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    So I’m a total amateur when it comes to cameras, but at last, I need to get a good point and shoot. From what I can tell, a mirrorless (just a buzz word to me?) camera like the Sony NEX-3N is the way to go. I’m looking to pick one up in the next week or two so any input would be awesome. I know some of you out there are really into taking photos and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Here’s what I’m looking for:

    +Easy to use
    +Small and light (pocket size? as I’d like to just stash it away in the jacket when not needed.)
    +Lots of frames per second as the main job will be action shots
    +Shots in RAW. I’m told this is the way to go because you get the most versatility editing the photo later
    +Will work good for product photos. (I need to at least make an attempt to have product photos that don’t look like my 2 year took them)
    +Cost below $700 (if possible)
    +Good battery life

    Missing anything?

    Written out, it looks like Captain Obvious wrote the list, but hey, that’s what I’m looking for.

    I’m trying not to be a total moocher and researching the web for reviews and what not but thanks in advance for any help. :guinness:


    I shoot about 50/50 stills and video, so my point and shoot needs to do both well. I have had excellent results and luck with Panasonic Lumix cameras after having been a Canon guy for many years. Something like the Lumix ZS20 goes from 24-480mm (35mm equivalent) and records lovely stills and handles video (1080p AVCHD) incredibly well. Reasonably robust (I hike, snowboard, and sea kayak with mine), and with good battery life. I personally think raw is overrated unless you plan on going pro soon.

    I have my eye on a new ZS40 when they come out.


    Keffler, you can probably get away with the Point and Shoot for any product shots. Unless you really want to get into photography, mirrorless might be overkill, its basically the same as a DLSR, you can get lost in it. I feel that for action shots, you need a good sensor, and a good lens, and this is where a point and shoot will let you down though.

    I’m pretty stoked on my mirrorless NEX5n. Its pretty sharp, light, and pretty fast FPS (raw shooting probably 5 fps), and excellent iso settings for low light. Lots of lens options too (more each year). Raw is good only if you care to adjust white balance (which I do, I can never figure it out right then). I shoot in raw to allow more flexibility in lightroom too. Although being a relative newcomer to photography (a year with the camera), I learn a bunch each day, and I like it.

    Low light action shots I find difficult with a point and shoot, do well with this sensor. This wasn’t shot in raw, for reference. Shot standard jpg. I’m pretty sure it was even an auto setting, because my camera literally had 1 picture left on it before battery died.

    Captures quick, to give you even the flakes for portraits. this is a completely nuking day, as you can tell. Bumped up to iso 800, and could shoot at 1/1200s frame rate to bring out the flakes. I personally have not done this with a point and shoot, let me know if you can.

    Very low light settings on timer do well for night shots. This was one of the main reasons I got a mirrorless camera, was for shots like this. You got up to 25000 iso settings (which this is around 1600 for probably 15 seconds) to allow you to frame night shots quicker.

    This is just set on the “action” shot setting, with speed priority (allows in jpg 10 fps). Minimal manipulation after. This was before I started playing with manual myself, so I find it easy even if you aren’t trying to do all manual. Still not excellent at adjusting the exposure for snow, but most cameras are tricked by it because ti throws off the meter and makes a bit darker than you want.

    There are other mirrorless options out there, that you should look into. I like the sony, but it seems Olympus is good and at the top of the market, and fujifilm is as well. I don’t know much about em, just trying to figure out mine still 🙂


    I’ve got an Olympus OMD EM-5 that I really like, but its focus tracking isn’t so good for action shots. The new EM-10 and EM-1 do that better, but I think the EM10 might be closer to your price range. The EM-5 and EM-1 are weather sealed, so you can take them out and not worry about snow or rain ruining the camera. Pretty small and light too, my EM5 does 9fps in raw. That NEX5n is supposed to be tits to though.

    Mirror less simply refers to the fact that unlike a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, there is no mirror for the view finder. If you don’t know what I’m talking about don’t worry, its not that important.

    Check out the Canon G-15 or whatever model they are up to these days if you decide not to go with the mirror less camera option. Also take a look at the Olympus PEN series and the Panasonic Lumix bodies, they are really versatile and shoot great video as well as stills.

    For product shots, I’d say you probably need to focus on your lighting more than anything. Find somewhere you have a lot of light that you can direct on to your subject/product and you should be good. I’m sure if you google it you’ll find a lot.


    How about the Nikon 1 AW1?

    Not a expert but it seems pretty sweet.

    Waterproof, shockproof, RAW, 1200fps…


    Thanks for the suggestions and tips. The Nikon looks interested and like they made it for what I want it to do. I’m back to my old problem. Paralysis by analysis 😆

    I have an older Cannon point and shot. It can’t take action shots worth a darn. Can anyone give me a minimum rate so I can use that as one point to sort out the options?

