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Author: Subject: Is there a really high-quality, but uncomplicated, digital camera?
David Jenkins

posted on 30/12/21 at 12:06 PM Reply With Quote
Is there a really high-quality, but uncomplicated, digital camera?

I know that there are a few photography gurus here, so...

I currently use a Sony A6000 that gives quite decent pictures (when I pay attention to composition, etc!), but it has about 2000 options in the menu and it's a total PITA to set everything to give results that I like. I have an assortment of lenses for this camera, some very good, some not so, but It's got to the point where I rarely use it as I'm spending more time fiddling than taking pictures. Most of the more expensive digital cameras seem to be the same, but perhaps with higher quality in the end.

Contrast this with an Asahi Pentax 35mm camera with a good 50mm lens that I've got in my 'old camera' drawer - I set the ASA value to match the film, then all I have to concern myself with is focus, aperture and shutter speed. There's a needle visible in the (very clear) viewfinder to help me with exposure, and it's easy to adjust the exposure up or down a bit to compensate where necessary. My experience tells me what sort of shutter speed I should be using, or a specific aperture if I'm after a particular effect. I've also owned an Olympus OM10 in the past, which was a delight to use (until I couldn't get it repaired).

What really annoys me is that I know that 35mm film doesn't have the resolution that even the A6000 can produce - but I can create far better photographs with the Pentax. Couldn't tell you why, apart from the very obvious one of it having a far superior lens, but the images just look better simply because I'm spending more time composing the picture rather than faffing about.

Unfortunately 35mm film is a PITA to deal with these days, and I prefer the convenience of digital photography anyway, so any recommendations would be appreciated. I'm looking for a full-frame camera that's not too bulky, with simple menus, simple controls, but with top-quality results. I'd probably use it with a short zoom, or 50mm and a wide-angle lenses. I have a reasonably good budget...

Any recommendations?

[Edited on 30/12/21 by David Jenkins]





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ReMan

posted on 30/12/21 at 01:07 PM Reply With Quote
I'd point you at the Canon equipment, Powershot or the M series with interchangeable lenses, though I am a bit biased.

However, I have a feeling that what you want does not exist, in so much that as with everything thee days, doing stuff in software/electronics is cheap and so it makes sense for any manufacturer to bundle in as many features and functions that they can, which helps them compete with the competition, but inevitably leads to added complication and choice for the user in operation.

That said, my Powershot G7 does almost everything on auto setting, which (like you i think) suits me 95% of the time to point and shoot as my advancing years make me less inclined to learn every last detail.

I shouldn't say it, but have you also considered something like the new iphone 13pro? I have the 13 (not pro) and it takes arguably as good pictures and that really does limit the amount of buttons you need to press to take a picture!..........





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David Jenkins

posted on 30/12/21 at 02:20 PM Reply With Quote
I can, and do, take reasonable pictures of friends and family with my phone (not an iPhone!). I also have a Panasonic pocket-sized camera that I often take around, but that's quite limited.

You're probably right when you say that manufacturers put lots of software in, because it's cheap. I just want the equivalent of the 35mm camera, where I can take responsibility for speed and aperture myself without having to do all sorts of menu choices, press selected buttons, and other faffing before I can take the picture. Once the Pentax is set up for the right film speed I can sort speed and aperture, frame the picture and shoot in 1 or 2 seconds - no special functions, just photography.

I've even had a twin-lens reflex in the past that was easier to use than the Sony digital, and the quality on 120 film was simply astonishing! The combination of larger-format film and a good lens is hard to beat - I can't quite stretch to a digital Hasselblad camera though...





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Jeano

posted on 30/12/21 at 02:44 PM Reply With Quote
I have the Canon Powershot Canon PowerShot G6 i think, its an amazing camera and always takes amazing pictures. Its large lens means the quality far outweights any camera on a phone (i have an iphone 12)

https://www.jessops.com/p/canon/powershot-g7-x-mark-ii-digital-camera-97892

I would highly recommend it.





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David Jenkins

posted on 30/12/21 at 03:38 PM Reply With Quote
That's not the route I wish to take - my Panasonic is the same sort of camera - I'm looking for some form of DSLR.

I failed to mention that in my first post - sorry!

quote:
Originally posted by Jeano
I have the Canon Powershot Canon PowerShot G6 i think, its an amazing camera and always takes amazing pictures. Its large lens means the quality far outweights any camera on a phone (i have an iphone 12)

https://www.jessops.com/p/canon/powershot-g7-x-mark-ii-digital-camera-97892

I would highly recommend it.




