Choosing a System - a Rant

Started Dec 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
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ultimitsu
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Choosing a System - a Rant
Dec 30, 2013

Three weeks ago, my mother asked me to help her choose a new camera, her budget is about 1500 NZD, which is about 1250 USD.

A bit of background - She has always liked taking pictures - I call it "taking pictures" because that is all she does. She does not want to understand all the technical side of photography, just point at the thing, and shoot. But that does not mean she does not appreciate or recognise good image quality. about 13 years ago she bought a Minolta film SLR with interchangeable lenses, it was fairly expensive at the time. 6 years ago she bought a Sony H9 which she has been using since. About a year ago she bought an Iphone 5, and she had stopped using her real cameras and used iPhone exclusively.  But the problem, as I alluded in another thread a few weeks ago, is that once she sees her iPhone pictures on a bigger screen and compared to pictures taken by my cameras, she is disappointed with the quality. That is why she is now considering a new camera.

I am a DSLR guy, I dont mind the weight, and I process all my images in LR. But I am conscious that my mother is not me. So my first thoughts were that a m43 system could be ideal for her. So I looked at m433 systems. I am used to likes of APS-C 17-55 F2.8 and FF 24-85 F3.5-f4.5. So I dont think m43's kit 14-42 lenses are good enough. Not for just by my own standards. I mean, even Sony X100 has larger apertures. I looked at EM5 and the new 12-40 F2.8. They run for a very hefty 2350 NZD. That really is outrageous because it is getting very close to 6D or D600 kit price. The new Sony A7 zoom kit is exactly 2350! That is my first rant - M43 is so bloody expensive if you want decent lens. You really are paying a premium for small size. To me this level of pricing is simply unacceptable so I ruled it out. You could argue that I could have settled for a lesser body. True. But EM5 is the only body I find desirable enogh to recommend. Also the fact of the matter is, to get the same IQ, one would still have to spend about 600 NZD on a lesser body. Overall cost is still 2000 NZD.

My next consideration was D3200 + sigma 18-35 F1.8. This combo runs for about 1600 NZD. Spec and IQ wise you cannot ask for better t this price. D3200 has a fairly good, but not class leading jpeg engine, at 24mp it will deliver more than enough resolution any serious printing. the 18-35 F1.8 is equivalent to a FF 27-53 f2.7. It would cover the commonly used 28mm, 35mm, 40mm and 50mm FOV, all at relatively large aperture.  My only issue with this option (Rant number 2), however, is that other users report AF inaccuracy problems. D3200 does not have MFA therefore to mitigate AF issues, she will have to buy the USB dock for another 100 NZD and I will have to do a lot of testing to make correct adjustments. Too much hassle.

The next logical option is an APS-C with accurate AF. On-sensor PDAF should provide fast AF while maintaining good accuracy if done in live view. Canon 70D currently has the best on-sensor PDAF, but it is outside her budget if she is to buy the 18-35 F1.8. The real deal breaker (Rant number 3) is the x1.6 crop factor - 18-35 becomes 29-56mm. 29mm just doenst have the same appeal of 27mm. So Canon is out of the door.

It would seem a good NEX camera should be idea. Unfortunately Sigma does not make a Sony NEX version of the 18-35 (Rant number 4)! So If we go with Sony, we have to use the sucky Sony E mount lenses. Arh!

We are back to square one, there simply isnt a suitable system that I feel comfortable recommending, at this point of time. I think I will wait until neither nikon develops good on-sensor PDAF and put it on D3300, or when Sigma releases a NEX version of 18-35mm. Argh.....

Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 70D Fujifilm FinePix X100 Leica X1 Nikon D3 Nikon D3200 Nikon D600 Sony Alpha 7 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9
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