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    Jake the Brit

    I have the Lumix GF1 which is a micro 4/3
    It takes good photo’s. I am beginning to get good action shots. But there’s a lot to learn.
    However, it’s small, and I do always take it, which is the key to getting good photos, doh!
    I haven’t used a viewfinder up til now. I have the EVF(electronic viewfinder) but it didn’t fit in my camera bag, so I haven’t used it so far.

    Must have 1/1000 second exposure or shorter if your target is shifting
    Viewfinder is a plus: unless you’re lucky you won’t get as good results as the guy with the viewfinder.

    I have the small zoom lens. I do consider getting a big camera Cannon 7D but it would probably get left at home too much.


    strain – i agree . . . the olympus OM-D looks SWEET!! Any word on availability? I’ve seen anywhere from 1 to 2 months on the E-M5.


    The Sony NEX-5n is worth a look. It takes great photos—but is a bit bulky when using the 18-55 mm lens.


    Has anyone tried the Nikon AW100 while splitboarding?


    @philip.ak wrote:

    Otherwise my fav is my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3. A small camera with a big zoom, and brilliant quality pics. I’ve abused the crap out of it (tons of days snowboarding, XC skiing, mountain biking, sea kayaking, etc) and it refuses to die. Love that thing.

    I have a Lumix DMC-TZ5 and really like it as well. Small form factor considering the zoom it has, and excellent quality pics for a compact. Lots of people who see my photos are surprised to find out that I’m using a compact. They’re tough buggers, too. It goes everywhere in my back pocket and has no complaints. I had a TZ1 before this one and pretty well beat the tar out of it with no ill effects until I finally killed it in a sand storm.

    On the other hand, nothing beats the versatility and image quality of a DSLR, so my masochistic self is going to haul around my D7000 a good bit of the time.


    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the Sony Cybsershot DSC RX100. Where weight, size and image quality all matter, this camera is in a league of its own. (It crushes the Canon S100.) It’s tiny, extremely well made and sturdy, has excellent Zeiss glass, is loaded with features (including sweep panorama), and, amazingly, has a 1″, 20 MP sensor. For anyone other than pro or very enthusiastic am photographers, its image quality in my opinion moots arguments for lugging heavier and bulkier DSLR or mirror-less systems into the backcountry (my DSLR will be staying home from now on for human-powered ascents). Three downsides are that it does not have a georeferencing ability (which earlier Cybershots did and which is a nice for mapping terrain photos), it is not waterproof and it is not cheap ($650). That said, I recently got one and I am so impressed with it, and I feel that it is so perfectly suited to backcountry photography (splitboarding, bike touring, backpacking, etc), that I think it was still, at that price, an excellent value.

    Check it:


    Taylor: thanks for mentioning this camera. I find it very interesting with its 1″ image sensor. I am skeptical about being able to see the screen in bright conditions in snow though… I am quite frustrated with my present Leica for this reason, and miss having a viewfinder for snowboard shots. I was considering the Nikon P7100 for this reason, but now it is replaced with the P7700, which is a better camera, but the viewfinder is gone, sad…
    That said, I understand Sony has special tech on their screens which allow them to be brighter, sure would be nice to carry such a compact camera, and be able to have higher quality images from the bigger sensor… I can live with the (vs P7700 at 200 mm 35mm equivalent) shorter lens, just limits certain compositional styles a little, if the screen is actually visible in full sun on snow.
    Can you confirm that the screen is really going to be visible in bright conditions on snow, at altitude?

    I miss film in some ways…being able to have top image quality in a compact camera like a Nikon 28ti is nice… but a 1″ sensor should go a ways to combat that compromise.
    Sure do not miss the expense of film! But, what to do with my Nikon F100 SLR?????


    Barrows – Yes, the camera uses Sony’s “WhiteMagic” RGBW technology which as I understand it adds a white dot to each pixel in the algorithm upstream of the LCD display; this allows for a ~200% brighter display image in “outdoor” viewing mode using the same power as a conventional display.


    I’ve used it directly lit under the bright mid-day Arizona sun (worked fine), but have yet to use it in snow-reflected sun at elevation. I’ll report back when I do. I can say with certainty that it is far brighter and clearer than any other LCD display I’ve used in the direct sun. I can also say with certainty as any photographer knows that it simply won’t replace the functionality of a viewfinder (no LCD ever will). But over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at composing in snow without a viewfinder and only a LCD (rough views, hand shading, jacket-shade chimping and correction), so for me this only improves matters.

    I miss film too, especially taking it all the way through dark room sessions… But that nostalgia still doesn’t reach my appreciation for bottomless memory cards and image processing programs.


    Yes, I second the :thumbsup: for the Sony, it’s brilliant. The larger sensor makes cropping and still retaining good image quality possible. Also I like the Fact that you can shoot in manual modes e.g. Aperture priority, exposure compensation etc, like a DSLR.

    Here’s a sample photo

    :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    Haven’t tried the video yet.


    Method – sweet shot! Being in the southern hemisphere’s snow, can you tell us whether the display is bright enough for snow-reflected sun?


    @Method wrote:

    Here’s a sample photo

    Is this straight off the camera? I have no sense of scale but I have a hard time believing that DoF with the foreground ridgeline OOF was straight off the camera, unless it has built-in blur processing like Instagram.



    Is this straight off the camera?

    Sorry, I should have made it clear that the tilt/shift effect was added in photoshop, the original image is below. The camera does have some good “creative” modes such as a “faux” tilt-shift effect, but in this case the in-camera version would have put the blur where I didn’t want it, so I added it in post-processing. Some of this in camera effects are quite cool, although possibly more relevant to general photography than stuff you are likely to snap splitting. It’s got an HDR mode with quite a bit of control possible.

    I wont try and do a full review (check out dpreview or other sites for this) but I can give some information that is of relevance specifically for us snow action junkies!

    Firstly, As Taylor asked:

    can you tell us whether the display is bright enough for snow-reflected sun?

    Yes, the display is much brighter than any other compact camera I’ve used, that whole “extra white pixel” stuff seems to be true. Initially, I was concerned that I might’ve bought the wrong camera, as I’m sure anyone who’s looked at it is aware, it doesn’t have a viewfinder. From that perspective I’m very happy with it.

    The f-stop range at 1x zoom is f/1.8- f/11. At 3.6x zoom its f4.9-f/11. You can get some quite nice background bokeh/blur at longer zooms, although nothing approaching dslr levels. Here’s an example (sorry about my ugly noggin!!!)

    It’s best not to compare f-stops with those on your dslr as I don’t find them comparable.

    It’s got a pseudo action autofocus setting where you can pick a point in the view finder, then say “focus on that point” then recompose and it will keep the focussing there while you recompose. I’ve only tried that in a static situation I.e. portrait. Not sure how it would go in a dynamic situation E.g. Moving splitboarder. In that situation I would be more inclined to choose a “middle of the road” aperture setting that still gives me a fast shutter speed, reasonable DOF and Sharpness.

    It’s got 2 high frame rate drive modes. The fastest Mode is super fast (for a compact!) but it focus and exposes only the first frame and then uses that exposure and focus setting for every frame you take in that “push”. Suitable for a side on shot where theres not much change in exposure or distance to the subject. The other mode resets focus and exposure for every frame, and consequently is slower.

    If you use the flash you’ll have to get used to shooting one handed as it pops up right where you put your left finger.

    I like the fact I can shoot it like a dslr, aperture priority, exposure compensation etc and it’s got some cool filters (nothing you couldn’t do in photoshop though). Overall, it’s not a dslr replacement, but on longer trips (e.g. Hut overnighters or camping) where weights a factor, it’s a good substitute and of course I still take it when I lug my dslr for those “unplanned” shots where you don’t have time to get your dslr out.

    Happy to answer any other questions.


    I just got a Sony Nex 5N and so far I’m stoked. Still a lot to learn with it, but I’m excited to see what it does this winter. Total weight is 16.4 ounces, and while a little larger with the lens, it is still a small camera.


    Method: Wow, if I am actually going to be able to see the screen in full sun in snow, I am close to sold on the RX100. With a 1″ sensor/20 MP and an 100mm equivalent zoom, there is plenty of reach for action shots, considering all the resolution, a little cropping to get a closer perspective will be fine for everything but large display prints.
    One question: I do not have a problem with the continuous mode having fixed focus and exposure, as I tend to take three to four frame bursts when shooting riding shots using AP and manual focus, I am assuming that it will do this at full resolution settings and capturing RAW and JPEGs. What FPS is the continuous mode, and does it slow down when capturing RAW? And, say I shoot a four frame burst, and then want to shoot another burst, with a good SDHC card, approximately how fast is it ready to shoot another burst?
    As long as I can see the screen, I can compose fine without a viewfinder… kinda like a miniature view camera… Too bad they do not make a snap on screen shade for these cameras though… it would not take much to make the screens way more visible in bright conditions.


