SLR/dSLR + 1 prime lens or a compact?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by RaymondC, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. At times I just go for a casual wander with a 1 prime lens thing. dSLRs and their lenses have gotten larger and larger so with casual outings like after a weekend brunch or sightseeing with the others etc. i don't really want to carry an SLR kit with 3 lenses. If it was just 1 prime lens, how do they compare with some of the premium compacts? Ricoh GR, Fuji X100, X70; and the film versions of Yashica T4, Contax T2, Ricoh GR etc ....

  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Can't speak about the specific cameras, but the same as you, I will use one of my DSLR Nikons with a prime or short zoom. Other times my Ricoh GXR set up the same way. Though not as capable as the Nikons in some respects, much smaller and lighter. Under average light conditions I have gotten equally good pictures from the GXR. When conditions are tricky, or light is poor the larger cameras do better, IMO. Recently climbed some rugged rocks and took the GXR. Wouldn't have wanted to try with a full sized camera -- one of us might have gotten broken!
  3. Theere are highly competent compact cameras, several steps above a cell phone. Some even have interchangeable lenses or a wide-range zoom. If you go canoeing, for example, you might want a waterproof compact camera rather than a DSLR, and waterproof enclosures for a DSLR are neither inexpensive nor compact. That said, for situations like you describe i often take an sir-type camera (in my case, a Sony A7xx). and one lens, usually 25 or 35 mm. The difference is I don't have to take the same lens each time. If I need something small enough to fit in a pocket, why not a cell phone camera?
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I guess, but a bunch of us don't care for them or carry them. If I wanted to do something like that, my Kindle Fire does the job adequately without being connected. One benefit to living where I do is lack of cell phone coverage. Amazing the number of visitors that find that to be a blessing.
  5. The last compact camera I had was a Compact Powershot-for some reason the model number 430 comes to mind, but I may be wrong. It had a full manual mode and at the time I often used it as a light meter with my Rolleiflexes.

    In any case, it served me well but after a fair bit of use the "feeler" that detected the write-protect tab on the SD cards broke and thought every inserted card was locked. By that time, a couple of things had happened-my interest in photography had diminished a bit, I could afford a DSLR(Rebel XS) for when I didn't want to use film, and my iPhone 3Gs had a "good enough" camera for many of the purposes I'd previously used the Powershot.

    Now, I can honestly say that compacts have no place in my life. I'm still at an iPhone 6 but I'm more than happy with it for snapshot purposes. I have small/lightweight DSLRs if I want one, although I'd rather take a compact Nikon film SLR or a Rolleiflex if I want "real" camera flexibility without the bulk of something like my D800.
  6. GX 7 with 20mm 1.7 pancake. And for a bigger thrill throw in a 45mm 1.8 on Sundays. ( Beats me, but that is what I use so I recommend it until something cooler comes my way.) Both bought used from KEH with waranty no less.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  7. Precisely what I purchase the Ricoh GR for (the digital one, I don't do film anymore and haven't for a decade). Sadly though, the GR mostly sits at home forgotten. It's actually the perfect street camera (28mm FX-equivalent lens) and because of it small size doesn't draw attention; it's just that most of the time I am not in the mood for that kind of shooting. APS-C size sensor is doing OK - no worse than any DX DSLR or mirrorless.
  8. Back in film days, I always carried my cigarette pack sized Rollei 35, and used it often. I have now tried twice to get a digital equivalent of the Rollei, but never ended up actually using them much.
    I do carry my iPhone all the time, and it has become my pocket camera. It's not superb, but it is good and I find the movie function much more handy than those on the bigger dSLRs
  9. You named several really nice cameras for what you want. Film or digi? Just look around, most everything does a good job now.
  10. I don't have a premium compact, but I do have a water proof Nikon compact. That's what I take when I want something small but more capable than my phone, the weather is wet, or I'm going to be in or around the water.

    I have a medium format Yashica TLR that I'll use when I want a really nice film picture of something that I may make a large print out of. There's often a tripod and planning involved.

    Then there's the rangefinder and 1/2 dozen Canon SLRs I've picked up in the last 18 months. I'm getting rid of all of them and replacing them with one, maybe two Olympus SLRs because they are relatively small. The Fall colors have been wonderful the last couple of weeks and I've shot more film then I have in the previous 9 months put together. The Olympi aren't big, but I won't walk around with one unless I have picture taking in mind and have the urge to shoot film.

    Finally the DSLR. Best for for low light, moving targets and when I don't want to have to worry about whether I have the right film in the camera or not. Or if I want to be able to see the results right away.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  11. While I have my iphone with me at all times, it generally does not occur to me to use it as a camera.

    I do have several prime lenses for my FX DSLRs (35, 50, 85, 150, 300; a 24 was just recently traded in (for a 24-105) for lack of use). There's also a 28 for my Sony FX mirrorless (manual focus 15, 21, and 40 were recently disposed off (for a 12-24 zoom)). Especially the 35 and 300 (the small and light-weight Nikon 300/4 PF) are often the prime choice for just wandering around; less so the 28 (which I generally carry alongside the 70-200/4).
  12. YOU have to pick your comfort point.
    A P&S is easy to carry, a FX/FF digital more quality but at a bulk and weight penalty, a DX digital in between.

