Travel Camera Suggestions?

///AMG

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I really know nothing about photography, but I am going on a month long vacation to Vietnam and China this summer so I wanted to get something better than my phone to take pictures with. I am looking for something good enough to print pictures and take some videos, but not too large like a DSLR. My budget is $1k, unless you can convince me that Ill get something amazing if I spend more.

EDIT: Chose the Sony A6500 with the 18-105mm f/4 G lens.
 
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northrop

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I'm a big fan of Sony's RX100 camera series for that purpose, and it fits your budget perfectly. There are five different versions of the camera (I through V, I at $500, and V at $950), and for the most part it's the same exact camera, they just differ by the amount of features. It would be up to you, to determine what features are important to you. https://www.dpreview.com/articles/7237085229/spoilt-for-choice-which-sony-rx100-is-right-for-you here's a good write up comparing all five of them.
 

///AMG

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I'm a big fan of Sony's RX100 camera series for that purpose, and it fits your budget perfectly. There are five different versions of the camera (I through V, I at $500, and V at $950), and for the most part it's the same exact camera, they just differ by the amount of features. It would be up to you, to determine what features are important to you. https://www.dpreview.com/articles/7237085229/spoilt-for-choice-which-sony-rx100-is-right-for-you here's a good write up comparing all five of them.

Thanks I'll read up on the RX100.
 

Krixon

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Another vote for the RX100 series.

My wife, who is a professional photographer, has one of these (an RX100 V if I'm not mistaken) and an RX1 and both have been fantastic. Very durable (she's dropped both several times) and the picture quality is quite impressive. While she has a 5D Mark IV and a 1Dx with a whole range of lenses, she often takes these two out into the field simply because of the ease of use. Her only gripe is that the battery life on both is a bit lacking, so I'd factor a few extras into your budget.

I would also take care to pick the proper SD card if you opt for the models that can shoot 4k30p - the wrong SD card will ruin your footage. We learned that the hard way, even though the card we bought was technically within the recommended specs.
 

///AMG

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Another vote for the RX100 series.

My wife, who is a professional photographer, has one of these (an RX100 V if I'm not mistaken) and an RX1 and both have been fantastic. Very durable (she's dropped both several times) and the picture quality is quite impressive. While she has a 5D Mark IV and a 1Dx with a whole range of lenses, she often takes these two out into the field simply because of the ease of use. Her only gripe is that the battery life on both is a bit lacking, so I'd factor a few extras into your budget.

I would also take care to pick the proper SD card if you opt for the models that can shoot 4k30p - the wrong SD card will ruin your footage. We learned that the hard way, even though the card we bought was technically within the recommended specs.

Never thought about the SD card. Guess Ill make sure to buy a really good one, I would be super pissed if I captured a really good moment and it was corrupted or something.
 

UnknownSouljer

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If you don't mind being "stuck" at one focal length (35mm equivalent), the Fuji X100F is a great option. Its "limitation" is also a great strength (it will teach you about using what you have to frame and to 'zoom' with your feet). It has a fast lens and is great for street and vacation shooting. It's relatively small and compact, but big enough to have a comfortable grip and full analog controls.

If you want to have a camera with interchangeable lenses. I'd recommend the Sony a6300. It has probably the best sensor is the sub $1000 range. It shoots great 4k , has excellent auto-focus, and a decent lens selection. For vacationing I'd recommend one of the pancake lenses, or surprisingly the kit lens (it's incredibly compact while offering a decent amount of focal lengths).

Both cameras can be had used for a good amount under $1k. For the a6300 you'd have to buy a lens, but the kit lens can be had for sub $100. Or bundled together with the camera (I'm seeing some of those going for about $700-$850). As with all used things, patience can net better deals.

Otherwise, the RX100 is definitely a great option. The "IV" can be had for a decent amount under $1000. I'm seeing $500-$700 on eBay.

===

EDIT: On second thought, I don't think getting an a6300 makes a lot of sense if you aren't at minimum a tech enthusiast. The a6300 has overly complex menus and not great battery life. But it does have some of the best output that can be had for sub $1000. Or really at any price on a super 35 sensor.
 
