It is the beginning of February already!
In fact I am quite delighted at that as the evenings are starting to lighten. In many ways I love the first few months of the year as the dark shroud of Winter is slowly cast aside and the light starts to change in its colour and tone, in a subtle and indescribable manner.
My journey of shedding that plethora of cameras, from thirty or so down to now just three has reached its conclusion. My 1953 Rolleiflex 2.8C, my 1958 Leica M2 the most perfect camera I have ever used and finally my Samsung NX200.
I was going to end the great purge with just the Rolleiflex, the Leica and my Fujifilm Finepix S5 Pro. I just love that latter camera! Amazing dynamic range, superb colour and a nice ‘feel’ to the RAW files. However, on my climb upto the summit of Mynnydd Troed a 600m hillock in the Brecon Beacons that all changed and I became painfully aware that using the Rolleiflex with the S5 Pro was just not feasible. On this short climb it was cumbersome enough changing from one camera to the other and back. Doing so on a long climb would be torturous. I am the kind of photographer who is a Fell walker first and photographer second. My photography is incidental and often very spur of the moment. I don’t believe in all this arise at the crack of dawn, travel to a location, set up, take photographs, go home. That’s not the way I want to do things. I like going on a Fell walk with camera and what happens, happens. It was on the way back to the car that I think I had made the decision. As much as I love it and its results the S5 had to go, the weight and size of the thing was the eventual deciding factor. What I needed was a small, light weight camera with great image quality and dynamic range that I can sling from my belt. Tall order?
I spent most of January looking into several cameras. The Sony RX100 and similar offerings from Panasonic and Canon where seriously considered. I downloaded RAW files and processed them. Then I remembered the Samsung NX10 I used to have, now where were those NX10 files? Oh yes! Hiding away on one of my back-up drives. I remember that I had some good shots from the NX10. The sensor was a bit noisy and the dynamic range average, certainly didn’t compete with the S5 there. But some wonderful exposures and really good colour! To cut a long and trivial story short I purchased the Samsung NX200 for the princely sum of £62. That RX100 will have to wait for another day – it was well out of my price range.
What I needed now was a little test. So armed with the Rolleiflex and the NX200 clipped to my belt I set off to visit some local vantage points and practised using the Rolleiflex and NX200, moving back and forth with both cameras. The solution worked very well and changing cameras was smooth fluid and easy. I liked this. Next Saturday the solution will be put to the test for real with a trip to Y Fal near Y Fenni.
According to the DXO Mark tests the dynamic range of the S5 is 13.5EV at ISO100 whist the NX200 is 12.5EV. At ISO800 the DR of the S5 is 13EV and the NX200 is 10EV. At ISO1600 the DR of the S5 dips below that of the NX200. Considering I only shoot at ISO100 the difference between the two in terms of DR is acceptable. It is worthy to point out that the DR of the Canon D1X is less that both at ISO100. In comparison the S5 and lens weighed 1500 g, the NX200 a mere 400 g with lens.
Sample photos, just test shots nothing more. The first image is at ISO1600, the next two are ISO800 and the rest are ISO100. All shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom.