Compact backup cam recommendations

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  • Deleted user 18 December 2010 11:21:34
    Right, planning ahead to buy a compact for those situations when I don't have the DSLR at hand. The most important features are compactness and image quality - it really needs to be small and I don't want to compare its shots with the DSLR and start crying (too much). Oh, and price should be sub 400.

    So the candidates right now are the Panasonic Lumix LX-5 and the Sony NEX-5.

    The Panasonic has a very bright (well, f/2 at its wide end) LEICA lens while the Sony has a much bigger sensor. I'm not interested in Sony's interchangeable lenses as the wide pancake is what I want - although I may miss out on not having a zoom at all.

    I looked a bit at the Micro Four Thirds offerings but they are bulkier than I expected. Other panned candidates:
    Nikon P7000 - lots of DSLR like buttons and dials but slightly too big, sloooow menus
    Samsung NX100 - ace build quality and nice fixed focus 28mm lens but too big and small sensor
    Olympus PEN - too expensive

    Been digging info at dpreview and can't make my mind, any additional info from folks here? Is it worth waiting for a few months for something nicer down the road? The retro Fujifilm X100 is out because it'll most likely cost a fortune.
  • Articulate-Troll 18 Dec 2010 14:03:19 3,104 posts
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    Canon Powershot S95? I have an S80, and the S95 would easily be my first choice if I decide to get another compact. Only heard good things about it.
  • mal 18 Dec 2010 14:15:33 22,332 posts
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    Yeah, if you're looking at the LX5 then you should look at the S95 as well, since they're pretty evenly matched, specs-wise.

    I'm surprised you consider the NX100 has too small a sensor when you're looking at true compacts as well.

    What are your main criteria for good quality shots? Sharpness? Colour? Depth of field?

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • FutureDave 18 Dec 2010 15:10:55 535 posts
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    The S95 is also more compact than the LX5. You can easily slip it in a small pocket, whereas the LX5 has more sticky out bits and that annoying lens cap.
  • Deleted user 18 December 2010 16:33:19
    You're right mal, NX100 is between APS-C and "normal" compacts sensor size wise right?

    Sharpness is definitely what I'm looking for and the ability to switch to RAW - which all have. Will definitely check the S95. I'm looking at RAW shots taken with the Sony NEX-5 and they are simply amazing, easily compared with Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-5 (which have arguably the best sensors today).
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/SonyNex5Nex3/page15.asp

    FutureDave, you are right about that cap. I suppose that stupid strap is the first thing that I cut so I can use the cap whenever I feel like. Hold on, the review says the camera is "intelligent" and won't let me turn it on with the cap on the lens. WTF is that all about!
  • Deleted user 18 December 2010 16:37:30
    Oh, forgot to mention "good performance at high ISO" in my definition of image quality... :)

    Also, the sensor in the Pentax and D7000 is developed by Sony, am I right? Any chances for it to be related to the NEX-5 sensor??
  • Nth 19 Dec 2010 13:24:45 3,118 posts
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    S95! It's seriously (Ixus-sized) small and image quality is stunning, my S90 is the best thing I've bought this year.

    Well, apart from my 5D :)
  • Nth 19 Dec 2010 13:26:49 3,118 posts
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    valli, just DM'd you a useful link.
  • IMO 19 Dec 2010 13:33:45 5,578 posts
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    Nth wrote:
    S95! It's seriously (Ixus-sized) small and image quality is stunning, my S90 is the best thing I've bought this year.

    Well, apart from my 5D :)

    This. I was reluctant to pay so much for it even after Nth's recommendation a couple of months ago, but it's an absolutely awesome little camera, worth every penny.
  • Nth 19 Dec 2010 14:01:03 3,118 posts
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    I think Canon owe me commission for about 8 sales now!
  • Deleted user 19 December 2010 14:11:04
    Cheers Nth, did a quick compare at that link I mentioned above and unfortunately the S95 performs nowhere near what I'm looking for. It's marginally better than the Panasonic at low ISO but that's about it.

