Compact recommendation and soliciting experiences

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by andrewh973, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. andrewh973

    andrewh973 SC Regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    NYC metro are
    Hello all,

    I'm new to this forum; have been reading posts and articles by its members for awhile.

    Normally, I shoot b&w film (35mm and 4x5), but am now looking for a compact to carry around all the time. It needs to be something my wife can use, as well (my apologies, gals... I'm not insinuating anything!). And, it doesn't necessarily need to be "pocketable", as we both like something a little more "heft", but non-interchangeable, as my wife doesn't want to play with that.

    Here's an initial wish list:

    1. Moderate zoom (3x to 5x optical)
    2. Changeable aspect ratio -- 3:2, 5:4
    2. Decent flash (at last for fill-in, or in darker indoor situations)
    3. Good JPEG and RAW capabilties (the LX5 has been reviewed as having poor JPEG processing -- please correct me if I'm wrong)
    4. Good color (natural) and b&w rendering out of the box (I'll could also do post-processing and mild corrections in Photoshop) -- won't be enlarging/printing bigger than 8x10.

    I've been to B&H in NYC, and looked at and handled the following:

    Lumix LX5
    Canon G12
    Samsung TL500 (not enough tele)
    Olympus ZX1

    I'm afraid the more test result/reviews I read, the more uncertain I become of a purchase/commitment. What are some of your personal experiences with any of these? Especially, for a walk-about camera (family and kids snaps, travel, etc.?) Anything else I should be looking at?


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  2. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    Hello again Andrew. As for the LX5's jpegs not being good, I can tell you that we have at least one member - Javier - who uses jpegs exclusively and does very well. I'll drop him a PM (private message) and see if he can offer you some feedback on this himself. I use the RAW files converted to DNG with my LX5 and am very happy with the camera. I finally had some prints made recently and was amazed at how wonderful they looked, as well.:thumbup:

    I'm sure as the day and/or evening wears on that other members will respond. One camera that quite a few folks here have fallen for is the Sony NEX. I have to say that it is a beauty, though it does have interchangeable lenses. Since I tend to shoot as though I have a fixed focal length, I'd probably just buy the 16mm and leave it on.:wink:

    Glad to have you hear Andrew!
  3. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
    Don't forget to consider Leica's D-Lux 5. At first sight it might look expensive, but the difference to the LX-5 is less than Lightroom costs. Yes, you get Lightroom with Leica's D-Lux 5! But to be honest, all the enthusiast compact cameras like Canon G12, Canon S95, Panasonic LX-5, Olympus ZX1, Nikon P7000 offer very comparable image quality. It is a matter of taste, which compact camera is best for your purposes.
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  4. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Hi Andrew,

    With your having come from, and being accustomed to, 35mm and large format film, I fear you might find yourself a little disappointed with the image quality from the tiny sensor compacts. I say this from my experience in having bought the LX5 and found myself quickly selling it due to consistent frustrations with the outputs. Having said that, it will depend on what you want out - literally - 'out of' the camera. So, I wonder whether you had looked into the micro four thirds camera - esp. Olympus PEN and Panasonic GF range. With the factory zooms (equivalent to 28-90(ish) mm) and a sensor 5-7x larger than an equivalent compact, you might be a little happier with the outputs. You did concede it doesn't have to be pocketable, and from what I've seen you can fit one of these into a small handbag (or 'shoulder bag' or 'man bag' if your a little more sensitive ;)) for toting....also the bayonet gives you choices if you ever want something a little more down the track.....even some sweet old Zeiss or Leica glass can be used ;) ...and the fixed focal pancakes look just the money too.

    Anyway I do not wish to make your choice any more confused or harder. It's just that I thought I'd share a little from my recent experience.

    Best of luck in your search. Also you have come to the right place here. Great friendly folks and top advice.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Michael Penn

    Michael Penn SC Veteran

    Sep 14, 2010
  6. javier

    javier SC Veteran

    Oct 5, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I really love my LX-5
    It is important for me to get decent jpegs out of the camera as I do not shoot RAW. The only kind of PP i like to do is black and white conversions and for that I use lightroom 3.3
    Having said that, It take me some some time to figure out a nice color setting for me.
    So at the end of the day I set it in Vibrant mode with max sharpness and +.7ev to wash out the color a hair. Since the cam tends to underexpose a bit anyway, this was the golden setting.
    for me it was really that simple.
  7. andrewh973

    andrewh973 SC Regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    NYC metro are
    Thanks all, for your gracious comments and welcome to the forum. I respect everyone's views, here, as I periodically visit.

    In all honesty, I'm not a gadget freak/nerd (although I'm pretty anal about how I develop my own film). As I mentioned earlier, a compact is in order for an everyday instrument -- user-friendly, as well, for my wife to use. If it were solely up to me, I'd probably consider the Panasonic GF1, but, I'm leaning opposite of interchangeables (for simplicity's sake) -- unless I convince her, otherwise. If the Leica X1 had a sensor to accommodate a moderate tele, I'd find the money for that, but I just can't justify the current cost for a fixed prime.

    Michael, I love the GXR microsite!

    Javier, thanks for sharing your LX5 works on Flickr.

    Stillshunter, do you think Sigma will ever come out will a DP3?

    Pictor, my favorite Minor White photo essay is "The Sound of One Hand Clapping".

    BBW, thanks for the welcoming comments.

    I'm going back to B&H to dig around some more. I'm convinced all the cameras mentioned will be in the same ballpark as to image quality. I'll want to handled them a little more before making a decision.

    P.S. Should anyone be in the NYC area, try to make it to the AIPAD show at the Park Avenue Armory; it starts Thursday, and runs through the weekend. AIPAD - The AIPAD Photography Show New York

    Thanks, again.

    • Like Like x 1
  8. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    ...well I hope so, as I am the source of at least one of several of the release rumours :wink:

    Of course, it depends on which "DP3 rumour" you'd rather believe; i.e., that Sigma will release:
    1. a Foveon sensor zoom - though I highly doubt this as it would run contrary to their DP philosophy...and I for one hope they stay true to their word (not a fan of zooms if I've not already shown my hand).
    2. it's SD1 sensor in it's existing DP1 and DP2 focal complaint from me - though you'd see a flood of older ones - including mine - listed for sale. And I wonder which they'd release first?
    3. a fast 85mm unit. Of course, this is my desire - and the one that can trace me as one of its sources. I mean it's doable. The current DP sensor is a 1.7x crop. This means the 85mm focal length would be close to a 50mm formula. Now we all know that the 'fast fifties' is the tried-and-tested parade ground for some of the fastest lenses ever made. Now I'm not expecting a Noctilux f0.95 (but oh wouldn't that be sweeeeeet), but it's obvious that from an engineering perspective that a f2 or faster 50mm lens is easily achievable. Can we imagine the portrait capabilities of this little thing? :cool:

    For me that would round off the line-up. Then my bag would be complete and satisfy over 90% of my requirements: DP1 - 28/4, DP2 - 42/2.8, DP3 - 85/2 - and the bag would weigh less than a dSLR with kit zoom. In short a digital version of the Contax G-series line-up, and without a concern about sensor dust, etc. Let's just call it HEAVEN.