    Also, I would like to be able to take the low light shots like what you showed of the tent and lake SG. What’s the driving specs for that?

    I figured I needed it to shot in raw because of what I’ve seen the flexibility it provides. SG showed me how you can adjust certain aspects of the image that you can’t do with a JPEG. My photos tend to either capture the close up colors and wash out the background or the reverse.

    Overall, I want to capture the time I have in the mountains. Time is becoming more and more valuable and really want to capture it on film. I had an awesome day last year with MountainDog on Silver Coulior and it was really telling to compare my point and shot camera to his DSLR (I know, not even close to fair). His pictures just brought me back to that day and for once, my family got to see it much closer to what I saw. I think they got it a little more why I put in the effort to hike for my turns. I also had a similar experience with SG when you were able to capture some nice shots of Jacob on Bear. You were able to get a really crisp shot and it captured what I saw that day really well. Call me nostalgic, but I tend to look over my pictures later and relive the good times.

    Phil, I read your post about the various GoPro type gadgets and it had me thinking that the GoPro Black takes great stills and video. I’m guessing it’s harder to use than a camera, but what you do is just extract the images from your videos that you want to keep as stills? Seems silly to carry both a camera and a GoPro? I was sold on the GoPro when our buddy Jacob capture the moment as he rode a tight coulior. Again, it really helps to show people what it was like which was pretty cool I thought.

    I need to keep re-reading what you guys suggested and do more research. I think I need to go back to some basics and understand a few of the specs that really matter? So many buzz words to sort out when comparing options, it makes it a little hard to sort out all the marketing crap.


    great shots summersgone!!

    Guess i’ll throw my hat in the ring. Autofocus and low light capabilities really seem to separate the point & shoot from dslr. Lots of point and shoots out there with high frame rates and tons of megapixels. You really need continuous auto-focus (basically the focus is adjusting in-between shots.) Stars/night and low-light is a different story. Maybe you’ve heard the sang “its not the camera it the photographer”…they’re wrong. The better the low light capabilities and the wider/faster the lens is – the better the star photos.

    Be prepared though. you’re heading down a slippery slope. I started out on a search must like yours ten years ago. I have more gear now than I’d like to admit. I spent the majority of my money on snowboarding and camera gear…the rest I just wasted!

    I shoot Nikon. And im in far too deep to turn back. I’m intrigued lately by the D3300. Camera body and a mediocre lens for $650. Specs look good. 24 megapixels, ISO to 12800, 5 frames per second, Continuous autofocus (including 3d tracking…way cool!!), and 1080p video up to 60fps. Problem is you’ll need a good lens, and a fast SD card, and more storage for the 24mp files, and a camera boom, and a dolly, and a aerial drone … it never ends.

    All kidding aside. It’s an awesome hobby. And it goes hand-in-hand with splitboarding and time in the mountains. Carrying a DSLR is a pain in the ass…no way around it. I usually carry both dslr and point-shoot. But the DSLR does the heavy lifting. I only use the point-shoot for quick landscapes and elegant-selfies :D. A good lens for a DSLR can be an investment too. Body’s and sensors come-go and seem to be upgraded every 2-4years. I bought a good piece of glass 10 years ago (nearly couldn’t make my rent payment!!) and it’s till my go-to today…three camera bodies later.

    Not sure this helps…but I could talk camera gear and specs all day. Good luck on your search!


    @keffler wrote:

    Also, I would like to be able to take the low light shots like what you showed of the tent and lake SG. What’s the driving specs for that?

    It’s not too crazy. Basically a tripod, iso up to 3200 at least, and ability to open the shutter to bulb or upwards of 25 seconds. The nex5 has 25K iso, which helps frame night shots much quicker (in a second), but you don’t really want your actual shots for this.

    I found this video extremely helpful.

    I personally have gotten away from the gopro. The first year, I loved, it, now it stays at home. Its sweet, but its just extra weight. Also, video editing sucks. And I know I don’t have time to make a quality video. I’d prefer to take a nice shot now.


    DLN, your shoots are just out of sight and thanks for adding to the discussion. Now you got me really scared. Hope I can stay off the slippery slope, but doubt it. I was staring off into space last night and just couldn’t help wonder what I was doing? I’m always trying to make my life less complicated, but find myself actually doing the opposite. Oh well. There is just so much to cameras these days, not that I even understood what all the terms were before it all went digital and the choices went exponential. It’s a good thing, just makes it tough on someone who wants to understand the details and tends to over analyze things.

