Best Compact for ....

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Spode, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. Spode

    Spode SC Regular

    172
    Jul 26, 2011
    Singapore
    Hi Everyone.

    I need some advice in being able to choose a new compact I intend to invest in. I am in the process of retiring/ selling my S90 and want a camera to replace it. I hardly ever touch up JPEGs and only occasionally work in RAW (compacts). My main interests are (or so I like to think):
    - Street Photography
    - Portraits
    - Landscapes
    - Buildings (facades and interiors)
    - Some macro

    I've been studying the pics and comments on this site and am hugely impressed by the output achieved. Based on personal experience could you guys suggest some cameras I should seriously consider? I've currently shortlisted the GRD III, the LX-5 and the EX-1, but I'm open to all suggestions.

    Grateful for your help.

    Thanks
     
  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    If you don't need more than 1 FOV, the GRD3 is it!
    If you do, the LX5 is hard to beat...
    The S95 is also very nice.

    The GRD3 is my choice for a pocketable camera as I don't like zoom lenses.
    The interface is unmatched by any camera.
     
  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Ricoh need to produce (with lessons learned from the 100 and 200) a GX300, stat!
     
  4. Spode

    Spode SC Regular

    172
    Jul 26, 2011
    Singapore
    Thanks all.

    Shooter, What about speed? And does the fixed 28mm on the GRD iii take getting used to? Is IQ, manual control and UI considerably superior to the LX-5?

    Sorry for all the questions. I've read the websites, but I want a personal opinion.

    As for the S95, like the S90, I suspect is will be a little slow and a little soft beyond 50mm.
     
  5. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    Real Name:
    bart
    based on your requirements, I'd say the LX5 suits your need just a bit better, although the EX1 is a very fine camera. I don't really know the GRD3, so I can't comment on it other than its specs.

    Street: you can easily set it up for street shooting using the custom settings, and it has a DOF scale. Also, autofocus and image stabilisation are reportedly very good. For candid shots, the EX1's tilting screen might be useful.
    Portraits: the LX5 has the longest tele, I find my EX1's 72mm equivalent adequate but wouldn't mind something longer from time to time. GRD3 is supposed to be great for street shooting.
    Landscapes: for landscapes including the horizon at least, I'd love to have the LX5's true 24mm at the 16:9 aspect ratio. EX1 has a lovely sharp lens.
    Buildings / facades / interiors: I'd think for facades, the wider the better, so the LX5 and EX1 win over the GRD. The EX1's tilting screen is useful for vertically-aimed shots of facades, and its faster lens (marginally so at wide angle, more significantly at tele) would be useful indoors.
    Macro: LX5 focuses closer than the EX1, don't know about GRD.

    The EX1 is often described as a camera that only comes to life in raw, although I've seen some really excellent jpegs. You can't control noise reduction in the EX1's jpeg though. I don't really know how the LX5's jpeg engine stacks up.

    In terms of interface, I haven't used the LX5 but for manual control I much prefer the EX1 over the LX3 (the LX5 has replaced the LX3's 4-way rocker button with a clickable scroll dial though).
     
  6. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    Just to confuse you further.......don't forget the Olympus XZ-1. F/1.8-f/2.5, 2 macro settings, Art filters, Zukio lens, High quality images and superb RAW files!! I would have this over the LX5 but i would look at the GRD3 as that looks to have awesome image quality.
     
  7. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    Real Name:
    bart
    ^ ah, I know I'd forgotten something in my post! I had meant to ask if you considered the other obvious contender, the XZ1
     
  8. P.H

    P.H SC Regular

    127
    Apr 4, 2011
    Derby, UK
    I've had my LX5 for a year and still rate it as the camera that dose everything I need. In honesty, I haven't had much to compare it too, I'm a one camera at a time user and only change when obsolescence or failure force me to. So I can't from experience compare to anything else available. What I really like about the LX5 is how intuitive it is, the feel and ergonomics of it are fantastic for something so small. Many of the options were also available on my previous camera (Olympus C7000) but I rarely used them, it was so complicated to learn and remember what menu and sub-menu they were in and what you could do with what... Having said that, there have been a couple of developments in the last year that I'd have been looking closely at if they'd been there then. The first is the XZ-1 as mentioned above, faster not just the wide but right through. Also IMO better colours straight from camera, the LX5 is good, it just sometimes benefits from a little tweaking. The other thing that's happened in the last year worth considering is how small M43s have got, the GF3 with a 14 or 20 pancake lens is hardly bigger than an LX5. No zoom, but with the far better IQ you could probably crop to compensate for most of that.
     
  9. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    The GRD3 is a very easy camera to configure to your needs. It focuses very fast even in low light. The lens is tack sharp.
    The 28mm is a fixed FOV. Only you can decide if it will work. As I stated, I don't like zoomies and love the idea of a single FOV.
    So, to answer your question, for me NO...you have to answer that for yourself.

    The camera fits in my pocket so it's always there. The power management is the best I've ever seen in any camera.
    I had the LX5 and really liked it but...... it has a step zoom and I almost always had it on 24, 28, 35 fov.....I very rarely used it as a zoom camera.

    That single issue about FOV, should be your starting point for making a decision.
     
  10. Spode

    Spode SC Regular

    172
    Jul 26, 2011
    Singapore

    Thanks P.H. I don't want to invest in a Micro 4/3 compact system. As far as bulk goes, a 4/3 is (no doubt) less bulky than my current D7000; in terms of IQ, I don't think a comparison is even fair. I was looking for a compact, pure and simple. Thank you for pointing out that the LX-5 needs some tweaking occasionally when shooting in colour.
     
