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Author Topic: camera to take xcountry/downhill skiing  (Read 3697 times)
bwana
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« on: October 27, 2013, 09:18:54 AM »
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I usually keep my x10 in my goggle pocket in my shell. Stopping to take a pic of a frozen waterfall, a tree, or even doing a handheld multishot pano is usually not too painful. Compared to something like a FF camera where I would need a tripod. Even getting the FF out of a skiing pack would be a nuisance. Not to mention the added weight of doing a double black with 20 pounds of glass on your back. Plus the flexibility of a zoom is great when you really cannot get off your skis to zoom w your feet too easily.

I have been looking at some of my shots and wanting to print large. I got a sigma DP2m and all I can say is 'thank you sigma'. Trouble is, that camera lacks a lot of functionality-no zoom, slow to work, small frame buffer, 10 seconds to write an image to an SD card!

So I come here to ask for a recommendation. I like the size of an APS-C sensor. Some might say that given the subject matter- brightly lit scenes, landscapes, big distances-I dont really need a big sensor. Something like a sony RX100 would suffice. A 1 inch sensor is not that much of an upgrade from a 2/3" sensor that the fuji has. And the trouble is, the Fuji is magnificent at capturing apres ski people. Quick, sharp, great colors-although I always shoot raw and pp.

Yes I know I could get a great experience form an Em-1 or XE-2 but there you are with the bulk again. Any suggestions?

 i was considering the sony rx10 until i saw it only had a 1" sensor. i am not an action shooter so fast focus is not such a need. lens reach (to minimize cropping) resolution and dynamic range are what i seek. maybe just a couple of merrills will suit me.?
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DanielStone
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2013, 11:14:55 AM »
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XE-2 w/ 18-55mm Fuji AF?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1008069-REG/fujifilm_16405018_x_e2_mirrorless_digital_camera.html


[EDIT]
re-read your post, sorry didn't see your "it's too bulky" line Wink
« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 01:24:09 PM by DanielStone » Logged
Mjollnir
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2013, 11:19:34 AM »
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Small and light, you say?

The latest Panny sensor in the smallest (by far) M4/3 body.  The new GM1

http://www.43rumors.com/next-panasonic-gm1-roundup/
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stever
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2013, 01:03:35 AM »
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Sony nex-6 or Panasonic gx-7.  evf is a must in bright conditions.  I've used the RX100 skiing -images are pretty good, but composing on the lcd is still terrible even if better than other similar cameras.
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petermfiore
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2013, 07:10:33 AM »
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I have been using a Canon G1X for just such an occasion with outstanding results. Give it a look, it's compact and easily pocketable for your intentions. The Canon's sensor is larger than M4/3 and does a wonderful job with it's zoom lens .

Peter

Michael's review here.   http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/canon_g1x_field_report.shtml
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 07:18:31 AM by petermfiore » Logged

Raymond Bleesz
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2013, 08:51:16 AM »
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This is not really related to your posting, however, historically I would like to share with you this short story/photo.. Back in the old days, 1970's, as a ski photographer, weight was a factor for sure, but you had little choice back then. My hardware was a Nikon F2, without motor, hand held, BW film and in this case perhaps a 135mm or 180mm. The film, asa 400, I processed myself and shooting snow was technically always a challenge, metering wise. And at 10,500 feet above sea level, Loveland Ski Area, Georgetown, Co, it was always cold, finger tips without feeling, and always dealing with condensation. At the time, I used a LowePro waist pack. Although this is not my "finest" ski photo, it still shows a perfect ski shot----This is my good friend Claude Perrot, from Courchevel, Fr. on the US Bob Beattie, Pro Tour. In 1982, as the Team Photographer for the USA Handicap Ski Team at the World Championships For The Disabled in Leysin, Swiss, I had graduated up to an F3 with motor--my waist pack got even a little heaver.

If I wanted to do ski photo right now, I would take along my GH3-14-45 lens---it would be a "feather" in my pack/bag.