    I can't believe how sharp the Sony is, it's almost as they've swapped the images with one of the big DSLRs... O_O
  • Nth 19 Dec 2010 15:48:12 3,118 posts
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    I think your only option then is Sony or M4/3 - the sensors are massive compared to LX5/S95 sized cameras. Not sure why you were comparing Nex to LX5 if I'm honest, they're in different categories.
  • mal 19 Dec 2010 16:58:41 22,332 posts
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    dpreview aren't claiming they know who made the D7000 sensor, but Nikon have been using Sony sensors for ages, so odds are the sensors in that and the NEX-5 are closely related. The NEX-5 has a different resolution though, so it's unlikely to be identical. The NEX sensor is also one of these backlit exmor sensors - I've not seen anything suggesting these are being used in Nikon's cameras, but who knows - they rarely talk about their sensors, seeing as they just ship them in from Sony.

    I agree with Nth, you need to look at small cameras with large sensors - and M4/3 ought to be big enough to distance itself from compact sensors easily. The only compact cameras I'm aware of that fit that bill are the Pen cameras, Panasonic DF cameras, the Sony and Samsung cameras you've already mentioned, the Sigma DP cameras (and, going up in price the Leica and Fuji X100). All of those have some interface and lens constraints compared to SLRs (and as I understand it, pro compacts like the LX5/S95).

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Deleted user 19 December 2010 18:44:24
    Cheers guys, I really didn't know the impact of sensor size on these things when I started this thread.

    May as well wait until something nicer comes along, hopefully the other companies will look at what Sony did (APS-C in very tiny body) and come up with their own variants.

    Either that or Sony coming up with a "pro" version of the NEX-5 which doesn't have those noob controls and touch screen functions. I want dual dials a la Canon's old G11 or Nikons's clunky P7000.
  • Nth 19 Dec 2010 19:11:20 3,118 posts
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    It's all about the sensor, and tbh I'm amazed at what they're getting from the tiny sensors in kit like the S90/95 etc. However they're still a long way off what any SLR can do. When I first looked inside my 5D I just laughed at the sheer size of the sensor!
  • Deleted user 19 December 2010 19:22:36
    I used to borrow a mate's Pentax 67 and laugh at the sheer size of 6x7cm slides. :)

    The resolution of say Fuji Velvia 50 ISO is simply unbelievable even today, examining details with a loupe was like looking into another world!

    Maybe the new discovery of graphene can do something about the sizes of these sensors, I want BIG sensors not only because of the resolution but also of the different lovely depth of field effect that comes along.

    I have a Zeiss Ikonta A from 1937 that shoots lovely images on 6x4,5 film. Maybe 20 years from now (on its 100th birthday) I'll be able to buy a 645 "graphene back plate" for it that can transmit RAW images using WiFi to my iPhone9. :)
  • Deleted user 22 December 2010 13:26:44
    FWIW my wife just got a LX5 as an insurance replacement for an old Casio Exilim and it takes some really nice shots and handles very well too.
  • kalel 22 Dec 2010 13:29:16 86,261 posts
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    In terms of controls, the S95 is the best I've used compact wise. That little clickwheel on the lens is genius.
  • Nth 22 Dec 2010 13:30:30 3,118 posts
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    It's handy for preset zoom distances.
  • Deleted user 22 December 2010 14:03:00
    kalel wrote:
    In terms of controls, the S95 is the best I've used compact wise. That little clickwheel on the lens is genius.

    Really weird bugbear but I didn't like the location of the shutter button on the S95
  • Deleted user 22 December 2010 14:04:51
    Nth wrote:
    It's handy for preset zoom distances.

