I have D3 ,D2Hs and D80 camera bodies. Because of weight issues I've been using my D80 for backpacking but want to upgrade. I carry a Gitzo tripod and at least 2 lenses so it does add up. What is best compromise for quality and weight?
Best lightweight camera body for high quality landscape photo's(23 posts) (17 voices)
Whichever camera will get you the shot you want?
What's wrong with the D80, it's a capable camera.
Biggest problem is ISO limitation-only goes to 1600 but of course quality at 1600 ISO is very poor. Decent images maybe to 800.
According to Ken Rockwell you need a disposable film camera.
sell the D2hs and D80 for a D7000, I've been pretty surprised with the DR of this body...
Aye, the D7000 is pretty satisfying with a good crop sensor wide / ultrawide lens on it. Just got the 20/f2.8D for mine. Though if you want I'll swap you mine for the D3? :D
I would (in fact I do) us a D700. For less weight than the D7000 think about the D5100 but it has no internal autofocus motor, so it will not autofocus with original-style screw-drive AF lenses
At the rate we're seeing new camera's, Rockwell might be right but It's a little depressing to have to consider a $3000 camera "disposable"after just a few years. See D2Hs. Wish you weren't right on this, Super Shooter.
For most trips I'm using a combination of an 18-22mm zoom, 24-80/2.8 , 70-200/2.8 and occasionally a macro for wildflowers. I hadn't thought of the D7000, I was leaning more toward a D300s but am open to exploring the D7000 . Are any of the new bodies designed to be more weather/shock resistant than older models?
Thank you for your generous offer, El Pickerel, to part w/ your new D7000. Tempting though it is, I would then be w/out body for my sports photography.
D300s is very close to being updated So I would stay away from that until the refresh comes. The IQ of the D7000 is slightly better than the D300s either way.
Your D3 is just one pound more and better than a D300s & D7000. Your best bet is to lighten the lenses to loose some weight. Cheaper too.
If it needs to be "Realy Lightweight", and "landscape only", I'd consider a High quality fixed lens camera, like Fuji X100 , and leave the wide lens at home ....
if You want light than get a mirror less camera, if You need good quality than You have not too many choices: either carry Your d3 with You or sell d80&d2hs and get d7000. forget about d300s, unless You really need the extras it offers (higher buffer, nice fps in 14bit)
I would like to suggest a Kata 3 in 1 20.
I carry D7000, 70-300vr, 18-105vr, 35 f1.8 and Tokina 100mm plus little cleaning supplies for backpacking. with a monopod
Instead of changing the camera, look to change the system that you use to carry it, do a web search on this bag, it is very comfortable and allows you to change the method of carrying for what you are doing. comes with its own rain coat.
That is true @casperwb. I went to a huge Lowepro Trekker bag mainly to pack all my camera gear with me when flying places, but it's more comfortable to take my camera, five lenses, and whatever else I want for hiking in that than it was to take just a couple lenses and my camera in a small shoulder bag.
I suggest you wait a few days or weeks and see what the new D800 has to offer. If indeed it will be 36 megapixels it should be the best lightweight body for landscape photography.
Wasn't there a rumor or real information about the proposed D800 containing certain carbon fiber components making it even lighter than the D700? That would be sweet in some regards. Alghough it might be off-balanced with heavier lenses.
Too many factors and opinions to get the "right" answer. Only YOU can decide what is best for YOU.
Just get a D7000... The image quality (not just size) and detail, and color is miles better than the any of the D2X(H, XS, HS), D200, D80 class cameras. I notice a nice step up from the D90 too. It literally is nikons best camera as of now If you were to set aside the fullframe advantage of the D3s and D700. Also the weather sealing on the camera is more than enough. Even the Non weather sealed D90 can put up with a serious pro's beating.
If I want to go light I usually bring a D7000 (or D90) my 14-24mm and a 50mm...
Overall, and taking your gear into consideration, I'd go with TaoTeJared's advice. If you can do with less or a different/lighter lens combo, you'll not have to venture into big expenditures and you will make use of your existing investments.