    I have 2 cameras, a P&S and a larger DX (Nikon D7200 + 18-140).
    I found that the P&S many times was not satisfactory, for various reasons.
    The D7200 has better control, but a bit heavy for casual carry around shooting. And this is a larger DX, not the even heavier FX cameras.
    So I am now looking at the D3400 + 18-55, as a smaller/lighter DX dSLR, than my D7200. The short zoom on the D3400 is just a bit bigger than a prime, but more flexible. This gives me the greater control of a dSLR, but in a lighter package.

    My biggest problem with all P&S that I've tried, is the "shutter lag." This drives me nuts when shooting kids at a party, as they never stay still. That 1 to 2 seconds between start of the shutter press and the camera firing is way too long.
  13. Deeply attached to the Fuji X100T I got last fall. Superb image quality. Love my D7200 and 4 primes but the little Fuji with its TCL-X100 covers much of the same territory. Relatively quick AF, quiet, border-line invisible on the street, light. Replaced by the 24mp X100F, the 16mp X100T will likely show up discounted over the next 60 days.
  14. My "premium compact" experience / evaluation isn't necessarily up to date. I dare to say Agfa Super Isolette stands it's ground against Mamiya TLRs. - That little RF was my reason to skip standard lens purchase until one came with my 2nd body.
    In 35mm land I like the Retina II; surely fine for casual shooting with DOF. Do you really want to wager your film behind a wide open lens with that squinty RF? - I'd rather grab a Leica just for shooting convenience. If it adds IQ that 's welcome. Zone focused favorite would have been a Voigtländer Vito II, but not for critical moment nailing.
    I bought compact workhorses. Pentax, Leica M. not F4, R9 or Contax RTS.
    For lazy casual DSLR shooting, I prefer kit zooms. They are light, more versatile than primes and I am too cheap to shop for DSLR premium compact primes, if such stuff exists at all. - There is Canon's pancake, Pentax make a few more for their crop bodies but they come with three price tags: Money IQ and speed?
    I think I pampered my lazy casual side with the digital Ms. The lenses are a bit more pocketable than old film SLR ones and I don't mind carrying my kit all day long. While admittedly struggling with the focusing, I am much happier shooting people with them, than getting vexed by a digital "point & wait".
    I haven't tried the latest and greatest compact cameras for a while. TBH: I have something; it takes pictures and if I had serious money at hand, I'd buy more "serious" gear.
    I have P&Ss on the side. - I didn't move up to smart phones with camera modules worth mentioning. - For me P&Ss don't really work beyond technical memory crutching or photographic dry-swimming, but those things benefit from getting done too!
    Shopping recommendation: Beware! Try to think ahead and at least twice, since you'll be really stuck with what you'll get, if it has a fixed lens. Anything else is the smarter choice in my eyes: Buy an obscure MILC kit, dislike the body, store lenses, scoop up a body they got right a while later used and be happy. You probably can't salvage the most likely decent lens from a Leica Q, when the camera part will feel hopelessly outdated.
    I wouldn't bother about getting deeper into the casual film shooting realm these days. It takes longer to scan a frame than to tweak a RAW. - Clarifying: If you like quaint cameras, fine! - Go ahead! But why not use the somewhat serious classic gear to burn your expensive material? Why should a Zeiss lensed P&S have an advantage over something else offering control too? - Maybe I am once again not up to date, but the compact camera legends prices took off recently?
  15. I use the Canon 5DIV and the 40mm pancake or the 50/1.4. Canon M5/M6 with 22mm/Sony A7 and 50mm/Olympus OMD with 25mm lens/Panasonic etc. are all smaller and very suitable too. I think I would get one of these, or you could try the Fuji X100 series. The only thing about the X100 is that it is fixed lens, but this makes it smaller front to back.
  16. BTW, some "entry-level" dSLRs are quite small and can be used with a compact lens/zoom and will not be much larger than some of the P&S cameras.
  17. Unfortunately most P&S cameras that are the size of a small DSLR are the ones with a really flexible zoom range - but I sympathise. While I normally use an RX100 for portability, I'd been known to use a Panasonic GF2 with a pancake zoom (14-42mm) on it. Nikon's smallest DSLRs do have a collapsible version of the 18-55, but I think there's a market for a DSLR whose mirror stores in the "up" position, allowing more collapsible lenses; most people want a small camera for portability, but size when shooting is arguably a benefit. I have vague thoughts about a collapsible pentamirror and hand grip along these lines, but that may be going too far.

    I do wish Nikon would make a range of pancake lenses, though. I have a 50mm f/1.8 E series because it doesn't add much to the grip thickness when it comes to the portability of the camera, but it's not exactly modern. Pentax can do it, Nikon should.
  18. I use a 50mm equivalent prime lens most of the time. Works fine for me and totally inadequate for others. Just find out what works best for you and go for it. I do not own a compact pocket camera but that job was filled with my cell phone back in the day.
  19. On my full frame Canon, the 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens is very small and very sharp, just all around good lens.That is about as compact as I can get. It works well for landscape and portraits and when I want to travel light, that is what I use. Of course, I know I will see something I wish I had a telephoto for. lol.
  20. I also use a Sony RX100 iii when I want to use a compact camera with really nice image quality (Zeiss lens). As a bonus, it has a flash sync speed of up to 1/2000 sec for daylight fill when doing portraits etc. One downside is having to compose with the rear screen or electronic viewfinder...never the same as an optical viewfinder on a DSLR. The sony sort of reminds me of the Contax T2 I used to use as a walk around.

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