Raymond A. Bleesz
former Loveland Ski Area Photographer, 1970-'90
Former USA Ski Team Photographer, 1982
Edwards, Co---in the Vail Valley
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bwana
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2013, 09:53:41 AM »
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Thank you for your sincere reply. Indeed, a hunk of metal can get too cold to hold. Skiing forces one to pre-visualize the photo. Standing behind a tripod mounted slr in the cold wind just leads to poor pictures and lost lens caps. I drilled a hole in the handle of my ski pole and epoxied in a 1/4 inch bolt. It serves well as a monopod in a pinch. When the powder is deep I sit and make a snow pile for the camera to rest on.

I keep getting surprised by the files produced by the dp2m. I may get a x100 to complement it for the wide end and ditch the x10. Changing lenses is useless in hazardous conditions. You either lose the shot, lose the lens or lose the camera.

I remember lusting after my dad's nikon f with that huge pentaprism. It looked so alien but turning the aperture or shutter dial to make the exposure meter center the needle was my first 'video game'. I remember memorizing exposures so I could make the settings manually on a canon ftb. It didn't matter much with panx or trix because you could always do magic in the darkroom to pull a decent photo. The one thing that impresses me now with digital is how easy it is to get good dynamic range. The x10 pulls a great swath of tones that get crushed with my previous camera, Panasonic lx3. Even the puny 6 megapixel files look good when pushed through photo resize to double the pixel count.

When we go west this year I'll get my son a go pro. The beauty of that almost indestructible device is the unusual perspective you can get by doing things with it a mere camera cannot. Since it can be remotely operated from a wrist controller, you can put it anywhere. I do enjoy the occasional mind bending from an ultra wide lens or the distance compression of a tele shot but these still require pro equipment, good weather(for the photog, not the camera). A micro 4/3 small Olympus (epm1)with the 7.5 lens is another tempting thought but wouldn't be worth its weight on a hike in the Rockies on skis with a pack containing Avy gear
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One Frame at a Time
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2013, 08:23:17 PM »
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I shoot a lot of snow sports too.  I've skied with the canon 100-400, NEX 5 and 6 with 18-55 and 55-210 and the RX100.  I recently traded all my NEX gear for an XE1.  

I'd still be with the nex if the lenses were capable of good results.  That was not my experience.  The Sony RX100 is really a mixed bag.  Images and shooting speed are exceptional for such a compact camera.  I've printed 16 x 20 images that hold up really well.  The downside as someone else mentioned is the lack of a view finder.  It's hard to feel like a real photographer holding a tiny camera half an arms length in front of you.  It's also hard to really focus on composition and framing.  Not sure why, but it is.

One nice thing about the 100 is that it fits in a jacket pocket and even the hip belt pockets on my pack.  One thing that is critical to use this camera in snow is to adapt a UV filter to the lens.  This keeps snow off the lens if it's storming.  There are some videos that show how it's done. A 46 mm filter is the same size as the lens barrel.

This coming winter I'll be carrying the Fuji or the Sony,  and sometimes both.  I will not be carrying an SLR if I can help it.  Xc skiing is not nearly as demanding as alpine skiing with gear.  I think what you plan to do with your images should be your main guide as to how much camera you really need.

I shot this some years ago with a Minolta XE-7 (funny how I'm back to an xe camera!)  Manual wind, focus and exposure:
http://www.paulpodellphotography.com/Skiing/Favorite-ski-photos-from/i-9hcBXD6/A
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 08:29:40 PM by One Frame at a Time » Logged
NancyP
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 04:51:43 PM »
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If you are shooting jpgs for snapshots, you might be happy with one of the waterproof/shockproof cameras - my brother has the Olympus TG2 Tough, which looks like a great beach/snorkelling camera.