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///AMG

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If you don't mind being "stuck" at one focal length (35mm equivalent), the Fuji X100F is a great option. Its "limitation" is also a great strength (it will teach you about using what you have to frame and to 'zoom' with your feet). It has a fast lens and is great for street and vacation shooting. It's relatively small and compact, but big enough to have a comfortable grip and full analog controls.

If you want to have a camera with interchangeable lenses. I'd recommend the Sony a6300. It has probably the best sensor is the sub $1000 range. It shoots great 4k , has excellent auto-focus, and a decent lens selection. For vacationing I'd recommend one of the pancake lenses, or surprisingly the kit lens (it's incredibly compact while offering a decent amount of focal lengths).

Both cameras can be had used for a good amount under $1k. For the a6300 you'd have to buy a lens, but the kit lens can be had for sub $100. Or bundled together with the camera (I'm seeing some of those going for about $700-$850). As with all used things, patience can net better deals.

Otherwise, the RX100 is definitely a great option. The "IV" can be had for a decent amount under $1000. I'm seeing $500-$700 on eBay.

===

EDIT: On second thought, I don't think getting an a6300 makes a lot of sense if you aren't at minimum a tech enthusiast. The a6300 has overly complex menus and not great battery life. But it does have some of the best output that can be had for sub $1000. Or really at any price on a super 35 sensor.

Would the quality of the photos be significantly better on the mirror less a series than an RX100 or Fuji X100F. Wife said that if it is significant I can spend more. I dont mind learning a bit in the next two months. This is going to be one of those once in a lifetime vacations for us so we want the best pictures that I can take.
 

UnknownSouljer

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Would the quality of the photos be significantly better on the mirror less a series than an RX100 or Fuji X100F. Wife said that if it is significant I can spend more. I dont mind learning a bit in the next two months. This is going to be one of those once in a lifetime vacations for us so we want the best pictures that I can take.

Ultimately with everything being suggested in here, the limitation will far more likely be your skill rather than the ability of the equipment. It's hard to describe unless you're into some other hobby... but for the lack of other analogies, Van Halen could pick up any guitar and make it sound great. Sure there are better and worse guitars, but only up to a certain point. And then after that point it's just preferences and tradeoffs.

I said what I said in my retraction, because if photography isn't a major hobby for you, then my suggestions may not be the best. I think the a6300 is pretty high up there in terms of output, but unfortunately Sony with the a6300 (and other A series cameras) has a nightmare menu system and for non-photographers it isn't friendly at all to learn with. The super short version is that the Sony has assignable buttons, and the only way to make the camera more friendly is by assigning those buttons. However each photographer has different ways they want to use the camera, and as a result most end up with cameras that function very differently from one another. This is compounded if you don't even understand what you're assigning and why. Other camera manufacturers tend to not have assignable buttons like this and think about the ergonomics and placement of buttons much more. The customization can be a great pro it also can be a really big con, especially when you're just trying to learn. This and when just trying to do basic things, you have to run through a crazy amount of menus. To use the camera well, it requires a lot of rote memory (and being able to really assign those custom buttons well).
I suppose you could put it into some auto mode, but then that defeats the purpose, and will likely be limiting anyway (I often find that fully auto modes make the shutter speed too low, leading to blurry photos in challenging lighting situations).

The Fuji X100F is a solid choice for a camera, but it's limitation is that it has a fixed lens and only one focal length. If you're used to shooting on a cell phone (and not pinching in to zoom) then you'll be used to using a fixed "Prime" lens. 35mm is a very versatile focal length, but if you want to "zoom" at all, then it won't work for you. I personally prefer to work with primes, but a lot of people when starting out value versatility of focal length more than utilizing the one focal length they have and moving to get the shot. People with high creative mindset will probably fall into using it more, as long as they think: "what can I do with this" rather than "I wish I could do this".

===

The RX100 IV/V then is a solid choice if you don't want to learn photography. Or the Canon Powershot G1X III. If for the future you want to take photography seriously as a hobby and invest that "10,000" hours, then hop into the a6300. I have to say though I might be slow, but it took me several years just to have a solid grasp of the basics (like the exposure triangle). 2 months may not be enough time. Other people can comment with their experiences, but honestly it was a bit of a struggle to really solidly learn photography. It's definitely not as easy as the general public thinks it is.