    I really like the step zoom on the LX5, much more so than I'd thought I would. Works really well in conjunction withe the crop adjustment
  • Deleted user 12 January 2011 07:07:58
    About a NEX-5 successor, Sony seems to be reading my mind! \o/

    [code]But also there are customers using NEX in addition to their DSLR, so we're planning to expand NEX in a more easy way, a lighter way, but we'll also expand to make models that have more manual control and more DSLR-like capability.[/code]

    [code]the successors to the NEX-3 and NEX-5 are on the horizon.[/code]

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/1101/11011110sonyinterview.asp
  • Deleted user 23 January 2011 00:08:37
    More reasons to wait, Nikon could announce soon a mirrorless cam (with a new mount?)

    http://nikonrumors.com/2011/01/21/flashback-nikon-mirrorless-camera-will-be-something-that-nobody-is-currently-making.aspx
  • mal 23 Jan 2011 01:31:50 22,332 posts
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    Makes sense. You can't use f-mount on mirrorless unless you want a mirrorless camera as thick as an SLR. You could use something mechanically (and electrically) identical to f-mount, but it wouldn't be able to take f-mount lenses, so I don't see the point. If Nikon's engineers have had any bright ideas in the last 50 years regarding lens mounts, now's the time to make use of them. You can still fit f-mount lenses via an extension tube, just one that's got f-mount on one end and this new mount on the other.

    I haven't looked at the other mirrorless mounts to see how they resemble their parent SLR's mount. To be honest, all the big SLR makers mounts look the same these days pretty much anyway.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Deleted user 23 January 2011 07:21:24
    True all that. Hopefully they've been eyeing the m4/3 mount to get ideas from there. There's quite a few JP patent drawings showing a mount and as you say, it looks identical to the current ones - only smaller.

    I'm glad they understand the most important aspect of these cameras, their size. I find it ridiculous looking at say the dpreview forums and seeing people mount 2kg Canon/Nikon lenses on tiny bodies and showing what fantastic pictures they can take with that setup. Guess what, use a proper DSLR body and you can make an even better shot.

    Also, rumours are Pentax is looking at a compact "EVIL" camera as well (electronic viewer interchangbl. lens). Exciting times indeed!
  • Nth 23 Jan 2011 08:05:10 3,118 posts
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    On that basis do you not think the NEX-5 looks ridiculous too?
  • Fake_Blood 23 Jan 2011 09:50:27 4,059 posts
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    I guess cameras are like any hardware, there's always something more amazing around the corner, and you could wait forever.
  • HoraceGoesSquiffy 23 Jan 2011 10:22:22 1,566 posts
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    I've been looking at exactly this kind of thing for a while, and came to the conclusion that for me it would be between the LX5 and the Canon G12. The G12 has better low light performance and a better zoom, but is quite a lot bigger than the LX5, and pretty heavy too - which starts to negate the reason for getting a DLSR compact backup.

    I'm probably going to get an LX5, mainly because it puts out decent images, is pretty flexible, isn't too expensive and is just about pocketable.

    Also - What Fake_Blood said.
  • Nth 23 Jan 2011 15:07:40 3,118 posts
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    HoraceGoesSquiffy wrote:
    I've been looking at exactly this kind of thing for a while, and came to the conclusion that for me it would be between the LX5 and the Canon G12. The G12 has better low light performance and a better zoom, but is quite a lot bigger than the LX5, and pretty heavy too - which starts to negate the reason for getting a DLSR compact backup.

    I'm probably going to get an LX5, mainly because it puts out decent images, is pretty flexible, isn't too expensive and is just about pocketable.

    Also - What Fake_Blood said.
    If size is the issue why not the S95? It's basically a smaller G12 with a faster lens.
  • mal 23 Jan 2011 15:59:40 22,332 posts
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    The lens on the G12 also goes out longer, if that's important to you. It's also more conventionaly controlled (from an SLR) point of view, if that's important to you.

    That said, if lenses were your main criteria, I'd go for the LX5 - it goes out wider than either the S95 or the G12.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

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