Camera Types Revealed

I was reflecting on how different cameras perform particularly for travel photography. And my conclusion? That from high resolution full frame cameras to APS-C and micro four thirds cameras, the differences are pretty nominal. Each platform is capable of producing excellent images. Other factors might come into play: weight for one. And the basics of what you have in terms of lighting and composition. You can click on any of the photos for a larger image.

This image was shot with a full-frame Nikon D3s — ISO 200, 66mm, f/11 at 1/160 sec:

Animal Kingdom 2010

Light was so-so. Sky is a bit washed out even though I shot this image at around 5:30pm. Dynamic range of sensors back in 2010 wasn’t that great although the D3s had exceptional low light performance. The rig was so very heavy. Carrying this camera all day with a 24-70 zoom was literally a strength training event. It held on to its resale value and after five years I was able to sell it for a new Nikon D800 and my cost to switch was only $300.

This image was shot with an APS-C Fuji X-Pro 1 mirrorless camera — ISO 200, 35mm (or 53mm equivalent), f/11 at 1/160 sec (very similar settings to the Nikon shot above):

Animal Kingdom 2012

Well, it was a shot. I don’t care for the decidedly bluish colourcast and the midmorning light certainly didn’t help much either. This was shot at 11am on a cloudy day. And I had elected to shoot the Fuji using JPEG as RAW wasn’t well supported at the time. That also limited my post processing. Aside from a less than stellar exposure, the image detail is actually quite good on the camera. But not my favourite. I liked the form factor and weight but I was always fighting with this camera. I don’t use it anymore.

This next image was shot with a full-frame Nikon D800 — ISO 100, 60mm, f/8 at 1/100 sec:

Animal Kingdom 2013

A sunny day. The shot was taken at 2:40pm so not really the best light of the day. However, the image is bright and vibrant and certainly lots of detail coming from that amazing 36MP sensor. When I am doing really serious photography, I rely on the D800. It requires good shooting technique and good glass as the high resolution sensor does reveal pretty much everything. I love the camera but it is also big and heavy especially when paired with the 24-70. This camera, as well as the Nikon D3s, attracts way too much attention when travelling.

And, finally, this next image was shot with a micro four thirds Olympus OM-D E-M1 — ISO 200, 40mm (or 80mm equivalent), f/11 at 1/125 sec:

Animal Kingdom 2014

A late afternoon shot at around 4pm. Cloud cover but really good dynamic range and a really good image. Comparing this image to the Nikon D3s and the Nikon D800 and I don’t find that I am losing anything from an image quality perspective. Obviously, light and time of day would have more of an impact. The Olympus is a very lightweight, robust and highly customizable little camera. It is discreet and very easy to transport. I thoroughly enjoyed using this camera and I will likely favour it for most of my travel photography.

We live during an incredible time of technology advancement. Although always interesting to use different cameras, the reality is that most cameras are rarely a limiting factor to the photographer. I need to remind myself of that fact when the next round of new cameras are announced.

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