I already said enough. If you have other questions, let us know.
 

northrop

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If you want to pixel peep, then yes.. the a6300, with its larger sensor, will have a slight IQ advantage over the RX100 (and you can see the quick comparison here), and it's more noticeable as you crank that ISO past 1600.

All cameras mentioned here will come with a degree of learning curve, and as mentioned by UnknownSouljer, a6300 is far from being a toy camera, and will require a far greater time investment to learn over RX100 and Fuji's offering. There's a good reason you will find hour long videos on youtube on just setting up the camera, let alone how to use it.

About a year ago I suggested one of the Sony Alphas to a coworker (might have been a5000 at the time, I really don't remember now). She wanted to take pretty pictures of her kid's first communion and price was of no concern. She seemed eager and willing to learn the camera, which is why I suggested the Alpha. To the best of my knowledge, she used it once at the event, and never picked up the camera after that because it was too much of a camera for her. Never mind the photos... in the full auto mode, a lot of them came out questionable at best, though I can't verify any of the settings, so I'm just going by what she's told me. For all I know, she selected wrong options and got lost with the menus.

The point is, if you are dead set on a6300, then start watching youtube videos right now while you wait for the camera to arrive. Pick up Understanding Exposure, read it cover to cover, and then read it again. And then when the camera arrives on the third day, start shooting... and don't stop.

And most importantly, don't let the camera dictate your vacation. Have a kick ass time, and take pictures later! ;)

I have to say though I might be slow, but it took me several years just to have a solid grasp of the basics (like the exposure triangle). 2 months may not be enough time. Other people can comment with their experiences, but honestly it was a bit of a struggle to really solidly learn photography. It's definitely not as easy as the general public thinks it is.

I already said enough. If you have other questions, let us know.
Make that two of us. I've been shooting for over 10 years, and still learning how to expose properly in various condition.
 
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IdiotInCharge

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A word about image quality:

You can spend more and get a different solution, probably with better image quality than the RX100 series offer- that's not that hard!

But the best camera in the world is the one that you have with you that gets you the shot. That is what makes the RX100 series the #1 travel camera recommendation. It's small enough to take with you everywhere and has just enough image quality to get great shots, largely limited by your own skill more than anything else.


So, generally speaking, you'd want to start there. If you find your shots lacking, then you can certainly start a thread here and ask why, we'll be glad to help- and answering that 'why' for yourself is how you'll both learn and how you'll know whether you could actually make use of an investment into something with better image quality.
 

bman212121

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I actually wonder if you shouldn't just wait until you get over there to buy something. It depends on who you know over there, and if someone could help you find one. You might be able to get the same piece of hardware for a lot cheaper in Vietnam than you would in the US.

I've never used an RX100, but I would also say that's probably a decent trade off camera. A lot of the point and shoot cameras use a smaller sensor size, and still leave a lot to be desired compared to a dSLR. That would more or less split the gap between the two markets.


I'd go against the Fuji X100F recommendation myself, but a lot of that has to do with style. The Fuji is probably a great range to be a "street" lens. If you're going to snap pictures of the front of buildings, you can probably get far enough away it should be wide enough. If you really want a wide landscape, you're probably going to stitch together a pano regardless of the camera you have, so it's not a huge deal either way. You can take pictures of a small group of subjects as long as you can get fairly close to them. But any time you have a distance limitation (You can't physically walk closer) that is going to really hamper your ability to get a shot. I'd consider 35mm to be in the < 25ft from the subject range. If you can get within 25 feet you can probably get a good pic. If it's 50 feet away, it better be a gigantic subject (Like a house) 50 feet to take a picture of even a horse is going to end up as a landscape picture.

The a6300 might be another decent consideration. I always think of the H300 when someone recommends that, but the H300 is a fat body and certainly not pocket able. The kit lens is 16 - 50, which puts it at ~24mm - ~75mm ish range. (EDIT: it's 1.5 crop factor, I wasn't sure at first) So it's a bit wider than the Fuji, and would have enough reach that you should be able to work with it. I would even lie that you probably will want more reach in some situations, but you can probably make it work well for a lot of things and just ignore things that are too far out.

