Difficult to select a new camera


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Aug 25, 2015
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Hi everyone,

I have difficulties to find a new (digital) camera: I spent about two weeks reading reviews and articles about photo cameras but I'm still not able to select a camera... 99% of the time I take my current Canon s95 camera on bicycle trips and I really like the compactness of this camera together with the solid body and good quality build.

I bought the camera about 5 - 6 years ago but after a friend of me showed some of his Fuji X100S pictures I started thinking about replacing my s95 because of image quality. I was amazed by the dynamic range.

My main difficulty is selecting a camera format: compact camera or mirorless camera. (full frame will be too expensive and / or too big) My budget is about 700 - 800 dollars.

I like the size of the Sony RX100 (ii, iii), but maybe I don't like the ergonomics / few custom controls it has. I really find the Ricoh GR an interesting camera as it seems it combines good ergonomics / custom controls with high image quality and small camera size but I think 28mm might be too restrictive for my type of photography. I always see beauty in cheaper more simple gear.

I'm less interested in the Fuji X100S / X100T as this camera is not much smaller compared to the Fuji X-E2.

I like the Fuji X-E2 because I can change lenses and it has custom controls but it's heavier and bigger than compact camera's, especially when I carry multiple lenses.

These are the three camera's I'm considering at this moment. I do mainly landscape and architecture (mainly historical buildings) photography. Have you any ideas / advice how to select a camera that fits my needs? I added some exif statistics of a recent holiday:

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You really are getting way too deep into this, a fine line between research and obsessing.
Dont take this so serious, its good and wise to research and think what you want to get but dont suck the fun out of it with over analyse it.
All modern cameras are good so you cant really go too wrong with any choice you will take.
Its such a personal decision. I try to rent cameras that I am considering. Ergonomics are important and I want to feel a camera in my hand and give it a test drive. BorrowLenses.com is a great place to rent from. Also, look at the differences in MP and other specs as percentages.... a lot of times, the image quality improvement is minimal...like less than 10%.
FUJI GX680!!!!!

Someday I'll convince someone.


I love my XE-1. If they truly improved the viewfinder, I'm sure you'd be happy with the XE-2. It's not very big at all, and the X-Trans Sensor really does deliver, probably closest to film both in image quality and experience you can get.

That said, I pretty much planted my Hexxar 40 1.8 on it and seldom take it off. If you don't see yourself actually changing lenses, this feature isn't too useful.
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You should try the RX100 cameras before you dismiss them for ergonomics. You can't possibly judge a camera's ergonomics, without actually holding it. If/when you do try it, either at a store or by rental, keep in mind that there are many accessory grips available, that give a little more to hold on to.

If it's really not comfortable, try the Nikon 1 J5.
Looks to me like your ideal camera has a 28mm equivalent lens which is set to f/4 and a shutter that's at 1/1000 second at ISO 80. That's what you need! But seriously...it looks as if you often shoot at the widest and longest zoom settings--very typical for many people who have zooms, shooting at the two extremes most of the time. Since the S95 is a compact camera, its exposure program often selects f/4, due to sensor size being a factor that makes f/4 a good aperture for DOF, lack of diffraction effects, and high shutter speeds combined with minimal need for ISO boost. The graphs and the results are in large part a function of the specific camera that you have been using, and how its programming has been set up, and of course, the actual range of focal lengths and apertures the camera has to offer.

There are many cameras these days, and you've mentioned some good ones. I would pick one of those, buy it, and get to learning how to use it.
You think way too much. I borrowed a Panasonic GM-1 for a vacation and absolutely loved it. The Lumix LX100 might be the way to go. As good a camera as the RX100 is, I'm not crazy about how Sony has FOUR versions running simultaneously.
Get a Cannon or Nikon. Can't go wrong with either.

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I love my Sony RX100iii. It really is a little gem. One of my mates has one he uses for his travels and everyone comments on how amazing his photos are (and they truly are).

I like it as a point n shoot. Mine is in auto 99% of the time. In fact I don't think I could even tell you with confidence at how to run it in manual. It can. I just don't care to. If I want the best photo I can possibly get I'll use my D810.

But there are a few good options around these days. I can't comment on the others though.
I'm sorry, but for your budget and requirements I really only can come up with the Sony RX100, either Mark 2 or 3, depending upon if you prefer the focal range of 28-100mm or 24-70mm. The new RX100 Mark 4 is clearly outside your budget, the Panasonic LX100 is probably already too large for your needs, the RX100 Mark 1 is clearly inferior to the Mark 2.

What I dont get is how the Fuji X100 apparently only gets ruled out only because of its size and price, while you complain about the prime lens of the GR. Both X100 and GR have fixed focal lengths; and the focal lengths are also very close (28mm equiv for the GR, 35mm equiv for the X100). You wont get the image quality of a GR from any RX100, since the sensor is more than four times as large. So if you realy could live with the prime lens of the X100, you should be able to live with the GR as well. The lens of the GR is also simply outstanding - IMHO substantly better than that of the X100, which is soft wide open. Its darker though (f/2.8 vs f/2). Its also a clearly superior to the lens of the RX100, which however isnt shabby at all.