    I was starting to think that the Nikon AW1 might be “the” camera for me to get, but it seems like I’d be paying a premium for an underwater camera. It would be really cool and useful if I still lived in Hawaii, but I don’t. I think there is a similar Nikon that is basically the same as the AW1 but not waterproof? Nikon 1 J3? Could be a good option since it’s pretty cheap (~$400).

    The Sony NEX-6 seems like a great camera. It’s pricey, but looks like it will be a good one for years to come. The slightly cheaper NEX-5T looks good too, but for a little more , it seems like the NEX-6 is the way to go between the two since it comes with a flash (worth ~$100 extra to the 5T) and is a little better.

    Doesn’t help that I’m still not sure I want a camera with a removable lens. Knowing how much I like being able to stash stuff in my pockets, a camera like the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II could be really nice as it all collapses down slim, but comes at a big price ($750 Ouch?).

    From what I can tell, the D3300 is a bigger frame than the other models I’m looking at?

    Could I just give some one $700 and they put a camera in my hand? 😆 But where’s the fun in that?


    I think the Fujifilm mirrorless cameras are about the best you can get right now (in mirrorless), nobody really makes sensors like they do. To make it even better, the recently announced X-T1 is weather sealed too, and has some pretty wild AF tracking stuff going on (and really good AF to start). Worth checking out some reviews on the X-T1. I have an X-E2 and have been blown away with it (want to buy my SLR gear?), but I’m wishing i waited for the weather sealed X-T1!

    As per your points:

    – Ease of use: The fuji’s are incredibly easy to use, as they are going heavily back to the old manual controls for everything. No digging around in menus or fumbling with little buttons.
    – Small and light: They are mirrorless, so they are small and light – but they are not the smallest ones out there, sony’s are teeny. I have a Arcyteryx Quintic-28 pack, and the X-E2 fits in the side pouch which I can access without taking the pack off.
    – FPS: I think any decent mirrorless will have a high enough FPS for you – the X-T1 does 8.
    – Raw: They all will do RAW (unless you get a point and shoot)
    – Cost: Woops! The Fuji’s are more than $700, the X-E2 was around $1400 with the lens. The X-E1 w/lens (same sensor) is $800 though.
    – Battery life: I think this is a wash, and they are all relatively similar in the mirrorless market,

    Duno if that helps, but i would give my strong endorsements from the fuji camp! I’ve been blown away by the higher iso handling of the X-E2, I can comfortabley shoot at 1600iso (or more) and get great results:

    Some random photos, all taken with the 18-55 lens that comes with it:

    this first one is 1600 iso, 1/15th sec:


    I’m going to try to explain some of the confusing terminology of photography so you know what the jargon means. I’m hoping this helps you make a choice, if you already are familiar with all of this, sorry.

    To be able to adjust most of this you will need a camera with manual controls available.

    So, if you want to shoot in low light you need to be able to adjust 3 variables, those are ISO- light sensitivity, Aperture- how much light actually passes through the lens to the sensor, and shutter speed- how long light is able to reach the sensor. Sensor = digital film.

    For good low light ability, you are better off with a faster aperture (or f-stop) which means a lower number, with a zoom lens, something like 2.8 is pretty good. It will also cost you ~$1000 depending on what you buy and be heavy. Prime lenses (that do not allow any zooming) are generally less expensive and allow faster apertures (1.8 or lower if you can afford it).

    For action- high fps matters, but not as much as being able to get a fast shutter speed- anywhere from 1/500th of a second to 1/8000s of a second if you want to stop the motion of a drag car at 300 mph. Many reasonably priced cameras go to 1/4000, I’m not sure I’ve ever shot that high of a shutter speed. Having a lens with an aperture at 2.8 or less means you can shoot these faster shutter speeds in worse light.

    ISO- adjusting ISO often adds ‘grain’ to a photo, which if you are blowing a photo up detracts from quality, but it you are only looking at them on your computer, doesn’t matter as much. A high ISO will let you shoot slower apertures (This is confusing, a fast aperture is f/2.8, slow aperture is say f/16) and faster shutter speeds in low light.

    The three together (ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed) are important factors in photography and creativity.

    Most inexpensive zoom lenses will have slower, variable apertures usually starting at f/3.5 and going to f/5.6 or more for the fastest available aperture. What that means is, the more you zoom in, the less light you can let in with the aperture and you are forced to compensate with ISO or Shutter speed. Practically, this means if you are watching your buddy shred a coolie from the bottom in twilight, you aren’t going to be able to zoom in and get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action with out cranking the ISO up to the point where you are likely to get a lot of noise.

    When shooting action, shutter speed is generally the most important because it allows you to “freeze the action”- like the pow spray at the bottom of a turn or a big air. On the other hand, if you want to shoot star trails you need to be able to keep the shutter open for 30 seconds or more (often called bulb mode) as well as a tripod.