  11. Spode

    Spode SC Regular

    172
    Jul 26, 2011
    Singapore
    You know, Don, you make me like and desire the grd iii more and more. I have only more question. Lacking the OIS/ IS, do you need to hold the camera absolutely steady/ need a tripod? Does the EVF help?

    Or do you just adapt to the camera over a period of time?

    Thanks
     
  12. Spode

    Spode SC Regular

    172
    Jul 26, 2011
    Singapore
    Thanks Bartjeej. I checked out the XZ-1 earlier.
     
  13. Spode

    Spode SC Regular

    172
    Jul 26, 2011
    Singapore
    Thanks Andy. I've never owned a G3, but I have checked out an XZ-1 at length and have owned an F550 EXR. I think the GRD iii (albeit at 28mm) trounces both.
     
  14. Spode

    Spode SC Regular

    172
    Jul 26, 2011
    Singapore
    Don,

    Last 2 questions:

    1) Sans PP, is the regular B&W and high-contrast B&W better OOC than that out of the LX-5? Up to ISO 800?
    2) Is the GRD III's normal OOC colour and sharpness better than the LX-5's?

    Thanks
     
  15. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Real Name:
    Sue
    Adaptation is the word, I think, spode. I also remind myself that IS is a relatively new thing and my first two digital cameras, and none of my film cameras, ever had it.

    Some people have very steady hands, and the lack of OIS doesn't matter. In my case, I have a bit of tremor and it can be a trial. I'm persisting, because the shots off the GRD3 are wonderful when they work. I've realised that there are some days when I am much steadier than others, and I think perhaps I need to restrict myself to using it only on those days, and other cameras on the other days.

    There is an Optical VF but no EVF, and it just attaches to the hotshoe. I haven't bothered getting one because it seems a bit pointless: in framing up I wait to see green squares, or hear the beep to tell me something is focussed. That said, I rarely use it with the sun shining directly on the screen. Its a great screen at 921k pixels but even that wont help in direct sunlight.

    Don has given me some helpful suggestions with regard to getting some street shooting done with it, but I have not yet been out on the street with it, in order to put that into practice. A faster shutter speed than I would normally use, combined with a higher ISO would seem to be something which will sort me out.

    That said, I'm still hankering after an XZ-1, myself. Slightly larger sensor (1/1.63 as opposed to 1/1.7), and internal IS... the Canon G11 is not getting much love at the moment.

    In the end, though, you need to work out if you will be content with a single focal length. I sometimes find it restrictive. Its all in how you work, I guess.
     
  16. Lili

    Lili SC Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Real Name:
    Lili
    I have had both the GRD and XZ-1. If you want superb OOC jpegs the Ricoh is it. If you are willing to shoot RAW then the Oly is a Contender.
     
  17. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    I'm not going to compare the GRD3 against the LX5. I mean the decision is about the FOV. Both are great cameras and I can't put one ahead of the other, other than the FOV.
    Either one will make you a happy camper. All images from any camera could be improved in PP. That's part of the process, so looking for something OOC seems useless to me.

    I generally shoot the GRD3 at 800 in good light and 1600 in lower light. The files hold up fine....
     
  18. ny10522

    ny10522 New to SC

    1
    Jul 30, 2011
    Don´t forget the Sigma DP1x and DP2x cameras. I recently purchased the DP1x and it turns out to be an exceptional camera for street. Here is why:
    1. Totally silent shutter. I like shooting at at 4 or 5 feet in crowds. My previous camera, an Oly e620 was too loud and immediately tipped off everyone that I was taking photos. Not the Sigma.
    2. Zero shutter lag in manual mode. I need to shoot fast, and without hesitation.
    3. Smaller and lighter than the X100 and only a little larger than the GRD3. I carry mine with an accessory grip using a wrist strap and take photos with one hand. Try doing that with an X100.
    4. Unique focus dial allows one to easily dial in focus distance. This is retained even after the camera is turned off or turned on from auto focus. If I need to shoot something at something other than the pre focus distance I quickly adjust the dial.
    5. The accessory OVF is small, discrete and fits securely directly above the lens. It is quite functional but is hardly noticed. When I shoot from eye level people usually know I am taking their photos but rarely care. When I shoot from chest level, the camera seems almost invisible to others. The equivalent 28mm lens is wide enough to usually capture the subject from chest level.
    6. File size is small so one can store lots of photos to disc.
    7. Sigma uses the unique foveon sensor that is just a bit smaller than APS-C size. Jpegs are fine but IQ is best when using Raw and converting to Tiff or Jpeg with the included Sigma software. This software is slow, but offers the ability to save as double sized files. I often save double sized as Jpegs and then crop photo with Apple Preview before sending to Aperture3 for final adjustments. Compare Sigma DP photos to GRD3 or X100 or X1 on Flicker! You will be amazed at their sharpness and color quality.
    8. Black and White photos are probably the best I have seen from any compact. High DR and IQ rival black and whites from the best DSLRs.
    9. Using a barrel adapter (included with hood accessory) and UV filter one creates a contained environment within which the lens can move in and out. I believe this will minimize any dust ingress. I usually shoot for close to 3 hours (taking about 250 photos) continuously on one charge with sleep mode off and LCD off. The lens stays out during the entire time. I never take off the OVF or barrel adapter.

    As much as I like the Sigma I am also going to take a hard look at the upcoming Sony Nex7. It should be announced shortly and may be the best street camera to date IF it can match the Sigma´s silent shutter and come in at about a pound with Zeis lens and battery. We shall see.
     
  19. Michael Penn

    Michael Penn SC Veteran

    291
    Sep 14, 2010
    Philadelphia
    I find the LX5 no match for the GRD at ISO 800.
     
  20. Michael Penn

    Michael Penn SC Veteran

    291
    Sep 14, 2010
    Philadelphia
    +1