[Edited on 30/12/21 by David Jenkins]





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gremlin1234

posted on 30/12/21 at 04:39 PM Reply With Quote
if you want to uncomplicate a modern digital camera, just fit your old pentax lens to a modern digital pentax with a compatible mount,
it will recognise that it doesn't have access to autofocus, aperture control, or electronic zoom etc, meaning rather than endless menus you can compose the picture for yourself.

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ianhurley20

posted on 30/12/21 at 04:39 PM Reply With Quote
I use a bridge camera which has the best of SLR and also a digital camera A Fujifilm FinePix HS10. I know its been superceeded by HS20 and probably others but the lens gives me a range of (35mm equivalents) 28mm to 720mm or 30x optical zoom and all sorts of automatic settings. I used to take over the settings but found the automatic settings so good I rarely try to anymore. Yes it will do video as well, and trick panoramic shots and change the white balance for sunsets etc and do burst shots (one is for low light where the burst is added together for better exposure), and its really good at getting into the action at long range at Snetterton and .....
I like it and since buying it haven't looked for anything else but it it needed replacement I would look for whatever the updated version of it was





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SteveWalker

posted on 30/12/21 at 05:13 PM Reply With Quote
I use a DSLR (a Canon). For quick snaps, I just leave it on auto and switch on. For more control, I turn the (physical) dial to Shutter priority or Aperture priority and click away. Al the options are available and I do use them when I want something specific, but those three basic settings usually suffice.

[Edited on 30/12/21 by SteveWalker]

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snapper

posted on 1/1/22 at 07:56 AM Reply With Quote
I am a professional photographer and have been since gods donkey was a foal, I started off my journey when a built in light meter was a new thing…
My current kit is a top of the range Nikon (other brands are available) and even for me most of the settings are irrelevant.
I will shoot manual or use pasture or shutter priority however the auto function can be easily biased with the thumb wheel.
What is rarely talked about is that the professional cameras shoot flat and to get the best out of them you need to shoot RAW and process the image in appropriate software, good ones have an auto button which gives good and quick results however a bit more understanding of the simple sliders again will reap rewards.
Most manufacturers DSLR’s will give good results on auto and not cost a second mortgage unlike my pro setup.





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snapper

posted on 1/1/22 at 08:10 AM Reply With Quote
I think I should add that your choice will be budget based so pick a budget and start from there.
I have seen manufacturers rise and fall in popularity but the big 2 prevail that is Canon and Nikon, you would tend to follow one manufacturer as your investment in lenses means the cost of changing manufacturer becomes prohibited when you have a lot of lenses and other peripherals





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craig1410

posted on 2/1/22 at 12:18 AM Reply With Quote
I'm a long time iPhone user and currently have the iPhone 12 Pro which is great for photography and of course the iPhone 13 Pro is even better. Even the iPhone 13 (non pro) is pretty much on par with the iPhone 12 Pro. These are pretty much the easiest way for "anyone" to take a very good photograph most of the time.

That said, a few years back I decided I wanted to buy a Sony full frame mirrorless camera because at that time they were clearly ahead of Nikon and Canon in mirrorless technology. At that time DSLR wasn't "dead" per se but clearly the future was going to be mirrorless. I think that's even more clearly the case today although again I'm not saying DSLR is dead and will be around for a while to come. I just don't see the point of having a mirror flapping around these days when EVFs are so good. Anyway, YMMV - I don't want to get into a DSLR vs Mirrorless debate

So I went to my local Jessops store on Black Friday of that year (2018 I think) and asked to try some of the cameras and lenses. As expected they were really nice but to get what I wanted (a body with one prime lens around 35mm, and a zoom which could do say 70-300mm) was very pricey. It was then that the store adviser suggested I might want to look at Fujifilm X-series cameras.

Long story short, I really liked the feel and handling of the Fujifilm cameras and lenses, and of course the pictures were pretty nice too! There is something different about the colour capture on a Fujifilm camera which is more vivid than most. That might not be to everyone's taste but I really like it. The best bit was that by dropping my requirement for a Sony full frame camera to an APC format, everything immediately becomes more affordable without a massive drop in capability (for me anyway).

