April 26, 2012 (photography)
DSLR, Point-n-Shoot or iPhone?

A few of my friends were chatting about whether it makes sense to buy a small form factor camera these days, or whether the iPhone fills enough of the gap. I thought is was worthwhile publishing this conversation for future reference (and for ridicule when they start changing their opinions in the future)

I’ve been feeling the itch to upgrade my old D80 – it’s not that strong yet since it’s still treating me well. What I really do keep on going back and forth on frankly is a point-n-shoot. Lugging an 18-135mm lens around on vacations is a royal pain in the ass.

I have been using the Nikon 1 V1 as my travel camera (India, Chicago, Boston, NY, etc.) with 2 lenses. So far it is the perfect balance between portability, image quality and features.
I am struggling with this decision - I held off the 7D to wait for the mkIII, but now that it is here I think what I really want is a camera with smaller form factor, smaller price, great low-light performance and super quick AF. Fingers crossed for the rumored cannon mirror-less as a Leica M9 is a bit too rich…
Also look at Fuji X100 and X Pro 1.The M9 does not have autofocus—only good for landscape and still life where you can take your time setting up/focusing and have the opportunity retake shots. Plus the lenses are $5000+ each.
I think what I’m looking for, to sidetrack a bit, is a pocket point-n-shoot between my iPhone and a DSLR. Not sure if any of us shoot with those anymore?
The Fuji X Pro 1 and the Leica M9 would be too big for that. I would look at Fuji X100, Fuji X10 and Nikon 1 V1 — these are similar sized with different strengths and weaknesses. Even smaller would be the Panasonic LX—but it has some trade-offs. Beyond that you are better off with the iPhone.
I actually think the canon powershot s100 is an awesome little camera. Check it out.
I have to say even the s90 (by reputation) and s95's (through ownership) that preceded it were awesome and I've heard the s100 is several steps farther along. That said, I think I've found that this form factor is not enough better than my iPhone given the convenience and “always there“ effects of the phone. It's clearly a personal choice but I think for now I'm a going to operate with phone and SLR only.
Thanks… I’ll take a look but I think I’ll get a different lens for my Nikon. I’ve a few months before our next big trip and I’m trying to find something more versatile / lighter / low-light than the 18-105 VR I have right now. Plus my wife hates using the 35mm f/1.8.
There are specialist lawyers for these sorts of 'irreconcilable issues'. The 35mm is meant to be a great lens.
The other ones I like for DX are the 17-55mm f/2.8 and the 12-24mm f/4 if you like wide. Assuming you are staying with DX for now? Agree that the 35mm f/1.8 is actually a great lens—<xxxx> uses that as his primary lens.
Yeah the 35mm is awesome. I also use the 50mm f1.4 that is great.
Oh don’t get me wrong – I love the 35mm f/1.8 to death and it’s usually mounted on my D80. I used to use the 50mm f/1.8 but I found it really hard to use taking pictures of kids indoors since they bounce around a lot. I only throw a zoom lens on when I get the feeling my wife is going to want to take pictures with the SLR. I will have to revisit the 17-55mm f/2.8 range again. I tried one from Tamron a few years back – really inconsistent light metering esp when using any sort of flash (again, because my wife uses the SLR a lot but more like a glorified point-n-shoot); then again, it was on the older D50 and I noticed a big step up when moving from the D50 to the D80.