What you consider important in a new camera



Much has changed, yet much has stayed the same. Let us do a survey!

1 If you had a severely limited, b average or c unlimited resources, what camera and lens combination would you invest in?

2 a Which features do you care about, that you would not go without? b Which ones do you question or abhor?

3 In your opinion, which brands and features are a consumer friendly and b FLOSS friendly?

4 What is piquing your interest? a What would you like to purchase next to complement your existing gear? b If you started from scratch, what would you look into instead?

5 For context, please specify the type(s) of photography that you do. Thanks.

(Alberto) #2

ok, in random order. I am just a (bad) camera user, shooting mostly people but also some landscape – luckily, I can travel 3-4 times per year for work, plus vacation.
I want something that gives a good balance between quality and portability. currently I have a Sony a6000 and a couple of small primes, and I’m very happy with the results. what I’d like to have: a fully electronic leaf shutter with no rolling effect, a more powerful pop-up flash that you could tilt also in the left-right direction, weather sealing, a user-controllable AA filter, and last but not least a powerful sdk to customize the camera software. some of these things are available here and there, but nothing providing the full package exists. so I keep waiting.
I recently ordered a (cheap) telephoto just out of curiosity, let’s see if I can make some use of it…
If I had to start from scratch I might consider Fuji, as the cameras are really cool looking and the selection of lenses is awesome. M4/3 seems also attractive, but I’m not sure I’ll be happy with the IQ of the sensor.
fwiw :slight_smile:


Currently I own a FujifilmXE2 and most of the time use 23mm lens or the 18-135mm zoom. Years ago I owned a Ricoh CaplioR4. I took some of my favourite photos with it.
So I compiled a list of what features I would like in a camera. Not sure if exists but I think the Ricoh GRII comes close with some of these. Of course if you know a camera that matches my wants let me know (but I’m not rich!);

Fast start up, fast auto focus, back button focus, weatherproof, raw, large sensor, built-in ND filters, focus mode switchable on body, tilting screen, large EVF (glasses friendly), exp adj dial, good manual focus guide, in-body stabilisation, mirrorless

(Stefan Schmitz) #4

a) used Nikon D7100 plus 1.8-35G DX. Not a lot that you can’t do with that, and a bit later on you will find a used 18-105 DX zoom online for nearly no cash at all.

b) Nikon D750 and a used AF-S 2.8 24-70 G will set you back two grand. Portrait, travel, landscapes … suits you on every occasion.

c) Nikon D850 and the new 2.8 24-70 VR - a good five grand, but that’s as good as they come… I’m not a fan of digital medium format and if you get the 1.4-105 (another two grand) you won’t miss it.

I recommend Nikon because I do not really know the other brands. They may have as good or better offers, but I’m with Nikon since 1979, so I don’t really follow Canon, Pentax or Sony. My kit is pretty complete; 17, 35, 50, 85 primes, 24-70 and 70-200 VRII zooms - but I might add a 200-500 one day.

The most important features in a camera are a precise autofocus, low-noise hi-ISO performance and a logic user interface. Buy the best lenses you can afford and forget about the camera, Bodies come and go every five years, but a good lens stays in your bag for 15 or 20 years. Oh - and rather buy a very god lens used than a mediocre one new.

I am shooting portraits … see more here: https://pixls.us/articles/nsfw-what-stefan-sees/

(Mica) #5

My partial answer for now is: go to camera shop and handle some different bodies. Choose the one that feels good in your hands. People love splitting hairs between make and model online, but it is a real problem if the camera is too small, too heavy, or ergonomicly incompatible with you.

I shoot mostly urban decay and landscapes. My subjects don’t really move. I want a full frame sensor, a wide angle lens, auto bracketing, and dual SD card slots. I got a D750 and a Sigma Art 24mm lens about 2.5 years ago. Couldn’t be happier. Except the D850 came out :wink:

(Glenn Butcher) #6

I’ve got a minimum expectation in both IQ and DR, and the Nikon D7000 I currently own meets both. Indeed, my cheap computing resources probably will choke on images bigger than 16MP. I use a superzoom mainly to avoid changing lenses in dirty environs, Nikkor 18-140mm.

a - Dynamic Range. b - None come to mind.

a - don’t have an opinion; b - Canon, maybe, but only because others have hacked pretty good firmware alternatives.

