Which Camera?


Near to Keswick in the Lake District. Sony RX10, ISO 80, f/5.6, 1/320″.

OK, here’s the question a friend and I were recently kicking around. If you could only have one camera and lens, what would it be and why?

For me, this is really difficult. I have a lot of cameras and quite a collection of lenses. I can see the benefits and drawbacks of each and none is perfect for every eventuality. If I had to restrict myself to one, it would be the Sony RX10 for the following reasons:

  1. The colours are wonderful and the image quality is good (at least it is now that I have had the lens replaced). I would though like a little more dynamic range in the RAW files.
  2. The lens is excellent. I really like the fast f/2.8 constant aperture and the focal range is very good at 24 – 200mm equivalent. This is almost perfect for a hiking camera as you never need to change lens.
  3. The battery lasts all day.
  4. It fits in a small shoulder bag even with a couple of Lee Seven 5 filters and an adapter ring.
  5. This is a hard one to describe but the camera is a joy to use. The quality is good and it somehow just feels right.

Sure, there is a lot wrong with the RX10 but for what I need and use a camera for, it’s pretty good. If it wasn’t the RX10 it would be the Fuji X-T2 with 18-135mm lens.

19 thoughts on “Which Camera?

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  1. Based on those I have and my focus on land and seascapes with a need for portability, my Panasonic G80 + Olympus 12-40 lens makes a great stills package (not interested in video) especially with the built in focus stacking.

  2. Difficult to decide, having so many different cameras and lenses and using them for different purposes. Nikon 1 is light, versatile, very fast and user friendly. But ultimately, IQ not quite enough for bigger prints. Film cameras between 35mm and 4×5? Very nice, very tempting. In the end, probably, I would keep Nikon D810 (later D850) as a compromise…

      1. Why “difficult to get on” exactly? I was thinking about half format myself because of the weight, but when I added the respective weights of new lenses (which I do not have and would have to buy first), I discovered, that the total weight would be only marginally less than FF.

        The question which one lens only is even more difficult to decide. I can not 🙂

        For travels, I take always 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200 zooms with me. 16-35 is fairly new and I feel, that soon I get accustomed to it enough. Maybe, 24-70 will be left out in fututre.That is my “light” kit. I should add, that if I expect windy or stormy weather, then two bodies are a must, not to be forced to change lenses. (good training for an old man like me, but we are proud, aren’t we?) If you mean it really can be only one lens, then probably 24-70 would be it.

        For “serious” mountain photogrpahy, for the seaside and sea, I always take a tripod and often primes instead of zooms with me, either 21, 28, 105mm, or a set of tilt-/shift-primes. Until now those were usually 24 and 85 (it can macro too). Lately, I am taking 19mm sometimes with me instead of 24mm, to get used to it. Right now I am enamored to stitches, so pano-stuff is a must.

        All this is not exactly “lightweight”, but it is not much heavier than half format and it is much lighter and easier to handle outdoors (and cheaper) than digital MF or film 4×5.

        I cannot say to have been able to produce excellent images, I just like to make photographs. For me it is time one gets lost, just looking, photographing etc. Postprocessing and printing them is something I did not find enough time for up to now. I hope it will change – all the possibilities modern software encompasses are so much more than dark room of old! But firstly, one has to learn the software and I find it quite a high step to learn, to reach the state one is able just to use it spontanaeously and does not have to ponder how to do something. A long way I suppose.

        Sorry for my english, I am trying hard…

      2. Hi Robert, Please don’t apologise for your English. I understand perfectly.
        The small format cameras have become quite heavy recently if you want to buy the high quality lenses. This is again once of the reasons I live the RX10 so much; the weight is perfect for me. It sounds like yo have a lot of equipment your carrying round. Does choice get in the way of your taking photos? It does for me. I find I am more creative when I reduce the equipment I carry. I also find that if I reduce the number of images I shoot, my work also improves. Often I don’t think enough before I take the photo. I do hope you find time to invest in the post processing. It will pay off for you I’m sure.

  3. Let me put in a word here for the Olympus EM5.2. When arthritis in my hands and wrists stopped me from carrying my Nikon SLR and Mamiya RZ, I switched over to the then new Olympus EM5. That was 5 years ago. It allowed me to continue with photography which I thought was lost to me after 40 years. I upgraded to the Mark 2 a year ago and bought the 12-40mm and 75mm lenses. I’m just at the edge of what I can comfortably handle also none of the newer (12-100mm and 40-150mm) lenses for me. As to the camera itself – great image stabilization which I need and great color which I love. I’ve flirted with others, but my heart is true to Olympus.

  4. I am a Nikon user and have the D810 superb camera, lenses I have are Latest 24-70 2.8vr, 14-24, 2.8 and latest 70-200 2,8 vr, and they all give excellent image quality. When I had a Epson printer I could print some at A2, but now have a Cannon and can only go up to A3+.

    1. Interesting choice. I had that lens and couldn’t get on with it. The images were often blurred and grainy so I returned it and put the money towards the RX10. I suspect I had a bad copy which is a shame because the focal range is perfect. I really like the 18-135 on my Fuji X-T2 but I would like just a little more reach. I can imagine the 14-140 making a really great pairing with the GX8.

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