    What FPS is the continuous mode, and does it slow down when capturing RAW? And, say I shoot a four frame burst, and then want to shoot another burst, with a good SDHC card, approximately how fast is it ready to shoot another burst?

    I havent tried anything with RAW yet, I ‘ll give it a go over the next few days and a couple of tests with the frame rates etc and get back to you.


    What FPS is the continuous mode, etc etc

    Just tried out the various continuous shooting modes with the following results:


    The frame rate (fps) seemed to be pretty much consistent, regardless of the quality selected (There’s a a few settings for JPEG, one is for FINE or STD, the other is for 20, 10 or 5 megapixels), this would suggest, initially anyway, that the memory card and buffer are NOT the limiting factors when it comes to how many frames/sec it can capture.

    Over a 5 second period using continuous shooting (i.e. refocuses and re-exposes each frame, I was using aperture priority), I generally got between 11-13 shots i.e. a little over 2 fps.

    I was able to reel off 36 frames in one go (only stopped cuz it was taking ages to go thru and delete them!) with no noticeable slowdown in the frame rate.

    Changing to “speed priority” i.e. focus and expose on 1st frame only, I generally got around 20-22 frames in the 5 sec period (4 fps) with the majority of the 20 in the first 2 secs, then the frame rate slowed down.


    I haven’t really shot RAW with this camera. With my DSLR, depending on the situation, I use RAW quite a bit. First thing I notice is that adobe camera raw didn’t play ball with these files, although I have an older version (4.7), maybe they work with a newer version. Sony seemed to have a RAW converter on their website, which I haven’t downloaded yet.

    Anyway, over 5 secs with RAW I was able to get, on average, 9 frames over 5 seconds (only slightly slower than JPEG), using continuous shooting. In one burst, after about 8 secs the frame rate dropped to about 1 fps (buffer full most likely).

    The RAW files are DSLR big, 20MB on average.

    It’s also got a RAW+JPEG mode.

    I used a pretty high spec SD card (sandisk extreme pro), class 10, 95MB/s transfer rate.

    I tend to take three to four frame bursts when shooting riding shots using AP and manual focus

    Seems like it will fit your needs pretty well. I haven’t played ’round with manual focus though.

    In terms of how quickly the camera “recovers” after a continuous burst, it’s virtually instantaneous. Release the shutter, half press again and she’s ready to go.


    Thanks for the detailed feedback. It sounds like this thing will suit my needs perfectly, and is small and light enough to take on the long MTB rides as well. Now I just have to secure the funds…

    RAW: my understanding is that only the Sony software is compatible with this camera’s RAW images at this point, so it will be a little while probably before Photoshop and Aperture catch up. I have never quite understood why there seem to be so many proprietary RAW formats? Makes it a little frustrating for those with decent software when one cannot use it with their new camera. I have not been using RAW much these days, but I was thinking which such a good sensor, it might be worth using RAW to get the best image quality possible.


    I have an Olympus Stylus Tough and it’s pretty good. It’s waterproof and shockproof as well as filled with many features. It’s small and light, almost unnoticeable on tours and has a hd video feature. I’ve taken a 15′ lead fall on it while climbing and it still is flawless, so yeah, it seems TOUGH!


    @barrows wrote:

    I have never quite understood why there seem to be so many proprietary RAW formats? Makes it a little frustrating for those with decent software when one cannot use it with their new camera. I have not been using RAW much these days, but I was thinking which such a good sensor, it might be worth using RAW to get the best image quality possible.

    Probably because each generation of sensor and corresponding camera CPU use different architecture and firmware. The point of the RAW format is to record the data as it is pulled off of the sensor and to do translation and processing off-chip. Adobe DNG is a universal format, and usually you can convert from the native camera RAW to DNG without loss of quality using your manufacturer’s DNG converter.

    Is it worth it? It depends how much you like your images and how much time you have. Probably not worth it if:
    a) the glass isn’t that great to begin with
    b) you will never print your images bigger than 8×12
    c) you don’t associate image quality with your personal reputation

    Worth it if:
    a) you have a reasonable amount of time to spare
    b) white balance is really important to you (and you aren’t carrying gray cards in the field)
    c) you can see the difference of recovering an additional half-stop of dynamic range, or manually performing noise reduction via software rather than on-camera processing
    d) you care what you and/or other people think of your images

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