Saturday, June 7, 2014

Camera Thoughts (Nikon D3300 and Fuji X-M1)

I'm in the process of replacing my just over two-years-old Samsung NX200. It has been a good camera for me, but I think it is time to move on (click here if you are interested in it).

Like I said, the NX200 has been a good camera for me. I've captured some great photographs with it. But my camera bag needs a change. I want my equipment to go a different direction.
Bixby Bridge - Big Sur, California
Captured using a Samsung NX200.
I want to simplify my equipment. I have a Nokia Lumia 1020, which is a wide-angle fixed-lens compact camera (and a cell phone). It has good and bad points, but does what I need it to do and gets used quite often. I also have a Sigma DP2 Merrill, which is a fixed-standard-lens compact camera. It also has good and bad points, and it continually blows me away and frustrates me at the same time.

The NX200 has been my third camera. Lately I've only grabbed it when I want a telephoto lens because I have the 50-200mm zoom. What I'd like to do is get a new camera and attach a quality telephoto prime to it. That way I can just grab whichever camera has the appropriate focal length for whatever I'm photographing.

Why not just buy a Samsung NX telephoto prime? Because they're too much money. The lens I'd want retails for $850, and the "compromise" lens retails for $500. Besides, this is an opportunity to try something new. Perhaps upgrade slightly.

Since I already have a DP2 Merrill, why not just get a DP3 Merrill? Wouldn't that do the trick? Yes, it would, but the Lumia 1020 and the DP Merrill cameras have similar weaknesses (the Sigma cameras more so). I'm limiting my own versatility by buying another Sigma. I'm very glad for the one I've got, but when I'm frustrated by it where do I turn if my other choice has the same issues? However, I may end up going this route.

The two cameras at the top of my list are the Nikon D3300 and the Fuji X-M1. They're completely different cameras, but they have the right things in common to make my shortlist.

The D3300 is a DSLR with a 24 megapixel sensor and has no anti-aliasing filter (which blurs the image slightly to prevent moire pattern distortion). It has more resolution than the NX200 and has better high-ISO performance (about 1-stop better). Dynamic range is about the same.

The D3300 can be found for as low as $450 for the body. There are two lenses that I would consider: the Nikkor 50mm (75mm equivalent) AF-S f1.8 G ($220) and the Samyang 85mm (127mm equivalent) f1.4 ($330). Both of those lenses are great. A camera body and lens would run in the range of $670-$780.

Now the Fuji X-M1 is a compact interchangeable-lens with a 16 megapixel x-trans sensor and has no anti-aliasing filter. It has about the same resolution as the NX200 (taking into account the resolution that the anti-aliasing filter kills on the Samsung) and has better high-ISO performance (about two stops better). Dynamic range is about the same.

The X-M1 can be found for $500 for the body. The only lens that I'd consider is the 60mm (91mm equivalent)  f2.4 macro ($650). That's $1,150 for the camera and lens, which is more than I want to spend. What I like most about the Fuji camera is that JPEGs come out looking like finished products. Not having to spend hours and hours in front of a computer monitor may be worth the extra money.

I'm leaning towards the Nikon mainly because of the price. It has a really good sensor that when matched with a good lens produces great results. The Fuji also has a really good sensor and their 60mm lens is ever-so-slightly better than the two I'm considering for the Nikon.

At this time I'm not completely sure which way I'll go. I can get a Sigma DP3 Merrill for $550 from Amazon. Perhaps the frustration of that camera is worth the $120-$600 savings. Whichever way I decide, my camera bag is changing, and I think for the better.

Part 2

No comments:

Post a Comment