Your weight is really in your 70-200 that is 3+lbs. If you really wanted to cut the weight you could get a 28-300mm vr (28oz.). That would shave almost 3 1/2 lbs vs the 1 pound of a body switch.
Here is the weights you are looking at:
D3 - 2.75 lbs (44 oz)
D80 - 1.3 lbs (21 oz)
D7000 - 1.72 lbs (27.5 oz)
D300 - 1.8 lbs (29.3 lbs)
18-35 .81 lbs (13 oz)
24-85 f2.8-4 - 1.19 lbs (19 oz)
70-200 3.2 lbs (51.2 oz)
28-300mm 1.75 lbs (28.2 oz.)
24-120mm f/4G VR 1.5 lbs (23.6 oz.)
70-300mm 1.6 lbs (26.3 oz.)
With a bad back, I'm always looking to save weight and every trade-off had made me dissatisfied. I carry a D300 with grip, 70-200, 12-24, 105vr, & 28-70mm Tokina (all metal) with a 1.7tc. Add a Manfrotto 190 MF (carbon fiber) tripod and it is a heavy bag but allows any type of shooting I want to do. Really light bag I just take a D300, 12-24, 50mm 1.4G, & 70-300 with the tripod but I always wish I had something else. In the end, I just bought a (rather pricey) bag with a good hip belt that distributes the weight better. My big kit now feels 10x lighter. Giving in to having really good bag, makes a world of difference.
Thanks all ,for good and thought provoking advice. I very much appreciate your thoughtful, informed responses.
What's about a Leica M9? Sounds like the best option for lightweight FF, 18 megepixel at 20.6 oz ISO 2600
For a really lightweight outfit consider the D5100 (same sensor as the D7000 but in a very light plastic body) and an 18-55 lens (surprisingly great macro ability) with a 55-200 lens or just the 18-200 lens alone.
-too slow, but how many times do you really need to use f2.8 when backpacking? Don't you usually have more then enough sunlight or cannot you usually just wait for the wind to be still and use a slower shutter speed?
-not robust or weather sealed enough. Really? Do you photograph in the rain a lot? If so, a plastic rain skirt weighs next to nothing. Will it wear out or break within the next three or four years? If it lasts that long a newer and better version will be out. If not you can purchase a second body and still not be spending as much as a Pro body would cost.
-not versatile enough. Really? It has a manual mode. Now why isn't that enough control? It used to be the only control we all had.
-cheap plastic consumer lens IQ not good enough. Really, have you tried it? If shot at f8 and 100 ISO I am quite sure the IQ will be better than some of the camera bodies you listed in your original post. Also, it will have better IQ at 1600 ISO than does the D80. I would say IQ holds up about two stops better than the D80 so if you are satisfied with 800 ISO on the D80 you will be satisfied with 1600 to 3200 ISO on the D5100. The ability to use a stop or two higher ISO equates to needing a stop or two less lens speed so your f2.8 shots now can be shot at f4-f5.6.
This is just a thought. To achieve the lightest weight start with the "plastic fantastic consumer" DSLR range and get the best sensor in that range: which is the D5100. Then add the best "plastic fantastic consumer" lenses. My guess is that such an outfit would be able to do everything you want to do more than 90% of the time.
When I was backpacking I would even cut the handle of my toothbrush down to save weight! A few extra pounds carried up and down mountains for 6 miles feels like a ton by the end of the day! Start with DSLR camera equipment as light as you can and only add weight if it is absolutely necessary.
I sold my 70-200 2.8 since it was so heavy and the 70-300VR that I got instead (in my experience) is worth more since it has the speed, range, and quality to make great images. I am not saying the 70-200 2.8 is a bad lens.....it is wonderful, but heavy. I for one want a lens that is more friendly to me. Among the Nikon DSLRs right now I'd take the D7000 over everything else for value and quality. For backpacking I'd say that it is the summit of DSLRs currently available. Some may think a D700 rules, but I do not use mine as much as my D90 and D300.
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