camera over your phone, at least spend enough to get something that shoots RAW. If you want to shoot action then also make sure it has a fast continuous shooting mode and good/fast autofocus. If you're shooting action from a bit of a distance or wildlife, a good optical zoom is important.

    From there go with the form factor that you'll carry, whether that be high end P&S, crop sensor mirrorless, full frame mirrorless, crop sensor DSLR, or full frame DSLR.

  13. #13
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    So I think the question becomes 1) do you want a camera you can take INSTEAD of your phone and get similar results, 2) do you want to do things with this camera that a phone can't do, or 3) some combination of both.

    One thing camera phones stink at is anything that needs long focal lengths. So if you want to shoot sports and wildlife definitely go with a mirrorless camera with a zoom lens (a crop sensor here does you favors for both price and the added reach of the crop). Nikon sells an 18-200 zoom that is very decent for the price, and most manufacturers have something similar.

    If you just want a replacement for your phone, I've been absolutely in love with my little Fuji X100V lately. It's a rangefinder and shoots all these film simulation modes. I just shoot in jpeg and don't do much if any processing. It's a super fun way to take travel photos. Fixed focal length, manual aperture ring. It's a throwback in a way and right around $1k.

    If you want to learn photography, Lightroom, Photoshop, etc, then really any dSLR or mirrorless is going to let you shoot RAW and dive into that. Worlds of fun, but there's definitely a learning curve, so don't expect quality better than your phone for a little while til you get the hang of it. An iPhone 13 is a really fucking good camera because of the billions of dollars in R&D put into the processing, so it takes time and practice to beat that.

    Buying any of this stuff used is going to make your risk close to zero if you don't like what you got. Just turn around and sell it and get something else.

    Edit: typed this whole thing out then realized I'm basically just agreeing with adrenalated here... lol.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supermoon View Post
    Edit: typed this whole thing out then realized I'm basically just agreeing with adrenalated here... lol.
    Yes but you explained it differently and probably better than I did!

  15. #15
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    What phone cams can achieve a reasonable level of zoom compression? That's something I've definitely missed about having a mirrorless setup the past few seasons. Hard to make big 'ol mountains look as big as they do in real life without being able to use that technique.

  16. #16
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    Optically I think you can only get like 2-3x out of a phone.

  17. #17
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    My micro 4/3 body is due for an update (OM-D E-m10 mk1), but I'm considering just picking up an RX100 instead.

    I've really enjoyed the m4/3 system. Good size/weight/feature trade off. The Olympus pro glass is really nice, and some of the tiny primes allow you to make a real compact package (especially when I had a PEN body). Even with the add-on grip and the bigger Oly 12-40 f2.8 Pro lens, it is real easy to carry when hiking on a peak design capture clip mounted on a backpack strap.

    But the older olympus bodies are terrible at video. Video is not really a priority for me, but the results are always a huge letdown. I'm also never going to carry it while skiing. I could pocket a PEN (or small panasonic) body with a pancake lens, but then I either lose zoom or am stuck with a slow and compromising lens like the olympus 14-42 pancake. At that point I'll just take my phone.

    My iphone 13 mini pictures are just fine in my opinion. Downgrade from my pixel 3 in terms of processing IMHO. Wish it had a longer lens though--perhaps a pro model would be an option as the 3x tele and being able to shoot RAW (and hopefully tone down the overprocessing) could solve my problems.

    But an RX100 might just be the ticket. Can stuff it in a pocket, but still get a pretty capable zoom lens, RAW shooting, and good video. Not sure about which version to go with though. The VI and VII have a super long lens, but they give up a lot of speed compared to the V/VA.

    But they aren't cheap and it just isn't clear that I would really use them more than my phone. I could upgrade my m4/3 body for less than a used RX100...

  18. #18
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    One other thing Iíd add to the already great points/advise given so far is that using a more advanced camera, even something like an RX100 is going to come with a learning curve and require some practice to get the most out of.

    Sure, it fits in your pocket and can be deployed about as fast as a cell phone, but if you donít have your settings right (mode, focus type, etc) you may end up with worse images than what youíd get with a phone. To most folks who have been in the game for awhile this is all second nature. You can shoot in auto but IMO itís totally worth the time investment to learn all of the settings and practice, practice, practice.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by east or bust View Post
    One other thing I’d add to the already great points/advise given so far is that using a more advanced camera, even something like an RX100 is going to come with a learning curve and require some practice to get the most out of.

