Mirrorless for backpacking the PCT? Sony A6000?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Austin Greene, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. Austin Greene

    Austin Greene Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Ok folks. Some of you may know that my 6D just died thanks to a hug from a friendly wave while at the beach. Now I'm getting an insurance payoff for the broken body/lens, and I'm in a bit of a spot.

    You see, in April I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and photographing all 2,665 miles of it as I go. A DSLR is too heavy, so I'm looking to buy a lightweight mirrorless that's rugged enough for the journey with part of my insurance dividend. The key thing is good-to-great low light performance for long exposures, and a decent selection of lenses. Weather sealing would be great, but I won't be on the coast so no waves to be worried about. IQ is critical, as I'll be printing all of the images in a photo-book for my donors (think up to 24x36).

    Up to this point, I've been eyeing the A6000, paired with a portrait lens (50mm?) and a cheap wide-angle option like the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8. I really like the A6000's dynamic range, but I'm not sure about its low-light ability (star trails, milky way, etc). It also isn't weather sealed. Does anyone have prior experience with this body for landscape use?

    Otherwise, any other lightweight mirrorless suggestions? Lets call the budget at $1,000 for camera + 1 lens. The lighter and cheaper, the better.


     
  2. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  3. Austin Greene

    Austin Greene Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hmm, very interesting. I'm reading up on it, but any idea how it performs as far as dynamic range goes? I'm guessing it isn't weather sealed.

    I had also looked at the OMD E5 and OMD E5II, but both have atrocious battery life from what I hear (100 shots).
     
  4. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Nearly all mirrorless have atrocious battery life due to the EFV. Fortunately the batteries are small and shutting the camera down between shots helps. Based upon my personal experience using Panasonic, Olympus (EM5 & EM1) and Fuji (XP1, XE2, X100S and XT1) mirrorless, I suggest the XT1. The XT1 is weather sealed, small, nothing short of exceptional Fuji and Zeiss lenses, very good IQ, an APS-C sized sensor (good high ISO) and this wonderful and huge EVF (much better than the EM1). If you have the time and energy ... come on down and you can play with them. The Oly does have a much wider selection of lenses, many of them top notch and Oly has this wonderful 5 axis IBIS which works incredibly well. But if you have a tripod, that pretty much trumps IBIS. The equal Oly lenses will be significantly smaller than the Fujinon lenses due to sensor size, but the camera are equal in size.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  5. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you're concerned about DR then you can't beat Fuji in the APS class. Fuji uses a non-bayer CFA that has some distinct advantages over the bayer configuration and DR is one of them. Because of the Fuji X-Trans CFA there's no AA filter as well and so the image IQ rivals a 20+mp FF sensor camera. At base ISO (200 for the Fuji) the Fuji X-Trans cameras deliver about 1 stop more DR than the 6D you just lost: link (used the XE-2 since XT-10 isn't listed -- same sensor).

    Caveat: The X-Trans CFA is a unique product that can require extra care in processing. Not all raw converters support it well, and that should be part of the purchase consideration.

    I threw out the XT-10 because of your budget but Gary's point is worth considering given what you're about to do: The XT-1 is weather sealed and rugged.

    Joe
     
  6. Austin Greene

    Austin Greene Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think you mean to say you threw out the XT-1? Not the XT-10?

    Both look like fantastic cameras. I'm intrigued by the XT-10's price point (with lens included, if it's decent). As much as I can drool over the XT-1, it is simply out of budget by too large of a margin :/

    Currently, I'm leaning towards the A6000. The Fuji XT-10 is certainly still in the ball game, I've also eyeballed the X100T. I plan on carrying a single lens most likely, so a fixed option might not be too bad.

    So between the XT-10 (w/18-55) and the X100T, I'm curious which one you guys would side with, especially when considering that I'll be shooting both landscapes, and portraits on the trail.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  7. Austin Greene

    Austin Greene Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For the A6000, I'm considering the following combo:
    A6000 + Sony 50mm f/1.8 = $700
    + Sigma 19mm f/2.8 ($200)

    Puts me at $900 for a portrait lens, and dedicated UWA.
     
  8. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The Fuji X cameras, XP1, XE2, XT1, XT10, X100 series all use the same sensor. Aperture (still) and Lightroom will process XTrans files ... but if I was starting out fresh I'd probably use either Capture 1 or PhotoNinja for my processing. I'm segwaying into reminding you to budget for a good processing program. (When Aperture finally dies I will move to C1 solely be cause PhotoNinja slows way down when it gets loaded up with a ton of images and I tend to shoot a ton of images.
     
  9. Austin Greene

    Austin Greene Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm currently using LR. We have C1 at the work studio, but my god do I hate that program. I'm hoping that I can just continue using LR for the time being. Long-term, I can budget for better software, but my budget for this gear is fixed and will need to be all-in. Everything else is going into the trip itself.
     
  10. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I don't think Fuji and two lenses can fall within budget. I think the Sony will fit your budget and deliver a very good image. The Sony has more MP's, but the Fuji's Xtrans delivers an image, at least to my eye, which is an image that is very close to film with the Sony MFT sensors on the opposite end of this spectrum looking very digital. But I haven't any experience with the A6000, so I can't make a call on that sensor. Additionally, for your skill level, I think the A6000, while a very good camera in its own right, will be a throw away camera for you. I think that after you taste Fuji, you will want to build a system around the purchase.

    For clarity, the differences in IQ between the Xtrans and Bayer sensors is not extreme, it is not night and day, but there is a difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
  11. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I can't comment on LR as I don't have it. But a lot of Xtrans photogs use LR.
     
  12. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The 100T is a niche camera in the same way that a Leica is a niche camera. To a degree all of Fuji's X cameras are niche cameras -- they're made for photographers. Look at the top plate of an XT-1; it has a shutter speed dial, and an ISO dial and an EC dial. The lenses have f/stop rings and many are engraved with DOF scales. The build quality is high.

    The 100T is a street shooter's joy; it refers back to the glory days of Gary Winogrand walking the streets of the Bronx with an M3 and a 35mm Summicron. You can fall in love with the 100T BUT pragmatically you'll be in a situation where a single focal length is going to be hard to justify against a zoom lens.

    The XF 18mm-55mm is no ordinary kit lens. Fuji makes superb lenses. The 18mm-55m zoom is a much better than average zoom lens and a bargain at it's price as sold with the camera.

    I've processed some raw files from the A6000. Great sensor and with decent glass you can make that camera take excellent photos but thumbs up to Gray's comment; it's a throw away camera. Given the price it may be your best option for the trip. It also has size and weight going for it. But you're not going to love that camera. And as soon as Sony goes off their meds you'll be stuck with another Sony dead end and you'll dump it. Arguably a valid strategy for the trip.

    Fuji is a touchy choice because of it's niche status but look at Fuji's X lens line to get a sense of the company's commitment to the system.

    Joe
     

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