The specific kit I bought was an X-H1 body with a 23mm F2 prime (~35mm equiv.) and a 55-200 F3.5-4.8 zoom (82-300mm equiv.) I got a Black Friday discount and also a Fujifilm cashback which they commonly run, so the overall deal was pretty good IMO. The Fujifilm cameras have evolved quite a bit since then so there are better cameras available today but if you wanted to dip a toe in the water you could always try to pick up a second hand 2-3 year old camera (X-H1, X-T2, X-T3 maybe) and a single lens just to see if you like it before investing more heavily.

The Fujifilm cameras have lots of the same features as other modern digital cameras and you can go digging through menus as much as you want. But if you just want to set it in auto-everything, then it still gives really nice photos in most lighting conditions. Of course if you are taking pictures of something fast like racing cars, or something dark like the night sky, then you can very easily dial in a particular shutter speed or aperture or sensitivity, but it's all very progressive without a steep learning curve.

HTH

[Edited on 2/1/2022 by craig1410]

[Edited on 2/1/2022 by craig1410]

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David Jenkins

posted on 2/1/22 at 01:31 PM Reply With Quote
Hmm - lots to think about!

Now that I've looked at this properly, I think what I really need to do is to get to grips with the camera I've already got! Perhaps I'll spend some time with one of my standard, manual lenses and see if I can fully get on top of the important parts of the menu. Trouble is, the viewfinder has quite a small image (it's a view of a screen, rather than a true SLR 'off a mirror' view), which really doesn't help. The screen on the back is of little use when it's remotely sunny. It's very noticeable when I pick up the Pentax SLR - the viewfinder gives a bloody big image!

One reason I bought the Sony was that I'd had a Sony Mavica ages ago - that was the one that stored pictures on floppy disks (!). The resolution was very low, but the colour rendition was absolutely excellent (a bit like Kodachrome film) and I was hoping that this one would have a similar 'spectrum'. Unfortunately the a6000 photos tend to lack colour depth and brilliance (IMHO). I think I'll try taking pictures in RAW and see if post-processing will fix the problem.

I have a Panasonic Lumix pocket-sized camera that use for casual photos, and I've had Fuijifilm pocket-sized cameras in the past - both are good. I've not played with a Fujifilm 'big camera'.





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snapper

posted on 4/1/22 at 07:09 AM Reply With Quote
I am not going into a long response to Craig’s views on mirror/no mirror but am going to address the colour issues mentioned.
Most people will be shooting in Jpeg mode not RAW, jpeg is a compression, RAW is the data from each pixel from which a jpeg is created.
I bet most people don’t check the colour space setting and would not understand it if they looked… usually you have a choice of sRGB or Adobe 1998, sRGB usually produces richer looking colours due to its compressed colour space whereas Adobe 1998 has a wider colour space and is better for printing.
If you look at your images on a computer and have not calibrated the screen all claims of one camera produces better images than another are meaningless, even more so if you then try and print off a copy.
Colour reproduction, colour space/gamut is a minefield for the unaware, if you are going to spend hundreds if not thousands of £’s then you really need to invest a little time in understanding how to get the best out of your expensive camera.
Rant over but happy to help those who want the best out of their cameras.





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David Jenkins

posted on 4/1/22 at 11:38 AM Reply With Quote
Hehe... I was expecting a response from your direction!

As a professional photographer you have to know all the technicalities of photography as they're required for your work, but I'm just an amateur who's been taking pictures for over 50 years - without knowing most of the professional stuff. Most of my 'serious' photography was done on 35mm film cameras, plus a twin-lens reflex for a while, where the 'colour space' issue was simply selecting a brand of film that gave results I liked. I also did some black and white stuff, and did print production in colour and B&W. I was a member of a photography club when Noah was a lad, and even won a minor prize now and again.

Since having to go to digital cameras (mostly due to availability of film) I haven't managed to get back into the creative side of photography - I've lost the immediacy of identifying the subject, picking how I want to expose the shot, and take the picture, all in just a few seconds. Even my current camera - which actually can give decent results if set correctly - doesn't give that evaluate-and-shoot functionality. The poor viewfinder is one big reason for my loss of immediacy - difficulty of evaluating and composing a picture through the lens. This is the main reason I asked the original question.

Presumably a camera with a mirror would give a much better view through the lens?

My camera can create both RAW and jpeg for each shot - I presume that it simply keeps the RAW file after creating the jpeg. I'll probably use this functionality so that have the best options for experimenting.