The RX100 IV should be about 24 - 70mm equivalent, so I wouldn't even consider the differences between it and the a6300 to be noteworthy. You won't notice the difference at either end, especially if my math was off slightly. IMO consider them both to have 2 positions. You'll probably either take a picture with the lens zoomed all the way in, or all the way out. Maybe once in a while you'll use it somewhere in the center, but until you start worrying about how the images are cropped before taking them, you'll just snap pictures where you stand without too much regard for it.
 
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///AMG

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I've been reading a bit about the A6x00 series and in my mind it seems like for about the same price as the RX100 it is more future proof and flexible down the road than the RX100. So I think I am going to read the book northrop suggested and then decide if I want to get a more technical camera or just the point and shoot.
 

bman212121

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She wanted to take pretty pictures of her kid's first communion and price was of no concern. She seemed eager and willing to learn the camera, which is why I suggested the Alpha. To the best of my knowledge, she used it once at the event, and never picked up the camera after that because it was too much of a camera for her. Never mind the photos... in the full auto mode, a lot of them came out questionable at best,.

You should have suggested a full frame then! The first thing that no one understands is that lighting is key. Communion is going to be a tricky lighting situation to deal with, and unless you have FF you better have a decent flash with you. (Better than the on camera) The first thing the camera is going to do is roll that shutter right down to 1/5 of a second in auto mode and blur the heck out of everything they take. The person probably assumed that if they had good gear the camera just does all of the work and they would be able to get pictures that are 80% of the way to yours.

Light is #1 priority, so you need to get as much as you can, and the closer to the subject is usually best.
 

bman212121

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I've been reading a bit about the A6x00 series and in my mind it seems like for about the same price as the RX100 it is more future proof and flexible down the road than the RX100. So I think I am going to read the book northrop suggested and then decide if I want to get a more technical camera or just the point and shoot.

Read book: Understand it completely, makes perfect sense.
Pickup camera: Set settings, camera proceeds to kick you directly below the belt
Read book again...
 

Mav451

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Yeah I've never been the biggest fan of the RX100 because it doesn't have (at a minimum) the dual control dials that say the LX100 has. Can't really learn to shoot manually when the lack of physical controls encourages more 'auto' shooting. Regardless, I consider 1" sensor P&S more of a secondary option (i.e. concert venues not allowing detachable lens cameras) and not what I would take on trip or vacation as a primary.

For an Asia trip, I feel like an UW lens would be especially useful, but I'm not at all familiar with the Sony lens ecosystem.

Regardless of what you choose though, I'd try to start shooting as soon as you can. You want to have used the camera *and lens* at least a few weeks, or better, a few months before you go on this vacation.

Some other more general advice: Never buy camera bodies new. This is even more important for novice buyers, who are more likely to quit/give up if they are intimidated. Always buy used so that the depreciation is already built into the price :p
 

///AMG

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Yeah I've never been the biggest fan of the RX100 because it doesn't have (at a minimum) the dual control dials that say the LX100 has. Can't really learn to shoot manually when the lack of physical controls encourages more 'auto' shooting. Regardless, I consider 1" sensor P&S more of a secondary option (i.e. concert venues not allowing detachable lens cameras) and not what I would take on trip or vacation as a primary.

For an Asia trip, I feel like an UW lens would be especially useful, but I'm not at all familiar with the Sony lens ecosystem.

Regardless of what you choose though, I'd try to start shooting as soon as you can. You want to have used the camera *and lens* at least a few weeks, or better, a few months before you go on this vacation.

Some other more general advice: Never buy camera bodies new. This is even more important for novice buyers, who are more likely to quit/give up if they are intimidated. Always buy used so that the depreciation is already built into the price :p

Im not worried about the depreciation, I kind of want to get an accidental protection plan/extended warranty on the camera just in case. But if used is substantially cheaper than I will consider it.
 

UnknownSouljer

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Im not worried about the depreciation, I kind of want to get an accidental protection plan/extended warranty on the camera just in case. But if used is substantially cheaper than I will consider it.