If you want a small sturdy weatherproof SLR with RAW capacity, the Pentax K (Rikoh website) series is the way to go. Even their $600.00 body K30 is weatherproof. It uses the DNG RAW format. Some of the lenses are waterproof - check carefully, because Pentax (Ricoh now) has a lower cost non-waterproof counterpart to each waterproof lens type. The image stabilization is in-camera body (IBIS). This sounds like the ideal hiker's or kayaker's SLR. I thought about it a bit for birding from a kayak, but the IBIS is not really meant for supertelephotos. In-focus capture rate is said to be 50-70% or so with hand-held 300mm lens.
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SZRitter
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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2013, 10:34:23 AM »
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I thought about it a bit for birding from a kayak, but the IBIS is not really meant for supertelephotos. In-focus capture rate is said to be 50-70% or so with hand-held 300mm lens.

Not really super telephotos, but they tested IBIS (Oly 5-axis) against in lens on up to, I think, 300mm (Panasonic bodies) and it was a dead tie on which did better.

To the OP, I used to shoot, and still do occasionally for a large (at least in midwest terms) ski resort. For me, I started with a variety of Nikons (N80, D200, D7000) and a variety of pro to consumer lenses. Total pain. I'm now shooting an E-M5, and although the AF is slow, the weight and ruggedness are right where I need them. That said, I think in a generation or so we should see the phase AF from the E-M1 travel down the line and hopefully into a a PEN E-PM1 sized body. When that happens, I'll be a very happy camper, and would recommend that camera hands down as a lightweight counterpart for when gear size matters.

As it stands, I would say Panny GM-1 or Oly E-PM2.
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Greg D
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2013, 12:36:55 PM »
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Well, no one else has thrown this out, so I will.  I have a Canon EOS-M for such purposes.  Its foibles are well-documented, but it is small and light, and the 18-55 zoom is quite good - and any other Canon lens can be used with full functionality with the adapter (which is also small & light).  Also, at current prices, many folks (not me) would regard them as almost disposable.
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2013, 05:12:43 AM »
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A micro 4/3 small Olympus (epm1)with the 7.5 lens is another tempting thought but wouldn't be worth its weight on a hike in the Rockies on skis with a pack containing Avy gear
Weight decisions are yours obviously!
But for me, I use something very approaching while backcountry skiing : after lugging APSC DSLRs (300D/Rebel and then 500D/RebelXTi with 10-22 and sometimes 55-250), I used an EPL1 with VF2 EVF and 14-42, sometimes with a 40-150 in another pocket (but yes, changing lenses with gloves is not that practical), and appreciated the weight gain even if the all-buttons ergonomic of the EPL1 is a bit awkward with gloves.
I changed it for an EPL5 this fall, so will soon look forward if the 4-way dial improves winter usability (snow begins to arrive here in the french Alps). I still understand that less weight-sensitive people prefer the DSLR (an OVF is more comfortable in these conditions, and operation with gloves is better).

For the smaller P&S, I find them really hard to use in the snow & sun without EVF.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2013, 07:36:11 AM »
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I cross country ski with my X100 and really enjoy the compactness of the camera along with the amazing image quality. I have a little pack that holds some water, extra sweater, gloves and hat...and the X100. Never had any issues with the camera even in -25c weather.
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Dan Wells
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2013, 07:43:43 PM »
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Two ideas - one is perhaps a bit big for the OP's needs, but certainly sturdy and will take great pictures with a good lens. The other one is intermediate image quality, but small, light and actually submersible.

If you are willing to take the weight, how about an OM-D (your choice of E-M1 or E-M5). I just hiked 200 miles with an E-M5 (mostly around my neck, although I tossed it in a case when it was really raining), and it took 3000 images, which I print to 16x20 EASILY, and 24x30 isn't pushing by much, especially at low ISO (and survived, despite a lot of really lousy conditions and handling with sweaty hands). When I returned, I sold most of my other cameras and have ordered an E-M1 and the new 12-40 f2.8 lens to add to my E-M5 system. I truly believe these little cameras are as tough as anything short of a Nikonos - Olympus claims they're as well sealed as a D4 or a 1Dx, and I believe them. One of their reps was shooting outside with his E-M5 on the Jersey Shore during Sandy, and the camera still works. Olympus routinely hits E-M1s with a hose and freezes them in blocks of ice, and independent reviewers have washed them in the sink, seemingly without ill effects.

