Advice needed on buying a compact camera for a Canon EOS 5D owner

Discussion in 'Canon' started by Nige, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. Nige

    Nige Guest

    Last year, I 'bit the bullet' and splashed out on a Canon EOS 5D
    semi-pro model - on the basis that I didn't want to spend the next five
    or ten years looking to upgrade cheaper DSLRs and losing money as I
    went. A camera for life, you might say. And in most respects, the 5D is
    exactly that. With its 24/105 lens it takes truly excellent photos that
    can be printed up to A2 (or even bigger) at superb quality.

    What I hadn't reckoned on was the time it takes to get the camera into
    a shoot-ready state in anything other than full auto mode. Really, this
    isn't camera that likes to be rushed and it can be rather unforgiving
    if things aren't set up absolutely right. (Maybe all cameras of this
    quality are similar in this regard - this is the first time I've used
    one regularly).

    The other main problem with the camera is its size and weight (- the
    latter not being something I remember being mentioned in any of the
    reviews I read). Really, a couple of hours with the EOS 5D round your
    neck and you need to think about booking an appointment booked with a
    chiropractor. On a recent holiday to the US, I actually left the camera
    behind on several days because I couldn't face lugging it around - not
    something I'd ever normally do.

    In fact, I've had to face facts and acknowledge that since I bought the
    camera, I'm actually missing a good percentage of the shots I'd have
    normally taken, simply because I can't get into a shoot-ready state
    quickly enough - or worse (I'm ashamed to say) because I convince
    myself that a particular shot probably won't be worth the effort.
    Needless to say, this is very antithesis of what digital cameras are
    all about.

    All of which brings me to the point of this post... I'm looking to buy
    a second camera, preferably a compact model of around 8 megapixels or
    more. What I really need is arguably the very opposite of the EOS 5D -
    a small, light model that is super-intelligent, ready to use in a
    couple of seconds and can be relied upon to produce decent results
    under most conditions. OK, it may not produce anything like the same
    quality as the EOS 5D, but I figure that if it allows me to nail the
    more 'opportunistic' shots that occasionally come along, that's better
    than not getting the picture at all.

    Does anybody have any advice on a suitable model to buy? I've looked
    through all the camera mags, but the sheer breadth of choice gets
    bewidering in this area of the market. I particularly like taking night
    and low-light shots and would ideally like a model that would be able
    to deal with this and not try to 'correct' the exposure or fail to auto
    focus. As I say, the smarter the better...

    Having spent so much on the 5D, I can't really justify spending a huge
    amount, but I do want a camera that I can keep with at all times and
    will produce decent results in most situations without me doing all the
    thinking for it.

    Any advice would be gratefully received...

    Nige
     
    Nige, Jan 28, 2008
    #1
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  2. Nige

    Woody Guest


    If you like Canon then an Ixus 60, Ixus 65, or Ixus 70. I have a 60
    (against my Nikon D70s) and it is often very difficult to decide which
    camera has taken which picture.

    Beware of the pixel race. Your 5D has a full frame cell, whereas the
    compact (almost any make) will have a much smaller cell. On a compact
    6Mp is plenty good enough to print at A3 from full frame - indeed any
    half decent 3Mp will do A4 from the full frame. If you go much above 6Mp
    you will start to get noise in saturated colours - mainly thermal noise.
    You will also find that the more pixels the 'higher' the ASA will go
    usually at the expense of the slow end - many have 200ASA as the
    slowest!

    You also need a camera that has a good optical lens - it's no good
    having bucket loads of pixels if the lens does not have the resolution
    to go with it. Makes such as Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic/Leica are
    up to it but others not from the 'traditional' camera manufacturers are
    not.

    The main problem with compacts is shutter lag - which you are not used
    to on the 5D. Canon, Ricoh, Casio and Fuji tend to be some of the
    quickest, Nikon and Olympus traditionally the slowest.

    At the end of the day go to a good shop on a quiet day and play with
    them. Like as not one of them will feel right - if you are unlucky more
    than one will feel right, then it comes down to bells and whistles and
    price. Jessops and Jacobs are two of the better places to go. Currys
    seem (to me) to have a limited range and all too often have neither a
    memory card to hand or (more usually) a charged battery.
     
    Woody, Jan 28, 2008
    #2
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  3. Nige

    M.John Guest

    Hi,

    I also have a 5D and a compact for convenience.

    Some things to watch out for, make sure (if possible) your compact takes
    same memory card and same battery. I went with a Canon G5 which I find
    excellent and easy to use, has a familliar feel to it after the 5D. That way
    you can double up on memory and spare batteries for the 5D.

    Not sure what the equivalent to the G5 is but could be G9, I dont know
    whether the G9 takes the same memory or Battery.

    Mark
     
    M.John, Jan 28, 2008
    #3
  4. Nige

    newshound Guest

    Agree with all that, but don't forget image stabilisation if you like to
    hand-hold in low light. I have an S2 IS and an Ixus 850 IS. I reckon IS is
    reliably worth two stops. Also sounds like you could use, if not full
    manual, then a reasonable amout of manual over-ride. And perhaps RAW. After
    the EOS you will be fighting noise with the small sensor though.
     
    newshound, Jan 28, 2008
    #4
  5. On Mon, 28 Jan 2008, Nige wrote:

    N> All of which brings me to the point of this post... I'm looking to buy
    N> a second camera, preferably a compact model of around 8 megapixels or
    N> more. What I really need is arguably the very opposite of the EOS 5D -
    N> a small, light model that is super-intelligent, ready to use in a
    N> couple of seconds and can be relied upon to produce decent results
    N> under most conditions. OK, it may not produce anything like the same
    N> quality as the EOS 5D, but I figure that if it allows me to nail the
    N> more 'opportunistic' shots that occasionally come along, that's better
    N> than not getting the picture at all.
    N>

    My point and shoot is a Fuji F31fd, 3x zoom and pocket size. As well as
    auto-mode it has stuff like aperture and speed priority and slow sync
    flash. It is supposed to have very good high iso capability
    http://www.dpreview.com/articles/compactcamerahighiso/page3.asp The newest
    version appears to be f50fd.

    My wife decided she would like a long zoom and has just ordered a
    Panasonic Fz18. This camera is so light for an 18x zoom and there seems
    to be absolutely no discernable shutter lag (compared to the Nikon 8800
    that I have). Apparently it has "intelligent auto" mode - if it analyses
    the scene to be a night portrait that is what it will do. Take a look at
    the photos at dpreview.com
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz18/page17.asp

    However, when I had two cameras from different manufacturer, an Olympus
    10x zoom and a little Nikon pocket size, the difference between the
    interfaces drove me mad. However, I don't seem to have a problem swapping
    between the Fuji and Nikon. It is a consideration and you might be best
    sticking to Canon.

    --
    Alan

    ( If replying by mail, please note that all "sardines" are canned.
    However, unless this a very old message, a "tuna" will swim right
    through. )
     
    Alan Clifford, Jan 28, 2008
    #5
  6. Nige

    ongar_route Guest

    I'll second that. I have Super SteadyShot on my Sony A700, and it's
    great.

    Last weekend, I was handholding at 1/5s using a 75mm lens and still
    getting very sharp shots. An essential addon in my book. Well worth
    it.
     
    ongar_route, Jan 31, 2008
    #6
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