I don’t buy anything new. The only only possible types of I insurance that would be worth it would be accidental damage and theft. With a big weight on theft. Honestly warranties are scams. Just never leave your camera vulnerable while you’re on vacation (like hanging easily off your self that can be clipped and then grabbed). Hold it with two hands in front of you. And don’t drop it. I lived in Vietnam for a year and never once had an issue with my new at the time 5d2 and 24-70mm.

The only thing in photography that I’d consider it worth it to buy new specifically for a warranty is a drone. DJIs extended plan gives up to two full drone replacements for accidental damage including user error and crashes. I’ve used it, so I can say first hand it’s great. But everything else I’d save the money.

Over time the savings are too much too ignore unless you have more money than sense. I just started moving to Sony, and in just 4-5 parts of the move, I’ve already saved at least $1000 over buying new.

I literally paid half price for my 5d3, and that has been in service for 3 years. I’d always recommend keeping the money in your pocket.

===

EDIT: On the a6300, I personally picked up an a6500 for primarily shooting video on. I spent probably about 2 hours just setting the camera up menu by menu. While configuring the buttons and finding out how to do what most photographers would consider basic functions of the camera, I went back and forth Youtubing solutions or menu settings. In other words, I knew what I was trying to do with the camera, but had to find Sony's way of implementing it. And this is coming from someone that understands photography and cameras and how they operate in general.

I imagine it's an even bigger nightmare if you're trying to learn what you're doing. For seasoned people, I think it's worth the investment, which is marked by my desire to sell my Canon setup and move to a second full frame Sony camera that I'll use primarily for stills (while still being able to overlap using both camera systems simultaneously if I need two stills or two film cameras and have their output and lenses match).
 
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///AMG

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I'm between the A6300 and A6500. I don't really know what's a good price on either. I am looking to buy as soon as possible though. Also need some suggestions on lens.
 

///AMG

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So there are deals for the A6500 with the 55-210 f/4.5-6.3 for $1250 or the 16-50 F3.5-5.6 OSS for $1200 or the A6300 with both for $1050. What do you guys think is the better deal?

EDIT: not 16-150, 16-50.
 
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northrop

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A6500 with the 55-210 f/4.5-6.3 for $1250 - are you positive? That kit makes no sense.

16-150 F3.5-5.6 OSS for $1200 - This would a far better deal.
 

northrop

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WTF? who sells camera kits with 55-210 as the only lens? No.

Get the 16-50. And add the tele lens later.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1324393-REG/sony_alpha_a6500_mirrorless_digital.html - if you want to splurge on a quality glass, and have additional $1k burning hole in your pocket.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1349266-REG/sony_alpha_a6500_mirrorless_digital.html - this is another 1 lens kit, that will give you more reach over the 16-50 lens, and provides a good all around performance. Much less compact when compared to the 16-50, but you pick up a little more versatility.
 
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///AMG

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IdiotInCharge

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Too bad the Fuji X-H1 16-55/2.8 kit is another grand on top of that- the achilles' heel of Sony's crop system is the overpriced average performing 'premium' lenses. The 16-70/4 is more like the 24-70/4 than the 24-105/4...
 

IdiotInCharge

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Any lens in the 300-500 range you recommend? I had a budget of $2k but I already used $250 for a gopro so I am sitting at $1750~ to get the rest of what I need.

If you could find an 18-55, but if not grab the 16-50. It's not a great lens but it is light and compact and will get the job done.
 

northrop

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Any lens in the 300-500 range you recommend? I had a budget of $2k but I already used $250 for a gopro so I am sitting at $1750~ to get the rest of what I need.
Your option is to get either this:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...e_6500m_b_alpha_a6500_mirrorless_digital.html
which seems a little overpriced, but it will basically cover most of the range with a single lens.

Or get one of the kits you linked first (with 16-50 or the 55-210), and just add the second lens from the other kit (total $ will be the same, no matter what you do).

Personally, I'd go with the kit with 18-105 https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1349266-REG/sony_alpha_a6500_mirrorless_digital.html and call it a day.
 
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IdiotInCharge

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Right! I forgot that the 18-135 was coming out, got a line on any reviews?