It was interesting to read your description of sRGB and Adobe colour spaces - I have the choice, but it isn't explained anywhere in the manual. The manual is awful, badly laid out and over-complex, but I think that's normal for such things these days. You have to get colour reproduction correct as it's your job, but I just want to get results that I like. Maybe I'll try both and see which gives the most acceptable results for my needs.

Thanks for taking an interest, and your comments have been noted.


quote:
Originally posted by snapper
I am not going into a long response to Craig’s views on mirror/no mirror but am going to address the colour issues mentioned.
Most people will be shooting in Jpeg mode not RAW, jpeg is a compression, RAW is the data from each pixel from which a jpeg is created.
I bet most people don’t check the colour space setting and would not understand it if they looked… usually you have a choice of sRGB or Adobe 1998, sRGB usually produces richer looking colours due to its compressed colour space whereas Adobe 1998 has a wider colour space and is better for printing.
If you look at your images on a computer and have not calibrated the screen all claims of one camera produces better images than another are meaningless, even more so if you then try and print off a copy.
Colour reproduction, colour space/gamut is a minefield for the unaware, if you are going to spend hundreds if not thousands of £’s then you really need to invest a little time in understanding how to get the best out of your expensive camera.
Rant over but happy to help those who want the best out of their cameras.


[Edited on 4/1/22 by David Jenkins]





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Irony

posted on 4/1/22 at 01:20 PM Reply With Quote
More or less completely agree with the below. I am not a photographer but a wide format printer up to 3200mm wide. Very little camera experience. Calibrating monitors and printers is literally a minefield and can cost ££££££££.

I can't count the amount of times someone has said 'The printed images looks darker/lighter on my laptop/phone'. I have even had people send me pictures that they have taken of their monitors displaying the photo. A friend spent hundreds having his laptop and printer colour matched but still failed until I pointed out the viewing angle of the screen radically changed the colour output.

Printing out samples on the exact machine that the final print will printed on is the best in my opinion. However that depends on your workflow and printing costs.


quote:
Originally posted by snapper
I am not going into a long response to Craig’s views on mirror/no mirror but am going to address the colour issues mentioned.
Most people will be shooting in Jpeg mode not RAW, jpeg is a compression, RAW is the data from each pixel from which a jpeg is created.
I bet most people don’t check the colour space setting and would not understand it if they looked… usually you have a choice of sRGB or Adobe 1998, sRGB usually produces richer looking colours due to its compressed colour space whereas Adobe 1998 has a wider colour space and is better for printing.
If you look at your images on a computer and have not calibrated the screen all claims of one camera produces better images than another are meaningless, even more so if you then try and print off a copy.
Colour reproduction, colour space/gamut is a minefield for the unaware, if you are going to spend hundreds if not thousands of £’s then you really need to invest a little time in understanding how to get the best out of your expensive camera.
Rant over but happy to help those who want the best out of their cameras.

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craig1410

posted on 4/1/22 at 02:43 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by snapper
I am not going into a long response to Craig’s views on mirror/no mirror but am going to address the colour issues mentioned.
Most people will be shooting in Jpeg mode not RAW, jpeg is a compression, RAW is the data from each pixel from which a jpeg is created.
I bet most people don’t check the colour space setting and would not understand it if they looked… usually you have a choice of sRGB or Adobe 1998, sRGB usually produces richer looking colours due to its compressed colour space whereas Adobe 1998 has a wider colour space and is better for printing.
If you look at your images on a computer and have not calibrated the screen all claims of one camera produces better images than another are meaningless, even more so if you then try and print off a copy.
Colour reproduction, colour space/gamut is a minefield for the unaware, if you are going to spend hundreds if not thousands of £’s then you really need to invest a little time in understanding how to get the best out of your expensive camera.
Rant over but happy to help those who want the best out of their cameras.


Yeah I'm very well aware of colour spaces etc and I personally shoot everything in RAW + JPEG to two different SD card inside the X-H1 so that I can easily view the JPEG but also have the RAW if an important shot needs to be adjusted/recovered. Most of the time I'm happy with the JPEG but have certainly used the RAW for things like astrophotography or to recreate a nice sunset which I didn't quite capture correctly (ie. according to what my eyes saw at the time)

I mostly use sRGB but the X-H1 can also do Adobe when the need arises. I'm typically viewing my photos on either my M1 iPad Pro or M1 Max MacBook Pro, both of which are excellent displays with high dynamic range. Apple pro devices also tend to be pretty consistently calibrated from the factory and since I'm not publishing anything I don't really need to calibrate.