It is likely I’ll pass away using APS-C cameras, but I’m watching where mirrorless goes, and may consider going to FF. For my APS-C situation,I am currently jonesing a Tokina 11-20mm f2.8…

I don’t think I’d do anything different starting from scratch, I’m not a professional photographer nor am I wealthy, so APS-C just fit the bill in price/performance.

In order of preference: Industrial photography, particularly railroading. Nature/landscapes/flowers. Family snapshooting.

Interesting set of questions!


It was fun reading the responses so far. I look forward to learning more about the other members.


1a: Canon 5d and a Contax 85/2.8.
1b: Canon 1Ds3 and a bunch of Contax manual focus primes. (what I have)
1c: Canon 1Dx2 and a bunch of Contax manual focus primes.

2a: Interchangeable focusing screens in a very large optical viewfinder. That’s primarily what I care about.
2b: Peaking on EVFs never seems to actually help, especially since it covers up whatever you’re trying to judge focus on. It only gets you close to good focus.

3a: Pentax is probably the most consumer friendly.
3b: None of them.

4a: Nothing is piquing my interest. I have all the gear I want.
4b: If starting over from scratch, I’d probably get the same stuff I have now.

5: I do landscape and street and general stuff… but I occasionally try my hand at manual focus bird photography.

(Eduardo Battaglia) #9

a. A good smartphone
b. Nikon’s APS-C + a good lens (I currently have a d5600 + Sigma 17-50 f2.8)
c. Nikon d850 + all Sigma’s ART series

a. Quick and easy to use interface with lots of options. VR and fast lenses.
b. I don’t care about video and JPG development in camera.

a. Any beginner kit will do, the “auto” in my Nikon is awesome when handling my camera to a normal.
b. 404. Not found.

a. A good telezoom (I have a Nikkor 55-300mm but I’m selling it, never saw a lens less sharp) and a good wide angle.
b. I think I would start with a cheap FF (d600) and climb my way up (although I love my d5600, is hard to find sharp DX lenses).

I always been interested in photography. I started about 6 months ago with a DSLR, previously I was taking photos and learning with a Pixel 2 and Nexus 6P.
I shoot mostly family/friends, landscape and some artsy photos.

(nosle) #10

1a Ricoh GR digital 10mp version
1b Pentax K-3 II apsc with a couple of limited lenses (what I own) plus a Laowa 12mm ultrawide (which I don’t own)
1c Perhaps a Hasselblad X1d and a couple of lenses.

2a Image quality. I also really, really like having a GPS in camera. Optical viewfinder.
2b Strange in camera effects

3a No brands are consumer friendly
3b No brands are floss friendly

4a Currently I only use one camera a smallish apsc with tiny lenses that I can take everywhere but it’s not super compact or easy to bring neither does it give absolute maximum IQ. Altough with the help of RT and pixel shift I’m getting quite far. I’m wondering if I should split the gear in two. A compact Ricoh GR II and a full frame camera. Or just add a GR or just add a better UWA lens.
4b I’m very happy with my gear but the choice above would remain unresolved

5 My main thing is buildings and spaces. Sometimes with a heavy tripod and slow framing, sometimes on the move with almost street photography workflow. The second thing is my kids and our families/friends.

I don’t photograph for the sake of images but because the act of photographing helps me see in the moment as well as record for the future. I frequently use my private collection of images as references for conversations and presentations at work. I’ve noticed I will never look again at an image I’ve taken if the content isn’t important or useful to me.

(Isaac Ullah) #11

a) Hmm… Probably either Ricoh GRii for fixed focal length compact, Panasonic ZS100 for compact zoom, or Olympus OMD E-M10iii with kit 14-42mm pancake for ILC (Which is basically what I landed on a few year’s back).
When I was really strapped for cash, I bought a Nikon Coolpix, and it was fine. But tiny, tiny, sensor.

b) Easy. Olympus OMD EM-5ii and the 12-40mm f2.8 pro.

c) Olympus EM1ii (which I now have), and full range of Pro zooms and Primes (which I don’t have) OR Pentax K-1ii and nice SMC K-A glass for FF. I’m not interested in Medium format at all (too big).

a) In body image stabilization, hands down. Wifi or bluetooth connection to offload photos to phone (I’ve gotten addicted to that). Articulating screen (makes it easier to shoot at angles). Size. MFT system is very compact, and I would have a hard time giving that up.

b) I get annoyed with the push towards more megapixles vs increasing dynamic range. Size and weight of FF camera and lenses is a big offput to me now.

a) I’m partial to Olympus, Panasonic, and Ricoh/Pentax for this reason.