And that 18-105/4 is a powerzoom- might be an annoyance with that much range, but I do hope that it's better than the 16-70/4!
 

///AMG

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Ok thanks guys. Let me read and look around. I will probably order sometime this week.
 

northrop

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Right! I forgot that the 18-135 was coming out, got a line on any reviews?

And that 18-105/4 is a powerzoom- might be an annoyance with that much range, but I do hope that it's better than the 16-70/4!

Just looked into those powerzoom's a little more. Yeah, this completely changes the game. I'd stay clear of that 18-105/4 for still photography. Guess that makes the 18-135 kit lens all that much more desirable.

16-50 is also a powerzoom. Hmm... OP, if you want to prioritize still photography, get that 18-135 kit lens (that Zeiss 18-70 kit I linked above would be killer, but it's out of your price range at $2k), but if video is of priority, I guess you could consider the 16-50 with the 55-210 or the 18-105 instead.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I do like how Canon did their powerzoom by adding small external modules. Might not be as clean, but it certainly is more handy for a stills-first system.

And it's annoying given that that 18-105/4 is likely to be a pretty decent offering.

Of course, Sony could just put out an f/2.8 standard zoom; maybe Sigma and Tamron will step in here given their renewed focus on mirrorless.
 

northrop

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That's exactly why I initially suggested the 18-105/4 as the go to lens (purely based on range and aperture alone), but the more I look into this Sony system, the less I like it... but that might stem from the fact that I'm so used to my Nikon gear, and I'm a creature of habit.

I'm pretty sure Sony does have a selection of /2.8 lenses, but they are similar in size to Nikon/Canon (and probably in price, too). Not exactly ergonomically friendly with the little camera like that.

Do you know what's the battery usage of the powerzooms?
 

IdiotInCharge

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No idea on battery usage, and no, Sony doesn't have f/2.8 zooms for their APS-C *mirrorless cameras. Neither does Canon (for their mirrorless) and their DSLR version is almost as old and outdated as Nikon's. But at least Nikon put out a decent 16-80/2.8-4 for DX.

Fuji is the only APS-C mirrorless maker to have a fast standard zoom at the moment, and they also have an 18-55/2.8-4 that's pretty compact. They just want so much more than Sony for IBIS...

[I don't consider battery usage to be a real issue; they're small enough, and Sony cameras can charge off of USB, so they can easily charge in the car etc.- it's a bigger deal for those wanting to shoot more professionally than for travelers IMO]

*[they do have an outdated fast DSLR/DSLT APS-C lens, as you noted same size/weight class as Canikon, and it's honestly not worth the effort to adapt given Sony's half-assed approach to adapting their own lenses...]
 
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///AMG

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No idea on battery usage, and no, Sony doesn't have f/2.8 zooms for their APS-C *mirrorless cameras. Neither does Canon (for their mirrorless) and their DSLR version is almost as old and outdated as Nikon's. But at least Nikon put out a decent 16-80/2.8-4 for DX.

Fuji is the only APS-C mirrorless maker to have a fast standard zoom at the moment, and they also have an 18-55/2.8-4 that's pretty compact. They just want so much more than Sony for IBIS...

[I don't consider battery usage to be a real issue; they're small enough, and Sony cameras can charge off of USB, so they can easily charge in the car etc.- it's a bigger deal for those wanting to shoot more professionally than for travelers IMO]

*[they do have an outdated fast DSLR/DSLT APS-C lens, as you noted same size/weight class as Canikon, and it's honestly not worth the effort to adapt given Sony's half-assed approach to adapting their own lenses...]

Yea, I have seen a lot of reviews ding the A6500 for the battery thats worse than the A6300. I figure Ill get 2 or 3 extra batteries and I could use a power bank to charge when its in my backpack should last me a day.
 

///AMG

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 19, 2012
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Upon further inspection, to my understanding the 6500 and 6300 isnt that big of a difference in photo and video quality other than IBIS. If I get the 6300 I can get the 18-135 or the 18-105 and all the extra batteries I need within my budget. Otherwise if I get the A6500 I would be stuck with the lower quality lenses given my budget.

So better camera + worse lens or worse camera + better lens?
 
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