    Again, hope this was useful. Good luck, it is a very expensive hobby to get into.

    RE- GoPro stills- it works and gets cool shots, but you can’t zoom at all. I do love mine and I frequently carry both. Although I haven’t been splitboarding in a while, I did carry them a both few times in Crested Butte last winter. The GoPro weighs so little, its not really an issue. Its also so versatile… Anyway, good luck. The Fuji’s look sick. I love my Olympus though.


    Thanks Ed for that terminology break down. I think I’m starting to understand some of this and keep rereading and comparing to what I’m looking at. Also got a chance to ride with MountainDog and Barrows last weekend so we had a good time chatting on the drive about cameras. Thanks guys.

    Thanks too Jarret, the Fuji looks great, but a little more than I can spend as I need to keep some in the bank for photo editing software and a good camera pouch.

    Would you guys ever consider buy a used camera? I found a Sony NEX-6 locally for a fair price ($625 with 16-50mm lens). They claim they bought a 2 year warranty and that it can be transferred to the new owner so maybe that helps to cover any concerns (1 year left)? This could be a good way for me to test the waters without getting in too deep?


    I’ve pretty much only bought used stuff. If you can take a look at it before purchase to make sure the lens is in good shape and the body doesn’t look beat up that is ideal. Some folks like to see how many shutter actuations a camera has had to get an idea of how much use its seen. Not sure how that applies with MLCs. I hear good things about the Sonys too.


    Pulled the trigger and picked up a Sony NEX-6. Thank you guys for all the tips/help and breakdown of terms. All told, I’m in it for $900. I looked at a few different options but I’ll admit, had a bias towards the Sony. I think at this time, it was the best deal. So hard to choose. I think it might be like trying to pick a liter bike, really, they are all awesome and have slightly different pro/cons, but pick the one with the colors you like the most and ride it every chance you get (sorry, I just have a deep love motorcycles and figured a few out there would get it).


    Still learning to use the camera and lightroom, but it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Still just taking pictures in an auto mode, but looking forward to learning to shoot in manual.

    Was really cool to be able to pull the rock color out. Need to work on my blending skills though, but shooting in RAW is amazing for what can be done later.

    Picture of mar123 from last trip to Utah.


    Nice shot John!

    When you are ready to start futzing around in manual mode, check this site out, I found it very helpful when learning my gh3…

    Based on what you stated in your original post regarding your feature criteria, I think you made a great choice with the Sony. Really nice to have a mirrorless option with the smaller form factor. There are definitely better m4/3 cameras from Oly and Panasonic, but you’ll go up in price and size for sure. Very nice to be able to carry the camera in a jacket pocket and just bust it out on the skin track like a point and shoot.

    If I was only shooting stills and not video, I’d have gone with the NEX7.

    Looking foward to seeing some more riding shots from you!


    Sorry, I’m a little late to the party but it looks like you made a great choice! I’ve been a Sony shooter for 6 years now and I’m currently making a go at being a pro active lifestyle photographer.

    I’m really into mirrorless cameras right now and I’m shooting the big brother to your camera, the A7. I’m also into street photography and legecy lenses. That’s the really cool thing about mirrorless lenses, there are a lot of cheap adapters available to mount almost any 35mm lens made in the last 75 years! This goes for Oly and Fuji too! You can pick up some older, fast prime lenses for really cheap and experiment with the different looks of the lenses. I just picked up a Pentax manual lens, 135mm f3.5 for $50! Not really fast but light, compact and sharp!

    If you have any questions about the Sony gear, feel free to ask. Also, I’m very good in Photoshop and Lightroom. 🙂

    My portfolio:

    PS: Jerrett, Sony makes all the sensors for Fuji! ……..also Nikon, Pentax and Oly, to name a few.


    Anyone had an rx100? (m1 specifically) I’ll be coming from a Canon Powershot A720IS from 2008, so almost any current P+S will be an upgrade. Looking for something portable with good battery life. My a720 has been great, time for a new camera this winter though.


    @ringdings_and_pepsi wrote:

    Anyone had an rx100? (m1 specifically) I’ll be coming from a Canon Powershot A720IS from 2008, so almost any current P+S will be an upgrade. Looking for something portable with good battery life. My a720 has been great, time for a new camera this winter though.


    These images, at the top of this page, were shot with RX100:


    I just bought a Sony a6000 mirrorless camera and I’m really stoked to try it out this season.

    The feature that sold me on it is fast tracking continuous autofocus. There are nice demos of it in action on youtube. Basically, you can select a target and the camera will track it even if the target disappears behind a tree or in a group of people.

    Also, the thing shoots 11 frames per second. I think it is a really nice system for shooting action.

    Putting the poo in swimming pool since 1968.

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