    Sure, it fits in your pocket and can be deployed about as fast as a cell phone, but if you don’t have your settings right (mode, focus type, etc) you may end up with worse images than what you’d get with a phone. To most folks who have been in the game for awhile this is all second nature. You can shoot in auto but IMO it’s totally worth the time investment to learn all of the settings and practice, practice, practice.
    Reminds me of the climbing trip to Lake Louise where I have a bunch of cool photos of my friends climbing a picturesque route...and then a whole batch of unusable photos of me because they bumped the exposure dial on my camera and didn't realize it.

    Ignore any questions about good framing/vantage point/timing...those photos were all unsalvageably overexposed (and often blurry thanks to the slow shutter)...at least if they had taken them on a phone, they would have turned out OK for web-use/memories.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MakersTeleMark View Post
    GRIIIx. Perfect step up. You're welcome. You will actually bring it and use it and enjoy the experience and the images.
    What advantages does the GRIIIx have over the Sony RX 100 VII?

    Watched some YouTube, but most compare Cannon G5 with RX100 VII. Sony seems to win over Cannon for fast action because of the auto focus.

    Also, anyone know anything about Cannon G1X mk III? Cannon seems to have slightly better image quality than Sony.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by possum View Post
    What advantages does the GRIIIx have over the Sony RX 100 VII?

    Watched some YouTube, but most compare Cannon G5 with RX100 VII. Sony seems to win over Cannon for fast action because of the auto focus.

    Also, anyone know anything about Cannon G1X mk III? Cannon seems to have slightly better image quality than Sony.
    The GR series are geared towards people who style themselves as "street shooters" or want a camera for the aesthetic quality. It's very compact and has a much bigger sensor than the Sony/Canon (APS-C is triple the area vs a 1" sensor). That equates to very good image quality in a tiny package, along with good sensor stabilization, quiet function and it's relatively fast and easy to operate. But it's limited with a fixed lens, no viewfinder and so-so battery life. The Fuji X100 line is a similar concept, but not nearly as compact, though has more features.

    The Canon G5 X MII is most equivalent to the RX100 VII, though the Canon chooses a noticeably faster lens with less reach (120mm vs 200mm telephoto) compared to the latest Sony. The Canon is similar to the earlier RX100 III/IV/V/VA's with the lens choice. The RX 100VII balances a relatively fast lens with the extra reach, along with great autofocus and usability.

    The Panasonic LX100 II is similar to the Canon, with a shorter, faster lens but has a bigger 4/3 sensor that's double the area of a 1". It has more controls, features and holds better in your hand than the Canon, Sony or Ricoh, at the expense of not being as compact/sleek.

    The G1X mk III is a few years older than these two and when it came out Canon made a splash by putting the big APS-C sensor in a compact body with a zoom lens. But the lens is slow and limited in range. The newer Panasonic LUMIX LX100M2 is a much better version of this concept with the APS-C sensor and a fast lens.

  22. #22
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    Sounds like the Sony is the best all around then for taking into backcountry where youíre generally going to be shooting subjects farther away.

    Thank you!

  23. #23
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    I havenít used the Mk VII, but own the Mk V and something to keep in mind is the zoom is pretty slow, even just going from 24-70. Iíd be interested if itís any quicker on the VII.

    Itís not a huge deal, but if youíre shooting a subject (skier) thatís coming straight toward you it can be a bit tricky to maintain focus and snap pics while zooming out. Itís more of a take pics at a given focal length, zoom out a bit more than you need to, take more pics once your framing is right again, etc. That said, having 24-200 reach in such a small package would be awesome.


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  24. #24
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    I've used 3 different versions of the Sony A6000 series and have loved them all. I've also owned a couple versions of the RX100, the Sony A7 series, Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, etc... So pretty familiar with all of the options. Hands down for me if I could only own one camera it would be an A6000 series with the 16-70 f/4. It is small enough that it is easy to carry and good enough to be a lot better than an iPhone. It is also cheap enough that I'm not scared of breaking it, though cameras are a lot harder to break than most people think.

    And for your budget I'd definitely consider buying used. I've bought almost every lens I own used and have been doing so for the last 15 years. A couple good options for buying used are Keh.com and MPB.com

  25. #25
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    Another vote for the A6xxx series. I have the A6300 with the 18-135 lens and itís pretty damn capable for the size.


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