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Been there. Done that.
My wife is using a Canon G16. She used to use a G11. Before that it was a Nikon CoolPix.
I used to shoot 35 mm film, after shooting 110 and medium format. When digital came along I had a couple of CoolPix cameras, then I moved to a Canon 30D, then a 1Ds, then a 550D and my latest body, a 5D.
My wife can shoot all day and no one says “Boo!” I get out a camera and everybody looks.
So why is my wife shooting with the G16 instead of the G11, or the CoolPIX? Well, … The CoolPIX she used only made JPEG files. The G11 can make raw files. She mostly shoots events. Something small that fits in a purse or pocket and is not too obtrusive is her desire. When I got her the G11 I put a memory card in everything the store had, in the desired form factor, and took test shots. I took the card home and processed the pictures. The G11 was much better than everything else that day. Something that can deliver a good photo, or that with some post processing can deliver, is a good thing. She shoots in offices, a lot. Frequently without flash. The G16 is better than the G11 at higher ISO, giving less noise. So that’s where she is today.
The 30D was a big step up in noise reduction from CoolPIX 5700’s and 8800’s. The 1Ds was another (expensive) step up. Both those bodies take great looking photos, still. But not at high ISO. The 550D can shoot rings around both, at ISO values they can’t even be set to. The 5D can be set to ridiculous ISO values and delivers the same performance as the 550D at a setting or two higher. I know, some of the new Nikons and such can be set to even higher ISO values now. Trying to catch technology is a pain!
How good is good enough? That’s the question. That and, what lenses do you own?
I like the look of the Fujifilm photos on the tumbler blog. I like the camera’s size. But I don’t own any lenses for it. I’m not sure how it would work with 400 or 800 mm focal lengths. Or 10 mm, for that matter. I purchased the 550D because it was smaller, and plastic, so it was much lighter. I got it a couple of cool lenses, and took it to many places in the Northern Hemisphere. It has served very well through 40,000 odd photos. I didn’t shoot anything but I took it with me today, just in case.
The Leica M is a wonderful camera, but pick one up, it is heavy!
If you are shooting hand held, being able to hold the camera still is a big deal. For some reason, I can consistently hold a Canon SLR/dSLR more still than a Nikon. So, I have Canon gear now. I also have a cell phone. I can’t see to focus in bright sun. I can’t hold it still when shooting. The cell phone camera is where some of the market is going. I will be happy if it takes a long time to get there. Nokia is making a 43 mpx cell phone camera! Perhaps one day, professionals will be using cell phone cameras. Hummm…..