b) Sadly, probably Cannon because of Magic Lantern and ubiquity of Cannon cameras. Ricoh/Pentax has embraced DNG format, though.

a) Right now I’m looking for a good autofocus portrait lens. I have an adapted Pentax SMC 50mm 1.7, which is an awesome portrait lens on MFT format. But no autofocus makes it difficult to use in some fast-moving situations, and no lens info in EXIF is annoying. I’m looking hard at the Olympus 45mm f1.8. It’s cheep on fleabay!

b) I’m pretty happy with my Olympus MFT system right now. Part of me wished I had gotten back into Pentax with the K-1, but part of me is happy I didn’t.

Landscapes, seascapes, travel, environmental portraiture, family snapshots.

(Martin Scharnke) #12

probably Cannon because of Magic Lantern and ubiquity of Cannon cameras.

:gun::camera: :gun::camera: :gun::camera:

Sorry, I couldn’t resist depicting those Cannon [sic] cameras.


(Isaac Ullah) #13

Hahaha! That was definitely an Autocorrect fail! :money_mouth_face:


People do refer to it as 大砲.

(Alessandro Amato Del Monte (Aadm)) #15

1a: cheap discontinued Nikon/Canon DSLR like D5200 with a “normal” lens (e.g., 35mm f/1.8 DX). Or an Olympus EM-10 with a couple of primes like the Olympus 25mm f/1.8 and the 45mm f/1.8. Also an old Fuji X-Pro1 or XT1 with a second-hand 35mm f/2 could be on the list. Also, I have (or had in the past) first-hand experience with all of these kits and they are all very good and entirely satisfying; I would probably prefer the m43 kit because it is light and has excellent image stabilization.

1b: A used D810 with 20mm f/1.8G, 35 f/1.8G, and 70-200 f/4. Perhaps the body itself now is not really “average” budget but give it another year or two and it will be. My preference for the light and cheaper fixed-focal length Nikon “G” lenses (as opposed to the monsters from Sigma) reduces the overall budget. As an alternative, something similar to my current setup: Fuji XT2 with maybe the entire series of f2 lenses (23, 35 and 50; I currently have only the 35mm f/2 in addition to the 18mm f/2).

1c: Maybe the most recent Leica M-body (M10 I think?) with a 28 and a 50mm lens? Just to scratch a itch… but if I had unlimited budget the Leica would be on top of an existing Fuji and Nikon D850 kit where I’d add lenses I will never buy like the Nikon 581/.4 and Fuji 56/1.2.

2a: mechanical feeling (why I like my Fuji now with all the knobs, I hate touchscreens and menus), operational speed (the Fuji still lags a little bit in this aspect; when I go back to my old D600 it feels so much faster to turn on, take a shot, focus etc). I would love to get a gps chip inside all cameras just because I’m a nerd but don’t really need it. Oh and a bigger, better AF-ON button on my Fuji XT2 (I have had to stick a piece of Sugru on top of the little flat button on the back of the camera to make it better).

2b: all the wasted space on the cameras for “picture modes” and other crap (one of the reason why I love my Fuji, the physical dials and knobs are all dedicated to setting aperture, iso, shutter speed; but you’re also free to customize the other buttons to do that sort of things if you like).

3 I don’t really have a strong opinion especially regarding FLOSS-friendliness, unfortunately that doesn’t seem to register in the manufacturers’ plans. Otherwise we would have seen Fuji sharing their secret sauce for RAW processing a while ago instead of relying on clever reverse-engineering by Adobe and all our fantastically clever developers that work on Darktable, Rawtherapee etc. Anyway, Fuji does seem to be better for overall customer happiness with respect to Nikon for example, with their constant firmware updates that genuinely improve their cameras inmany ways.

4a After a few years of trying different brands and lenses I have cut down to the essentials so now I’m happy with a single camera and 2-3 lenses max, one wide angle (28mm-eq focal length), normal (50mm) and short tele (~90mm). In my current kit I have the first two and then a telezoom (55-200 Fuji) so I’d like to add a good fast prime to that (since I’m cheap I will probably go for an used 60mm f2.4 which is much lighter and portable than the other offerings from Fuji like the 56, 80 or the 90mm). I’m happy with the overall performances and maybe I will get a 3rd or 4th iteration of the XT2 body only if it’s fast (operation-wise) as a DSLR and with an EVF which has to be drastically better to convince me to spend more money on gear. Having said that, the rumors about an upcoming full-frame Nikon mirrorless are interesting to me; if Nikon delivers a compact body with the same kind of controls and dials that I love inthe Fuji, plus a full frame sensor, the possibility to use old Nikon lenses with no adaptors and perhaps a small basic line of prime lenses (f2.8 to keep them small), then I would be tempted.