Get a Cannon or Nikon. Can't go wrong with either.
Thats true for DSLRs only.
First af all I want to thank everyone for your insightful replies.

The reason why I initially ruled out the Fuji X100 is because of its higher price compared to most other cameras in my list together with its bigger size. But later I found out that the Fuji X-E2 was more expensive than I actually thought: I compared wrong prices as the shop with lowest prices turned out to be a not so reliable tax free shop. Normal prices of both Fuji X-E2 and X100S are around 800 EURO (1000 USD?). So if both X100S and X-E2 are about the same price what would be the advantage of the X100S over the X-E2? Prime lens results in image better quality and smaller size?

The problem with the Ricoh GR and Fuji X100S is that I'm not sure if 28mm or 35mm fixed focal length would be restrictive for me: some people write that you can re-learn photography and you just use your feet instead of a zoom lens. At the other hand, all my friends tell me fixed lens is too restrictive for landscape and architecture photography because sometimes places are physically unreachable, for instance a river, lake, swamp, or an animal like a cat. That's why I still didn't manage to chose between a fixed lens and interchangeable lens camera.
The X100 (theres currently 3 versions: X100, X100s, X100t) is a compact camera. That means:

- Lens is already included, i.e. in reality the X100 is cheaper than the X-E, since you dont also need to buy a lens as well.

- The lens is fixed and cannot be exchanged.

- Like all compact cameras the X100 uses a central shutter, which has a lot of advantages, described below. This is probably the main reason why photographers will choose the X100 over the X-E.

- Also, the X100 is really not a X-E. Its an X-Pro. That means it does not only have an EVF, but also an OVF. The X100 was substantially less expensive than the X-Pro when it got released; however in the meantime the X-Pro failed to ever get an update so that wouldnt be the case right now.

The central shutter part needs to be explained.

Almost all cameras with exchangeable lenses use a focal plane shutter. That means the shutter is part of the camera, not the lens, and is located behind the lens. It consists of an opening and a closing curtain. The opening shutter lets the light in and the closing shutter cuts it off again.

A central shutter is located inside the lens, at the aperture. This is the closest part of the way of the light to the sensor. More importantly this part gets even smaller if one stops the lens down. Specifically the X100 can archieve shutter speeds of 1/2000 sec when wide open at f/2.0, but up to 1/4000 sec when its at f/5.6 or smaller. This doesnt happen with a focal plane shutter, their archievable shutter speeds are always the same.

A central shutter is also smaller, more lightweight, a LOT more silent, and causes substantially less vibrations than a central shutter. However, since the central shutter is part of the lens, it makes the lens heavier, more complicated, more expensive, and will make the lens useless when the shutter is out of order. Thats why only really expensive interchangeable lens cameras use central shutters, most importantly those with really large sensors, since then central shutters turn impractical. For compact cameras of all sizes however there is no good reason not to use a central shutter, so they all use them (or at least I know of no exception).

Theres also advantages with flash when using a central shutter. Thats kind of hard to explain... basically you can kill ambient light easier with a central shutter because there is ALWAYS a moment when the way of the light is completely free with a central shutter, while for a focal plane shutter quite early the closing curtain has already to close while the opening curtain is not yet wide open. Thats why dedicated flash photographers like Zack Arias or David Hobby love the X100.

The Fuji X100 and Ricoh GR lines are to me mainly specialized spontaneous social photography cameras, such as the so-called street photography; meaning they are relatively inobtrusive, harmless and small looking (the GR because its very small, the X100 because its looking like an old film camera), very silent in their operation (as mentioned - thanks to the central shutter), and have good reserves in low light so they can be used in harsher light conditions without flash. The 28mm and 35mm focal lengths, meaning slightly wide, are also ideal for this kind of photography (there are big battles between the fans of both focal lengths).

Of course both X100 and GR can also be used for anything that demands a 28mm or 35mm focal length.
I decided to rule out all bigger cameras like the fuji x-e2 and x100s. I think small size is reallt important to me because i travel by bicycle most of the time.

Becausr i'm still not sure if a fixed focal length will be restrictive for my kind of photography (landscape and architecture) i think the sony rx100 mark 2 is the most interesting Camera.

My only question is: will give the sony substantially better pictures than my current 6 year old canon s95?
Consider getting the RX100 III, it has a much faster lens
Better picture then the S95 ?
Since its a bigger sensor then it will give you better cleaner image in lower light, in good lighting most important factor is your skills, if they are bad no camera will be helful and if they are good you probably will know in most situation how to get a good shot with either camera.

Good luck
As you like smaller cameras I think it would be worth looking at the m4/3rds system.

They are tidy, have small excellent prime and zoom lenses, can be bought with or without viewfinder and in real terms there image quality is almost as good as the aps-c based cameras you mention.

If this option is not alien to you, chime back in and I'll give few examples, then others can give proper knowledge on the subject :)

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