For smaller and lighter (and it basically IS a Nikonos - why didn't Nikon revive that grand old name?), look at the new Nikon AW1. The small sensor means that dynamic range may be a real issue (and, in some of the samples I've seen, it is), it doesn't have any decent manual controls or even a viewfinder (it is a point and shoot with interchangeable lenses, while the E-M1 in particular FEELS like a baby D4), and the lens selection (without giving up the waterproofing) is limited to one cheap consumer zoom and one wide angle... On the other hand, it is small, light and is supposed to have the durability of a GPS (even a bit better in some ways, since most GPSs are completely splashproof, but not actually submersible), rather than a camera. I can't wait to play with one extensively (I've handled a couple in stores, but never had one outside), and I'm interested to see how bad the DR problem is, and how realistic it is to print from...
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gerafotografija
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« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2013, 11:11:04 PM »
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I've both cross country and downhill skied with the omd and x20.

The omd is a great camera for this because of its size and the great IBIS system. However, the only lenses that i had that were sealed to some extent last year were the 60mm/2.8 and the kit zoom 12-50.

Now that the pro f/2.8 zoom is available, although a bit bigger, it is probaly the best bet for quality and size trade offs.

For a parka pocket camera that has a useful zoom range (28-112), a decent sensor at base iso (in good light), that didn't fog up on me, I can definitely recommend the x20. At base iso it really gives the m43 cameras a run for their money. Kind of like the m43's are doing to the APSC cameras.
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geralds34
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2013, 12:29:38 PM »
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How pocket-able is the X20?

I am looking for a walk about camera, and something to take when I cross county ski or snowshoe.  My current Canon A710IS just ain't cutting it.  I have looked at the E-PL5, and it just felt awkward in my hands, and other have said the m43 with the kit lens isn't that great.  I like the zoom range of the X20.  IS post processing the raw X20 files with Lightroom any problem?
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gerafotografija
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2013, 10:13:20 AM »
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If I wanted to do ski photo right now, I would take along my GH3-14-45 lens---it would be a "feather" in my pack/bag.

This thread has got me thinking about what I'm going to carry this year, once the storms finish dumping some powder on the mountains.

After trying the very "feathery" GR last week, I am tempted to take it plus the OMD with 60/2.8, giving me top quality 28mm and 120mm equivalents.

The water resistant and somewhat weatherproof OMD could stay external on a Blackrapid type bandolier strap, and the GR could go into a chest pocket for quick access.

The picture from Raymond is a great example of a classic ski photo. Here's a modern boarder perspective from last season. Cheers!



Taken with a Fuji X20.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 02:45:27 PM by gerafotografija » Logged

bwana
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2013, 05:19:51 PM »
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Well I got a dpm-2 and went to Stowe, Vt. Hiked up a few times and skied down. Spruce peak was closed so I had the whole hill to myself, and my dog. The dog didn't know what was happening the first time. But then he realized it was fun. As I carved these great big S-turns, he galloped behind me back and forth across the hill. The next time we got to the top of of the hill, he took a break and posed for some pix.
HERE

Technically I was daunted by the extreme dynamic range. So, for a few of the images I developed the raws at different exposures and tried to combine them like an HDR. I am sure you can see the halo around the dog as a result. I tried just masking the dog and doing two layers in photoshop, but the result was horrible-dog hairs are really hard to mask out well. Just like in real life, dog hairs are a pain. So I don't really know how to do a good HDR as you can all see. In terms of the detail, the images were were down razzed and saved as jpegs after processing for the web. I could have sharpened them a bit more I suppose but in combination with the halo, it gives them that 'family portrait' sort of look. Remember those portraits photogs used to do a few decades ago that made people look like Hollywood models? Almost like when they would smear a little vaseline on a clear glass in front of the lens?

Any suggestions on how to better process these? I am sure this is a common problem in high dynamic range situations.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 05:28:14 PM by bwana » Logged
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