I stand by what I said about the Fujifilm. If you read reviews of their cameras, it is often noted that they have a distinct richness to the colour. And before anyone suggests this is some sort of oversaturation, take a look at this review which shows Fujifilm cameras very highly rated for colour accuracy: https://pdnonline.com/gear/cameras/the-best-cameras-for-color-reproduction-ranked/
The X-T3 is virtually the same camera as my X-H1 but was released a bit later in 2018 IIRC.

I'm not claiming to be a "professional" or "expert" in photography but just offering some experience of my own setup and why I chose it. YMMV.

Here is a review from a professional which might interest you too. It's so easy to get used to fixing everything in post-processing but Fujifilm excels at capturing images right off the camera. This also really appeals to me:

https://fujilove.com/the-fujifilm-jpeg-challenge-shooting-only-straight-out-of-camera/

[Edited on 4/1/2022 by craig1410]

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snapper

posted on 6/1/22 at 09:39 AM Reply With Quote
There are some really helpful YouTube videos out now that can take you from novice to expert, it’s worth looking at videos relating to your specific camera to start with.
I use the image metadata to assess what has worked or indeed what went wrong as I tend to work in a very pressured environment with a requirement to shoot first then if possible shoot more images with more time to compose.
I also prefer a mirror for stills but have seen how the touch screen on a Sony camera has benefits when in video mode.
My latest camera is a GoPro 10 and despite decades as a still and video photographer the amount of settings and lack of buttons and wheels on it has caused me issues, YouTube videos are quickly enlightening me on how to setup the GoPro 10.

quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
Hehe... I was expecting a response from your direction!

As a professional photographer you have to know all the technicalities of photography as they're required for your work, but I'm just an amateur who's been taking pictures for over 50 years - without knowing most of the professional stuff. Most of my 'serious' photography was done on 35mm film cameras, plus a twin-lens reflex for a while, where the 'colour space' issue was simply selecting a brand of film that gave results I liked. I also did some black and white stuff, and did print production in colour and B&W. I was a member of a photography club when Noah was a lad, and even won a minor prize now and again.

Since having to go to digital cameras (mostly due to availability of film) I haven't managed to get back into the creative side of photography - I've lost the immediacy of identifying the subject, picking how I want to expose the shot, and take the picture, all in just a few seconds. Even my current camera - which actually can give decent results if set correctly - doesn't give that evaluate-and-shoot functionality. The poor viewfinder is one big reason for my loss of immediacy - difficulty of evaluating and composing a picture through the lens. This is the main reason I asked the original question.

Presumably a camera with a mirror would give a much better view through the lens?

My camera can create both RAW and jpeg for each shot - I presume that it simply keeps the RAW file after creating the jpeg. I'll probably use this functionality so that have the best options for experimenting.

It was interesting to read your description of sRGB and Adobe colour spaces - I have the choice, but it isn't explained anywhere in the manual. The manual is awful, badly laid out and over-complex, but I think that's normal for such things these days. You have to get colour reproduction correct as it's your job, but I just want to get results that I like. Maybe I'll try both and see which gives the most acceptable results for my needs.

Thanks for taking an interest, and your comments have been noted.


quote:
Originally posted by snapper
I am not going into a long response to Craig’s views on mirror/no mirror but am going to address the colour issues mentioned.
Most people will be shooting in Jpeg mode not RAW, jpeg is a compression, RAW is the data from each pixel from which a jpeg is created.
I bet most people don’t check the colour space setting and would not understand it if they looked… usually you have a choice of sRGB or Adobe 1998, sRGB usually produces richer looking colours due to its compressed colour space whereas Adobe 1998 has a wider colour space and is better for printing.
If you look at your images on a computer and have not calibrated the screen all claims of one camera produces better images than another are meaningless, even more so if you then try and print off a copy.
Colour reproduction, colour space/gamut is a minefield for the unaware, if you are going to spend hundreds if not thousands of £’s then you really need to invest a little time in understanding how to get the best out of your expensive camera.
Rant over but happy to help those who want the best out of their cameras.


[Edited on 4/1/22 by David Jenkins]






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