4b no big changes here, I’d still be a Nikon/Fuji guy.

5 I like to find photographs, I don’t go and build scenes or pose people. My daughter (6 yrs old) has learned this and she ignores me completely when I take photo so there’s very few photos of her smiling cheeses at the camera. I like mostly to document what’s around me trying to make interesting photos of my banal surroundings. Once upon a time I liked to say that I was mostly doing street photography but now I feel this is outdated and don’t really represent me or the kind of photography I do.


1a An entry-level DSLR with the kit lens.
1b More or less han I have now
1c More lenses, starting with a Canon 100mm IS macro, and some prime tele (400mm/F4), a bigger bag, and a porter. And work less and have more time to go to nice places to shoot nice things.

2a Optical view finder. Remote control, by whatever means (wired or not).
2b “Scene” stuff, in-camera filters

3a Can’t tell
3b Like some others, I have a Canon because it’s a bit more hackable, but this is despite Canon’s efforts. A FLOSS-friendly brand would provide a Linux version of its utilities…

4a Mostly envisioning replacing existing lenses. My 17-70 is making strange noises, possibly related to the spray from breaking waves two months ago. Otherwise I’m mostly in peripherals; next in the list: gimbal head, lighting tent, stand for a flash (or can I recycle a old mike stand?)
4b Essentially the same.

5 Postcards, family, things that go fast (motocycles and planes) or not so fast (boats), shapes, and whatever picture can provide a technical thrill.

(ron) #17

I think the question is hard to answer. That’s because it seems to me that one camera cannot cover the field. For instance, I do both still photography and video (novice in both areas). But - it seems the camera good for one is not good for the other.

Also, I would look at the FOSS factor. I like MJPEG video because it’s very FOSS friendly, and some brands have a few cameras in that realm, like Pentax, Canon, and Panasonic.

Really like my Pentax K5, but it really is a cannon (like previous typo) - and kinda heavy. So, for video the Sony 6xxx series seems good, except no MJPEG output.

So, one camera each for video/stills, and probably another separate set of cameras for very light work in the field, where the extra pounds would interfere with the game.

(Phil Howcroft) #18

Quite a question and some cracking answers .

I started my digital journey with canon DSLRs and I am still a canon user .

I’ve also gone mirrorless and love my Sony a6000 .

I like the small bodies and therefore my ideal camera would be mirrorless .

Lenses . Has to be a collection of prime lenses. The results from prime lenses are fabulous .

My genres of photography … I consider myself a street photographer… I do the 100 strangers project. I love urban photos…streeties …love doing portraits . My dog is my go to model :grinning:

As for open source … the developers are awesome . I thank you all and respect you for the work and commitment.

I cannot believe the masses of photographers who look no further than Lightroom and Photoshop. I tell them I am an " open source photographer " and they look at me “gone out” :grinning::grinning:

Anyway summing up mirrorless, small bodies , prime lenses


1a. A used/refurbished Lumia phone.
1b/c. I would wait to see what CaNikon do with full frame mirrorless, particularly the lens mount. Not long to wait if the rumours are to be believed – Nikon may make an announcement as early as this month, and Canon is expected to announce something in September.

2a. Articulating screen and in-built wireless flash.
2b. Abhorrence is largely the inability to remap buttons (in my 600D) to functions I would like to use. I never use the depth-of-field preview button in my camera, would love to be able to use it for something else (several other buttons also qualify for this).

3a. I have only used Canon, and I like the easy availability of after sales service in my country and city. The free-as-in-beer DPP software is also very nice and they recently added support for older cameras such as the 300D and D30.
3b. Canon has FLOSS support in the form of Magic Lantern and CHDK but their role seems confined to looking the other way rather than actively encouraging or supporting these projects.

  1. The possibilities in mirrorless cameras, especially MILCs with interchangeable EVFs.
    4a. I need a good tripod, and another flash or three wouldn’t hurt – other than financially, I mean :slight_smile:
    4b. I would look into mirrorless, provided we have good offerings from manufacturers whose systems have good 3rd party accessory support. They also need to have a good presence in my country.

  2. I do a lot of flash-lit photography.