Saturday, December 26, 2015

I'm shopping for a new camera

I've not heard from Transport for London Lost Property Office so I'm assuming that it's unlikely I'm going to see my backpack again - which contained my camera (plus three sketchbooks and two pencil cases!)

So I've decided to make the most of the sales and have started shopping for a new camera

By which I mean I've started interrogating all the review sites about which cameras best meet my requirements - and then the websites of the places where I might buy one.

I was wondering if my readers would like to help with any reviews of recommendations they might have of the cameras they own.

Here's my criteria

I've ruled out Digital SLR cameras simply on the grounds of weight. I can't use them easily due to tenosynovitis (pain!) and grip problems (cramps if grip is not effective) and I need to avoid anything weighty as that tend to cause a problem with falls - and the last thing I was to do is fall while holding very expensive kit!

It must be capable of:
  • being carried and operated by one hand easily - this is absolutely essential. The grip needs to work for my hands - and is the reason most compact cameras get ruled out as they have no grip which makes it easy to hold. I use two hands if possible but sometimes this is not possible if I need to other hand to steady my balance
  • really good low light adjustment - this makes such a HUGE difference to the amount of post-exhibition processing I need to do. I couldn't believe it when I realised that my iPhone 6Plus was better than my Canon camera!
  • excellent image stabilisation - automated stabilisation makes a big difference to how sharp a photo is if you're not using a tripod.
  • taking excellent macro shots at almost zero distance - plus when using moderate zoom - for my plant and flower photographs
  • takes high capacity SD cards
  • not too heavy.... - ideally something similar to or lighter than my last one which weighed approx. 600 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)
It would be nice to have a camera which:

  • produces RAW files
  • works with wifi - with my iMac and/or iPhone
  • transfers images on the move (minus wifi) via bluetooth to my iPhone
  • HD movie recording - but not essential since my iPhone does this very well
  • viewfinder - I use the screen most of the time but sometimes you simply can't tell whether the focus is pin sharp unless you use the viewfinder. Electronic rather than optical would be nice.

My last camera was a Canon Powershot SX40 purchased in 2012 from Jessops.  It was my third Canon Powershot bridge camera.

Canon Powershot SX60 HS Bridge Camera

In the frame at the moment is a Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Bridge Camera, HD 1080p, 16.1MP, 65x Optical Zoom, 3” LCD Screen.

Another possibility is the Canon Powershot G3X

Places to shop

I tend to shop according to the "how easy is it to take it back if something is wrong / it dies?" criteria allied to "what's a good price". Lack of hassle wins out over a few £ different every time.

The John Lewis extended guarantee has a certain drawing power....

The Amazon price is always guaranteed to act as a benchmark - but I'm less clear about they are if you have to send anything back.

Shopping as the sales starts also has some appeal!

Your thoughts

Readers were really helpful when I was thinking about buying my first iMac and I've learned to ask you for your views!

If anybody would like to their add their thoughts to my currently internal debate feel free!  Do please add any "Have you thought of....."


I need orange said...

I have loved my Panasonic point-and-shoots. Like you, I want something light enough (in my case, to take with me everywhere). Like you, I want one-handed operation, good image stabilization, and good macro focus.

I'm not sure what Panasonic is up to in re low-light -- I, too, have found the phone to be a better camera in low light than my cameras. But my cameras are old, so I don't know....

Panasonics have a good amount of optical zoom. I like to carry one (small but not tiny) camera and have it do a lot of different things reasonably well.

I need a new camera. This is one I am looking at.

andi said...

Not sure about what camera to suggest, but I've bought a fair bit from WEX photographic and found them very good

Unknown said...

Have you thought of the Panasonic LF1 which I have found to be an excellent travel truly pocket camera. This is a rebadged Leica camera, so excellent lens and general quality. Good anti shake. F2 lens, large sensor for this size camera, and 12 Mpix sensor to grab maximum light, gives good low light "flash off" photos. 7x zoom is plenty for normal use, about 28 to 200mm in film camera language. I love the control ring set around the lens which can be set to various functions. In full auto it controls Zoom and is much easier and quicker than using the normal modern camera system. Just turn the ring like a DSLR. Video included.
The camera sets up its own Wifi hub, so using the free Panasonic app on Ipad etc, you can upload photos on the move. Also it allows remote control of most camera functions.
Hope this helps. Price is below £200 now so is an excellent buy.
Sorry about the loss of the gear and sketchbooks!
John B

Unknown said...

I am hoping to sell my Nikon D60 and buy a Sony A5100 instead because it does the same job as a SLR according to my photographic friends, it is just lighter and more manageable to travel around with and at the same time takes high quality photos with a great lense like the Nikon does. I am waiting for a good offer/sale though!

EV Wells Art said...

Not camera related but a long shot to find your backpack - 'Lostbox' on Facebook has great success in tracking diwn missing items - worth a try

Anonymous said...

There are so many cameras out there that I can't help in that regard, but I do have severe issues with my hands. I found that a table top tripod is really good at being able to hold the camera with one hand and press the button with the other hand. It also holds the camera steadier. My tripod is only about 8 inches long.
Really sorry about the backpack. A personal violation!

Jon Oldham said...

I have a Canon SX50 which suffers in low light just like the SX40 does. When I was looking to upgrade to the SX60 the reviews stated it still suffers from the same issue. I'm still looking for a good, affordable camera for taking pics of my art as the Canon does a poor job of it even with about 400w of lighting in my studio.

Catherine Ingleby said...

I have just replaced my big SLR with a Sony a5000 and it's incredible. It was the smallest body I could find that still had interchangeable lenses, and having just used it for two weeks photographing animals in Africa I can say it checks all of your wish list and more. Takes great photos even in near darkness. I also bought a manual by David Busch which explains the capacity of the camera so I can use it to its full potential, something I never got to grips with with my old camera. It was great being able to download and edit the photos onto my iPad every evening via wifi.
So big thumbs up for the Sony a5000, amazingly good value for a fantastic camera.

Andy Lee said...

I recently bought a Sony RX100-3, 20+ mega pixels, great low light pics, HD movie (with correct memory card), Zeiss lens, the auto settings take great pics, and there are a huge amount of manual adjustments too, I think it ticks many if not all of your of your requirements, there is a small extra grip that can be added for a more secure one handed grip too. Purchased from J Lewis for the same reasons. There are loads of reviews on the web to read. the only negative might be the price, but having used it I think it's worth it.

Making A Mark said...

Andy - I take a lot of macro shots and I'm afraid the 12" minimum distance for these is too much for me. My old camera had a zero inches approach. Thanks for the suggestion though

Making A Mark said...

Catherine - thanks for your suggestion - I'd not come across the Sony a5000 before and it had me looking up mirrorless cameras! I don't think it's quite right for me but may well help somebody else.

Parka said...

Probably Sony RX100 III. It's cheaper now with the new IV.

Check out the reviews online.

Terry Krysak said...

I have a heavy Nikon DSLR as well, and last year bought another Nikon Coolpix S3500. It takes great macros, however you will see the background in focus which I don't like. It is very light weight, and I bought it on sale for around $99.00 Canadian dollars. 20.1 Megapixels, and 7x wide optical zoom. Have used it with one hand on a couple of occasions to avoid my own shadow in the shot. It is very small, fits in a man's shirt pocket. For me it is a great light weight small second camera that takes better photos than my Samsung cell phone. It also takes great video as well. It has several shooting modes to choose from, easy to use. No wifi capabilities that I am aware of. Comes with great photo editing software.

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